Noisy Tube Amps. Not anymore.

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Lizardkinged, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Who's got'em?

    I've had a Fender Supersonic 22 head for a little over 18 months that's been a noisy little bastard the whole time. I pretty much gave up on it. Without opening up the chassis, or even trying to ground the red/white RCA's that connect the reverb pan I isolated just about everything to the reverb section.

    The noise was worst on the gain channel when the reverb was turned up *engaged or not as when controlled by foot switch* but started to hum any time the pan was turned up. So I changed the Reverb tubes with no luck. I finally took out V1 and decided to try a few other tubes. I have a JJ (Slovakian), Mullard RI, Ruby, and one of the Mesa spax7's which the Mesa fanboys will tell you are their normal tubes that are just tested and the lowest noise of the bunch. Apparently they're EHX, which are also the JJ's. I have a Sovtek 12ax7WA that's sortof it's own thing.

    The thing that I have to say instantly about the Mesa spax7 is that it cleaned up the hum and buzz on my Supersonic which is about as loud at Idle as most Mesa Boogies I've tried. More to come, but I'm pretty impressed with how much effect this tube made on this amp in particular. Anyone else try one?
     
  2. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    I am a long time Mesa MK3 and MK2B player.
    In the first position I always use a SPAX7. If I won`t the amp would not be useable for higher gain.

    In the 90ies there was a long phase where it seemed that supply is short and the quality of that special tube was varying enourmously. I sent at least 3 tubes back to the retailer because I simply could not use them. Now it seems that the quality is quite constanly again.
    I tried them on my Marshalls but they did not make a lot of different in those amps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  3. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Indeed. I think it's a great match for this Supersonic 22. I'll have to shout out to @ruger9. It's the butter on the bagel for a noisy amp in my opinion.

    As they're just tested EHX tubes, I'm positive one could just order other low-noise options from elsewhere. I think these are just a bit easier to trust.
     
  4. ronbo

    ronbo Gretschie

    Age:
    61
    320
    Feb 28, 2012
    Broomfield, Colorado
    That's good news, I also have a SS22 (combo) and the reverb is pretty noisy at times. I may have to look at one of those spax7's...
     
  5. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    V1 is your most critical tube - it has to be quiet AND it has to have good tone/gain. Not many tubes live up to this and Mesa is smart to select these out for this.
     
    Lizardkinged likes this.
  6. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    This sorted that out for sure. I can't say if the 12at7's I replaced in the reverb helped or not.
     
  7. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    For noise? My SS22 has never been noisy, with the exception of turning the reverb up, there's a slight buzz. But that has nothing to do with V1. I have read about noisy SS22's, but mine has never been. It also doesn't have any of the stock tubes in it... I always swap out ALL of Fender's OEM tubes immediately... not because they are necessarily bad, but because I know which tubes I like, and can "hear better" what the amp will sound like with MY choice of tubes in it (and a re-biasing; Fender notoriously biases cold at the factory).
     
  8. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Well when we went over this in PM I went over all the stuff that could be done without pulling an op-amp and to me if it hisses/hums @ idle the way you describe as mine was doing it fairly similarly. It flat out was V1. We thought it could be the F/S or it's Din cable, but considering it does it any time you get the reverb knob up past 5; reguardless if the switch is connected, let alone engaging the circuit...

    I also know I play with a lot more gain than you more often. I'm going to notice the noise earlier than you would. It's going to affect my day-to-day a little bit more. Sure, they're not any louder than most Boogies @ Idle. I don't own a Boogie for a reason though. It's not just the $$ to me... they sound good. Maybe not enough for THAT money though.
     
  9. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    London...ish
    My 5E3 is as noisy as hell. Love that mental little amp :)
     
    ruger9 likes this.
  10. houndman55

    houndman55 Synchromatic

    672
    Feb 8, 2014
    Sweden
    One of many reasons I use solid state amps.
     
  11. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Some tube dealers sell "Hi-gain" pre-amp tubes. Not so much selected for their gain but for their noise levels. Maybe worth a try?
     
  12. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    I think we're getting some "wires crossed" here. My SS22 has never been noisy at idle... on the CLEAN channel. Dead silent. On the BURN channel, hiss increases as Gain1 is turned up, but I rarely have Gain1 past 5 unless I'm playing 80's metal lol. Gain2 doesn't really affect the noise floor. I do regularly add gain pedals on top of the Burn channel running at 5&5... the latest one being a JHS @ (Andy Timmons), for heavier-gain stuff. And yes- it does add some noise, any high-gainer that isn't digital is going to.

    As for reverb, my reverb didn't add that little buzz unless it was activated. And it did it w/o the DIN cable being plugged in... but then I've had issues with my reverb from the very start... buzzing, getting weak then getting stronger, not working one day then working the next.... it's been good for awhile now, after I opened the amp up and worked all the reverb connections to make sure corrosion wasn't the culprit (there are alot of "plugs" in these amps, where in the olden days they would have used solder LOL.

    But as for "noisy at idle", my SS22 has been ok with that... and for point of reference, ALL the tubes have been changed in my amp, and it's been re-biased. It's a shame Fender is having intermittent problems like this with their new amps, because they all sound great- but the QC is leaving something to be desired.... sometimes it's a simple as a tube (they don't make 'em like they used to), and sometimes the problem can't be tracked down....
     
  13. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    London...ish
    I'll take my noisy 5E3 over vanilla flavoured silicon chips anyday ;)
     
  14. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    I'm positive we're describing the same thing. Talked about it more in PM and we blamed it on the Din cable at one time in a previous discussion like a year ago. It was also possible that it was the RCA's as well as a few other things.

    We concluded that no matter what when the reverb knob is up (engaged by the switch/cable or not) it will hiss/hum louder. It does do it on both channels. I just crank my clean channel enough to hear it. Also in a decent padded/deadened space and hear everything.


    I crank both sides of the pre and power sections on the burn side sometimes. I play Death/Black-metal and Doom/Sludge metal often. I often times will mix in my Orange Dark Terror... I really push this sucker... Have a few different clean boosts, and drive pedals to crush the front end on top of it too.

    It also doesn't do it as bad since I re-biased. Really it noticeably quieted down after I put the spax7 in there though. And yeah the stock tubes are poorly matched and even though they say "premium..." GT re-brands other tube manufacturers. In some cases they're rejects... as in they didn't pass JJ's or EHX's rattle/shock test standards... but operate in the Groove Tube standards of SUCK. I have a set of the JJ's and some Tung Sol's sitting around but don't really want to use them quite yet. Neither set fit in my other 6v6 combo... I either need to return to the stock speaker or move the tubes a little bit...

    Totally that's what this Mesa tube is. They're just re-branded EHX tubes (possibly similar to the JJ I already have) which are then tested/selected by Mesa Boogie. They're also tested to have a lot of gain too. I'm set with this one. I was just saying I'd think the spax7 is probably a sure fire way to knock down a noisy amp. Any version from the tube dealers out there that are tested for low noise would be similar.

    Totally. This one individual tube is a winner in my book. Lol.

    I have other amps I could try it in, but this amp has had me on the fence since I've had it with it's idle/operating noise. I've sort-of regretted not getting a DRRI and just using it more as a pedal platform to get these types and then some. I've bought a few more amps since though and having re-biased the GT's that came with it (which are just poorly matched but Re-branded JJ6v6S's that don't pass JJ's rattle standards) it's all around better. But like @ruger9 says... It is a QC issue. How much time do I sink into this?
     
  15. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Try one of these tubes or any low-noise option :). Ought to quiet it down a little.

    Same here. I'm thinking of building a 5e3 or a Lo-Power Tweed Twin :). 45w Dual Rectified tweedy goodness :).
     
  16. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    London...ish
    I've now got my second 5E3 inbound. Just bought the Fender Custom Shop 57 Deluxe (5E3). It's gonna get noisy in there here parts!!!

    M ;)
     
    MTurner and Lizardkinged like this.
  17. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta

    Dude - do that low powered twin. You've been talking about it forever, you really want it and I really want to hear it. Lol.
     
  18. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    I've been very interested in those as well. Did you get the Head or Combo?
     
  19. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    I want to man! I'm just up to my neck in parts and projects right now. Non guitar related as well. I have like 4 lawnmowers in my yard right now. 3 of the engines were used to make the best one out of the fourth, and using the second's mower-deck/handles and bagging attachment... Franken mower. Briggs and Stratton stuff is awesome like that.
     
    TSims1 likes this.
  20. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    London...ish
    Combo. Want to compare it to my Abbot Amps 5E3. Only one can survive....

    But, I might take a year or two to make up my mind ;)
     
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