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Mesa 1516...troubles?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by popinfresh, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Arg, please look.. blown a speaker or two and need advice.

    Well, after playing with this cab a bit... I love it, except for one thing.

    Everyone I talk to who owns this cab says it's so loud and cutting, and has good/great lows. Now, is everyone bs'ing, or is something wrong here? I plug my Mesa into the amp and try and get as much low end as i can, it's kind of there, it's just not full or deep sounding. Yet, using the same EQ/everything i simply take the plug from the mesa to the SINGLE 1x15" SWR WM's and this one 15" is LOUDER, deeper, bassier and fuller (Also more low thump/punch). I have to have the bass boosted on the sterling, bass boosted on the amp, and the low end boost switch on to get descent full lows from the Mesa. And this doesn't change the fact that when set the same for the SWR, the SWR is still so much more fuller and louder even though the SWR is 8ohms, and the Mesa is 4.

    So, is there a problem with my Mesa? All speakers seem to be moving fine, the 10" eminence (Only non original speaker) has a little noise when pushed hard, but nothing major. When i went to try Mesa amps out today, i ran through a mesa 410 and 15 and when i used each cab individually, using a Mesa head it had more lows than what i get at home with my whole cab and combined together was just an enourmous sound.

    I know this is considered a 'hi-fi' cab (Hey, so isn't SWR?), but i was just expecting more full low end from such a big box (It seems like it has no trouble with the low E and the low is there, it's just so thin sounding) but overall, i just expected much more VOLUME..
    So other than the whole low end thing, is this a power hungry cab? Or does is it just not as loud as people make it out to be?
    When running it stereo, i'm generally pleased at the low end (much more than i expected) and volume from the top half of the cab, running the 15" stereo compared to the SWR 15 is pretty poor Mesa's way.

    Any tips or suggestions? Should I look at putting EV speakers into it, should i look at putting new Mesa 15" and 10" speakers in there and also get around to replacing the 6's?
    How about trying to put the SWR 15" speaker into the Mesa cab? (I may just run the Mesa stereo using the top only for a bit and use the SWR 15 as well and see what it's like)..

    Soo, yeah... help?

    P.S. Other than this, it's a great punchy cab :)
  2. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
  3. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hmm, bad news. When I was comparing the SWR 210 to the Mesa top half, plug it from the SWR to the mesa, turn her on and play.. Barely any volume.. Theres a little news coming from the 10 and complete distortion when i play hard from one of the 6's... I'm thinking of just putting all new speakers in this thing or getting it re-coned or something.. I can't see how SWR WM's series cabs can beat a Mesa down in what seems like every aspect... Any places to go to for new speakers? Should I get mesa's ones?
  4. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Is a speaker blown? Thats all that comes to mind. I know someone who uses one and hes happy with it, but I have never played it myself.
  5. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Yeah, well they're all moving fine.. It's just the 10 makes some noise when you dig in, and the top 6" distorts when you play hard and loudly.. The top halves volume has seemed to drop since i got it...

    I'd rather try fix this problem then trying to sell it.. I'm looking at Schroeders or Aggy's if i sell..
  6. If the box is fried, good luck selling it. It'll be a no-go.
    First thing I'd do is try feeding it more power...use your current amp as a pre to a heavy-duty power amp with at least 1000 Watts. That model is made to kick out all frequencies, which requires a good bit of power and if you're underpowering it, the speakers will fart. How much power are you running through it?
    Then, if you play an active bass, replace the battery.
    If more juice and a new nine-volt don't cure the problem, take the box home and in a quiet environment, pull each speaker one at a time and press on the cone. If they're healthy there will be absolutely no noise as the cone moves back and forth. If there's a scraping sound you're looking at re-coning or replacement.
  7. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hey, thanks kung fu.. I notice this cab does seem to be kind of power hungry. I'm using a Warwick Pro Fet III (300 @ 4, a VERY weak 300 watts though). And it's when i'm turning the gain right up until it's pushing the limiter, or putting the master right up, that it starts to fart out and distort. And the 10 is noisy only when when pushed hard. It's sounds pretty nice and full/punchy at lower volumes, but i run out of headroom.... fast.

    I'm looking for a new head, i've got my heart set on a Mesa 400+ or Mesa M-Pulse... but seriously have no cash for one at the moment. Heads are really expensive in Aus, i mean a 400+ new is $4300. I've been looking around for used ones, but can't really find one (saw a used go for $2000).

    Any other head recomendations for big headroom, big full tone that'd be good for old school rock (Zep/Sabbath) yet articulate enough for solo bass and also nice and punchy for slap/funk/reggae etc. Preferably a tube or 2 (Or more) in there somewhere..
  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    that's the cab with the 15, 10, one or two sixes (depending upon year) and a bullet tweeter right??

    i've only used one once but in that case in a side by side comparison with an swr goliath 2 4x10 the mesa smoked it volume and power wise (and the G2 4x10 was a LOUD cab.) :meh:
  9. Anytime, pop.
    I'm a huge fan of Mesa cabs, as they're generally bulletproof, but I'm leery about their heads--I've heard too many stories of shoddy wiring and solder joints going bad. I was playing through a Buster combo in a store last year, and all of a sudden the main power switch went haywire and the amp started belching out smoke.
    That's kinda bizarre considering their reputation, but that's been my experience. And since there's an ocean between you and California, sending the amp in for service sounds like a nightmare, even if it doesn't get dropped or otherwise trashed in transit.
    I'd recommend you get an '80s SWR head, like a SM-400...I've always had good experiences with early SWR and they're out of fashion so you should be able to pick one up fairly cheap. Plus, the SWR and Mesa tones work well together IME.
  10. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Ok, so yeah... After band practice tonight, and running the warwick in the red for a bit of it to get heard, i've damaged the 15 and maybe the 10 or a 6 :(.

    The 15's cone (That's the name of the bit in the middle, isn't it?) moves in and out, what seems fine. But the actual speaker barely moves, and moves slowly.. At first i thought it was my eyes when it seemed the 15 was coming out, then going back in slower.. Then as i played on i noticed i'd buggered it as the cone started moving without the actual speaker. There also seemed to be glue like substance coming from around the seal where the actual speaker and cone meet..

    So, what have i done and how do i fix it? Have i over heated it when running hot with the amp and melted the glue? Or something worse.. Will it need reconing or will i need a new speaker?

    Also, the 10" Eminence has a really loud distorting/clipping sort of sound and one of the 6's might be distortin (It's hard to tell..)

    By the way, i hired an Ampeg SVT3 PRO halfway through practice, whilst it lacks volume majorly for a 450 watt head, i found the deep lows and full punchy sound that people say this cab has :)
  11. Yow...reads like you're looking at a re-cone. It's not unusual to see a small amount of glue slop near the edge of a speaker, but if there's a lot, there might be a problem.
    Try removing the grille and pressing on the cone near but not on the center with your fingers splayed like Spider-man. If the speaker makes a grating or rustling noise while going back and forth, the voice coil is toast. If there are rips in the cone itself, it's toast.
    Under-powering speakers causes them to move in and out excessively, which, you have to figure, generates heat. Feeding them a signal dominated by power-amp distortion is unhealthy as well.
    Are you saying that when you plugged in the Ampeg the box behaved?
  12. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    It behaved a little better, but i think the damage was done.. I used my SWR 15 at an outside gig today with the Mesa top half and it sounded good.. I didn't try running the 15 though in the Mesa though.. Theres not too much glue, it doesn't really go past the rin around the cone (THe cone is the bit in the middle, right?) So i just press on that towards the sides more? Theres no rips in the cone from what i could see.

    How much would a re-coneing set me back roughly?
  13. The cone is usually what's referred to when someone speaks of the front of the speaker that we can see. The entire diaphram there is called the cone. The centre piece you speak of is called the dust cap, or some variant of that name.

    It sounds like the voice coil was overheated by constant clipping from your Warwick head. When an amplifier is in hard clipping (as yours would have been when it was cranked and distorting), it will exceed its RMS power rating significantly due to the distorted waveforms clipping generates. Your 15's voice coil was trying to dissipate too much heat for too long, and got hot enough to melt any glue around there, by the sounds of it.

    Keep in mind this is very different from actually overpowering the speaker and is one of the more common modes of failure. This slightly underpowered amplifier (for the cabinet in question) was outputting a compressed, clipped signal at almost constant high power output, which as mentioned above can exceed the RMS rating. Conversely, an amplifier whose RMS rating even doubles that of the cabinet's would have cleanly represented the signal, surely providing more power to the cabinet *during transients*, but the average power over the time it took to melt the voice coil would have been lower due to its non-clipped and non-compressed nature.

    If the cabinet at lower volumes sounds remotely distorted, there is a serious problem with one or a few of the speakers. Some of the driver experts will surely suggest to you a good place for recones and an approximate price.

    Sorry to ramble, this is just a good example for anybody on the board who doesn't understand why/how drivers are damaged by underpowering. This is a topic that gets brought up a lot and isn't widely understood.
  14. Thank you for articulating that...I'm shaky on the specifics.
    One caveat--it was a Warwick head that did in the Mesa, not the SWR. Hear that, Warwick fans? They're evil products. Eeeeevil! :bag:
  15. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    The 15 seems to be moving ok now, it's not like the amp will go very loud to try the speakers at high volume anyway.. When i put the volume up a bit (Still not very loud) the 10" distorts on certain notes (generally on the A and E strings, between 7th and 12th fret where the notes are fuller sounding) and also when i dig into the string a bit. I tried the pushing the dust cap in one the 10 and 15 (can't on the 6's, it's too soft) and the 15 made a little bit of noise, not much though and only when i pushed it right in.. Strangley though, the 10" was quite.

    The bands not playing any more gigs for 3 weeks as the drummers broken his finger, so i think i'l send it in to someone to get a checkup.. Would a normal music store do it? Or would I have to have an actual amp repairer look at it. Not sure of many around here.. And roughly how much money am i looking at to say re-cone the 10 and 15? (Might just replace the 10" anyway)

    P.S By the way, i'm in Australia, so no real use naming names, still give me prices though, i can roughly work them out. And seens that no-one answered my other thread... Do you think a Thunderfunk TFB550 would do well enough to power my cab in LOUD settings? Looking for a thumpy bassy tone that can cut using the mesa (Think JPJ's)