mesa 400+ vs. ampeg...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thetaurus, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA i sold my svp pro/qsc rmx 850 setup to buy a mesa 400+. well i played my first show with it last night, and it didn't cut it even close to how the ampeg setup did. i went from 830 solid state watts to about 300 tube watts. now to be fair, the mesa does have a blown tube, so i'm guessing that's got alot to do with it. the thing is, most places we play have a pa for vocals only, so i need to rely on my amp for live volume in a loud rock band. and we are pretty loud. so i'm thinking i have one of 3 options right now.

    1--retube the mesa for a cleaner sound at higher volumes

    2--sell the mesa for an svt cl

    3--sell the mesa for an svt 4 pro

    i know a guy who may possibly do a straight across mesa for his svt cl with new tubes and some work recently done on it. i don't know...i just need to rely on my amp for full live volume...not a pa. i know mesa's are supposed to be real workhorses...i don't know what happened last night. when i bought the amp, the place told me it was a '95, and that they didn't know how old the tubes are, so i'm guessing that they're pretty old. will new tubes do the trick, or should i go back to ampeg? let me know what you all think. thanks alot.
  2. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    If you are having any problems with volume on the 400+ then there is something wrong.
  3. Zharlon

    Zharlon From Ice Station Deep Charch 9

    Apr 19, 2003
    Northwest U.S.A.
    I use a mesa 400+ , and though I have to go on what you posted, I can not imagine that your mesa is in proper working order because it ought to cause eardrum rupture and bleeding in those near your amp....1: what cabs are you using?
    2: why are you expecting good
    performance from an amp with at
    least 1 or more blown tubes?
    3: replace all tubes(might have
    it examined by a good tech)
    4: my mesa 400+ has killed at
    least 11 people that were foolish
    enough to wander near my rig,
    despite the warnings I posted
    (unconfirmed kills)
  4. KingOfAmps

    KingOfAmps Inactive

    I got in a fight once with a 400+. I won of course :rolleyes: , but it did earn my respect. I'd retube and give it another whirl. Should blow out whatever, whenever.

    P.S. I love having just the vocals thru the PA. "Most" PAs in "most" clubs are not nice enough to do more than the vocals anyway.
  5. If your Mesa 400 isn't loud enough, there's one of two things wrong....

    1. Your Deaf.

    2. Your amp is messed. Get it retubed. You won't be disappointed. Even when my amp is on 4-master 4-level, people get hurt. I've yet to need it louder than that.

    Some ideas.

    1. Get it retubed.
    2. Use your EQ, and make sure it's on!
    3. if your still not loud enough, try using input 2, it's quite a bit louder.
    4. Get a new cab, because if that amp doesn't sing for you at even 1/4 volume, something else is wrong.

    Do not trade is for an SVT, and don't say rash things like that. It scares me that someone would even consider such a thing.

  6. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    No. 2 & 3 are BAD solutions.....
    I played an outside gig Saturday, and next to a 100 watt Marshall, and another guitarist and a rabid drummer, I had to keep turning DOWN. I use a Mesa cab. Get the tubes. It will take you 2 days to get them Priorty Mail.
  7. bazzhed4


    Aug 2, 2003
    Aberdeen MD
    id like to go on record as saying the same thing that pretty much everyone else has said here. regarding the 400+...if it isnt loud enough for you....there can only be a short list of causes...

    1. blown tube(s)
    2. bad equipment somewhere in line (dead battery in active bass...bad cord...etc etc.)
    3. deaf crowd
    4. dead crowd

    i personally have a M-Pulse 600 on top of a single 410 cab and i have no problems carying the bass in any club i play. all of the places i play have a pa system that carries the bass but i can crush both of my guitar players and they are both using mesa triple rec's on marshal 4x12's. and look at it this way. putting the M-Pulse series against the 400+ would be like putting oscar de lahoya in the ring with lennox lewis. the mpulse is a great amp....does everything that i need it to and i wouldnt get rid of it for anything...but its no 400+.
    get your amp retubed...have it checked out by a good tech...and then make sure you turn it down or your going to be arrested for vandalism when you break every window in a three block radius the next time you hit a low b.
    oh and one other thing.....and this is only my opinion and i know ill probably take slack for it....but i have NEVER liked ampeg. i dont like the sound...they are not very user freindly...i dont like the sound...the svt cl is the only one that i would even consider...the pro4 is just too complicated...i dont like the sound...did i mention that the sound is hollow and fake sounding?
  8. Well, I don't know if it makes much of a diference. But check that you have the right impendance on the on the speaker hook-ups. Remember if u have 2-8ohm cabs you have to hook it up to the 4ohm input, and if u have 2-4ohm cabs hook them up to the 2ohm input. but thats only if u are using 2 cabs. If u are using only one, then disregard everything I said.;)
  9. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Holy CRAP!!!!!!!!! I just rented a 400+ after hearing about it on this site. All I can say is wow... I would take it over my SVT4-pro any day. So loud, so clean, so fancy looking. I absolutly tore my guitar player apart when I wanted to. He's using 3 fender twins which is a very loud blues setup. I agree that you should get this fixed instead of going back to Ampeg. Or you could sell it to me for a stupidly low price.
  10. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA
    yeah...i'm gonna retube it. should i take the blown tube and it's match out while i'm saving to do this? what tubes should i look into? i'm looking for a thick, balanced tone that will not get too muddy or dirty at high volume levels. something that won't break up too quick. i think i'm gonna use sovtek 12ax7lps's in the preamp. what should i do for power tubes? (old tubes lose power and tone right?)

    also...i use an mia jazz, and an svt 8x10 for a cab.
  11. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    If you retube
    12 - Svetlana 6l6GC
    4 - 12ax7EH (electro harmonix)

    They sound superb! DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

    you said you had a bad tube. Was it a preamp tube (one of the four small) or one of the power tubes? (one of the 12 big ones)

    If you have a bad power tube always remove that one and the one paired to it. You can still play. The 400+ is wired in "parallel and you can't just pull out one tube you should change them in pairs.

    First row from left to right is 1 - 6
    Second row from left to right is 7 - 12.

    So, number one and number seven are a pair and so on.

    Also, looking in the top of your amp the steel cover removed and the front of the amp facing you, the preamp tube to the left is the MASTER preamp tube. The others are for tone and etc. The Master is what feeds the signal to the power section. So, in a pinch you could swap a failing Master pre tube for one of the tone pre tubes.

    Best thing is to keep a couple spares of each and take them with you. I never had to change a tube on the job yet.

    Oh, another diddy. ALWAYS make sure your 400+ has a load on it when it is on. (meaning have a speaker connected to it) or you'll burn out a transformer. Make sure YOU hook it up and not some one who doesn't understand tube amps.
  12. thelastofus

    thelastofus Guest

    Jul 3, 2002
    Bakersfield, Ca
    like everyone said about i don't think it's possible to disagree that the 400+ is the loudest thing in the world. i would trade for the ampeg svt cl because well..that's what i did. but it was purely a tone thing, my 400+ was fine and plenty loud, play the classic and see how you like it and just know it'll be plenty loud for whatever you need as well. not nearly as clean as the 400+ however, but loud.
  13. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA
    yeah...i'm gonna retube it. i'm thinking so far about the svetlana 6L6GC's. i can get 3 matched quads from for $167. one thing though...they have the "perfect pair" thing. they say that the lower the perfect pair number, the quicker they break up, and the higher the number, the longer it takes for them to break up. i couldn't find this number for the svetlana's. they seem like they have the sound i'm looking for, but i want something that won't break up too quick, because i need serious volume and i don't want to be all distorted and muddy. i play an mia jazz (natural/maple), and go into an svt 8x10. i'm going to change the stock pickups eventually to either the dimarzio model j's, or ultrajazz. i was also thinking about using sovtek 12ax7lps's for the preamp. what do you all think. would the svet's be a good match with all of this?
  14. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    You can get the same price from Lord Valve at NBS or Bob Pletka at These guys KNOW how to match the Mesa's FIXED bias.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Svetlana's are great sounding tubes. Very warm and clear. Reminds me of Sylvania. I think if you wanted to get more gain before breakup, you may want to consider Sovtek 6L6WXT. They have a bit more gain than the average 6L6, and sound really good too.
  16. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I got the 27mv Svets for my Boogie. You need to stay between 21 and 27 or 28mv. I wanted the cleaner sound too so I went with one dozen 27ma. As mentioned, all the Tube Guru Guys like Lord Valve and Euro and Tubestore know what the range a 400+ take. The 400+ does not have bias adjustments, but I know you could have it modified for that if you want. I never found it nessasary to do that. If you gig for a living it might be wise, but for me playing less than 60 hours a month my tubes last close to two years and still sound great. I have since gone with a lighter rig but still have my trusty Mesa to lug out if I need to. I bought Bergantino cabs and the 400+ won't power them, but I still have a Mesa Diesel 15EV.
  17. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA
    if i order the svetlana 6L6GC's from thetubestore, and let them know what amp they're for, will they show up with the correct bias?
  18. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Bob Pletka sold me 34mv tubes. He said those were medium cool and are fine for the Mesa. How much cooler are the 27mv ? I trusted he knew what I needed, No? ........Could you explain why the Mesa won't push the Bergs? Bergs have a good sensitivity rating. My 400+ is insane loud flat on 5 with a P-1000 4-10+1-15 cab.
  19. Why not? They're both 300W tube amps. Comparable in a lot of ways, but very different tones. Lots of people dig the SVT tone.

    Anyway, that's not important....

    thetaurus: Take it to a competent tech and have him/her go through the amp to make sure everything's Ok. A tech should be able to tell you if you need to retube or not. Stay away from Chinese tubes and the ones Mesa sells. Try to get JJ's or Svets if you can find them in the bias range for the amp. Or get the tech to install a bias pot so you can use any 6L6 in it.
    That's what I'd do. I don't think that the "fixed bias" design is a particuarly good feature. Actually, I think it's a ploy by Mesa to get people to buy their tubes...;)
  20. What Mark said... grasshopper is wise.