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Strategy 400 sounds honky

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TaySte_2000, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Ok so I don't really use this power amp much but my band is upsizing it's show and I'll be taking both my cabs so to save running my 400+ at 2.67 all the time, I wanted to use my strategy 400 into the top and bottom of my stereo 8x10 and the 400+ on my 4x10

    But no matter what I do the Strategy doesn't sound as bassy or as full as the 400+, almost sounds like it's farting out and some points and it just honky, which I find really odd as I'm using the 400+ to slave to it so it's the same preamp section and essentially the same power amp section.

    I'm really hoping it doesn't need a retube it wasn't done to long ago (apparently) and it's loaded with mullards. I was wondering/hoping that this sounds like it could be bias issue or anything else.

    Any advice would be great before I take it to my tech and have to re-mortgage my soul.

  2. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Are you using the Slave out on the 400+? I'm assuming yes. Is it turned up to 10?

    The only other suggestion I might have is to try the effects send into the Strategy or even the D.I. output to the input on the Strategy. It may just be the Slave out on the 400+ isn't sending a strong enough signal, for whatever reason.
  3. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    It's on about 5 and lights up most of the input lights on the strategy I felt higher it was distorting but I'll try it again and see.

  4. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Hmm...If all the lights on the Strategy are coming on (with only the hardest notes triggering the red 'clip' lights, right?) then it sounds like the Strategy and not the 400+ is definitely the culprit.

    Check to make sure all the tubes are fully seated in their sockets and when when you twist the speaker cables in their jacks, there's no static or signal change. If there is, it sounds like you just might have dirty jacks from not using it all that much.

    Also, when it was retubed, was it rebiased? I don't know enough about rebiasing to tell you if it's entirely necessary or could lead to your problems, but over the interwebs, it's really hard to gauge advice.
  5. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Your 400+ will do fine with 2.67 ohm cab loads. Our knowledgeable tube amp experts here have repeatedly advised using the 4 ohm taps with 2.67 loads with the Mesa 400+.

    We have not ran across very many guys using Mullard power tubes in big Mesa tube amps here before. Both your Mesa's originally came with a non-adjustable bias system. I'm just guessing its very possible your Strategy may not have the optimal bias to match your Mullards.

    I've had dual adjustable bias pots instaled in my 400+ so the amps bias settings can be easily adjusted (without the tech having to solder in diferent bias-setting components) to match most any powertubes. This might be something to look into and request from your amp tech.

    I thought of a few tests I'd do if I was in your situation, first I'd plug my bass directly into the 400+ effects return jack. This will be conecting directly into its poweramp and wont be as loud. Your tone knobs and input volume knobs wont be functioning this way but It'll give you a good Idea of what just using its poweramp alone sounds like.

    Now conecting your bass directly into your Strategy and compare it against your 400+. (I'd use your stereo 8x10 cab for both poweramps test so you can utilise both channels of your Strategy) If your Strategy still doesn't sound as "bassy or as full" as the 400+, you'll kinda know for sure somethings not right with your strategy.

    If your up to it... you could then very carefully install your 400+ powertubes into your strategy to see if this helps things or not... (I'd keep all tubes in order to reinstall back into their origanal locations)

    I looked up your Strategy manual ( http://www.mesaboogie.com/manuals/Strategy 400 Stereo.pdf ) and i've quoted a few very interesting things I found below:

    1 - I would have thought its LED's were input-level sensors but aparently their not... (so crank it up more and dont be afraid to see all 3 lights on)

    The output power of each channel of your Strategy 400 is continuously monitored by simple
    LED indicators. Reflecting the logarithmic relationship of loudness and power, the first LED
    comes on at 12.5 watts (-12 db); the second at 50 watts (-6 db) and all three at 200 watts.
    Due to the 400's large dynamic headroom and predominately second-order harmonic
    distortion, it is quite possible to light up all three LED's very strongly before objectional
    clipping distortion is heard. A more complete explanation of distortion appears later in this

    2 - You might try swapping some of your driver tubes into diferent sockets:

    The four small tubes are all type 12AX7, also known as 7025, ECC83 or MESA SPAX7.
    These tubes are very long lasting and trouble free in the Strategy, but best performance will
    result from using genuine replacements. The input stage of your 400 uses a special
    "instrumentation grade" differential amplifier with a proprietary constant-current-source
    This is a high-tech little solid-state part which enables the phase splitter to work in a simple,
    self-balancing mode -- one of the keys to great performance. Occasionally a certain 12AX7
    will not quite match this device and one channel will sound weak as a result. Merely try
    another tube, or exchange it with the one next to it

    3 - You might also make sure your Strategy doesn't have a mix of 6V6 and EL-34 powertubes:

    The main power tube used in the Strategy 400 Stereo is the MESA STR 415 type 6L6 GC
    which provides smooth, warm musical power and is very reliable. The 6L6 we use is
    extremely rugged and has very low 3rd harmonic output when overdriven. All twelve sockets
    should be fitted with STR 6L6's when the Strategy is being used in any application other
    than live guitar. We have specially adapted 4 of the sockets-- those along the rear edge-- to
    accept either 6L6's or STR 416 type 6CA7/EL34. This tube is characterized by more
    prominent harmonic output when driven hard which produces a brighter, more grinding
    high-end, usually preferred for guitar. No internal changes are required; the two type of
    tubes are immediately interchangeable. Thus one model amplifier with interchangeable
    tubes replaces the two different types (normal and Simul-Class) described in some of our

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