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mesa triaxis troubles Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 7th September 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 
SuperTorus's Avatar
 

mesa triaxis troubles

I have some problems with my triaxis pre-amp.

Somehow I think it lacks top-end in the distortion sounds, and I said to myself: Record a little demo and post them here, so someone who has the preamp can tell me if it should sound that way or not.

Unfortunately the difference does not show up in the recording as drastic as it does when you hear the amp live. Compared to the pre of my Laney LH50 that I use as reference (e.g. sounds good to my ears) the difference is night and day. Maybe it's my cheapo rehearsal room recording chain or so.. I don't know.

Anyways, I've made a little clip. I play some E-powerchords here:

http://www.knittinganarchist.de/tempnils/nilsamp.mp3

1st: A Laney LH50 (marshall-style pre-amp) with all tone controls at the middle for reference. G12H30 Speaker, SM57 straight into a PC-soundcard. This one sounds ok to my ears.

Chords 2 to 6: Triaxis outpust into Laney LH50 Poweramp section. Same speaker, same mic, same chain.

I play the first 5 factory preset sounds here.

I've normalized the different takes to compensate for the different volume. Also I just stuck the mic on front of the amp and hit record, so please don't expect a miracle in sound-quality :-)



Except for the clean tones I miss top end in all distortion sounds. It's like there is a drastic lowpass filtering going on somehwere around 10Khz. All the sizzle is missing on the triaxis, and that makes the sounds a bit liveless and dull.


Should a triaxis sound that way or is there indeed something missing? The reason I ask is: If I want to get it checked/fixed I'll most probably have to ship it overseas, and that is a big PITA.

Nils
Old 9th September 2007
  #2
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

How old is the unit? Has it had constant use? the 12AX7 tubes generally last about 10 years tops with everyday use, perhaps less. I would try replacing the tubes before sending it in. I think they shipped with chinese crap tubes back in the 90's, but the chinese tubes you can get today are much better. I wouldn't go with one of the vintage reissue tubes such as the mullards, as they tend to be a little dark. I know that thing has a bunch of tubes, but modern 12ax7s are pretty cheap. If you want to go vintage, get some 1980's chinese silver plate tubes, those things rock in super high gain situations.
Old 9th September 2007
  #3
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Tibbon's Avatar
The Triaxis is amazing, but it requires a lot of tweaking. It's not the type of preamp that sounds good at every setting at all.

+1 on replacing the tubes.
It wouldn't sound like that if it needed recapped would it?
Old 9th September 2007
  #4
Gear Head
 
SuperTorus's Avatar
 

Thanks for the replies.

The tubes are roughly 3 years old and haven't seen more than 30 hours of use, so they should be fine, in theory.

Changing them is something I will try in the next days. I still have enough spares here that work well in other amps.

Thanks for pointing that out. I haven't really considered doing a tube-swap since the current ones are new, but maybe one failed during shipping or so.

Nils
Old 9th September 2007
  #5
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Tibbon's Avatar
Got a tube tester? Not a bad idea to have around.
Old 9th September 2007
  #6
Gear Head
 
SuperTorus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Got a tube tester? Not a bad idea to have around.
No, don't have one. I use tube-gear for some years now, even built some tube stuff myself, but I never had a preamp-tube go bad.

I have two tubes that became microphonic but work fine in later stages. That's it. Maybe I've just been lucky so far :-)

Nils
Old 13th September 2007
  #7
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperTorus View Post
No, don't have one. I use tube-gear for some years now, even built some tube stuff myself, but I never had a preamp-tube go bad.

I have two tubes that became microphonic but work fine in later stages. That's it. Maybe I've just been lucky so far :-)

Nils
Your tubes are probably fine if the unit is only 3 years old, but that doesn't mean that different 12ax7s will give you more brightness. Maybe try swapping the laney tubes and see if the tone changes.

As for microphonic tubes, the amount of gain in the early stages of the triaxis will show many tubes as being microphonic, even if they are fine in other amps. This is where the chinese silver specials really shine. They can be slammed HARD without noise or microphonics, but the trade off is"character" which they tend to lack in a low gain setting.
Old 13th September 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
One thing you need to remember is that tubes are not linear devices. They do not have flat frequency response, and the characteristics of a 12AX7 can be different for every manufacturer. If you want a low-noise 12AX7 that has plenty of high end, try the Electro Harmonix one. Some 12AX7's can be pretty dark, especially when overdriven.
Old 13th September 2007
  #9
Gear Head
 
SuperTorus's Avatar
 

I had the chance to try out some of my spare tubes yesterday. I had five JJ's and a pair of TT tubes (relabled chineese 9th generation selected for high gain. Only tried them once and didn't used them because I didn't liked their sound. They had tons of heights though).

The tube change helped a bit or at least I think so (haven't done A/B tests). Still - the sound fails short in comparison to my Laney Head even if I run the mesa with the poweramps presence maxed out.

Then I compared to my bandmates marshall, and the mesa made a better figure here.

I think this is because I've modified the Laney to match my taste of distortion sound, and I am so used to that sound that everything will fall short in comparison. The trixaxis does cleans to die for. The Mark-II Lead sounds are wonderfull as well, but I don't get a modern distorted rythm sound out of it.

Maybe I just don't dig the sound of the mesa preamps, or I'm to dump to get a good sound out of it - who knows.

I'll send that thing to a tech and get it checked. Then - If I still don't like the sound - take it home. My ideal of a good guitar sound has changed before and maybe I'll dig the sound in a year or two.

Nils
Old 13th September 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
For the modern crunchy rhythm sound, you would have to go to either a Formula Pre or the newer Rectifier Pre to get it.
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