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Just got a Mesa D-180...Major Issues!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by asiansin, Mar 19, 2009.


  1. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    So if any of you saw/responded to the thread of me and this eBay auction, you know how stoked/excited I've been in anticipation of getting this "mint" condition amp. Well, I'm having weird problems, and never having owned an all tube head before I don't know what's going on. It was packed very well, the tubes were even removed and individually bubble wrapped. Just to be safe, I made sure my fingers didn't touch the tubes when installing. Here's the following email I sent to the seller today:
    ==
    Got the head yesterday. No visible damage to the box or packing materials (good job on that btw) and the amp looks great. When I got home from work I did have some trouble getting the tubes out of the back due to the bubble wrap, and presume as a result one of pins on a preamp tube got bent
    just slightly. I gently moved it back into position and installed
    the preamp and power tubes. Made sure it was on standby and powered on. Let it warm up for a couple mins while setting the EQ flat, master to 10, and both volume knobs at zero. Plugged into input 2 and slowly began to turn volume 2 up. Immediately I got the most horrible noise/static/hiss/crackle. It would last a few seconds, stop and start. Almost sounded like a siren mixed with feedback and hiss. It started once I began turning the knob, so between 0 and 1. After about 10 mins, this went away and I mainly started messing around with input/vol 1 to test the overdrive at low levels (it was late and I live in an apt). Well this morning, the exact phenomena occurred.
    Playing clean, input 2, vol 2 around 3, vol 1 zero, master 10, I'm
    getting a good clean sound with intermittent hiss/static on my attack and decay. I've never owned an all tube amp...any idea what could be wrong? I'm using a brand new Livewire 14 gauge speaker cable, 8ohm output to an 8ohm Eden 410xlt. I've tried using the separate input/output jacks on the cab and head with same results. Even turned off my tweeter, different basses, etc. Could something have happened in shipping?
    ==

    Does this sound like a preamp tube problem or what???:confused:
     
  2. Yes it could, however it is also symptomatic of a failing cap(s). You could try putting the pre-amp tubes into different positions and see if that helps. Try tapping each pre tube lightly with a pencil. If you hear clunks coming out of the amp as you tap, the tube is microphonic and should be replaced.

    Paul
     
  3. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    Is a cap the socket the tube goes into?
     
  4. jbassbob

    jbassbob

    Mar 21, 2005
    Boise ID
    He's referring to the capacitors.
     
  5. Thanks Bob, sometimes I forget that others might not know just what goes inside an amplifier.

    OP try the other suggestions that I made, it's a place to start.

    Paul
     
  6. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    Thanks Paul. Will do - that's exactly what the seller advised. Is a failing capacitor much more of a problem? I'm one of those guys. :)
     
  7. uaudio

    uaudio

    Apr 11, 2008
    Arizona
    My most recent experience with a used amp (a Mesa even) via CL. The cap came right off in transit. Too expensive to fix, shipped it back, seller was cool. Sorry about that; sucks when new amp day is broken amp day.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=502388
     
  8. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    I really hope that's not the situation here! Hope it's just a bad preamp tube. :atoz:
     
  9. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    You're in LA, so you're just miles away from Mesa Boogie in Hollywood. Go see what they say.
     
  10. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    Yeah - it's actually just a few miles from my pad...and I've never even been in there!
     
  11. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    2yrs ago I bought a used Bass 400, and when I received it, the wire for the preamp heater circut broke loose during transit.
    But that's one of those items that's common on this style tube head, so I know to check it on every one I buy.
     
  12. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    Interesting. What's very strange is the hideous siren/feedback crap I get early on that eventually fades to just static on attack/decay. Makes me think it's heat related.
     
  13. anderbass

    anderbass

    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Plug your bass directly into its Effects return jack on the back panel. (you might have to adjust your Effects level knob) This will be directly inputing the poweramp section. (bypassing its preamp) It wont play as loudly but if your "noise/static/hiss/crackle" issues are suddenly gone you'll have a prety good idea your power section is fine. If your poweramp section is ok, I'd then purchase a 12AX7 tube ($10-$20) and try substituting your curent preamp/driver tubes one at a time to hopefully find one thats bad.
     
  14. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    Will try that as well, thanks man.
     
  15. asiansin

    asiansin

    Jul 18, 2007
    So, took the top off and reseated all the tubes. Turns out, NONE of the preamp tubes were full seated. :rollno:

    Good lord, this amp RULES! The overdrive is unfknblvbl.
     
    MatronMother likes this.
  16. Try a guitar through both channels- you'll want to switch teams. :eek:
     
  17. Bridge Cables

    Bridge Cables Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Southern N C
    Good advice, glad that you got it workin, :D great little amp, try the Master volume at 8 or 9 and dig in, adds a nice touch.

    BC :cool:
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This doesn't have anything to do with the problem, but the input should be turned up just below the point where you can hear clipping, and the volume should be controlled with the master. If you have the input on 2 and the master on 10, you're going to have a very weak sound from the amp's preamp.
     
  19. anderbass

    anderbass

    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Hey asiansin,

    I'm glad the problem was something easy.
    Mine has been very dependable and you got your self a very cool amp there.

    ps:
    Don't ever let your guitarist try it out, you'll probably never get it back... ;)
    ___________________________

    Hey Jimmy,

    The D-180 has a totally uniqe design. Running the master dimmed is indeed the preferred method for bass. As you back off the master knob it does get quieter as expected, but it also somehow adds in an aditional distortion stage that is more and more pronounced the further its lowered... :eek:

    (I've resently learned my D-180's master still functions this same way even when bypassing the preamp stage and inputing the fx return...)

    This model also has a rather uniqe dual-cascading input channel arrangement and neither the 400 or 400+ share either one of these features. Its really quite a bizarre arrangement, here's a link to the D-180 manual to explain it all better than I can: http://www.mesaboogie.com/manuals/D-180 Power Amp.pdf
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Holy cow, I seem to be batting 1.000 with Mesa this week. And to think I used to use one of those back in 84.
     

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