Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Ace, Version 1 and 2

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Desperate_Hero
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Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Desperate_Hero » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:13 pm

I just got a Stiletto Ace head and I think it sounds killer.I actually wanted a Single Rectifier and put my FJA Modded 5150 up to trade for one,guy responded with a Stiletto Ace head and I decided to try it since it is part of the Rectifier Series and you dont see them used very often.Really like it.Seems to have the big bottom end and room filling quality of the regular recto,but alot smoother.Still want to try a single recto and a/b them though...lol....anyway....noticed the tubes are stock.I really like KT88's but I know they wont go in this head.Is there a similar type power tube that sounds good in it and what about pre's?Thanks

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Jak0lantern01 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:23 am

Try the 6CA7 tubes, I personally like them. Also, you can try the Eurotubes high gain pre-amp upgrade, it made my Stiletto Deuce even smoother. If you really need that true recto sound, just throw an EQ in the loop and do the classic V-scoop. This amp has more gain than you'll ever need.

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by MrMarkIII » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:32 am

6CA7 = EL-34.
Also:
SOUND “DROP-OUTS” / INTERMITTENT SIGNAL
One Possible Cause

Many (but not all) Mesa/Boogie amplifiers have one or two “cathode follower” tube
stages in their preamps. Tube selection is CRITICAL in these stages.

Specifically, in a 12AX7 tube used as a “cathode follower”, the voltage difference
between that present at the cathode, as compared with the heater voltage, can be
withstood or tolerated by certain types of tubes, whereas other tubes will fail. The
failure of a “cathode follower“ tube will cause sound dropouts or signal loss.

For the past few years, Mesa has been using two types of 12AX7 tubes: ones
originating in Russia (Sovtek EH), and ones originating in China. The Russian (Sovtek)
tube is NOT reliable as a cathode follower. Of the tubes we are using today (March
2008), ONLY THE CHINESE 12AX7 IS RELIABLE AS A CATHODE FOLLOWER.

In conclusion, if you are troubleshooting for signal dropout in a Mesa/Boogie amp,
suspect a cathode follower tube, and try replacing it with a Mesa 12AX7 that is marked
as “CHINESE” (silk-screened on the tube itself).

Below is a partial list of Mesa amps and cathode follower tube locations:

Lone Star & LS Special: V3
M-Pulse: V2
Stiletto: V3 & V4
Venture: V2
Road King I: V3 & V4
Big Block 750: V4
Road King II: V3 & V5
Titan: V4
Roadster: V3 & V5
M2000: V2
Dual & Triple (2ch or 3ch): V3 & V4
Bass 400+: V2
Tremoverb: V3 & V4

ANOTHER POSSIBLE SCENARIO may occur in the “SPONGY” (or on some models,
“TWEED”) power setting: the reduced filament voltage may cause very low output from
a RUSSIAN preamp tube. Again, the recommended fix is to replace the “sagging” tube
with the CHINESE type of Mesa 12AX7 - which are more immune to this type of failure.

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by TTSTWO » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:51 am

Thanks for that info MrMarkIII. I was talking about this yesterday to a co-worker and this clears up what I was trying to remember about the subject.

tt
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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Desperate_Hero » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:10 pm

Ill have to look into those tubes...thanks...yeah,it hasa ton of gain in the tite and fluid drive settings for sure....It isnt really a gain thng as far as trying a recto though,it is more the tonal character.I havent heard an amp that sounds like that when they are dialed in right.There are a ton of Marshall type amps out there,but no one,aside from Bugera's Tri Rec(which I havent heard or actually seen out yet)has a good replica of the Recto,maybe a patent thing?.....

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Elbowselbows » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:12 am

The best tube change I found was the JJ ECC83 in v1 and v2 and a balanced JJ ECC803 in the PI. Sooooooo much smoother, no ice picky upper mids, you can run the treble and presence up a lot more and the middle still have a growlly full bite.

As a secondary change, the 6ca7 's are a great power tube for that!!
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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by SachezAUS » Mon May 20, 2013 11:41 pm

Agree with V1 and V2 change. I have tried JJ's, EH and Tung-sol in V1 and V2. They all sound much better than the Standard tubes. I think I prefer EH and Tung-sol above the JJ's but there is not much in it.

Currently I am running Tung-sol EL34Bs and they sound great. I have toyed with the idea of running JJ KT-77's which some on the forum have tried. But I'm happy with the Tung-sols so far.

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by abe » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:44 am

I was using JJ KT77 for a years. They have a nice bottom end, but every so often I switch back to an old set of Mesa EL34. They are tight and nice and focused I have them in now and will keep them until I get the bug again

For preamp, I had the JJ 12ax7 high gain set forever. I thought that I loved them until I switched them out. Now I have Russian Groove Tubes (the store threw them in when I bought the amp) in vi v3 and v5, a JJ in v4 and some tube I pulled from a Fender 5 watt combo in v2. Seems to work for me, for the time being
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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by rocksalt7 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:49 am

Took the plunge and put some EH 6CA7's into the Ace last week....sounds really good; and I was VERY happy with the EL-34Bs that were in it before!! The new tubes do give me a little more bass which is a good thing, just a little though; not truckloads. Didn't change my controls too much at all. While I was foolin' around in there I put a new TungSol 12AX7 into V1 just for good measure. I got almost 5 years of use out of the last tubes, hopefully these have a long and happy life too!! 8)
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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Authorized Boogie » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:57 am

MrMarkIII wrote:6CA7 = EL-34.
Also:
SOUND “DROP-OUTS” / INTERMITTENT SIGNAL
One Possible Cause

Many (but not all) Mesa/Boogie amplifiers have one or two “cathode follower” tube
stages in their preamps. Tube selection is CRITICAL in these stages.

Specifically, in a 12AX7 tube used as a “cathode follower”, the voltage difference
between that present at the cathode, as compared with the heater voltage, can be
withstood or tolerated by certain types of tubes, whereas other tubes will fail. The
failure of a “cathode follower“ tube will cause sound dropouts or signal loss.

For the past few years, Mesa has been using two types of 12AX7 tubes: ones
originating in Russia (Sovtek EH), and ones originating in China. The Russian (Sovtek)
tube is NOT reliable as a cathode follower. Of the tubes we are using today (March
2008), ONLY THE CHINESE 12AX7 IS RELIABLE AS A CATHODE FOLLOWER.

In conclusion, if you are troubleshooting for signal dropout in a Mesa/Boogie amp,
suspect a cathode follower tube, and try replacing it with a Mesa 12AX7 that is marked
as “CHINESE” (silk-screened on the tube itself).

Below is a partial list of Mesa amps and cathode follower tube locations:

Lone Star & LS Special: V3
M-Pulse: V2
Stiletto: V3 & V4
Venture: V2
Road King I: V3 & V4
Big Block 750: V4
Road King II: V3 & V5
Titan: V4
Roadster: V3 & V5
M2000: V2
Dual & Triple (2ch or 3ch): V3 & V4
Bass 400+: V2
Tremoverb: V3 & V4

ANOTHER POSSIBLE SCENARIO may occur in the “SPONGY” (or on some models,
“TWEED”) power setting: the reduced filament voltage may cause very low output from
a RUSSIAN preamp tube. Again, the recommended fix is to replace the “sagging” tube
with the CHINESE type of Mesa 12AX7 - which are more immune to this type of failure.
This is really outdated, as we no longer use Russian or Chinese tubes any longer! Our 12AX7 is JJ, and they have no issues related to the above post. Thanks!
MESA/Boogie - Product Specialist/Customer Service - http://www.mesaboogie.com/support/index.html

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by domct203 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:16 pm

Authorized Boogie wrote:
MrMarkIII wrote:6CA7 = EL-34.
Also:
SOUND “DROP-OUTS” / INTERMITTENT SIGNAL
One Possible Cause

Many (but not all) Mesa/Boogie amplifiers have one or two “cathode follower” tube
stages in their preamps. Tube selection is CRITICAL in these stages.

Specifically, in a 12AX7 tube used as a “cathode follower”, the voltage difference
between that present at the cathode, as compared with the heater voltage, can be
withstood or tolerated by certain types of tubes, whereas other tubes will fail. The
failure of a “cathode follower“ tube will cause sound dropouts or signal loss.

For the past few years, Mesa has been using two types of 12AX7 tubes: ones
originating in Russia (Sovtek EH), and ones originating in China. The Russian (Sovtek)
tube is NOT reliable as a cathode follower. Of the tubes we are using today (March
2008), ONLY THE CHINESE 12AX7 IS RELIABLE AS A CATHODE FOLLOWER.

In conclusion, if you are troubleshooting for signal dropout in a Mesa/Boogie amp,
suspect a cathode follower tube, and try replacing it with a Mesa 12AX7 that is marked
as “CHINESE” (silk-screened on the tube itself).

Below is a partial list of Mesa amps and cathode follower tube locations:

Lone Star & LS Special: V3
M-Pulse: V2
Stiletto: V3 & V4
Venture: V2
Road King I: V3 & V4
Big Block 750: V4
Road King II: V3 & V5
Titan: V4
Roadster: V3 & V5
M2000: V2
Dual & Triple (2ch or 3ch): V3 & V4
Bass 400+: V2
Tremoverb: V3 & V4

ANOTHER POSSIBLE SCENARIO may occur in the “SPONGY” (or on some models,
“TWEED”) power setting: the reduced filament voltage may cause very low output from
a RUSSIAN preamp tube. Again, the recommended fix is to replace the “sagging” tube
with the CHINESE type of Mesa 12AX7 - which are more immune to this type of failure.
This is really outdated, as we no longer use Russian or Chinese tubes any longer! Our 12AX7 is JJ, and they have no issues related to the above post. Thanks!
I have to diasgree, there are still cathode follower positions in the amp, and the New Sensor (Russian tubes) are still available at most music stores.

Players need to be aware of these issues.

Dom
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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by guitarrhinoceros » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:53 pm

Authorized Boogie wrote:
MrMarkIII wrote:6CA7 = EL-34.
Also:
SOUND “DROP-OUTS” / INTERMITTENT SIGNAL
One Possible Cause

Many (but not all) Mesa/Boogie amplifiers have one or two “cathode follower” tube
stages in their preamps. Tube selection is CRITICAL in these stages.

Specifically, in a 12AX7 tube used as a “cathode follower”, the voltage difference
between that present at the cathode, as compared with the heater voltage, can be
withstood or tolerated by certain types of tubes, whereas other tubes will fail. The
failure of a “cathode follower“ tube will cause sound dropouts or signal loss.

For the past few years, Mesa has been using two types of 12AX7 tubes: ones
originating in Russia (Sovtek EH), and ones originating in China. The Russian (Sovtek)
tube is NOT reliable as a cathode follower. Of the tubes we are using today (March
2008), ONLY THE CHINESE 12AX7 IS RELIABLE AS A CATHODE FOLLOWER.

In conclusion, if you are troubleshooting for signal dropout in a Mesa/Boogie amp,
suspect a cathode follower tube, and try replacing it with a Mesa 12AX7 that is marked
as “CHINESE” (silk-screened on the tube itself).

Below is a partial list of Mesa amps and cathode follower tube locations:

Lone Star & LS Special: V3
M-Pulse: V2
Stiletto: V3 & V4
Venture: V2
Road King I: V3 & V4
Big Block 750: V4
Road King II: V3 & V5
Titan: V4
Roadster: V3 & V5
M2000: V2
Dual & Triple (2ch or 3ch): V3 & V4
Bass 400+: V2
Tremoverb: V3 & V4

ANOTHER POSSIBLE SCENARIO may occur in the “SPONGY” (or on some models,
“TWEED”) power setting: the reduced filament voltage may cause very low output from
a RUSSIAN preamp tube. Again, the recommended fix is to replace the “sagging” tube
with the CHINESE type of Mesa 12AX7 - which are more immune to this type of failure.
This is really outdated, as we no longer use Russian or Chinese tubes any longer! Our 12AX7 is JJ, and they have no issues related to the above post. Thanks!
Slovakian tubes, right?
Last edited by guitarrhinoceros on Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Authorized Boogie » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:56 pm

JJ's are made in the Czech Republic. Thanks!
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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by Gordybaby » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:14 pm

Be careful big brother is watching and warranties will be void. :P

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Re: Just got Stiletto Ace head...tubes?

Post by blaren » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:49 pm

Just joined the Mesa family with the purchase of a used Stiletto Ace head in tan.
I sell tubes and always wondered why the mesa guys weren't ever any big customers.
I assumed and was partly correct I guess, that with the gain monsters like the rectos, with all that cascaded preamp snot, nice vintage glass wouldn't matter.
With the more brit voiced Mesa offerings though, decent tubes will make a world of difference.

I just began to research Mesa amps and of course their "fixed bias" mentality. A/B amps are fixed bias but there's usually a trimpot so you can dial-in a new set of tubes to run best or how you want them to run. That speaks to powertubes of course but not preamp tubes.

With their non-adjustable fixed bias setups (in amps that want a real cold clean output section anyway is ok I guess) you can't run great tubes unless you get very lucky or..what I see suggested most times is...talk to Eurotubes etc and tell them you have a Mesa and they'll hook you up with JJs or Winged Cs or TS or whatever...That works too I guess but for us corksniffers, being able to dial-in our vintage and sought-after bottles is a must. Which means we have to modify the bias sections. I just ordered some resistors and a trimpot so I can do an adjustable bias mod in the Stiletto. Then it will be SO close to my old Marshalls.

I have barely used this amp so far, It still has all stock tubes (Mesa/Sovtek) and although it's pretty fizzy...it is almost there. Heck...with 2 preamptubes (I'm probably gonna use a mule or a dutch Philips and a Tungsram or RFT) this thing is gonna be almost there.
After it gets a pair of properly biased TESLA or RFT 34s....AWWW YEAH.

Get your Adjustable bias mods completed fellas. Even with new production tubes that will help tame the fizz and get your marshall channels sounding more marshallesque.In the meantime just try a single dutch or Blackburn AX7 and get at least on Bliss's doorstep!

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