#1
So I recently bought a used Mesa Stiletto Ace combo for $1200 (from Guitar Center). The sales guy said the previous owner only used it for a couple of studio gigs and then returned it, so it in great condition. (So he says, at least.)

The clean modes are fine, I'm not sure if they're supposed to be awe inspiring, but I don't have any problems with them. However, the gain modes are very, very disappointing. It gets loud enough, and theres plenty of distortion in terms of being less clean, but there is little to no sustain or fluidity, and frankly, it just doesn't sound like an amp that cost $1200.

Looking at the tubes I noticed that all of the pre-amp tubes were Russian made, with the exception of V2 and V3, which were made in China. These 2 are responsible for gain stages 3, 4, and 5 between them, so is it possible that they are the problem, or at least part of it?

Other suggestions of possible problems would be welcome, and if you need more information just ask.
Quote by Trowzaa
what specs is your pc? like how much ram?


Quote by Hydra150
[IMG]http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/three-rams-steve-mckinzie.jpg[/IMG]


Quote by eGraham
3 ram, nice

Last edited by Danjo's Guitar at Jul 10, 2011,
#2
That amp deserves NOS preamp tubes. Off to Ebay with you.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#3
Definitely could be a tube problem, especially because I've never heard of Russian made tubes sounding good, and we all know what kind of stuff comes out of China.
Where's Waldo?
#5
my amp had sovtek WB or WA tubes in it stock. It was fizzy and harsh on distortion, and pretty good clean. I replaced it with JJ's (not the power amp, those were ruby stock) and the amp warmed up, got rid of the fizz, added some gain, and became more fluid. It wasn't like two different amps, but it was extremely noticeable. I would say do a tube swap, and if doesn't do it for you, take your new tubes back out and return the amp, and keep your new good tubes for your next tube amp.
#6
So you're saying all of the pre-amp tubes are bad? And I forgot to mention it, but theres a serious volume and tone drop from the normal gain channel (tight gain) to the high gain channel (fluid drive).

And also, the sound is bad enough that I'd almost rather be playing my Spider II. No tube amp should sound that bad.
Quote by Trowzaa
what specs is your pc? like how much ram?


Quote by Hydra150
[IMG]http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/three-rams-steve-mckinzie.jpg[/IMG]


Quote by eGraham
3 ram, nice

Last edited by Danjo's Guitar at Jul 10, 2011,
#7
Did you try all the channels in the store?

I would re-tube and then have some fun with it.
#8
I was not able to try it in the store because neither of the Mesa Dealers that I have access to carry the Ace in stock. And the Guitar Center that I got mine from was in Texas. I live in New Mexico. But I am certain that the flaw is not in the way that the amp is designed. Its marketed as a clean/mid-gain/high-gain amplifier. The one in my bedroom will not produce any sounds remotely resembling high-gain. If it did and they were crappy, that would be a different problem.
Quote by Trowzaa
what specs is your pc? like how much ram?


Quote by Hydra150
[IMG]http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/three-rams-steve-mckinzie.jpg[/IMG]


Quote by eGraham
3 ram, nice

#9
Mesa tubes work well in mesa amps. I'd get a new set of preamp tubes. But I cant belive you bought a Stiletto with out trying it first.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#10
Definitely worth upgrading the tubes. However (and a lot of people will probably argue this) imo the V1 is the most important since its the initial gain stage and is most responsible for shaping the tone. Everything else just kind of builds on that initial tone shape.

Also, rule of thumb, never buy before you try. Even if something is "new", if you're buying a floor model then you never know what has been done to it buy the n00bs that come in and play.
#11
Quote by i_am_metalhead
Definitely worth upgrading the tubes. However (and a lot of people will probably argue this) imo the V1 is the most important since its the initial gain stage and is most responsible for shaping the tone. Everything else just kind of builds on that initial tone shape.


Yeah, the V1 is pretty important in terms of tone shaping. While of course a tube change won't have a drastic impact... but it'll be evident enough for you to hear.

Also, you have to realise that EVERY, LITERALLY EVERY Mesa amp EVER designed is capable of clean / mid / high gain. Heck, LITERALLY EVERY amp ever designed is capable of cleans / low / mid / high gain.

The problem is suspect is that your expectations of high gains differ from what the amp offers.

Mesa may be renowned for its Dual Rect's chugga chugga distortion, but the problem is, not EVERY Mesa amp has that Dual Rect chug. The high gain of a Lonestar will differ from that of a Single Rect, which differs from that of a Roadster, which differs from that of a Mark, etc etc...

If you're expecting the Ace to give you a Mark's or a Rect's distortion, I think you're barking up the wrong tree.
Quote by Blompcube
it's so cool to hate Gibson, even the federal Department of Justice hates them.

( )( )
( . .) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
C('')('') signature to help him gain world domination.