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Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

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  • Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

    I changed the tubes in my Dual Rectifier from the stock Mesa tubes to new JJ's (all the tubes except for the Rectifier tubes).
    I thought this would be a good opportunity to make a sound comparison.
    Would there be a big difference or wouldn't I hear a difference at all?
    I'd never changed the tubes in one of my amps before so I was definitely curious.

    Would love to know your thoughts:

    Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

    Facebook.com/sonicdrivestudio
    OwnHammer.com

  • #2
    Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

    I don't know when you got your Rectifier, but the current Mesa-branded 12AX7's are actually JJ. They used to be Shuguangs at some point, as well as Electro Harmonix, so that would explain the difference.

    With the same settings, I liked the stock Mesa tubes waaaaaaay better, personally. Much less cloudy in the low mids and more aggressive. From the tone in your videos, though, I know you like some chunk in the lower mids, so I guess this was a win!

    Once you dialed in the settings for the JJ's, I liked them better, though.
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 06-27-2019, 07:50 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

      Originally posted by Rex_Rocker View Post
      I don't know when you got your Rectifier, but the current Mesa-branded 12AX7's are actually JJ. They used to be Shuguangs at some point, as well as Electro Harmonix, so that would explain the difference.

      With the same settings, I liked the stock Mesa tubes waaaaaaay better, personally. Much less cloudy in the low mids and more aggressive. From the tone in your videos, though, I know you like some chunk in the lower mids, so I guess this was a win!

      Once you dialed in the settings for the JJ's, I liked them better, though.
      It's a used amp and the previous owner did say he replaced the tubes at least once or twice so I don't think the tubes I had in there were the stock ones.
      They were Mesa branded ones though.
      Good observations by the way.
      Thing is, with the old tubes I found myself really taming the tonestack whilst with the JJ's controls like the treble seem to have a bigger useable range.
      Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

      Facebook.com/sonicdrivestudio
      OwnHammer.com

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      • #4
        Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

        I have a Dual Rect series amp (a Blue Angel, that sounds nothing like the Dual Rect we all know). The stock tubes don't sound like JJs to me, although they may have switched to them now- my amp is from about '96. I did put a whoe set of JJs in there and hated them- very thin and bright compared to stock Mesas.
        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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        • #5
          Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

          Originally posted by Mincer View Post
          I have a Dual Rect series amp (a Blue Angel, that sounds nothing like the Dual Rect we all know). The stock tubes don't sound like JJs to me, although they may have switched to them now- my amp is from about '96. I did put a whoe set of JJs in there and hated them- very thin and bright compared to stock Mesas.
          Interesting!
          The results you got seem to be the complete opposite of mine in the video.
          Perhaps they were different JJ's to begin with?
          Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

          Facebook.com/sonicdrivestudio
          OwnHammer.com

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          • #6
            Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

            Update: I was just informed by someone that the Mesa tubes I had in there were actually chinese Ruby tubes for the power tubes and JJ's for the preamp tubes.
            Owner and founder of Sonic Drive Studio & social media manager for OwnHammer.

            Facebook.com/sonicdrivestudio
            OwnHammer.com

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            • #7
              Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

              Mine could have all been Ruby tubes- I am not sure what they were using back then. I really did like the sound, though. I had replaced a few with lower power versions for different functions (like reverb return, etc) and like it better now.
              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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              • #8
                Re: Old tubes vs new tubes comparison (Mesa vs JJ in a Dual Rectifier)

                Yes, the JJ thing is relatively recent. Definitely like the last 5-10 years at the most.

                Could you post a pic of the tubes, Guitarjon? JJ's should be easy to spot with the star micas and the compact plates.

                Mesa-branded Electro Harmonix were screened "Russian 2", and Shuguangs (sames as the most common Rubies) were labeled "Chinese 1". Not sure what "Russian 1" were. Probably Sovteks.

                The current JJ's I don't think say anything other than "12AX7A".
                Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 06-27-2019, 11:20 AM.

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