Mesa Boogie Bass 400+ opinions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fettbass, May 21, 2012.

  1. Hi all. A Mesa Boogie Bass 400 + has come up for sale on the local CL. I'm certainly intrigued, but I have a couple of questions that I was hoping the TB community could help me with.

    1.What's the difference between a 400 and a 400 +?

    2. How do these measure up as compared to an SVT CL or a
    Fender Bassman 300 Pro, or basically any of the other high powered all tube heads?

    3. How's the reliability on these, retubing costs etc?

    I'm currently using a Traynor TC 810 in the rehearsal space and a TC electronics 112 at home, and bringing a shuttle 6.0 back and forth for home practice and rehearsals/gigs. The idea was to get a dedicated head to use with the 810 that would be able to drive a second 810 if needed. Would the 400+ be up to the task? Does anyone think the 400+ would work better on top of an 810 than a genz shuttle 6?
    Sartori likes this.
  2. Gringo Starr

    Gringo Starr

    Apr 21, 2012
    I have both a mesa 400 and 400+ so I'll try to help you out as best as I can.

    1) 400+ has twice the power that the 400 does. 12 6L6's in the 400+, 6 in the 400. Now I know Mesa claims the 400+ gets around 500 watts but I'm sure that's exaggerated. Sound wise, the 400+ has more low end and has a cleaner sound(on channel 1 that is). My 400 has more midrange grit. Mind you, my 400 is 20-something years old while my 400+ is about 5 years old. 400+ has a 7 band eq where the 400 has 6. You can also run the 400+ at 2 ohms which would work for you since you are considering running 2 8X10's. I don't believe you can do the same with the 400 if I remember correctly.

    2) I've never owned another high end tube head so I can't compare.

    3) I've blown both of these heads. I had the 400 first and bought it used. I don't believe the previous owner(s) took very good care of it which may have lead to the problems. The 400+ blew within 6 months of me buying it new. It was still under warranty. Haven't had any issues with it since (other than tubes). Which leads to retubing costs. As you could imagine, buying 12 6L6's and 4 12AX7's is a major hit to the pocketbook. So this is something you will have to seriously consider, especially if you plan on using it regularly. Mesa told me that the tubes should be changed every 3 years with normal use.

    Overall the 400+ is a great sounding amp and very versatile. However it's a loud SOB and sounds best that way. At least for me. Good luck, hope you get it!
    LowWatt and oZZma like this.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    The 400+ can produce ~260-280ish watts.
  4. Gringo Starr

    Gringo Starr

    Apr 21, 2012
    thanks Burning, I was thinking around 300 was a more realistic number but I'm no expert.
  5. Around 300 tube watts should be plenty, and the weight doesn't seem too bad either!
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Figure on sub-25w per 6L6 and that's about what you get...its still loud. I could never get mine clean enough for what I wanted and I always wrestled with the EQ and never quite got what I wanted.
  7. The 400 can also run 6550s instead of 6l6s. Which could give you more watts and headroom and a slightly different voice.
    oZZma likes this.
  8. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    IMO, the 400+ is to bass amps as the Matchless is to guitar amps. Incredibly touch-sensitive and dynamic, loud for it's wattage, infernally bright, and a rewarding challenge to live with.

    Either that, or it is an expensive boat anchor filled with fragile glass that never gets clean enough. It depends on your point of view.
    DrMole, oZZma and monsterthompson like this.
  9. Bass FreeLee

    Bass FreeLee

    Jan 27, 2011
    "I Slap-AhH Da Bass MOn!
    I've had the 400+ for one week, bought and compared it to my SVT-CL.
    While the Mesa was nice, had a good Tube tone , I got much more out of the SVT ,
    Tone wise and Power wise , Plus replacing 12 tubes VS 6 in the Peggy was a no brainer ,
    I took the Mesa Back ... But to each there own!
  10. sethro


    Aug 14, 2008
    Over rated,heavy,low watt,problematic and hard to dial in.....Id move on to a good hybrid tube amp that delivers the goods. I tried one at my band practice and was so bummed after my 7pro,i gave up fast..
  11. Traynor YBA300. Tube lock out & user biassing, 300w sounds amazing & 55lbs
  12. Have no opinion one way or another on Mesa stuff,but a good friend of mine who is the local tube amp guru absolutely will not work on their stuff.Evidently a PITA to service.Just wanted to give that perspective.
    oZZma likes this.
  13. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    The 400+ is one of the all-time greatest bass amps ever produced. Many Mesa threads about it. Acquaint yourself with the search function.
    elolomet likes this.
  14. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I seriously love mine. I prefer it over an SVT, but really, that comes down to personal preferences. The SVT and 400/400+ are great amps. To compare it, tone-wise, to an SVT, the Mesa is probably a little bit leaner with a sharper high-end.
    oZZma likes this.
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1 Beat me to it...
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  16. bannerman


    Aug 29, 2007
    I love my 400+. If I somehow lost mine I would not be shopping around for other amps. I would just sell my car and get another.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    er...your car must not be much of a much...a used 400+ doesn't run much more than a grand on a good day. ;)
  18. bannerman


    Aug 29, 2007
    What can I say, I'm a musician- and I happen to like my cheap car! I just like my amp more.
    sludgetail and Isotonic like this.
  19. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I played a gig last friday with my old 400+. I regret selling it, tone was to die for. I also recorded straight out of the DI because we recorded the show. I'll post the clips as soon as I get them.
  20. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I'm not an amp repairman (I work on diesels for a living), but I do all my repairs on my Boogie heads I've owned, it's a very easy amp to work on.
  21. Primary

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