#1
Ok so I'm looking into getting new tubes for my Mesa, because I've heard that the stock Mesa tubes are not very good and new tubes will breathe new life into my baby! Ok, I'm pretty sure I'm going with JJ's. I've mailed some info back and forth to Bob at Eurotubes, and I've heard that these tubes are pretty much the best.

Couple of things though, one if I've heard from a couple of people that any tubes besides Mesa will hum really badly, is this true or just bull? Another thing, 6L6's or E34L's? I know that the 6L6 is for a nice heavy chunk and that EL34's have a tad less gain and are more articulate. Bob said that the E34L's are close to a 6L6 while retaining the EL34 attack. I love the way my Mesa sounds now, but I would like a bit more attack and articulation to my tone, that's why I'm really looking into the E34L's. The last thing I want to do though is get them and then not like them, I might end up just getting the full retube with E34L's then snag two 6L6 to go with them, in case I decide the 6L6 would work better.

Also, this will be the first time I've retubed an amp. I know that Mesa's are fixed bias, but can I still slap in the JJ's or will I need to get a bias mod in order to make them sound good?

Sorry for all the text and thanks for any help you can give me!
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#2
you're joking right ? Mesa tubes are awesome, no need to go for other tubes than Mesa.
#4
They're... ok (Mesa Tubes). I popped a quad of 6L6s in my JSX, and then compared them with the JJs. The JJs were much tighter in the low end and had a more "open" high end, more full sounding where it seemed the mesas were a limited frequency range or something.

Most mesas are fixed bias, but that fixed bias is very cold, I've seen as low as 15mA on a friends when he wanted to put new tubes in it. It creates a grainy, very gritty distortion, crossover distortion, if you look at an oscilliscope the two waves (input and output) are crossing, and distorting, where if it was biased properly they'd basically overlap "on top" of each other.

You can have a tech install an adjustable bias pot so you can change the bias but I've run it in EL34 mode and it gets a bit hotter, although I think it gets even hotter when you run the rectifier in the tube mode.

If you can afford it, I'd buy a set of 6L6s and E34Ls, they're both great tubes, but the tone is subjective so it's better off if you decide on it and get first hand experience.
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#5
I would definately avoid JJs in the poweramp. They sound very dark there. If you are dead set on JJs in the pre, then at least pair them up with a quad of SED 6l6s.
#6
Any suggestions on different tubes? I'm guessing SED, but if I didn't go JJ's at all would it still be SED or another brand?
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#7
Tung-Sol or 9th Gen Chinese tubes in the preamp sound great in a recto. In combination with a quad of SEDs, I personally believe it would be a much better than all JJs.
#8
Ok, I'll look into that. Thanks electrik!
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#9
I'd like to 2nd the motion to add a bias circuit to the Mesa. It would amaze you how good most any power tube can sound when biased correctly...or a little warmer. Without a bias circuit, absolutely NO generalizations can be made about how any brand of power tubes will sound in the Mesa....Period, (with the exception of the ones that Mesa handpicks to operate within that particular fixed bias circuit).
And given the fact that resistors and circuits can change values over time, I would'nt be so convinced that those tubes selected even by Mesa would fall within the optimum range of tone possible.
There's NO shortcut...short of getting lucky occasionally with a set that happens to fall within your amp's "sweet spot".
And until a bias ckt is installed, and adjusted for your chosen power tubes, I would'nt waste your $ on the hope that preamp tubes will improve your tone to any noticeable degree.

With all the different current production (and NOS) tubes available, the bias requirements for any given set (even the same brand and same date codes) now vary so much that good tone will be sheer luck. After banging my head against the wall for the last 5 yrs living with my Pignose G60VR's fixed bias, and bitchin about "crappy" tube purchases, I finally installed a bias circuit myself.
Wheras 2 sets of 6L6GC's out of 6 sets sounded decent before adding the bias ckt., now EVERY tube sounds great (and each in their own way).

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#10
My commentary:

JJ preamp tubes are usually too dark...I prefer new production tung sols in the preamp, though a TS in the first position and JJs after that sounds good too.

For the power amp...is it set up to be able to switch between EL34s and 6L6s as is? If not, it'll need some wiring work done from a tech. I've tried a LOT of different power amp tubes, JJs seem to be the best, both in sound and in build quality. The stock Mesa ones SUCK!...I've had ones that weren't even 6L6s, they were some other model relabeled as 6L6s. And they sucked, a LOT.
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#11
I've recently retubed my Boogie.

The stock tubes aren't bad at all. I had mine for 7 years before I decided to replace them because they sounded a bit stale. Mesa tubes also come with a 6 month warranty. I personally wouldn't get JJs, either. I'd contact Doug at Doug's Tubes and see if he has some Winged =C= SED 6L6 tubes that are running the correct voltage for Boogies and Tung Sol 12AX7s. But it all depends what you're looking for. Good EL34s are Svetlana, Mullard (if you can find them) or JJ. IMO, Randall Smith knows what he's doing when he's building amps and they sound good without adding a bias trim pot.
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