Did You Get The Memo?

Dual/Triple Rectos, Maverick, Blue Angel, Nomad, Road King, F-Series, Lone Star & Stiletto

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Brewski
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Did You Get The Memo?

Post by Brewski » Sun May 18, 2008 12:35 pm

Has anyone else heard about this one? My Road King was working fine, and then the volume started to drop and then go into volume swells, sort of like a slow tremolo. Then, at times, it would give an ugly static buzz. Finally, the volume totally dropped. I first thought that it was a pre-amp tube, however, when I flipped the solo switch, on the back of the amp to bypass, I got volume on all channels, but no effects or reverb.

Well, I decided to just send it in to Mesa for Repair, so dropped it off at an excellent local music shop, to send in for me. I was thinking that it must be the circuit surrounding the switch.

I got a call from, Doug at Guitar Showcase, who gave me the following info. After trying to get an RMA from Mesa. The Mesa service rep told Doug that the problem sounded exactly like an issue that they had sent a memo out on. On Road Kings and some other amps, the effects circuit is partial to the Mesa Chinese tubes, rather than the Russian made tubes. So he recommended that I try to put a Chinese tube in and see if the problem clears up. The v5 slot is the one closest to the fan and furthest from the transformer. That actually solved the problem and the amp is back up and running. I'm not sure what it is that makes the Chinese made tubes special, but a $16 pre-amp tube is a much less costly resolution than sending the amp in for repair. I just thought that I'd put the information out there. If this is redundant to another thread, sorry, but I tried searching for it first.

I tried searching the Mesa site for this memo, and couldn't find it. And tried searching the BB for it with no luck. I did get a verification that Mesa Techs got this memo. Anyone else hear about this?
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Post by Charlie » Sun May 18, 2008 1:44 pm

I had a problem with the volume on my Stiletto - it was WAY low in spongy mode. I had to switch a Tung Sol tube out of one of the slots (forget which one) and that cleared the problem up.

Seem like these Mesa circuits can be tempermental with certain tubes.
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Brewski
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Post by Brewski » Sun May 18, 2008 1:53 pm

Yeah, I didn't realize that they were THAT sensitive, where even if it's a Mesa tube, the point of origin matters. At least the fix is simple if you know what to look for.
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Post by Ang3lus » Sun May 18, 2008 5:05 pm

so i have to ditch my mullard and siemens when i get my road king II?
:(

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Post by Brewski » Sun May 18, 2008 5:58 pm

I don't know. I have an early series 1.
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Post by Boogiebabies » Mon May 19, 2008 9:20 am

Mesa was pretty public about this about a year ago. The Russian 12AX7's would just blow in the cathode follower positions of V3B and V4A. The plates see about 422V and the cathode 213V. The issue was supposed to be solved by using the Chinese 12AX7, but these had issues as well. They could handle the cathode follower posistions, but would crack upon cooling down. Mesa moved away from the 7025 Silver Specials and to the 12AX7C9 and both problems appear to be handled. It's only a matter of time for any tube in the V3 and V4 of any Road King or Dual Rectifier.
I would hope they meant V3 or V4 on your RKI as the V5 is the phase inverter and I have never had an issue with the V5 on the RKI or DR.

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Post by Silverwulf » Mon May 19, 2008 10:44 am

Boogiebabies wrote:I would hope they meant V3 or V4 on your RKI as the V5 is the phase inverter and I have never had an issue with the V5 on the RKI or DR.
+1 to that. I've never heard of the V5 giving anyone problems before.

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Post by wastoid » Mon May 19, 2008 10:53 am

Do you guys think new Roadsters would have this problem? I just ordered mine about a month ago and they are still building it.

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Post by Boogiebabies » Mon May 19, 2008 11:16 am

wastoid wrote:Do you guys think new Roadsters would have this problem? I just ordered mine about a month ago and they are still building it.
It's more of an annoyance than a problem. Every Dual Rectifier design uses a cathode follower for the tone stack and effects send. It's more a matter of getting a preamp tube that will have a short life span. Some run for years and some run a few days. It's not a bad design as it is almost the same as the Soldano SLO 100, but it's prone to making weak tubes very evident. Welcome to Tubeville.

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Post by wastoid » Mon May 19, 2008 4:05 pm

Boogiebabies wrote:
wastoid wrote:Do you guys think new Roadsters would have this problem? I just ordered mine about a month ago and they are still building it.
It's more of an annoyance than a problem. Every Dual Rectifier design uses a cathode follower for the tone stack and effects send. It's more a matter of getting a preamp tube that will have a short life span. Some run for years and some run a few days. It's not a bad design as it is almost the same as the Soldano SLO 100, but it's prone to making weak tubes very evident. Welcome to Tubeville.
So I'm a little confused then. If the Russian ones are horrible and the Chinese ones have some other problems, what's the ideal tube type? Should I preemptively swap out the tubes as soon as I get it or just see how long of a ride I can get out of the stock ones before doing anything?

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Post by Brewski » Mon May 19, 2008 6:15 pm

Boogiebabies wrote: I would hope they meant V3 or V4 on your RKI as the V5 is the phase inverter and I have never had an issue with the V5 on the RKI or DR.
Hey Boogiebabies, Good info. I was told specifically V5, and that the notice wasn't that old. I'm just repeatin' what I got 2nd hand from a Mesa Service Rep. I replaced V5 and it did fix my problem, well, at least for the time being. If I can get my hands on a copy of the notice, I'll post it.
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Post by MetalMatt » Mon May 19, 2008 8:22 pm

Thats interesting and good to know, thanks! My RKII has the Mesa russian 2's. They are the stock preamp tubes, so for 2+ years they haven't given me any trouble.... yet.
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Post by JAZZGEAR » Mon May 19, 2008 9:03 pm

Well, this problem is not unique to just the Road King. I have a brand new 2008 LSC that had the exact same problem...and got the exact same fix from Rich at Mesa Boogie. Sent me a Set of 5 Preamp tubes to for V3/V4.

Issue is, the problem creeped up again momentarily at a recent gig.

Will have to place close attention to this if it happens again. :evil:
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Post by Ang3lus » Tue May 20, 2008 1:01 pm

that is good info
what's the point of having a 2500$ amp if you can't fit good tubes in it, i know the mesa tubes are ok, but they are nowhere near as good as the siemens tubes i use in my current amps, not being able to change sucks.

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Post by Brewski » Thu May 22, 2008 5:33 pm

I did get a copy of the notice. I was given wrong verbal info, V3 and V4 are the cathode follower locations on the series 1 and v3 and v5 on the RK 2. Boogiebabies was right. In any case, I'm still up and running. Sounds like I'm going to get my hands on a few more of them tubes, just to be sure. :D
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