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Microphone Month 3

Color-coded Mesas

Q: I’m confused about buying Mesa Boogie tubes for my amp. I got a set and they were red. Is this a high output set?

A: Mesa Boogie uses color-coding on their vacuum tubes solely to indicate matched pairs, to help keep things organized. The color codes do not indicate gain, output, tone, or any other attributes.

The only place we can think of where a particular color code might matter is if you have an amp with four output tubes, and two pairs of replacement tubes with different color codes. In that situation, for best performance, the tubes should be installed so that the tubes with the same color code are working together as a pair. Normally this would mean one color-coded pair in the outside tube sockets, the other color-coded pair in the inside tube sockets.

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