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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by John Coxtosen, Apr 28, 2006.
Is there any reason not to put Sovtek 6L6s in my Buster?
I've got matched sets ready to go.
Well, are they "specially matched and selected" by Mesa? I heard if you don't use those ones, aliens abduct you the next time you fire it up.
I think it'll be fine, but you should check and see what the bias is on these guys to make sure they're in the limit for this amp.
I have a Mesa Boogie 400 (non plus) virtually same tube complement. I have used JJ teslas, Sovteks and Groove tubes. The Teslas sound the best to my ear. The whole thing about bias and right and wrong tubes is left over from an era when there was a lot more variation in the quality of the power tubes. If you read Jim Randalls essay on biasing on Mesa's website he shoots himself in the foot by pretty much dismissing the myth of asjustable bias. "But buy our tubes because they are matched, although they are made in the same chinese/russian factory as the pro-adjustable-bias guys tubes".
I have never had any problem using non-Mesa tubes. OTOH I only stopped using Mesa tubes because I stopped getting the I-work-at-the-brewery-which-is-named-for-the-town-Lagunitas-where-Mesa-started after I quit the brewery. And their tubes are overpriced at the normal rate.
You use 6L6s in a 400? Ever try 6550s, like God intended?
You use 6L6s in a 400? Ever try 6550s, like God intended?
Well back when they started making them they used 6550's and that is what my 1982 model had when I got it for $500. I brought it in to get refurbed after a short tour and they not only retubed it for free, they changed it over to 6l6s. The guy Mark I used to know there said that the new 6550's coming out of Boogies sources in China were all crap and that all of their power tubes were going to be 6L6s. I would've argued with 'em. I prefer EL34 tubes for power a la Traynor! But that was when I was on really good terms with the whole Lagunitas/Boogie family. And they just gave me a free retube and had gone over every aspect of my amp from head to toe. Looking gift horse in mouth and all that?
I actually am thinking of dragging it up to Petaluma soon to get redone. My amp vibrated off my 4x12 horn and landed on its face. Now the treble only works at about 7, which is more treble than I like to use normally!
BTW all the 400+s they sell now come stock with 6L6s.
Fixed bias amps require tube sets that are matched to that amps, preset bias ratings. So your matched set, may or may not be right for your amp.
If you already have the tubes, you can have adjustable bias pots instaled in your amp and run any matched set.
Sure, but there are 12 of 'em, not 6!
Okay, excepting EL34s what is the worst that can happen slapping a set of good matched tubes into a fixed bias tube amp? From what I've read, maybe 10-20% shorter life of the tubes or 5-10% more output. Either of which I can live with. Again I have used Svetlana, JJ tesla, and Groovetubes in my head. And I dont pussyfoot, I play loud, get mad, bottles fall off of tables. Never had an issue, Blown a speaker, fuse or tranny, or even smelled anything funny (that didnt smell funny before). Go to Mesas website, read Jim Randalls stuff about biasing on the 400 plus manual itself. and his one on class A too!
Tubes are mostly the same these days, even the chinese ones have gotten better(less gassy) heck I have been getting sick of my old tubes before they go south/purple, I replace them just for kicks to try a new brand!
I found that some of the well known and respected internet tube vendors will sell you tubes which are tested to fall into the "correct" bias range for Mesa Amps. I was able to get a set of "Winged C" 6L6 for my Mesa Buster which is a MUCH better tube than Mesa sells and saved some $$. I would generally suggest using a reliable business rather than *bay for buying tubes, just my .02
I would NOT recommend you just stick some tubes in and hope the bias is correct. There are bias checkers available that plug in between the tube and the socket that eliminate having to open up the amp to read the bias. Probably not a bad gig bag addition for someone relying on a tube amp!
Another advantage of buying from a vendor that has enough volume of tube sales and facilites to check tubes is that you can actually specify "stronger" tubes (which still fall in the Mesa bias range). To my mind the more headroom the better for bass, but my 6 string friends are trying to get as weak a tube as possible so they can get distorted at lower volume.
about the STRONGER tubes you can get. I was really jazzed about those too. I tlkaed to some guys at trio-d? I think? It was last year. Basically the stronger tubes are only like 10 watts total output better. Not from each tube but all together. They talked me out of it even though they would have made more money. I guess you could argue for headroom, but 10 watts on top of 250 (or 150 for the buster) is not even 1 db more headroom. Remember the DB scale is logarythmic (so you bang on a log) so you need a 10 fold increase in wattage to double apparent loudness or go up 10 db. To go up 20 db you need 100 times the watts. So 5-10 watts extra isnt worth it if it costs extra. Better off modding the amp to run hotter.
Like the Dammit why did I sell it Traynor YBA1A that ran 138 watts thru 2 tubes. I dont now how it did, it kept blowing tubes about every 3 months, killed 4 trannies, every tech I took it too was floored. Some returned it without even working on it. One guy said it was the amp equivalent of a dragster that goes very fast and blows its engine in the process. I was told that it had no choke or voltage regulator or something? I didnt know very much about amps back then. Wich I had kept that head!