i recently bought a mesa boogie roadster for $1200. my problem is im having a hard time getting a good distortion sound out of it. it seems to lack gain and bass. what im wondering is should i replace the tubes, as theyre probly really old, and which ones? i dont exactly have $300 to spend on tubes, especially if there is nothing wrong with them. when messing around on the back of the amp i noticed that the two rectifier tubes (5U4GB) make a faint clinky sound when tapped. like when a lightbulb is burnt out. the sound doesnt come out through the speaker like some guides online said are symptoms of bad tubes. also the 5U4GB's dont glow like the rest, but do get hot. are they bad? 6l6's? 12ax7's?

so basically should i get new tubes, or keep messing with the dials. i got an ok sound today, but still didnt seem spot on. i should note the cleans are good.

any help appreciated.
Try switching to the Silicon rectifier? If the rectifier tubes are bad, just bypass it by using the silicon.

That being said, Mesas tend to have a sweet spot. Start all knobs at noon, then add Mids until you've got a satisfying "girth" to your sound. Then add bass to help fill it up, then adjust the treble as needed for cut.

Good luck.
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id retube it just to be safe, the owner mustve sold it that low for a reason. around here, its rediculous if a roadster goes for 1500 or less. they normally go 1700-1900 used here. so in my books you got a good deal buddy but yea maybe try newtubes but also try the EQ advbice
so i flipped the hard bypass switch on, which i think just takes away the output and solo controls. so basically it makes the output at 100% all the time, this made it sound a lot more gainy still working perfecting high gain tones but definetly sounds better. i guess i can turn off hard bypass and turn the output to around 90% and solo 100%, but i dont really boost solo anyway.

Seanthesheep thats what i was thinking, and it really was impulse buy (which might be why im such a noob with it). For it to be so cheap is there somthing wrong with it? thats just why i was a lil paranoid about the tube thing, but for now ill continue tweaking.

where are you from where they go for 1900? i have the head version not the combo. i mean u can get a brand new one for 2100. are u confusing this with road king?
nope, trust me i would not mistake a roadster for a roadking, right now in my locals, theres like 3 or 4 combos, 1600-1800 and one head for 1900 i believe.

but also taxes here are 13% so a 2100$ amp comes closer to 2500 or 2600. and people for some reason find that as a valid selling pont around here. (theres also a roadking head with a recto2x12 cab going for 3000$)

but back to your point, although i dream of owning a roadster, i know from first hand experiences, Mesas are a B*TCH to dial in if you dont know what youre doing and really shine at louder volumes. it could also just be old tubes, or tubes that dont suit the amp well. either case though, new tubes would benefit the amp i think.

EDIT: here check it out

and yea, theres a head going for 1500, but thats out in ottawa, like 3-4 hours from me
Last edited by Seanthesheep at Sep 28, 2011,
Sound doesn't go through the rectifier tubes. They're part of the power supply and not part of the audio path.

I'd give it a few days to get used to it. I don't know what you used previously, but if you were using something like a distortion pedal for gain before then tube gain can feel quite different. A lot of noobs mistake the lack of compression for a lack of gain, when the truth is that you just need to practice with the amp to learn how it responds to your fingers.