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Tube Deal Pricing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hifibass, May 12, 2011.

  1. hifibass


    Feb 4, 2008
    Albany, NY
    Howdy! I'm about to re-tube a Mesa Strategy 400 Stereo Power Amp and I was hoping that someone could steer me to the best quality/most reasonably cost effective method to do this. Mesa needs $322 + shipping, it is 16 total tubes but I want to do this right, without sacrificing performance, but I know there must be a cheaper way. Any ideas? Thanks for looking. Ken
  2. anonymous02282011

    anonymous02282011 Guest

    Jun 27, 2007
    your local, recommended amp tech and/or perhaps an order from the tube depot in Nashville.

    if you're anywhere near buffalo NY just go to fliptops
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    mesa sells rebranded tubes. you can order tubes at better prices at any number of tube stores on the internet. a yahoo search will give you plenty of sites to choose from.
  4. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Order from one of these guys:

    Antique Electronic Supply
    6L6 / 5881 / KT66 / 7027 Tube Types
    6L6 / 5881 Tube Types

    AES (the first link - tubesandmore.com) sells chinese manufacture 6L6's for $15/pair. The tubes you'd get from mesa are likely either rebranded chinese tubes or rebranded sovtek/EH tubes from russia which average $27-35/pair - still cheaper than mesa, but probably not burned in or matched to their specs. I'm pretty sure all of these places include matching in their pricing though you may want to poke around on their sites before ordering to be sure.

    Mesas amps are set up for tubes that match their bias specs and AFAIK they don't have a bias control built in so your best bet would be to speak with a tech and have them order the tubes. You could get away with just popping in some other 6L6 tubes and going, but for best tube life/reliability having a bias control installed and biasing for the tubes you buy is the way to go.
  5. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    What is this 1997? :rollno:

  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i use yahoo because they have news. google only has search.
  7. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I buy all my JJ/Tesla tubes from Bob at Eurotubes in Portland OR. They sound excellent in my Mesas, no need to buy the Mesa ones.
    Also the 4 preamp tubes should last pretty much forever, no need to change those unless you're trying to go for slightly different sound.
  8. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Gotta click the news tab at the top ;)
  9. I had two bunk orders in a row from tube depot. I admit I was sucked in by the shiny website. Triode electronics was my prior supplier and again my current choice. I agree that you are best off going to an amp tech and having the bias set to tubes they recommend. Ask some tube amp toting guitar players for a recommendation of a tech, tube amps are more common among the guitaristy types.

    About brands the consensus seems to be that =C= (winged C) SED tubes are the best power tubes for bass. You may also see them called Svetlana which was their former name. The price on SED has gone thru the roof lately though.
    JJ Tesla are very good as well.
    Electro Harmonix and most other New Sensor tubes sound good, but are short lived tubes in my experience. Svetlana in USA are not real Svetlana, they are New Sensor.
    Also, Mesa tubes are almost all chinese/russian tubes. The truth is that they dont bin for quality. They just bin them to match their bias settings. They match the tubes to the amp so that they can leave the amps set to a single bias. Normal practice is to match the bias of the amp to the tube. (any real amp tech can do this even with a mesa). Apparently some Mesa tubes are Ygo now as well, which means they are JJ Tesla right?
  10. Antique Electronic Supply

    Free matching during May. I don't know if they're the cheapest, they don't usually have the widest range of brands, but I've been pleased with the service every time. I've bought quite a few odds and ends for various projects, and they had everything my 50's console stereo needed to get it back into shape to boot.

    Done well with triode as well. Had a couple bad experiences with ol' Bob the Eurotubes guy and his customer disservice. If I feel like being insulted, I can get that for free at home.
  11. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Mesa - they give you twice the warranty life on the tubes. They are a major buyer, so they get first pick at the best and return the rest.
  12. thetubestore.com
  13. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

  15. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I just retubed my 400+ with JJ's from Eurotubes. I got tubes much higher quality than Mesa's for a lower price than Mesa's.
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    When I had my 400+ I used Bob's tubes and liked them better than the stock Mesa...er...groove tube...er...rebranded chinese tubes...
  17. incorrect.
    They merely sort for bias.
    They "match the tube to the amp, not the amp to the tube".
    Even if they picked the best tubes, the best chinese power tubes are not near as good as SED or JJ power tubes. Heck EH power tubes may have short life, but they sound great. Chinese power tubes I have not found to be any good. But as I said above, some of their tubes are Russian and some (in theory) are Yugo. If you can find a great Mesa tech that know how to get the Yugo tubes there you go. My tech swears the Mesa yugo 6L6 is the best ever. He also said they dont have a Mesa Yugo 6550. :rollno:
  18. Another vote for Bob at Eurotubes He's ALWAYS done me great deals & I've not had a bad tube from him.

    Other JJ sellers -apparently - CAN sell 2nds,
    where Eurotubes is THE main man for 'em

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