#1
I AM going to do this, I just wonder what I might expect. I'm going to buy two duets of Mesa's stock EL34's next week, just to see what they sound like. I've only ever played my Rectifiers with the 6L6's. I know that EL 34's are typically not as 'round', or 'fat' sounding as the EL's, but I'm wondering if anyone has had first hand experience with either a Dual Rectifier, a Roadster, or as a last resort, the Triple Rectifier with EL34's. If so, what did you think? Did you like it? Hate it? Was it a noticeable difference in tone, or just a slight difference? What about feel/breakup/etc?

FYI - I LOVE my Roadster, I'm not doing this because I'm unhappy with the tone - that isn't it at all. I'm just doing it because four tubes are relatively inexpensive, and I want to see what it sounds like, that is all. Anyone?

I will post MY experience in this thread once it happens. Thanks.
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
#2
I wouldn't use Mesa tubes as they're essentially rebranded Groove Tubes. Look at Tung Sol or JJ instead, Mullard if you've got a bit more cash.
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#3
EL-34s in a Recto is the only way to go IMO. Not a big fan of 6L6 tubes, they don't have as much "life" as EL-34s have, or the mid-range snarl

Never tried them in a Roadster, but they sounded great in my Road King.
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#4
They're not simply rebranded GTs, they're pre-selected to best function with Mesa amps because Mesas do not have adjustable bias. That way you're not sticking in a tube that draws too much idle current and not being able to tone it down.
#5
I do, i have some in my single recto and god i love it!
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#6
Quote by al112987
They're not simply rebranded GTs, they're pre-selected to best function with Mesa amps because Mesas do not have adjustable bias. That way you're not sticking in a tube that draws too much idle current and not being able to tone it down.



You can just order tubes from any of the big online retailers and ask them for ones that will match the Mesa bias. And they'll sound a lot better.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#7
Quote by MatrixClaw


You can just order tubes from any of the big online retailers and ask them for ones that will match the Mesa bias. And they'll sound a lot better.


What online retailer are you referring to? Which one, when you ask them that question, will A.) Know what you're even talking about, B.) have the knowledge to tell you which tube you need, and C.) actually be correct? I only know of one, but I'm not at liberty to say where that might be yet, but just wondered how often you've called online retailers, since 'most' of them (as in, 'almost' all of them) would be totally lost if you asked them that question.

I'm going to stick with Mesa tubes, since they're tested by the RoboTube machine, and I trust them. They're matched pairs, and as long as you install them correctly when you order them (as in, they don't have quartets, only matched pairs), then you'll know your amp is operating at proper bias and optimally.

Thanks for these responses guys, I'm looking forward to trying the EL34's. Even my Mesa rep says he prefers the EL34's in the Roadster, and he WORKS there.
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
#8
mesa tubes=no good
get some winged cs off of tubedepot, tell him its for a roadster
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#9
Quote by MatrixClaw
EL-34s in a Recto is the only way to go IMO. Not a big fan of 6L6 tubes, they don't have as much "life" as EL-34s have, or the mid-range snarl

Never tried them in a Roadster, but they sounded great in my Road King.


So is your Road King operating on ONLY EL34's then? Because the Road King comes with a pair of EL34's stock. I'm just wondering, because if you swapped ALL the 6L6's for EL34's, you must really like the way they sound, since you already had an option for EL34 voicings to begin with. This is a curious one. Do tell!
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
#10
Quote by Raijouta
I wouldn't use Mesa tubes as they're essentially rebranded Groove Tubes. Look at Tung Sol or JJ instead, Mullard if you've got a bit more cash.


Where did you get this information? Just wondering if it's a valid source, because I'm not sure that's the case. Even if it IS the case, that's fine...the Mesa tubes are biased for Mesa amps, and as long as you stick with the Mesa tubes, you don't have to worry about biasing at all. Also, Mesa tubes go through "the hammer test" after RoboTube is finished spec'ing them out, and have a six month warranty. I'm not concerned with what brand of tubes, just the overall character and sound of EL34's in a Rectifier. These responses have made me anxious to get them.
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
#11
Quote by Ludichris@Once
What online retailer are you referring to?


I think you have in mind a different sort of online retailer (Guitarcenter.com, Zzsounds, Sweetwater etc) than MatrixClaw does (dougstubes.com, thetubestore, tubedepot) With all of those I'm pretty sure you can email the guys who run the place and they'll send you tubes matched to your specifications. For my tube needs I use Dougstubes but he doesn't have a very wide variety in stock.

As to the question of Mesas being rebranded Groove Tubes, you can pretty much find that anywhere on the Internet. There is no amp maker on the planet that makes its own tubes (aside from super boutique ventures from guys in their basements)

Even when you're looking at EL34 tubes in a general sense, every brand of EL34 tube has different sound characteristics that I believe is worth looking into.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
What the hell is a G&L.



Quote by Flux'D
Gay & Lesbian I think, the box smelled funny
Greg what did you send me??
Last edited by Raijouta at Oct 25, 2009,
#12
Quote by Raijouta
I think you have in mind a different sort of online retailer (Guitarcenter.com, Zzsounds, Sweetwater etc) than MatrixClaw does (dougstubes.com, thetubestore, tubedepot) With all of those I'm pretty sure you can email the guys who run the place and they'll send you tubes matched to your specifications. For my tube needs I use Dougstubes but he doesn't have a very wide variety in stock.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking, and most of them are clueless. There is a Pro Audio retailer that is amazing though. Nobody can know everything about everything, especially when they carry - well - everything, but 'one' of them, if they don't have the answer, they WILL get the answer, the correct one, and get back to you. Also though, if you use different tubes with Mesa amps, you void the warranty. Makes sense to me, why would Mesa want to pay for somebody being an idiot? "Oh, you're just an idiot, no problem, we'll do the repair work for free and get you on your way, idiot." It makes sense to me why they would want you using their tubes - sure it helps them sell tubes, but geez, look at the price of tubes, they are pennies on the dollar compared to the price of the amps themselves. I'm sure it's nice for them to make money on the side with tube sales, but I would bet it had more to do with not having to eat as many repair expenses due to negligence on the users part.

I know different brands sound different. I know said tubes are relatively inexpensive, and they are, but I don't have a couple hundred to experiment. I'm getting the Mesa tubes, and maybe down the line after I look into this further, I will experiment with different tubes and their sounds. It's kinda like pickups. In fact, it's a very similar expense (except pickups are considerably more work). They all sound different, and they aren't that expensive, but finding the perfect pickup is a tedious and expensive process at times. That's why I went with the Duncan JB and '59 combo. Are those the 'best' pickups out there? Probably not, but are they good? Yeah, they are. Am I happy with them for now? Yeah. It might be a similar thing with the tubes. And...who knows, I might not like the EL34 sound at all in the Roadster, and just put the 6L6's back in.
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
Last edited by Ludichris@Once at Oct 25, 2009,
#13
Sorry for the late response. The tubes took a little longer then planned, and then I've been busy. So here's the report - I LOVE IT!!!! It seems to be the popular opinion that Rectifiers DO sound better with EL 34's, and now that I'm on the other side of that, I have to agree.

I've read where some people didn't notice that much of a difference, but I definitely did.

In all four channels, on any pickup (I have two humbuckers and a 5 way switch - coil splitting), I just loved the new tone. Here's a bit of a breakdown:

6L6: They felt and sounded more scooped in the mids, had a lot of low end (almost 'too' much), and the highs were a little too shimmery for me (aka 'glassy'). To me the 6L6 tone in the Rectifiers is awesome for hard/heavy rock, metal, super cleans (as in - NO perceived breakup), etc. They didn't do as well with the 'in between' tones, like overdrive for blues, tones between overdrive and 'not quite' metal, classic rock, etc. Don't get me wrong, the Roadster sounded amazing to me with 6L6's, but...

EL34: The mids pop out more, and I find that the 'mid' control in the tone stack has more effect on the tone, it's more sensitive to where it's dialed in at. If I dime it, I can tell, if I roll it back to 1 o'clock, I can tell, if I dial it down to 9 o'clock, I can tell. With the 6L6's, I didn't notice significant change with the mid control. It changed, yes, but not significantly. I think whatever frequency the mid control is boosting/cutting, is better matched with the EL34. I've heard about people complain that the EL34's have no bottom end. I disagree - it's there, it's just not boomy and thick (could be called 'muddy') like on the 6L6. I'm using my 2 X 12 Rectifier cabinet, and Rectifier cabinets have always been known to have great low end. With the EL34's, I get the low end still, but it's more focused and less boomy. The highs...kinda hard to describe...they're smoother, a bit more tapered (again, not as 'glassy') than the 6L6's. Also, I am finding the EL34's to be more articulate with sharper attack and more sensitive to picking dynamics than the 6L6's were. They don't allow as much 'slop' in my playing to be hidden by the high gain (which is GOOD!).

So, that's it. Thanks for the responses people. If anyone else wants to share their opinion of EL34s/6L6's, let us know why you prefer one over the other. Thanks.
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
#14
Since when does Mesa's warranty void if you don't use their tubes??

Quote by Ludichris@Once
So is your Road King operating on ONLY EL34's then? Because the Road King comes with a pair of EL34's stock. I'm just wondering, because if you swapped ALL the 6L6's for EL34's, you must really like the way they sound, since you already had an option for EL34 voicings to begin with. This is a curious one. Do tell!

No, the RK has 4 6L6s and 2 EL-34s. I was speaking about when running it at 50W with both EL-34s, it sounded great. I much prefer EL-34s to 6L6s. 6L6s just sound dead and lifeless to me


Glad you're liking them though!
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#15
Quote by MatrixClaw
Since when does Mesa's warranty void if you don't use their tubes??


It's right in the warranty. Read the warranty.


Quote by MatrixClaw
No, the RK has 4 6L6s and 2 EL-34s. I was speaking about when running it at 50W with both EL-34s, it sounded great. I much prefer EL-34s to 6L6s. 6L6s just sound dead and lifeless to me


Glad you're liking them though!


Well, I learned something new today. I didn't realize that Road King didn't have a bias select switch - I thought the 6L6's could be swapped for EL34's like on all the Rectifiers. That's cool though, I mean, 120 watts is overkill for 'almost' anywhere. Maybe not some outdoor gigs, but for most places, why would you need 120 watts?

Yes, I'm very much diggin' the EL34's. A new voice that I've been enjoying is the 'Tweed' setting in channel one, with gain full up, on the neck pickup. It's a nice bluesy honk.
Mesa/Boogie Roadster Head (custom finished)
Mesa 2 X 12 Rectifier cab (matches head)
Ibanez Prestige S 1625 Bubinga
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss NS 2
Boss TU 2
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q