Mesa Tubes worth all the hype?

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by wolfzbane, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. wolfzbane

    wolfzbane Member

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    Anyone have an opinion on Mesa tubes?
    Of course that's what is in my Mesa Rectoverb since I bought it, but are they really worth their price?
    I've shopped around and they're more expensive than pretty much everything else I can find in store around here.
    The JJ are less expensive, and the EH too.
    I know most people will say that different makes give different tone, but are some makes reknown to last longer than others?
    Tubes are very expensive, specially when you have something like 7 or 8 in all, so I tend to lean toward reliability and long life compared to ultimate tone.
    So, is it worth spending the extra $$$ on Mesa tubes or is it all hype?
     
  2. gotdabluz

    gotdabluz Active Member

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    most Mesa tubes are nothing more than re-labeled Sovteks . . . allegedly tested to their own strict standards (I will neither dispute nor endorse that)
    . . . average tube, decent tone and reliability

    Mesa will try to insist that you stick with their tubes during the warrany period on your amp . . . if you are out of warranty, then GO SHOPPING!!!
    . . . there are better tubes out there at the same price

    For new production tubes, the EH 12AX7 are nice, but I really like the new Tung-Sol 12AX7s
    . . . 6L6's I have no experience with, so I cant recommend anything there
     
  3. thehenderson

    thehenderson Member

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    take it to your local amp tech and get them to install the ones they recommend and bias it etc


    Fender rebranded tubes are kinda cool cause you can replace them without a bias, but the mesa ones are silly, can you even buy them seperatly?
     
  4. guitarweasel

    guitarweasel Well-Known Member

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  5. Spunky

    Spunky Active Member

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    Use Tung-Sol 12AX7 preamp tubes and Tung-Sol 5881 power tubes.
    5881 replaces the 6L6.
    I am using these tubes in my Galaxie 10 amp and love them. The 5881 is smoother sounding than a 6L6. I was using the SED Winged C 6L6 but after using the 5881....I'm spoiled.
    I did a lot of AB testing with NOS RCA and Sylvania 12AX7 tubes and the Tung-Sol is better IMO.
    JJ is a close second to the Tung-Sol but not as good as the NOS RCA.
    EH tubes are useless non-musical sounding and only good for WWII military equipment...IMHO
    Mesa tubes are Sovtek or EH which are the cheapest and easiest to get for Amp Mfg's and retain high reliability (military)

    Rebranded tubes....
    Mesa
    Groove Tubes.....except the GT6L6-GE which they manufacture in the USA from the origional GE equipment.
    Fender
    Ruby

    Amp Techs recommend whatever they can get the best discount on and sell to you at the list price plus the bias service.

    guitarweasel recommended http://www.thetubestore.com/
    I concur
    I have also purchased from http://www.tubedepot.com/
    tubedepot has some tubes and different manufacturers that thetubestore does not carry....
     
  6. Shaulin

    Shaulin Member

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    Well, I don't know much about tubes like most people here, but I did get a chance to test a mesa pre amp tube
    about a week ago, I was at a guitar store, the owner came to my friend which works there with a mesa pre amp tube
    they decided to see if it's any better than other preamp tubes, they opened up a distortion pedal (AMT Tube Platinum)
    and replace the original tube with the mesa tube and ran the effect through a marshall TSL 122
    the result was very very good, the mesa tube had a much more compressed sound to it than the original tube.

    I don't know if this has any effect when it comes to amps, but thought it would intersting to know.

    personally I think you should just try it out and see if you can hear any difference in the sound compared to the original
    mesa tubes.
     
  7. Sludgenutz

    Sludgenutz Member

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    Let your ears and wallet decide the preamp tubes you want. There is nothing special about Mesa preamp tubes, and as mentioned above are relabeled Sovteks.

    I am on a preamp tube binge (and I'm headed to the poor-house). In the next couple of days, I should be receiving a few more of the fantastic Tung-Sol 12AX7 preamp tubes. These are more expensive than other newly manufactured preamp tubes...but they sound very balanced and "open".

    Mesa is a better option for power tubes. If you go to their website, they will tell you about their "Robo-Tube" machines that pretest (other manufacturer's) power tubes to insure that they reliable before they put the Mesa name on them...and will sound good in fixed-bias power tube circuitry. Mesa gets more money for them, because they were tested to fit Mesa's fixed-bias amps, without going through the process of bias-adjusting a random set of tubes.

    I got my first Mesa a month ago, and purchased Mesa STR-440 (Ruby 6L6MSTR) Chinese mfd. power tubes because they were the best option at the time for me, for an over the counter sale. I want to have an adjustable bias mod done to my amp in the future. Doing so will open up a whole new world up tube choices...although one must also factor in the money saved, with the cost of an amp technician to bias the tubes.

    Utimately, If your amp is Mesa with a bias pot mod, you can buy just about any proper tube you want because it is wise to get the amp's bias set by an amp tech anyway.

    You may also used Groove Tubes in a stock Mesa...as long as the Groove Tubes "hardness rating" of the power tube set is from "4" to "6".

    http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.php?t=3718

    Mesa's tube selling/selection philosophy:

    http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.php?t=6471

    So far, the Chinese tubes are sounding good, but I think I have twisted 6550 power tube blood running through my veins. I am going to try 6550/KT88 tubes if possible for my Mesa in the future. 5881's are rather mellow to me, but hey, they might be just the ticket for classic rock, jazz and blues.
     
  8. Spunky

    Spunky Active Member

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    Shaulin,

    What label/Mfg. was the preamp tube that was removed from the distortion pedal and how long had it been in there?
    Can't compare unless you know what was A/B tested.. ;)
     
  9. Shaulin

    Shaulin Member

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    couldn't find anything on google, but AMT are a russian company, they claim they're using
    real russian military tubes.
     
  10. SGtone

    SGtone Member

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    [quote author=Spunky link=topic=10501.msg137902#msg137902 date=1159998858]
    Use Tung-Sol 12AX7 preamp tubes and Tung-Sol 5881 power tubes.
    5881 replaces the 6L6.[/quote]
    I just got the set of Tung-Sols I ordered for my Fender Twin. 4x 5881s, 4x Tung-Sol 12AX7s and 2x Sylvania 12AT7 NOS. Unfortunately, the amp tech in the music store I always go to is gone until the end of November -- so I'll have to wait :Droolin:. I could change the tubes myself but I also want to have a caps job done and that's definitely something I couldn't do and he's the only guy I trust.
    Expectations are high, Spunky! Those Tung-Sols better be good ;)
     
  11. Spunky

    Spunky Active Member

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    Relax.....

    You will be very happy with the tubes.. ;)
     
  12. gotdabluz

    gotdabluz Active Member

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    Spunky turned me on to the Tung-Sols, a while back and I not only was I not disappointed . . . I was amazed
    . . . if I hadn't been, he and everyone else here would know about it

    I wish they would come out with some EL-84/6BQ5 Reissues
     
  13. the bacon

    the bacon Member

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    [quote author=wolfzbane link=topic=10501.msg137885#msg137885 date=1159991515]
    Anyone have an opinion on Mesa tubes?

    [/quote]


    YES I DO!


    THEY ARE AMAZING!
     
  14. gotdabluz

    gotdabluz Active Member

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    [quote author=the bacon link=topic=10501.msg146894#msg146894 date=1164759951]

    YES I DO!


    THEY ARE AMAZING!
    [/quote]

    you're kidding, right?
     
  15. marty1776

    marty1776 Active Member

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    I carry a couple of Mesa tubes with me for emergencies. That's the only time I'll use them.
     
  16. vivaoaxaca

    vivaoaxaca Member

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    I run Ruby 6L6MSTR power tubes in my Mark III (purple stripe). I tried the Mesa tubes and they didn't have the fatness that I was looking for. As has been said above, let your ears be the judge. I went on an extensive tonequest a while back and tried a lot of different tubes and tube combinations and spent a lot of dough and all of my friends said "I can't tell the difference, man" but I could hear it, and after it was all said and done nothing could beat the Rubys. Now I have a lot of spares to choose from. ;)
     
  17. Sludgenutz

    Sludgenutz Member

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    Mesa's STR-440 is the Ruby 6L6MSTR.
     
  18. CharlieB

    CharlieB Active Member

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    [quote author=Spunky link=topic=10501.msg137902#msg137902 date=1159998858]
    Rebranded tubes....
    Mesa
    Groove Tubes.....except the GT6L6-GE which they manufacture in the USA from the origional GE equipment.
    Fender
    Ruby

    [/quote]

    Actually, Ruby owns a factory that makes 12AX7's, in China. I dont know if they got into larger tubes. Most of the power tubes are Sovtek (Reflektor).

    Even Sovtek is rebranded. EH is rebranded.
     
  19. the bacon

    the bacon Member

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    [quote author=gotdabluz link=topic=10501.msg146900#msg146900 date=1164763341]
    you're kidding, right?
    [/quote]

    no


    my mesa el84 is great!
     
  20. gotdabluz

    gotdabluz Active Member

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    Have you tried the JJ's or any other EL84's?
    . . . if you have, and prefer the 'Mesa', then well . . . hey, its your ear you need to please most
    . . . but if you haven't, then you may not know what you're missing
    I recommend buying a couple different brands and comparing
     

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