Mesa Subway 215 Crackling

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassAssHat, Apr 13, 2023.

  1. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hi folks! I have an intermittent problem that I'd love your help with.

    My rig since 2019 has been an Orange Terror Bass head and a Mesa Subway 215. I loved both and they have served me well, but in the past few months my rig started acting up. The signal would cut out sometimes and I'd hear a crackling sound intermittently.

    I assumed it was the Terror Bass head. I got it serviced by an Orange certified tech and it seemed to work fine when I got it back, but the crackling soon returned, so I ended up buying a Darkglass Alpha Omega 900 head as a replacement.

    I received the Darkglass and the intermittent crackling has returned! So my suspicion is now that it was the cabinet, not the head, that was giving me problems.

    I tried many different speaker cables since the cabinet and Darkglass both have combo jacks.

    3' 1/4" unbranded speaker cable worked
    Speakon to 1/4” did not work
    3' Speakon did not work
    30' long Speakon to Speakon worked
    3' Hog 1/4" straight speaker cable did not work

    I didn't know if the jacks were dirty or not or what's going on here. A lot of weed has been smoked in the room that the cabinet and amps live in. Could that have affected the cabinet in any way? What's my next step in solving this intermittent issue? It's hard to diagnose because the crackling comes and goes and is not consistent. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  2. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    The most common thing we see like this is knock-off SpeakOn cables.

    Sometimes these counterfeit parts damage the mating jacks.

    Can you post pictures of the bad cables?
     
  3. scottm

    scottm Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2005
    Virginia
    The same thing happened to me awhile back with one of the single 1x15’s, and it was exactly what @agedhorse said.


    -ScottM
     
  4. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    For the few folks that continue to recommend cables with knock-off, counterfeit plugs because they are "such a good deal", this is exactly why I say otherwise. It's a huge issue for all amp/cabinet builders.
     
  5. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for the response!

    I'll try to get a photo of the cables when I go back to my studio.

    Strangely, the cables that didn't work were mostly the name brand ones that I bought from Sweetwater. They have Neutrik connectors and look beefy. How often do these cables go bad?

    The ones that worked were the ones I didn't expect to - the 30' long one and the no-name 3' one.
     
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  6. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hey Scott! Thanks for the response.

    You had the same intermittent crackling and it was a cable issue?
     
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  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    It is possible that a cable plug damaged one of the jacks, but this is not as common. It's also possible that there is another cause.
     
  8. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    I see. Is there a way to visually inspect the jack? Since the problem is so inconsistent, I feel like my tech isn't even going to notice it. Happens all the time when I leave stuff with him.
     
    staurosjohn likes this.
  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    With Neutrik connectors that have issues, you can disassemble the connector and check that the wire fastening screws are tight. If someone soldered the wires prior to screwing them into the Neutrik, it could be loose. Never tin the wires, twisting the strands is fine.

    If the 30’ cable is coiled and hanging, the weight stress could be straining the connector too much and affecting a contact. Use cables just long enough or leave coils on the floor. Strain due to cable weight, especially on a ¼” plug should be avoided.
     
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  10. Geddy Claypool

    Geddy Claypool SX J-75/Traben Neo 4 -> SVT-CL/SVT-810E

    Aug 3, 2008
    Maryland
    As someone who is supremely out of the loop on this subject, what are some good things to look for when trying to identify a quality speaker cable?
     
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  11. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Genuine Neutrik plugs.
     
  12. Mcabe

    Mcabe

    Jan 7, 2020
    New Jersey
    When I first received my Subway 1x15, one of the internal spade connectors that connect to the jack to the speaker had come loose during delivery. Was a simple fix to unscrew the back panel and reconnect the spade connector. If not a cable and not the jack itself, one of those internal connectors could have worked themselves loose causing intermittent issues.
     
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  13. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for this. What issues prompted you to unscrew the back? Did you have the same issue I am having?
     
  14. Mcabe

    Mcabe

    Jan 7, 2020
    New Jersey
    No. I was getting no sound at all. The internal connector had come completely unplugged during delivery. But that would be an easily fixable thing to check.
     
  15. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    I'm wondering why you're using a 30 foot speaker cable? Best to use a cable that is long enough to connect amp to speaker.
    I buy separate speaker cable and Neutrik speakon connectors and snap them together.
     
    DWBass likes this.
  16. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    I wasn't using the 30 foot cable originally with the cab. The 3 foot cable just wasn't working. I tried every kind of compatible cable I had and for some reason just that one is working. Maybe because it got the least amount of use?
     
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Even the name brand cables fail. Had the same issue and thought it was my cabs. Found it to be a Monster Cable that the soldering failed inside the Speakon connector. If one of your cables worked fine, ditch the rest and get new cables. And do not buy Monster Cable. Make sure the new cables are not soldered to the connector. They will eventually fail.
     
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  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I use 3 foot cables only. No need for all that real estate.
     
  19. BassAssHat

    BassAssHat

    Jun 14, 2019
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for the tip.

    Should I buy the Mogami Gold 3' speakon cable then? It's the most expensive.
     
  20. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I like Mogami but mine are instrument cables. My amp cables are made by Hosa. I have others but the cables are braided so no brand name is shown and I can't remember what brand.