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finally. my first "big" tube amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by toobalicious, Mar 30, 2009.


  1. toobalicious

    toobalicious

    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    a mesa 400+ and an ampeg 410HE followed me home today....

    ive owned quite a few tube amps (mostly guitar) over the years, but never anything over 120 watts. searched for the right "real" SVT at the right price and right time for literally years. in talking to the guy, i realize that *this* amp was the one that i came within a rats butt of buying back about 2000--- it was in a local store, and he was the dude that bought it before i could get it together. small world.

    hope there arent any gremlins, as i have out of town shows this week!

    and y'all always want pics....
    STA75209.

    but i have one BIG question.... the SKB case it came with---- the sides are like 1/4" from the sides of the chassis.... as most probably know, there is a side-mounted fan in the chassis. am i going to have to bust out the drill? typically, our shows are 3-4 hours long, sometimes outside in the sun, even, so heat is something that must be dealt with with urgency. i dont have the manual, and cant seem to find it on the mesa site? maybe i am a dufus.... i know my GK manual recommended at least 1/2" between the fan and the top panel. it amazes me that people dont seem to consider things like this--- no telling how long it lived in this case before i got it.

    here is a picture i found on the web (not my amp) to illustrate the conundrum.

    mesa400.

    regardless, i am :hyper: to get it on a big stage this weekend!
     
  2. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    PDF MESA/BOOGIE: BASS 400 PLUS. OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS. MESA/BOOGIE
     
  3. I was wondering the same thing with my M_Pulse. Seems a bit of a crazy design decision ventilating from the side
     
  4. hrgiger

    hrgiger

    Jan 11, 2009
    I would do alot more than bust out the drill, I would bust out a hole on each side of your rack. i would mount another fan on the outside of the rack (the side of the amp with no fan0 to force air in (if the current fan sucks air in through the vents) to help with cooling, and top both holes off with a grill either plain or ones like this:

    [​IMG]

    I got a 120 volt 3" fan at radio shack, put a short cord with a plug on it, and it can then easily be plugged into a power conditioner or strip or wherever cooling is needed:

    [​IMG]

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103787
     
  5. toobalicious

    toobalicious

    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    muchas gracias, man!

    how in the crap i missed that, i will never know... :eyebrow:

    edit: boy, that is some kind of craptastic for a manual! "thanks for buying our amp, sucker!". it says run fan on high if mounted in a rack, but mentions nothing of minimum space requirements.

    to hrgiger: i am picking up what you are putting down, but i have one key complaint with this strategy. it leaves the amp open to the atmosphere even when the case is closed up. even though this is just a crappy plastic SKB, it is at least (mostly, anyway) watertight with the lids on. between the chances of rain at an outside show or during load in/out, and the fact that it will often live in a sealed but otherwise non-climate controlled environment (trailer), i am even apprehensive about small holes.
     
  6. heytrid

    heytrid

    Feb 12, 2008
    Calgary AB
    is that photo in your house? i spy some pro-tubes in the BG what sizes?
     
  7. toobalicious

    toobalicious

    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    yeah, those are my dirty little whores.... both are 100 watt models, serials 14xx and 20xx, and both are running on only a pair of EL34 +/- 50 watts. when i was playing a lot of guitar, i used them with outboard stuff in stereo, with one preamp driving the rack, and both amps, each into a 4x12 or 2x12. i love them because they dont have to be way cooking to sound good, like many other amps i have owned. blah blah blah. you got one?
     
  8. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    If that's an SKB rack, you can easily unscrew the entire side with the handle and get to work with the drill. I went one step further and just cut the whole space (about 4" square) under the handle with a bare hacksaw blade. Then you just screw the side back on. That way you don't have to wrestle the amp out of the rack. The spot lined up pretty well with the 400+ fan and I never had any problems with cooling.

    Also, for what it's worth, it was probably not necessary. Since the Mesa is completely open in the back, and the fan is blowing the hot air away, you're still probably getting sufficient cooling. I'd compare it to an open-backed guitar amplifier that has no fan at all and the tubes are just air-cooled.

    But, better safe than sorry.
     
  9. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Perhaps a number of small holes in the bottom of the SKB case would enhance the convectional inflow of cool air without compromising the case's ability to protect your amp from rain?
     
  10. hrgiger

    hrgiger

    Jan 11, 2009
    Good point.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would get another rack. I wouldn't feel comfortable with that rack. I'd get at least a 6 space rack and give it some room. I'd also look for one with a removable vent panel for the fan. They cost more, but that rack in the pic looks awfully tight for a tube amp with 12 power tubes.
     
  12. anderbass

    anderbass

    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Hey toobalicious, I'd like to see a rear-shot pic of this amp/case pairing showing the side and top clearance.
     
  13. toobalicious

    toobalicious

    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    it is definitely tight. the walls recede a touch right where the handle (and luckily, the fan) is located, but it is still 3/8-1/2" at best, and probably closer to the 3/8" side. there is over an inch of clearance on the top though, so that aint bad. i think i am going to try it in my shallow gator case, and see how that works out.

    STA75212.
     
  14. toobalicious

    toobalicious

    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    agreed. the other conundrum there is weight. now, basically all of our other gear is in ATA type cases. but as you know, they weigh 4-5x what these molded jobs do. if we have several days off, i like to take my head home with me, as well as take it to other jams/etc i might do. that extra 30 lbs or so is kind of a deal breaker, you know? and i would rather not have to fool with a dolly board. lol. i am turning wuss; i cant help it.
     
  15. anderbass

    anderbass

    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    I'd imagine the amp would run a bit cooler in some other more roomy cases but your side clearance looks fine to me. You could just use one of those inexpensive clip-on fans blowing air in the back for now if your kinda worried but dont wanna get a bigger case right away.

    From what I've learned, the power tubes in the 400+ run at a fairly low voltage and aren't stressed as much compared to some other 6L6 powered amps. I've pushed my 400+ pretty hard at long gigs in the case pictured directly below and also while racked in my Mesa sus-4 shock case pictured at the very bottom. I didnt notice much diference in the amps temp with either case.

    (the 400+ and this SVT-II are the same physical size and have a very simalar fan arrangement This case only has about 1" of side clearance and no top clearance)
    DSCN1488-1.

    DSCN1133.
     
  16. toobalicious

    toobalicious

    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    boy, look at all of that awesome ampage youve got there.... ees veedy nice, i like; high five!

    i went ahead and moved it to the shallow gator case, and clearance seems to be much better. it *barely* fits front-to-back.... or rather, it fully fills the gator up. not even room for the power cable anymore, heh heh. also, the lightweight-ness (cheapness?) of the gator sort of manifests itself with this heavy joker inside (previously held a 700RB, which is like 1/3rd the heft of the mesa). i can feel the handle flex a touch when i pick it up, lol.--- it doesnt want any more, thats a fact. but i am excited to know that a shallow case works ok. i think we might even have an ATA shallow case stuffed out in the shed somewhere--- have to look for it. of course, that might present a whole new set of clearance probs :confused:
    STA75271.
    STA75270.
     

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