Mesa tubes -- recommended or not? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Mesa tubes -- recommended or not?

Just a quick question for you guys, especially those of you with Mesa gear. I just got a used Triaxis and 2:90 (well, actually the second one I've owned--shouldn't have sold the first one!), and for purposes of starting out on a "clean slate", I was going to replace all the preamp and power tubes in them.

I know Mesa makes a big deal about using Mesa tubes, but does it really matter that much? If I can get a bunch of decent 12ax7's and 6L6's from tubestore.com (or anywhere else for that matter) for half the cost, is it worth using the Mesa tubes? If not, any particular (reasonably-priced) 12ax7's and 6L6's you recommend?

Thanks!
--B
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 11:04 PM
 
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Re: Mesa tubes -- recommended or not?

Those are nothing but Sovtek Chinese tubes.

They´re ok, but EH 12AX7 and Svetlana 6L6 tubes
are much better. JJ are also excellent.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 09:05 AM
 
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umm... Sovtek Chinese tubes?!?!?

Sovteks are not chinese, but I digress.

He is right about Boogie slapping their name on a Sovtek tube, albiet one they tested, but still a sovtek tube.

I have just installed a full set of JJ Teslas in my Mesa 20/20 power amp as well as my triaxis, they are a good tube so far, I seem to have a tad more midrange than I did before, but aside from that, they seem fine.
Time will tell how they weather the abuse or lack thereof that I administer.

I liked the Sovteks, and would and will probably buy them again they are solid and inexpensive, but you can bypass Mesa to get them obviously.

I also just did a repair on a friend's Fender Blues Deluxe that had EH's in it and those had a nice warm feel to them in that amp, then again, its not dialed in for gobs of gain either.

I tried 2 different places for my tubes and had luck at each

http://www.thetubestore.com
and
http://www.partsexpress.com

Both shops have a good variety of tubes and their pricing is competitive.

Without having each brand to a-b to one another, it is hard to say that brand X sounds better than brand q but burns out twice as fast as brand f, I don't have the time or inclination, I think few people do.

Grab what you think will work for you, btw, just so you don't blow your cash on NOS stuff, I have a new set of Mullard 12ax7's and if there is a tonal difference between them and the other tubes I've used, it is a VERY, VERY, small, subtle one, yet I see them sell for $30 on up. if someone wants to pay me for them, fine, but I don't think you gain anything by going that route.

Bamm
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 09:12 AM
 
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Sovtek Chinese... well, you have the right idea, sorta.

Tubes either come out of China or Russia(Sovtek) these days. For all practical purposes, a 12AX7 is a 12AX7. Different companies buy up these tubes and will test them to certain tolerences. Mesa may have higher standards than Ruby, which may make them sound "better" than the other. However, they are not testing each individual tube, so I don't know how you can really make that arguement.

Personally, I prefer NOS tubes, but not all of them. Philips JAN is my tube of choice based on sound/cost. Definitely have lower output, not as much gain. The guy I sold my amp to complained that it didn't have as much distortion as the other models of it he played... so the tubes obviously make a difference. $9/tube isn't bad anyways in case I am just imagining this as Bamm would suggest.

Before switching to Philips, if I had to buy a "high output" 12AX7, it would be a Ruby. They have almost the same QC as Groove Tubes but cost much less.

Oh yeah, thetubestore.com is good. I get mine through some guy that sells out of his house. I have no idea where he gets them from, obviously if I did I would go that route.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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I just got the following reply from the folks at the Tube Store:

Quote:
You can use any brand you like so long as you tell us when you
order that you're retubing a Mesa. However the majority of our Mesa
customers prefer the SED (Svetlana) 6L6GC power tubes and Electro
Harmonix 12AX7EH preamp tubes.
I just wanted to make sure that using the non-Mesa tubes wouldn't cause the amp to blow up! (I know it theoretically voids the warranty, but I'm buying the amps used, so they really don't have any warranty anyway!)

Thus, I ended up buying a set of the SED 6L6's and EH 12AX7's. Cheaper than Mesa tubes, and quite highly rated based on the reviews I've read.

--B
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 10:56 AM
 
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www.eurotubes.com

Read customer reports and search for triaxis or ask him yourself.

best value, best advice, best service.

also check out teh links off that page for blueprinting etc. useful info

Steve
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 12:04 PM
 
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Jay is right on the point he made about a lower output on some of the NOS tubes, and is something I failed to mention.

Having never tried the JAN / Phillips I can't say much about them.
Either way, with the exception of lower output, you can compensate for the tonal changes rather effortlessly in most amplifiers.
I should qualify my term "tonal difference" as a shift in your baseline or the coloration of your sound more than just gain/output.

When I try out a new tube, I start very clean to see what kind of compression and headroom I have and then work from there, seeing how the tone controls affect the feel of the amp. I do love newer tubes as you can really feel and hear how the amp has a punch to it.

No matter what, tubes and the technology behind them proves that the K.I.S.S. formula is better than millions of dollars spent on replicating the same sound digitally and only meeting it halfway at best.

Bamm
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 12:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bammbamm
Jay is right on the point he made about a lower output on some of the NOS tubes, and is something I failed to mention.

Having never tried the JAN / Phillips I can't say much about them.
Either way, with the exception of lower output, you can compensate for the tonal changes rather effortlessly in most amplifiers.
I should qualify my term "tonal difference" as a shift in your baseline or the coloration of your sound more than just gain/output.

When I try out a new tube, I start very clean to see what kind of compression and headroom I have and then work from there, seeing how the tone controls affect the feel of the amp. I do love newer tubes as you can really feel and hear how the amp has a punch to it.

No matter what, tubes and the technology behind them proves that the K.I.S.S. formula is better than millions of dollars spent on replicating the same sound digitally and only meeting it halfway at best.

Bamm
Well aside from output/gain, what you said about compression is also true. Newer tubes tend to have a more compressed sound (maybe due to output?) which usually leads to a tighter bass and a bit more defined high end. I like a sound like this for some purposes. If I'm playing anything with a lot of quick chord changes or with substantial distortion, I want my amp to compress easily and have a bit clearer sound to it. Older tubes seem to have a bit of a "loose" sound to them, little less definition on the high end, usually seem to put out more lower midrange. Sounds better to some people than others. If you have a speaker that breaks up early, older tubes can sound kind of muddy as this happens, and generally take a lot more cranking to get a nice compressed sound. Newer tubes tend to work a little better with older 12-30W speakers if you're going for a breakup tone as you can usually get a little clearer sound without cranking to 11.

At least that's my take on it.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 04:39 PM
 
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the trick with retubing Mesa power amps is that the amps are all built with a fixed bias, which cannot be adjusted. Randall Smith of Mesa has strong philosophical reasons for this, which many folks think are a crock, but with that design the tubes must be bias matched to the specs of the amp.

Mesa matches their relabeled tubes for their amps, but many other indie tube dealers have the Mesa specs and can sell you power tubes that fit the fixed bias for your model amp [and for a lot less money].
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 04:49 PM
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I would say 'not'
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerealk
I would say 'not'
Thanks for saying what took Bamm and I a couple paragraphs to get at.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 11:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay ratkowski
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerealk
I would say 'not'
Thanks for saying what took Bamm and I a couple paragraphs to get at.
I thought he was saying not to the fact tha Mesa would sell the more cheaply, because I doubt that is the case.

Bamm
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 12:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bammbamm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay ratkowski
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerealk
I would say 'not'
Thanks for saying what took Bamm and I a couple paragraphs to get at.
I thought he was saying not to the fact tha Mesa would sell the more cheaply, because I doubt that is the case.

Bamm
I thought he was answering the question presented in the thread title.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 03:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay ratkowski

I thought he was answering the question presented in the thread title.
yup
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 09:33 AM
 
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Does anyone here have any feedback on Watford Valves?
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