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Discussion Forum for Mesa Boogie Products
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:12 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:03 am
Posts: 7
I purchased this amp about 10 years ago used. It sounded really good, no problems. I decided somewhere along the line to replace the tubes. Nothing wrong with the old ones other than they were original and figured they should be replaced rather than wait for them to die. I installed a set of JJ tubes.

Everything seemed ok at first but after a while I realized the amp just didn't have the Ompth it use to. It sounded and responded cold and sterile. As a result last couple of years since I put the JJ's in there and sounding bad, I started using it as a speaker cab to run some of my heads over.

I finally decided the change in the amp had to do with the tubes. I brought it home tonight and removed the JJ's and installed the old original boogie tubes back in it. Well it's back to life again!!!

So can somebody explain to me why the JJ's don't work good as compared to the original boogie tube and what do I need to do to obtain another set of tubes that will continue to make my boogie sound good when I do need to replace the originals????? Platefire


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:29 am 
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Single Recto
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:32 pm
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Were these the power tubes, preamp tubes or both?

If they were power tubes, the bias might not have been correct. Mesa power tubes are selected to allow the correct bias on Mesa amps without adjustment to the amp's bias (it is preset and is not adjustable).

If they were preamp tubes, JJs seem a little darker than other brands. They can fatten up an overly bright amp or cause a dark amp to become too dark and a little flat sounding.

I use JJ power tubes in a few amps but have seldom liked their preamp tubes.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:55 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:17 pm
Posts: 236
Location: Canada
As above, if the JJs you ordered were not specifically ordered for a Mesa Boogie from a company which tests and verifies they'll match the Bias then they're likely a mismatch which doesn't sound as good.

Doug's Tubes, The Tube Store, EuroTubes even will all pick tubes that suit your amp when you order.

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Mark V
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formerly: Quad Preamp, Rocket 44 112


Last edited by IronSean on Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:03 am
Posts: 7
Thanks for your comeback!

These JJ tubes were a complete set from AES as I remember and were not especially selected for my particular Boogie. The 4 EL84 power tubes were a matched set. I figured they would work. The amp works but very bright and stiff with the JJ's.

The first thing I did was pull the JJ V1 12AX7 and install the original Boogie V1 and fired it up and I could tell a very
marked improvement just from that one tube. So I went ahead installed all the old Boogie set back in their original
locations. I've been jamming on it this morning and it's so much better than the JJ's. So the main issue might have been in the JJ preamp tubes?

The amp is stock, so it's not set up to be biased. I am a DIY amp builder, repair guy and very familiar setting bias on amps but in this case it seems you would actually need to coordinate with Boogie to get tubes best for this amp??? Or maybe use different preamp tubes and use the JJ's EL84's as a backup set of power tubes. I've never really been a fan of JJ 12AX7's but EH 12AX7's sound very good to me, but I haven't tried any in the Boogie. Maybe just some experimenting with different pres is in order. So right now everything is fine. Guess this bias situation with Boogie as a DIY amp man makes me feel a little helpless:>) Platefire


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:38 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:17 pm
Posts: 236
Location: Canada
I forgot to finish my edit before leaving, but as above there are different tube stores online which will test and select tubes to suit your amp when you order, ensuring you get the right Bias.

I think Mesa branded preamp tubes are JJs these days anyway, so that might be one less to try.

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Mark V
Studio Preamp
formerly: Quad Preamp, Rocket 44 112


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:40 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:03 am
Posts: 7
OK Thanks IronSean


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:28 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:03 am
Posts: 7
Can anyone provide me with a reliable supplier of tubes matched as per amp model for Mesa Boogie amps?

I have been doing a net search and what I find is kind of confusing with lack of detail providing any assurances.

My amp is really sounding sweet since installing the original tubes, so I really want to get it right this time. Platefire

BTW--I found this at Amazon, is this good as any???
https://www.amazon.com/Tung-Sol-Upgrade ... Rocket+440


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:56 am 
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Single Recto
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:32 pm
Posts: 1332
Platefire wrote:
Can anyone provide me with a reliable supplier of tubes matched as per amp model for Mesa Boogie amps?

I have been doing a net search and what I find is kind of confusing with lack of detail providing any assurances.

My amp is really sounding sweet since installing the original tubes, so I really want to get it right this time. Platefire

BTW--I found this at Amazon, is this good as any???
https://www.amazon.com/Tung-Sol-Upgrade ... Rocket+440



IronSean wrote:
Doug's Tubes, The Tube Store, EuroTubes even will all pick tubes that suit your amp when you order.


Also, Mesa sells them directly and through their dealers.

You'd have to contact that Amazon seller and ask if the power tubes are picked to suit a Mesa amp.

Don't worry about the preamp tubes. You can used whatever brand you like there.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:37 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:17 am
Posts: 107
Location: Alkimos, Western Australia
If you don't want to fork out for Mesa tubes Eurotubes sells JJ sets in the right bias range -- you can even ask whether you want clean or more break up from your tube sets. They sound pretty good to my ear but you might want to try a brighter tube like a Tung Sol in the first gain stage which is actually V2 in these amps. Their EL84 power tubes are among the best around.

The Rocket 44 has the same tube compliment and user manual as the 440 (I have the 44):

http://www.eurotubes.com/store/pc/Retube-Kits-for-Mesa-c10.htm

Something people won't tell you though is that the the cathode follower FX loop tube in V4 will burn up pretty quick if you use Russian or Slovak (JJ) tubes and you should try to find a Chinese 12ax7 for that position:

https://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=59672


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:28 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:03 am
Posts: 7
Thanks! For now I'm running the original Boogie tubes but eventually will need to get a new set of power tubes and will probably keep the Boogies as back ups. I was aware that the 44 is the same amp as the 440 and have that manual in my
amp file folder. Thanks for the tip on the V4 being stressed. I'll bare that in mind when changing the pres. Platefire

BTW--How do you like your 44?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:06 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:17 am
Posts: 107
Location: Alkimos, Western Australia
Platefire wrote:
Thanks! For now I'm running the original Boogie tubes but eventually will need to get a new set of power tubes and will probably keep the Boogies as back ups. I was aware that the 44 is the same amp as the 440 and have that manual in my
amp file folder. Thanks for the tip on the V4 being stressed. I'll bare that in mind when changing the pres. Platefire

BTW--How do you like your 44?


Yeah it's great as it's portable, loud and has a versatile tonal palette but excels at overdrive and dirt tones. Had it since 2011 and has never let me down. Coming up for a cap job soon.


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