mesa boogie 400+ lack of power?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mactac, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. I seem to remember someone else mentioning this, but i can't find the thread, so here goes:

    I have a 400+ that I'm using right now, and I'm playing with a drumer and guitar player/vocalist. the guitar player is playing through a fender deville (i think it's 60w).

    I'm playing a warwick thumb BO 5 through an ampeg 410hlf, no fx right now.

    now, I can't keep up with them... the 400+ seems to distort at about a medium volume.... it'll even distort at a low volume if I really dig in hard. if I turn down the input gain, i still get the distortion if i really dig in. channel #2 input gain is about 6, master vol about 4-5. my eq is fairly flat, but it doesn't seem to make much diff where it is.

    i do notice that the more mids i have in the sound, the more distortion (or maybe the more i hear it)

    is this normal?

    Is there any way of finding out if the tubes are suspect without bringing it to a tech?
  2. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    You shouldn't be having any trouble. Somethin' ain't right.

    Have you any idea of when the amp was last tubed? Retubing the power section of those would cost your life, but if that's what it takes, do it. If that's the case, make sure you use Mesa's own specially designed and far superior tubes - if you don't, your amp will grow legs and walk back to the factory.

    Italics = Sarcasm
  3. THB_bassman


    Oct 11, 2005
    You're right, that's just not right.
    I run my gain (input 2) at around 5 and I don't turn up the master past 3 gets louder than I will ever need it to be.
    You can look at the tubes through the back of the amp while it's running of course. See if anything looks different....I'm no tech.
  4. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio should be CRUSHING a 60 watt guitar amp. Maybe time for a retube, or one other thought.....are you killing your cab with extra lows? How are you running your tones/eq? As far as costing your life for a retube, I retubed mine as soon as I got it. EH12ax7 in the pre, and Reflektor/Svetlanas (on Lord Valve's recommendation) for the power section, at a total cost of around $250.
  5. ok, i've done some more playing around, and here is what i've found:

    If i put the gain over 6 or so, it distorts (which i guess makes sense, it's an active bass).... BUT at this level, there really isn't much volume coming out (with a mater at 5)... anything above 5 starts to distort more

    NOW, if i screw with the eq, it *will* go much louder, ie if i crank the bass, i get a ton more volume, so it seems as thought the power amp part is ok, it's just that the preamp doesn't feed the poweramp enough volume, and if I crank the pre, it distorts

    now, if i crank some of the eq on the graphic, it does distort more (but not the knob tone controls)

    does thisw make any sense at all? the power amp can deliver the goods, but i can't get a good enough level from the pre without it distorting

    i guess may question is:

    with the amp set completely flat (0-10-0) and with a standard active bass, input level at about 5 on channel 2 let's say, do you get a good volume with a master setting of 5? (I don't)
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    At a level at 5 and 5 you should be pretty close to unbearably loud. I tend to run my main no louder than 4 and bot my pre's one around 2 and one around 3.5 or so...and I usually get asked to turn down. I have run it as loud as 5 and 6 and it was still clean and even more ridiculously loud.

    You definitely have amp issues. You could start with the cheap route and just switch out the preamp tubes and see if that helps..otherwise you might want a full retube. But you might also consider some 'professional' help before you sink 200 bucks into new power tubes.
  7. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    Any chance you have your cab connected on the wrong impedance tap?

    - Tim
  8. if it was a preamp tube, it probably wouldn't have this problem for both channels, no?

    also, part of the problem is that i'm renting it. they don't have another one, so i'm stuck with this one. i have a show coming up, so i can't give it back to them to get fixed... arrgh.

    I'm thinking about buying one , but wanted to make sure this isn't status quo....
  9. THB_bassman


    Oct 11, 2005
    staus quo? Don't know, but hasn't been a problem I've had to deal with.
  10. ok, well i guess this one is no good then...

    if someone has one to sell, please let me know so i can replace this asap !
  11. If it was a driver tube it might anyway

    Nobody has asked the obvious, is your bass active? and have you tried a new battery in it? (definatly the cheapest option you have atm :p )
  12. THB_bassman


    Oct 11, 2005
    He actually said his bass is active.
    He didn't say if he had changed the battery.
    Good point.
  13. yep, i checked the battery. in fact i've taken everything else out of the equation - i've used a totally different bass, cable, and cabinet
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    That whole rental thing makes me think you should get out from under this deal. Who knows what's up with the amp, where it's been and what it's been through.

    You can find a used 400+ for between 600-900 depending on how lucky you are. You'll find very few negative comments about the reliability of this amp.
  15. yep, i agree.... unfortunately i'm going to have to use it for this show coming up unless i can find a used one ASAP :(

    thanks for all the help
  16. !!!! The tone controls are interactive. Turn the treble up and your sound will come with it. Putting the treble on 0 effectively silences the tone circuit.

    Try everything starting at 5 and use your ears. Forget what's flat.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I disagree.

    I run my tone 6-4-0 and there's no way it's 'silencing' my tone circuit or making any problems with overall volume. For the record, ALL tone circuits are interactive by their nature.
  18. interestingly, if i set the mid control to 0, it does completely silence the amp
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    In it's most basic nature, a tone circuit is a volume control that effects specific EQ bands... Thus when you crank everyband on your eq all the way up, the overall volume goes up . If you turn everything down to 0, then you have...nothing. The part about the EQ being interactive is misleading, as the tone controls never effect a super-narrow band of frequencies, especially when dealing with a 3 band EQ. you actually effect the bands that 'neighbor' the control you're tweaking. Graphic eq's tend to work the same way, so when you're tweaking say, 120hz, you're actually effecting a curve between that band and the ones to the 'left and right'.

    The 400+ is a tone circuit that's pretty much taken from the old fender bassman amp design...but Mesa has grafted it to a much larger power section than the ol' bassman. But it does indeed do this no volume thing when you turn all the tone controls down.
  20. no, i said when I turn the "MID" down to zero i get no sound, not when "ALL" the tone controls are zero.

    doesn't matter what the others are set to