Subway Rocket...

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by smokehouse4444, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    I'm a real newb at doing anything with my amps. I've always just taken it to a tech. I'm about to change out the tubes of my old Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket. I was told that JJ's are really good, probably better than the Mesa's. Any suggestions on tubes that people really like for this amp...I really don't want to go over $20 or so for each tube? Also, you just have to take off the back bar, and then unclip the metal around the 12AX7's correct? Other than that it is just swapping them out, no biasing or anything like that?
     
  2. csweldon

    csweldon Member

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    If you use mesa el84s, you definitely won't need to bias. However, for the JJ's, make sure you contact a seller with experience with Mesa amps/tubes. Let them know that they're going in a Mesa, and they'll be able to set you up with a set that's safe for bias free plug and play! I recommend Doug's tubes. Never got a bad tube from them and their customer service has always been great :)
     
  3. JackStraw12

    JackStraw12 Supporting Member

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    preamp tubes don't need biasing. I used Groove Tubes and Sovtek branded tubes when I owned my SR, but the JJ's aren't bad either.
     
  4. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Hey thanks for the responses. Funny you should mention Doug's Tubes, because I talked to him a bit earlier this week, then I ordered some from him a little earlier (after I posted this thread). Getting the 2 EL84's, and a kit of the 12AX7's. JJ's I believe. Hope I don't blow anything up installing them! :roll:roll:roll

    I've loved my little Rocket. I've had it since '96 or so and is a great amp. It gives my 1966 Fender Super Reverb a break...as well as my back on the occasional small jams.
     
  5. Don A

    Don A Silver Supporting Member

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    As long as he sends you the correct tubes and you install preamp tubes where preamp tubes belong and power tubes where power tubes belong you can't blow anything up.:aok
     
  6. logdrum

    logdrum Member

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    I had the rocket 44 and I think it is the same as the smaller rocket re-amp wise. The preamp tubes are the ones that have the metal covers and closest to the speaker or controls. The power tubes are closest to you if you are facing the amp from the back. They also have the clips to hold them and the tubes are taller.
     
  7. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Well... I'm really frustrated at this point. I don't know what is going on with my Subway Rocket. I thought the tubes were going bad, so I talked to Doug at Doug's Tubes and we agreed on what was needed for this particular amp. I was supposed to receive 2 JJ's EL84's, and 4 12AX7's ( I thought they were JJ's as well). I received them and as far as I can tell they are not JJ's. I have a couple of Ruby's EL84's, and the AX7's were a mix of TungSol, Penta's, and Sovtek. I figured he knew what he was doing so I just put them in. I will attempt to clarify with him tomorrow about the tubes.

    But...man, I just don't know what is going on with this amp. The lead and contour channels sound fine, and are blowing smoke. The normal (clean) channel is horrible. I can turn it up to full blast and I can basically speak strongly and be heard over it. I can put the Master at 10 and it gets louder as I turn the gain up, but then as I reach around 8 and up it actually starts to get quieter, or the sound kind of starts to go away. One of my favorite settings on this amp was to just use the Clean channel with Master to taste and the gain around 7. It was a great bluesy crunch. That setting with the Master from 5-10 sounds wimpy and you can talk over it for the most part. Eeek!

    I would appreciate any suggestions or thoughts on the problem.
     
  8. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Find an amp tech.
     
  9. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Yeah, thanks. Will be calling a few tomorrow. Thought someone might have some useful information.
     
  10. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Your best bet for troubleshooting is the Amps/Cabs Tech Corner, but even if somebody can troubleshoot it just from your description, the odds are long that there's anything you can do about it yourself.
     
  11. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    I appreciate it. I didn't know there was a separate area for technical questions like mine. I'll be checking with some of the amp and guitar techs I've done business with in the past tomorrow. Bought a Marshall Class 5 today when a friend tortured me with a too good to pass up price. Good timing, I suppose.
     
  12. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    Moved the thread per your request.
     
  13. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Thank you Scott, I appreciate it.

    Well, I took the day off to help my wife do some things around the house, so I was able to check out the issue with the amp. I let it warm up for about 30 minutes, then checked it. Horrible. Amp sounded very nasally on any channel, but on the clean channel there was a huge volume drop...almost to nothing when rolling the gain above 7.

    So, I put the old Mesa Boogie tubes back in and voila, the amp sounds fantastic. My most favoritist hard-bluesy setting of Gain 7 Master 5^ was just so thick and full. Has to be the tubes. I will be talking with Doug today.

    Still, the amp has this occasional "wave" of volume drop and muddiness that will come over it. If I give it a little time and roll the gain and some other knobs up and down, it will usually go back to normal. I'll take it to an amp tech at some point, but today...it's help the wifey time!
     
  14. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Ah, good to hear. I misunderstood the sequence of events. I thought you were replacing the tubes to fix the problems you describe in post 7. You can try swapping the tubes in one at a time to identify the problem tube(s).
     
  15. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Took the amp down to Strait Music on Saturday. Complete waste of my time and reminded me of why I have avoided that place for years. They took over MusicMakers (who dealt with Mesa/Boogie and where I bought the Rocket) so I thought I would go there anyway. Dead-eyed guy looking at a computer said a few words to me while never looking up while I was explaining the problem. Finally hemmed and hawed saying that it was probably a tube, but wasn't sure....then after 20 minutes, he tells me he is not the amp tech. There is at least a 2 week waiting list just to have the amp looked at. The attitude that I always get from that place never ceases to amaze me...in a bad way. Glad I hadn't been in there for so long, and glad I am not going back.

    So I talked with Doug from Doug's Tubes through email about the problem. The EL84's were indeed from JJ's, just outsourced through another company. He wanted me to check the tubes out one by one. I put the EL84's in and no real change. I started with the V1 for the 12AX7's and it seems to me that the "bacon popping" stopped after the V2 exchange. After all of the AX7's were in, I put the old Mesa EL84's back in and they sounded the same, so left them in figuring I can save them for when I need them later.

    I appreciate Doug taking the time to try to help. I still have no idea how the clean channel sounded so horrible after the first replacement. My only thought is that I didn't replace the tray holding them well.

    Anyway, my old Subway Rocket just smokes! What a great little amp that can do so many different things. I've loved it for a long time, even thought about replacing it with one of the newer Boogies along the same lines, but I just don't think it would be worth it. You don't see the green Tolex very often either.
     
  16. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    There isn't a good amp tech in Austin?
     
  17. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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  18. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Another question regarding the Subway Rocket. As I mentioned before, I've thought about selling the SR and saving a bit for one of the newer Mesa's...but have never done the deed. In particular, how does the Subway Rocket stack up against the LoneStar Special, and/or the RectoVerb 25? How do they compare?

    For what it's worth, I primarily play blues rock, blues, and classic rock. Primarily. And...I have a vintage 1966 Fender Super Reverb that sounds, well, you know.

    The attributes of the Subway Rocket include great versatility, great clean channel that I can get an excellent crunch out of, decent lead channel, and fairly snarly contour mode. The cleans for the Rocket are pretty good, and it takes pedals really well. It is also only 35lbs, and this is a true grab-n-go amp for me...which is important.

    I would love to hear any thoughts on the LSS and RV as compared to each other, but particularly with the Subway Rocket. That little SR has withstood all challengers for what I use the amp for since the mid 90's.
     
  19. DeaconBlues

    DeaconBlues Member

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    I'd keep that little Rocket no matter what else I was tempted to buy.
     
  20. smokehouse4444

    smokehouse4444 Supporting Member

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    Well...bringing this old thread back from the abyss, but wanted to share. Every so often I will get the urge to sell the Subway Rocket and buy another Mesa...the Rectoverb 25 is the one that sticks with me constantly. I kinda can't shake wanting one for some reason.
    I recently got the baaaad GAS to do it again, and there was that Rec 25 on Craigslist for a decent price. Still, almost everything I saw or read was to keep the Rocket, but maybe try it with an extra cab.
    Wellll, up pops this Lopoline 1x12 cabinet with an Eminence Texas Heat speaker in it at a very decent price. Then I saw it was in green Tolex like the Rocket. Figured it was fate and went for it. The color isn't exactly the same, but close, and does add quite a dimension to the little amp. I have it set up to use both the Black Shadow combo speaker and the new cabinet.

    It ROARS!

    Lopoline 1x12 w/Subway Rocket
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
    noley likes this.

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