Love my F30 but...

F-30, 50 and 100's

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Wildwind
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Wildwind » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:25 pm

And Mesas are real easy to repair by any qualified tech. Schematics are easily available. Mine have undergone some repairs which turned out to simple and cheap. But like has been said, it's an excuse to try something else.

Cole
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Cole » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:37 pm

Unfortunately, even used, the ED is out of my price range. I've called Mesa a couple of times re: this noise issue and not that they weren't polite but they gave me the "it's just the way the amp is designed" thing. Awhile back I took it to a local amp guy and he called Mesa and he told me that whoever he talked to sounded almost apologetic re: the noise issue and implied it was one of the reasons the line was discontinued. Who knows. Maybe I'll give Mesa a call again but I'm leery of getting the amp back with the noise still there and be out a whole bunch of $ for shipping. Ahhhh, the lengths to which one will go to hold on to toys! This has been very fun and I'll be back! FYI...one of the reasons I'm trying so hard to hold to the F30 is the OD channel gain @ 9-10 o'clock (I think that the right nomenclature) with just a touch of my VOX ice9 OD pedal sounds heavenly. Back off on the guitar volume with a neck pup and it really sings for the blues, turn it back to 10 with the bridge pup and it's off to the races. The clean channel speaks for itself, very nice. I love the EL84s. My thanks to you one more time and I hope all is well out west.

Wildwind
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Wildwind » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:12 pm

Sorry, I'm not buying it. My F30 is very quiet. Sure it gets noisy when the gain is cranked - all amps do. But yours sounds much worse. There has to be a problem with it. Mesa support is about as good as it gets, not sure why they'd say that. They discontinue amps all the time and the Express series incorporates the features that were pioneered in the F series. And my friend, who played a Mark IV small-body combo for years, says my F30 destroys the tone of his Mark IV - the boxiness is gone. And this amp sounds vastly better than my old Studio 22+ on its best day and a lot of guys still love those.

So I think you have something worth salvaging. Do some checking around and find a good amp tech in your area. It would be worth a bit of a drive if necessary, but if you're near a larger town, that shouldn't be hard to find. I'm in a small-ish town (capital, but only about 250K metro area) and we have two excellent amp techs that I know off the top of my head - and I'm sure there are others.

But I think it has to be something real fixable, can't get past that in my head. I'm glad you re-assembled it though...I know I have no business poking around in there and doubt I'd even notice a missed solder joint. And I've heard of cold joints (which are common and often the cause for problems) but have no idea how to spot one (I guess they're not shiny). I had an amp tech go through and just touch up the joints on an entire amp once - didn't take him all that long - and when he was done, the amp was born again! We never ID'd a specific problem but that fixed it for good.
Last edited by Wildwind on Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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elvis
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by elvis » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:50 pm

+1

I've had 2 F50s, and played other F50s and F30s. I have NEVER heard an especially noisy one, particularly on the clean channel.

You generally can't see a "cold" solder joint. The wire is in the middle of a big blob of solder. The connection inside is a metallurgical junction that may have some oxide in between, sometimes because of cold temp during solder. More often it's from vibration and expansion/contraction causing the solder to crack microscopically.

You can sometimes see them when you have a jack that solders directly to a PC board. The constant wiggling from plugging and unplugging, or from dropping the object and having it land on the plug sticking out, causes the joint to crack. I've fixed many stompboxes with this problem. It's a good design choice to have the panel switches and jacks connect to the PC board through wire, rather than using PC-mount connectors.
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Cole » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:35 pm

Thanks for calling me out on this adventure. I haven't given up on it yet. In comparison to you guys, my experience with tube amps is negligible. I will say, however, that even with the the gain at 9-10 and the master at 11 on the clean, the hiss is really there. Even with my inexperience, that can't be normal. I was a bit surprised with the generic response I got from Mesa the 2 times I called and like I said, not rude just a bit indifferent. The one individual did say they were trying to get the Mark series character with the F series. Anyhow, I'm going to hunt down an amp tech that is really dedicated to making an amp become the best it can be. I'm close to Orlando and Daytona Beach so I should be able to find someone. I can't get anything else now (besides another Mesa) because this has been fun and you all have been great. Thanks and if it's ok, I'll follow up with what I hope will be a happy ending. Or maybe I'll have to eat more of life's humble pie because I've put myself on a wild goose chase and everything is normal with the amp. Stay tuned!

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elvis
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by elvis » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:57 pm

If you're worried that it's a wild goose chase, hunt down a couple more F-series amps in your area and try them out to see if they're the same.
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Cole » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:56 am

I was just looking at an image of the F30 chassis on Mesa's site and noticed that the 3 blue battery looking things (sorry for my simpleton descriptions) are all in a neat row whereas mine are stacked, one on top of two. I was curious how the glue goop was pretty sloppy in mine. In some cases covering contact points. Mesa's image shows neatly wrapped/tied wire runs and that's not the case in mine. Maybe somebody has previously worked on it or it was first thing Monday morning at Mesa when the amp was assembled.

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elvis
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by elvis » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:07 pm

Actually, that's a very apt description. The 3 blue cylinders are the high voltage supply capacitors. Your chassis should look pretty much exactly like the on in the photo. Every Mesa amp I've opened is super neat inside. Cable ties, minimal goop, etc.

It's possible yours was damaged at some point, and the supply caps were replaced. They're not old enough to warrant changing for maintenance purposes. One other possibility is that the exact capacitors shown in the photo were not available when your amp was built, so a slightly larger version was substituted, forcing the tech to stack them.

But if it's not all neat inside, it may have been gone through or modded by a less competent tech. I doubt Mesa does sloppy work, even on Mondays.
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elvis
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by elvis » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:31 pm

Thought about this some more. The amp may have always been noisy, and some tech thought replacing the caps might help, after failing to find any other cause. It's a common desperation move. Then the owner probably gave up and sold the amp. To you.
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Cole » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:04 pm

I'm getting the amp to guy in Orlando who is confident he knows what is going on. The way I got this amp is the most embarrassing and immature musical equipment trade I ever made. So bad that it will go to the grave with me. Live and learn...

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elvis
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by elvis » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:27 pm

If everything went according to plan, what stories would we have to tell?
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Cole » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:32 pm

Amen, amen...I hope your weekend is a good one.

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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Graon » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:52 am

Hello,

I have exactly the same problem with my combo F30. A lot of white hiss on the clean channel at higher gain and volume. That hiss is louder than the hiss on the dirty channel. Anyway I'm playing with them and I 've already managed to record on studio by eliminating the noise but If I can reduce it without loosing some power I take any advice.

My F30 is stock equipped.

Cole
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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Cole » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:52 pm

Hey there, Graon! Glad to hear I'm not the only one with this issue. Mine is stock as well except for some new tubes. Due to other financial priorities, I had to cancel an appt with a local amp tech who indicated he had a good idea what was going on. I wish I had a definitive answer but hopefully I will w/in a few weeks when a little extra $ rolls in. Even with the noise, it's a great amp, don't you think?

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Re: Love my F30 but...

Post by Graon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:42 am

Hi Cole,

Be sure we are not the only ones! Of course I like it, this little magic black box is a killer. I am going to bring my amp to a quite good and known technician next to me and he will tell me what's going on with that noise. Moreover I gonna change all the tubes and what I know is that he absolutely advised me against JJ tubes as power tubes. He recommends Mullard ones. For the preamp tubes we gonna see.

I gonna review it on 10th november.

So see you soon.

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