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Power Tube Help: Svetlana Tubes for Mesa-Boogie

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by realdeal, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    I have a Mesa "Buster" 2x10 Combo powered by (6) 6L6GC power tubes. LOVE it!
    The original tubes were Svetlana STR-454's, no longer available/used by Mesa.

    I recently had the amp re-tubed by Mesa with a new sextet, they now use Chinese STR-441's.

    The amp still sounds way GOOD, and I'm not a tube snob, however to my ears, there is a difference.

    It's my understanding the Mesa amps are designed to use their tubes only,-I also recall having seen some tube suppliers who made aftermarket tubes available that would be compatible with Mesa-Boogie.

    Having searched the 'net, I can't find any.
    Is anyone aware of any suppliers with Boogie-compatible Svetlana 6l6GC STR-454 tubes?

    PBG?? Anyone?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. There's nothing wrong with your ears. The Chinese Mesa 6L6's have much lower peak current capacity and thus less low end than the more robust 6L6GC's from other manufacturers.

    That's a lie they spread so that you'll buy their rebranded tubes from them. What that actually refers to is their inane "factory preset bias ratings," which generally are VERY conservative.

    In addition to the link anderbass provided, both Eurotubes and LordValve can provide you with tubes matched to Mesa's garbage "spec," but the best option is to have tech install an adjustable bias control. I've posted extensively about this in the past, but the short form is that Mesa generally uses low-quality tubes and biases their amps so that they won't overheat. Even if you sub in a better quality set of output tubes, you won't get their full performance.

    Yours in an odd case where the factory installed tubes are superior to their replacements, but both are "specced" the same. That right there ought to show just how accurate their "performance system " is! I'm not a big fan of Svetlana power tubes, but they ARE better than Mesa Chinese 6L6's. I have huge stash of NOS US 6L6GC's, so I've never had to buy modern ones, but from comments by those who have, the Sovtek 6L6WXT+ is supposed to be the "best," even better than JJ IIRC.
  3. DaveMcLain


    Jun 19, 2005
    Cuba MO
    The reason for using Mesa tubes is because to my knowledge Mesa gear uses a fixed bias design. By using tubes that are "middle of the road" bias point wise you can just plug them in and go. For the most part this is still true no matter what brand of any particular tube type you choose to use in the amp, a 6L6 is a 6L6 more or less. The problem is that there is a range that a tube can fall within and still be in or close to in spec for a given tube so with a certain B+ voltage and a given amount of bias the tube may draw more or less than the ideal amount of current. It could either run hotter and wear out more quickly or run too cool and give you lots of cross over distortion.

    Why Boogie gear is built this way makes some sense because an adjustable bias control is something people without any amp knowhow can change and cause more trouble than if it's set at a fixed amount.

    I don't feel that the Sevetlana 6L6 made today is nearly as good as it was say 10 years ago, I don't think that factory is really around anymore.
  4. A lot of people say good things about electro harmonix tubes. Mesa says you can use most any of the popular brands in their amps without rebiasing. If talking to a tube manufacturer, tell them they will be going in a Mesa amp.
  5. I'm with PBG on this.Our Gitarrist bought a Lone Star 2x12'' Lovely amp-AFAIK????? But I talked him into tetubing it-He was dead against it...until he talked to my Tube tech & heard the difference. It sounds 2x as good as it did now w/ JJ tubes in it & a rebias.
  6. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004
    Thanks to all for the replies.
    Before I posted, I E-mailed LordValve whom I remembered to be the supplier of substitute tubes for Boogies. Never heard back...
    I'll try the others.
    FWIW, the Buster is an out-of-production model, similar I believe to the old D-180, but in a 2x10 combo form.
    Even with the less-than well-regarded Chinese tubes Mesa supplies now-
    I love this amp! On a stage, it really blooms, and puts out a
    POWERFUL bottom end!
    Ahhh- Tubes!

    Thanks again-
  7. Bryan316

    Bryan316 Inactive

    Dec 20, 2006
    Well it IS the weekend. When did you email LordValve? I'll bet you'll get a reply tomorrow or Tuesday.
  8. realdeal

    realdeal Inactive

    Dec 10, 2004

    Actually, I E-mailed over 2 weeks back and never got a reply.
    Could be a problem with spam filters, etc; as a business he may get a lot of mail.
    I'll try again, or maybe even call the shop & see what happens.

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