Is it just me or Mesa power tubes really suck..?

Sherwood

Member
Messages
489
Recently i was comparing several 6l6 tube brands on 2 non-mesa amps. One of the amps is a high-gian modded 800-style circuit able to take el34 and 6l6 types, the other amp is a 5f6 bassman replica (both amps have Heyboer tranformers and built by a master). I've got to tell you, the fresh sets of Mesa 6L6 tubes sounded like worn tubes in comparison to all other 6L6 brands i tested it against (Svetlana, Tung-Sol 6l6GCSTR, Sovtek 6L6WGC and JJ).

I bought those tubes from an authorized Mesa dealer, an actual store, not online. So i believe they're genuine.

Than i grabed a third Mesa set that's been factory installed on my Rectifier for na year. I installed and biased on the other amps and that set sounded equally dead (those tubes are indeed consistent - in a not so good way).

I like Mesa's branded preamp tubes for reliability and low noise and i like their amps (not all of them amps suit my "ear" but all are made to the highest quality standards in and out). Also, it must be said, i never had a Mesa branded tube failure, noise or microphonic issue. But man, do those 6l6 sound dead!

It makes me wonder: How can i get a proper set of non-Mesa 6L6 for my Mesa amps?

What's your experiences?
 

kdc113

Member
Messages
512
Not just you, have two Mesa preamps, and both sucks with Mesa 12AX7, change for JJ
 

Sherwood

Member
Messages
489
I know they're only rebranded tubes. I properly measured plate voltages each time and experimented with bias from 60-75% iddle.. and the other tubes simply blew they on tone every time. Not a small difference.. I wish it wasn't becouse i bought a stock of those tubes!

The el34 Mesa set i have here looks to be EH rebranded and i have a EH34 set to compare it to.. Let's see..
 

Dirtystranger

Member
Messages
465
I have the EL34s and 12AX7s in my DC30 and they sound fine. But I've never compared them to NOS. I have used NOS 6l6 in other amps and there was a huge difference between those and cheapo new tubes. I really want some vintage Mullards in the Matchless, but its quite an expense.
 

zenas

Member
Messages
8,759
It's comes down to there's only like three plants in the world making tubes today. JJ, one in Russia and one in China.
And of course Mesa's lack of a bias pot so they're probably selling tubes biased on the cold side. So you can just slap them in and not melt things. Not exactly a recipe for great tube tone is it?
 
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critter74

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,060
As well as using Mesa power tubes in all of my Mesa amps (manynare still stock from the purchase, many quite a few years old now). I also have a quad set up Mesa's that I've used for almost a decade now- initially in a Tremoverb and currently in a SF Bassman and until recently a Tweed Super. They've worked and sounded just fine.

i haven't noticed anything off about the sound or the longevity, esspciallymsince inhave a quad going on close to a decade still running (and testing strong as of about 7 months ago).
 

recto-robbie

Member
Messages
2,322
It makes me wonder: How can i get a proper set of non-Mesa 6L6 for my Mesa amps?
I cant tell if this is a joke or not but any reputable tube dealer can help you out here, just tell them what amp the tubes are for. If the amp is under warranty still then hope no issues arise from the non mesa tubes though.
I haven't run mesa tubes in any of my previous mesa amps once the originals went dead. Nor have I ever had any issues running non mesa tubes.

I cant remember ever using any of their 6l6's, but I think their el34's and 6v6's sound pretty good.
 

Blue Marvel

Member
Messages
1,331
There are only three brands of tubes made today. OP the Mesa tubes you used were most likely Sovtek so the same as some of the others you preffered.

The three real brands are Sovtek/New Sensor (Svetlana, Tung Sol, Mullard, EH, etc), Shuguang ( Chinese), and JJ the place of build on the three is Russia, China, Slovak respectively.

Any other tube brands Ruby, Groove Tubes, Mesa, PM, etc....... are just re painted versions of these three brands.
 

recto-robbie

Member
Messages
2,322
If you ask a well respected tube seller for some power tubes for your Mesa amp they can give you the same or even better tubes as well.


And at a much more reasonable price, the price mesa wants for its tubes is primarily the reason I look elsewhere once I feel comfy getting past the warranty period.
 




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