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Questions about servicing a Mesa/Boogie

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,830
Hi all,

I have a Mesa Stiletto Ace head and I love it. I've recently started to play out again and, maybe it's in my head, but I feel like it has gotten quieter. I swapped out ALL the tubes for safe measure and, I still can't quite tell if it's in my head or reality. So I have a few questions...

1. Should I take my amp to a tech regularly for a "check up?"
2. What could cause a drop in volume if not the tubes?
3. Anyone near the Flint/Saginaw, Michigan area know of a good, reliable Mesa/Boogie tech?
4. Could it be that I've managed to somehow misconstrue the amp's perceived volume since it has been moved place to place?

Thanks for any help, guys!
 

440gtx6pak

Member
Messages
1,858
I don't know if this helps but i had an older MKIV that sat for a while and began to have loudness issues etc. The problem was related to the effects loop or the loop switch being dirty and needing contact cleaner. Worth a shot since it is so easy to do with no harm done if its not that.
 

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,830
Thanks for the advice! I'll check that out, too!
I don't know if this helps but i had an older MKIV that sat for a while and began to have loudness issues etc. The problem was related to the effects loop or the loop switch being dirty and needing contact cleaner. Worth a shot since it is so easy to do with no harm done if its not that.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,691
This is probably no help, but I just got back my Mesa Boogie MKIIB from the tech and it is a night and day difference. Not sure how to describe it with words... but the amp is a lot more "alive" than it was when I took it in.
 

Cirrus

Member
Messages
2,438
1. Should I take my amp to a tech regularly for a "check up?"
2. What could cause a drop in volume if not the tubes?
3. Anyone near the Flint/Saginaw, Michigan area know of a good, reliable Mesa/Boogie tech?
4. Could it be that I've managed to somehow misconstrue the amp's perceived volume since it has been moved place to place?
I've got the 2x12 ace combo, really love that amp - it's majorly underrated, I just got it as a backup/ alternate amp for recording and gradually realised how awesome it is!

1; It's just a question of what feels right to you. Some pro, regularly gigging guitarists will have their main amp serviced every year at least to make sure it's all in spec and as reliable as possible. I wouldn't say that's necessary most of the time! With older amps it matters more because capacitors can dry out, resistors can increase in value over time, transformers can leak wax, solder joints can become intermittent and valve sockets can get loose resulting in intermittent connections. Preventative maintenance makes sense in that circumstance. For more modern amps i'd suggest servicing isn't really important. And with Mesa amps, you don't even need to get a tech to bias them as long as you use the right power valves. Personally I'd only get mine "checked up"/generally looked over if I was going on tour. And even then I'm reasonably competent so I'd probably do it myself.

2; Anything, really. Bad solder joints, failing components... one thing to check if you've just replaced all the valves is that I think there are cathode follower positions in that amp, if you use some russian 12ax7s in those slots they can fail or not work as expected. If not valves, then the first point of suspicion for me would be a failing LDR related to channel switching, Mesa amps tend to have lots of those.

3; No idea! I live in England. :D

4; Yes, this is very very possible. It could also be that the valves you've put in have different amounts of gain compared to the old ones, and if so you might need to turn the knobs to higher settings to get the same volume as before. For example, I've just replaced the EL34s in my ace and it seems to get the same overdriven tone I'm used to I need to run the gain a hair higher and the treble up a little.
 

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,830
I've got the 2x12 ace combo, really love that amp - it's majorly underrated, I just got it as a backup/ alternate amp for recording and gradually realised how awesome it is!

2; Anything, really. Bad solder joints, failing components... one thing to check if you've just replaced all the valves is that I think there are cathode follower positions in that amp, if you use some russian 12ax7s in those slots they can fail or not work as expected. If not valves, then the first point of suspicion for me would be a failing LDR related to channel switching, Mesa amps tend to have lots of those.

4; Yes, this is very very possible. It could also be that the valves you've put in have different amounts of gain compared to the old ones, and if so you might need to turn the knobs to higher settings to get the same volume as before. For example, I've just replaced the EL34s in my ace and it seems to get the same overdriven tone I'm used to I need to run the gain a hair higher and the treble up a little.
Thanks for your response, Cirrus! It's a seriously great amp. I have noticed a significant change in gain after swapping tubes. I might have to bump it up a bit. Also, forgive my ignorance, what is a LDR? You mentioned switching and I've been through a couple TRS cables recently, not because they went bad or anything, but I needed different lengths. The first cable actually didn't allow me to use the solo function. My current cable seems to do just fine. I'm just worried, now that you mentioned the switching, that something could be wrong with that causing the possible volume issue.
 

Cirrus

Member
Messages
2,438
Also, forgive my ignorance, what is a LDR?
Oh, don't worry too much about that - LDR = light dependent resistor. I just seemed to remember that there are lots of them in some Mesa amps and that they can go bad resulting in various weird symptoms. The question is, does it sound good? If you think something's amiss then by all means you should take it to a tech, hopefully you'll get some recommendations here for a good one because I'd imagine taking an amp to some repair people with the instruction "there might be something wrong with this" could easily result in some unscrupulous people inventing issues and fixes to rack up a bill!
 

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,830
Oh, don't worry too much about that - LDR = light dependent resistor. I just seemed to remember that there are lots of them in some Mesa amps and that they can go bad resulting in various weird symptoms. The question is, does it sound good? If you think something's amiss then by all means you should take it to a tech, hopefully you'll get some recommendations here for a good one because I'd imagine taking an amp to some repair people with the instruction "there might be something wrong with this" could easily result in some unscrupulous people inventing issues and fixes to rack up a bill!
I think it sounds great. Just the volume think, which like I said, could just all be in my head. I like to take care of my gear, especially when I'm gigging. I was really worried about taking it to a tech and saying, "Yeah, I think there's something wrong, but I don't know what it is." Haha. I'll see if I can trouble shoot a little and maybe go through my Stiletto's manual as well as check all of my cables, etc. before I start getting into tech searching.
 

AD1982

Senior Member
Messages
904
Waterford, Michigan here. Dean Zink is the best amp tech in all of Michigan easy. He's in Sylvan Lake, but that isn't a huge drive for you. He's fair on pricing too. The guys at Motor City Guitar in Waterford have done some amp repair for me too, they did good work too. But I always recommend Dean Zink to my friends.

http://www.deanzink.com
 

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,830
Waterford, Michigan here. Dean Zink is the best amp tech in all of Michigan easy. He's in Sylvan Lake, but that isn't a huge drive for you. He's fair on pricing too. The guys at Motor City Guitar in Waterford have done some amp repair for me too, they did good work too. But I always recommend Dean Zink to my friends.

http://www.deanzink.com
I forgot Motor City Guitar was down there! Thanks for the advice. I'll check out Dean's website.
 

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,830
Just a quick update guys: I'm a total idiot. The knob on the back of the amp for the FX loop was turned way down somehow. So, if you're in this position, check that knob. I feel like a dumbass.
 

Ilduce

And now for something completely different!
Messages
4,594
Doh! I hate it when that happens! Glad you got it worked out!
 




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