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Mesa Boogie Subway D 800 cooling fan noise


basscell
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Does anyone else have an issue with the cooling fan noise on the Mesa D800?  Mine is pretty loud, even annoying when playing alone in a room. Louder than a markbass 102P combo for example.

Otherwise, a phenomenal amp, I have it paired with a 2x10 Subway cabinet.  It's so clear, when you first plug in your bass, it's like putting on a set of new strings, as someone said.

I've tried to capture the noise on video, here it is:

(amp off-on-off)

 

Edited by basscell
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Not got the Mesa, but my Ashdown Retroglide is about the same.  Most companies seem to use cheap/noisey fans, on the basis that in performance environments it will be masked by ambient noise.  The Aguilar TH500 was similar, although it was temp controlled, so only came on about half an hour later.  I’ve been told that quieter fans are made, but not got around to sorting it out. 

What puzzles me is that neither of my amps ever got warm, yet alone hot to the touch.  Even driving a pair of cabs they remain cold.  I guess the power amp module suppliers recommend that fans are necessary. 

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It's a pet hate of mine too. IMHO the fan should only come on when the amp gets warm, and only spin slowly until the amp gets hot. It was bad enough for to me return the TH500 I bought.

The Orange Terror Bass had a noisy fan too but I swapped out it for a silent PC fan!

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Might be a Mesa thing. The Walkabout series featured a very loud fan as well. I have had a Walkabout for nearly ten years and have just used to it on the basis that the fan is never audible when playing with a band. 

I'm guessing Mesa just expect people to be playing their amps at 'full band practice' levels rather than bedroom levels. 

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The stupid money Prodigy 4:88 is the same. Drove me nuts.

 

£2000 for an amp and fit it with the noisiest fan on earth.

The DG M900 is better but I'll still be swapping the fan in it as soon as it is out of warranty.

 

In the house I use a Tecamp Puma 300 - that doesn't have a fan at all.

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Ironically my Mark bass CMD K1 developed a noise much louder than that intermittently. When they replaced it they put in a fan a little less noisey than yours. Doesn't bother me but like someone else said a thousand watt amp in your living room isn't going to be inconspicuous.

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On 10/03/2018 at 00:00, DiMarco said:

An 800 watt amp, and also a 250 watt valve amp does not belong in a bed- or livingroom.
You're doing it wrong.

Sure it's overkill if you only play at home, but if said 800 watt amp is still cool to the touch at bedroom levels, then there's no reason why the cooling system couldn't be designed to be as silent as possible up to a certain temperature threshold, only kicking in the loud fan when it's really needed.

I need to store my amp and cab in my room regardless, so I use it for low volume practice instead of having to buy a separate practice amp that takes up more room and doesn't sound as good!

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On 09/03/2018 at 17:24, fretmeister said:

The DG M900 is better but I'll still be swapping the fan in it as soon as it is out of warranty.

Not something that has particularly bothered me so far with my M900 - it's a fair bit quieter than my Mesa M6 carbine and with both of them, fan noise is something I instantly stop noticing the moment I start playing.

But I'd certainly be interested to hear from you as to what mods you do put through if / when you end up doing it.

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On 10/03/2018 at 00:00, DiMarco said:

An 800 watt amp, and also a 250 watt valve amp does not belong in a bed- or livingroom.
You're doing it wrong.

 

Bollocks.

 

its got a volume control. An amp shouldn’t need active cooling when being used at conversational levels.

I gig but I play far more at home than anywhere else. I should be able to enjoy my purchases.

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3 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

its got a volume control. An amp shouldn’t need active cooling when being used at conversational levels.

I gig but I play far more at home than anywhere else. I should be able to enjoy my purchases.

+1 to ALL that.

Although TBF the DG M900 doesn't produce 800W. More like 900W so we might be let off on a technicality :D

Edited by Al Krow
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I asked "Agedhorse" the amp designer about fan noise. I haven't noticed the fan at a gig, but it's noticable at home. His response:

No, don't spray anything on the fan. The noise floor of the fan is slightly higher because we used a precision ball bearing fan with a rated life of 50,000 hours rather than a common sleeve bearing fan with a life of between 2000 and 5000 hours. 

Fan failures are a known issue with many older amps, ball bearings avoid this.

Andy

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cooling fans are my pet hate in modern amps. I've sold on some great combos and amps because they had acoustically obtrusive cooling fans when used in a quiet room/recording session. In a performance situation it wasn't such an issue. A lot of bass players I suspect don't have the luxury of having a home jam setup thats separate from their gig setup. Cooling fans are a modern day compromise imho for the  large alloy heatsinks of old that allowed solid state amps to run quietly. I haven't heard what a Mesa Subway D800 fan sounds like but have had experience of TC Electronic, Eden, and Ashdown cooling fan noises and have been driven to distraction by them. It's possible to retrofit a silent cooling fan but you might invalidate your amp warranty and perhaps not cool it properly.  My solution was to source an old skool combo for home rehearsal/recording (a Peavey TKO80 1x12combo in my situation that is silent!) and leave the fan cooled beast strictly for live performance.   

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Sensible words from Dangoose. If we want compact, light, powerful amps, we have to accept the design trade offs, which include the fact that a way has to be found to keep them from overheating. If we don't want large heatsinks, that means a fan.

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On ‎11‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 20:25, dannybuoy said:

Sure it's overkill if you only play at home, but if said 800 watt amp is still cool to the touch at bedroom levels, then there's no reason why the cooling system couldn't be designed to be as silent as possible up to a certain temperature threshold, only kicking in the loud fan when it's really needed.

I need to store my amp and cab in my room regardless, so I use it for low volume practice instead of having to buy a separate practice amp that takes up more room and doesn't sound as good!

Of course DB, a 4 pounder will have to be useable at home too.

I experience the same "problem" with the AG 700, which is quite noisy with its 2 fans, replacing my former Markbass R500 which was not. I suspect that the micro-sized amps also have to use little fans that has to run quicker (and noisier) for the same airflow.

for the "problem" (not so big) I use my shuttle 3.0 -8"when playing at very low volume, and it becomes my aux amp when I play covers louder.

Edited by totorbass
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10 hours ago, dangoose said:

Cooling fans are my pet hate in modern amps. I've sold on some great combos and amps because they had acoustically obtrusive cooling fans when used in a quiet room/recording session. In a performance situation it wasn't such an issue. A lot of bass players I suspect don't have the luxury of having a home jam setup thats separate from their gig setup. Cooling fans are a modern day compromise imho for the  large alloy heatsinks of old that allowed solid state amps to run quietly. I haven't heard what a Mesa Subway D800 fan sounds like but have had experience of TC Electronic, Eden, and Ashdown cooling fan noises and have been driven to distraction by them. It's possible to retrofit a silent cooling fan but you might invalidate your amp warranty and perhaps not cool it properly.  My solution was to source an old skool combo for home rehearsal/recording (a Peavey TKO80 1x12combo in my situation that is silent!) and leave the fan cooled beast strictly for live performance.   

 

... or a long speaker cable ;)

 

a guitarist friend of mine adapted the space under the stairs to house a guitar speaker and a microphone, with cables running into his music room, so that he could crank up his little valve amp but still get reasonable levels in the room.

 

(yes, I know, not the same thing as you will not have the controls at your fingertips... I'm half joking :) )

 

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It takes a lot of effort to design a cooling system that is both effective at dissipating heat at gig volume yet relatively silent at bedroom levels. But hopefully with enough people moaning about it manufacturers will take note and put that effort in!

Quietest bedroom amp I ever had was an Orange AD200B, no fan! :D 

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  • 3 years later...

I got in touch with Dave Green at Ashdown ( very helpful man ) about the noise of my Retroglide fan .

He suggested that l put a on/off switch for the fan ( off for bedroom usage , on for stage ) saying that the 800W head should not get hot at bedroom level .

Pete

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Ashdown very helpfully changed the fan in my Retroglide for a quieter version…but I did ask Dave Green if it really needed one, as it never got even slightly warm on gigs.  After a moment’s pause he replied “ that’s because it’s got a fan” 😜🤷🏻‍♂️

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Both my Aguilar amps have pretty noisy fans, but I usually can't hear them over the tinnitus. Both amps run very cool even when cranked up so I'll accept a little noise.

 

I'm used to the background noise of a gig so I can zone out a little amp noise when playing at home. The amp is over 6 feet away, which also helps.

 

Agedhorse has also posted on TB about disabling or changing the fan. Don't do it, because it invalidates the warranties, invalidates the Government safety standards the amp was built under and it may become a fire hazard.

 

If anyone really can't live with the noise of their amp when playing at home, the only options are to buy an amp without a fan, or a headphone amp.

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Added an on /off switch for the fan after talking to Dave Green at Ashdown , who informed me that there is also a thermal cut out in the unit .

So if the amp starts to get too hot ( forgetting to turn on the fan at a gig ) it shuts down .

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