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Mesa 400+ vs Mesa 400 ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JJd2sc, Dec 9, 2003.


  1. JJd2sc

    JJd2sc

    Jul 31, 2003
    Marietta, Georgia
    Ive really been looking into the 400+ but i found a 400 for $625. Two things, since the mesa site dosent have stats for the 400 anymore, what are the differences? Secondly, is that a good price?
     
  2. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    The regular 400 has 6 6550 power tubes in it and probably sounds better with those tubes and with 6 6550 tubes it should check in at around 300 watts.

    The 400+ has 12 6L6 tubes in it and should check in at around 300 watts. I think the 400+ has one extra slider on the EQ band also.

    I would go with the regular 400 and that is a good price. It would be less to retube and those 6550 tubes probably do not sound as mushy and muddy as those 6L6 tubes would.
     
  3. JJd2sc

    JJd2sc

    Jul 31, 2003
    Marietta, Georgia
    The one im looking at was recently retubed with six str454 6L6 tubes. Am I also correct to assume that it can push a WHOLE lot of sound being that its all tubed? My friends old old ampeg b25 head is 35 all tube watts I think and it can get LOUD. Would I be able to power an ampeg 4x10 to 500 watts and a 1x15 to their max?
     
  4. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    From what i have heard/read the 400+ is about 500 watts.
     
  5. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman

    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    This has been discussed here many times before. A 400+ is good for about 300W RMS.
     
  6. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    Dude it really does not matter because 300 tube watts is louder than shizna. So either way your better bet is with the regular 400 because it will probably be cheaper to retube and will proabably sound better too.
     
  7. I used to own a Bass 400 with 6-6550's and I don't think that it puts out 300W, probably more like 220W. If you compare it to an SVT the transformers are not nearly as big (or heavy).
    thats why they came out with the 400+. So if you need the volume go with the 400+.
     
  8. ChenNuts44

    ChenNuts44

    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    Technically, the 400 was good for about 300 Watts while the 400+ is good for less. I'm not getting technical (6550 vs. 6L6), but you should be able to track this down in a search. :p
     
  9. I don't know what the RMS wattage of either the 400 or 400+ is (and you will not get a straight answer from Mesa Boogie. But the Bass 400 was not nearly as loud as my vintage svt. And I have not owned the 400+, but most people say its louder than the 400.
     
  10. Rickenbackerman

    Rickenbackerman

    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    I had a 400+ with svet power tubes in it - my '73 SVT absolutely slayed it in terms of volume, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fender tone stack in the mesa. With my SVT's I boost mids so they *sound* louder. I never could get enough mid out of the 400+, so I sold it.
     
  11. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    No, im sorry. a 400+ is 500 watts. read the website.
     

  12. It says 500W peak.....

    A 6l6 can produce a maximum of about 25W per unit on a continuous basis. Most do less. The ones Mesa uses are spec'd at 25W. There are 12 of them. Do the math.
    Mesa isn't really lying, but they aren't telling the whole truth. Pretty much any 300W amp can do peaks of 500W.

    I've had a couple of 400+s on the scope. They start to clip at about 300W.
     
  13. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    I tried to tell em too. Check the first reply I explained the whole thing i terms of tube=watts thing. Oh well some just will not listen. I owned a 400+ and was loud as heck. Trust me you will not really need anything louder. But the question is will you need something cleaner that gets that loud!;)
     

  14. I should have added the comment that despite the power ratings thing, the 400+ is a killer sounding amp and it is loud as hell. The numbers don't matter.
     
  15. Shri

    Shri

    Feb 25, 2003
    France, Paris
    but only one personn answered ! which one is the best???? the 400 or the 400 +??? are the 6550 tubes really better than the 6l6 ones???
     
  16. I would get the Bass 400, its cheaper to buy and cheaper to tube.
     
  17. Shri

    Shri

    Feb 25, 2003
    France, Paris
    actually, i think the bass 400+ is cheaper to retube and more reliable. I asked mesa boogie about that and here is what tim from mesa told me: "Olivier

    We only made the Bass 400 hundered for a short time. (only 1200 out there I
    believe) 6550s are great tubes and known for their bold and punchy response.
    The 400+ is in no way muddy - unless you have worn tubes in it. 6L6s put out
    about 50 Watts per pair where 6550s boast a bit more per pair. However, when
    you have an amp with 12 6L6s in it vs. an amp with only 6 6550's, there would
    not be that much difference in headroom. If you are looking for a used Bass
    400, I would say go for it! They are great amps. 6550's however are not so
    reliable any longer and are very expensive. We stopped carrying them in fact
    because of the high failure rate and the high cost of replacing them. A Bass
    400+ with 6L6 tubes will be plenty bold and punch with a nice rounded tone.
    With 5881's though (which they did ship with for awhile) you will have less
    output wattage, less headroom - which may provide the fuel for rumors that the
    400+ is muddy. They simply break up sooner and when those tubes break up, the
    top rolls off a little bit and you are left with a rounded and vintage
    sounding mid range. One would have to play very loud if that was the case
    with newer tubes but worn tubes can easily provide that undesireable tone. It
    is all pretty subjective. We are shipping 400+ amps with 6L6 STR 430 tubes.
    A full output 6L6 from the Sovtek factory in Russia.
     
  18. I'm sorry, but that's a total load of crap concerning the tubes.

    I see that Mesa wastes no opportunity to hawk its tired and false sales pitch of "worn tubes." Tubes are voltage amplifiers, PERIOD. They either work or they don't. If there's a change in their "sound," it is a result of the circuit not meeting their bias current needs. Tubes don't 'dull' as they age; they only change their current draw, which isn't a problem in an amp with an adjustable bias capability. Guess what Mesa doesn't have?

    It's funny he says "a bit" more (GOOD 6550's, not the Chinese junk Mesa used to push, put out roughly twice what a 6L6GC does) and then glosses by later with this:

    No, Mesa's Chinese 6550's were VERY cheap and unreliable, but they charged premium prices for them and touted that they were equivalent to the American 6550A's they used to carry.

    The "5881's" Mesa shipped (at least the Sovtek 5881's) are great tubes, but NOT at the voltages that the 400+ uses. They would perform better with MORE voltage. The "mud" in their tone comes from the tone stack in the preamp, which is based on the classic Fender scooped midrange tone stack. In contrast, the Ampeg SVT has an agressive midrange boost which helps the sound cut better and contributes to a greater overall volume level, since we hear midrange frequencies much better. I don't think the 400+ is a muddy sounding amp, but it's not very agressively voiced either, more R'N'B than rock and roll.

    This much at least is true. Highs are one of the first things to go in an overdriven amp with a relatively low voltage power supply. Plate current drops, and highs which carry more peak voltage content, get attenuated. It's exactly the same effect as a compressor, hence, it's called output compression.

    ...again with the "worn tubes" line, total BS.

    Mesa's "STR" designation is stolen from Fender in the 70's, when CBS redesigned higher voltage versions of old Fenders and ultralinear amps and needed a 6L6 which could take higher voltage and operate inverted without shorting. Sylvania (later Philips which bought them out) came out with the 6L6GC STR which stood for "special test requirement."

    Mesa has used the "STR" as an attempt to confuse its customers. They USED to carry STR 6L6GC's (D180's came stock with them.) when they were more widely available and rather than admit that the later Chinese 6L6's they sell were of lesser quality, the "STR number system" was used. It's meaningless and serves only to discriminate between country of origin now, but they way Mesa touts it, most people mistakenly assume it to mean something it doesn't and Mesa encourages that belief.

    As far as which version of the Bass 400 is better, just play them! If you come across either amp and you like it, then use it. All this "best" crap is like a bunch of grade school kids bragging about their toys.
     
  19. Shri

    Shri

    Feb 25, 2003
    France, Paris
    Uhm... interesting your comments. And i know also that if i use different tubes than mesa's, the guarantee will end. I find that very bad !!! Especially for expensive mesa tubes that are just cheap chinese ones. But he told me that there are russian ones also (sovtek).

    I still hesitate between the 400+ and the SVT-CL of Ampeg which is great also.:bassist:
     
  20. Shri

    Shri

    Feb 25, 2003
    France, Paris
    but thanks for your comments again, i read again and you seem to know a lot about amps. You work in that area if i remember.