Another MESA flip! Strategy 500 edition
So I flipped a Mesa Strategy 500 a few months ago and dang did it feel good. I was randomly watching Ebay when this doozy of an amp popped up only 600$ for an auction of a Mesa all tube 500watt power amp. I had to have it and on impulse I bought it. When I received it, plugged it in and everything worked fine for about 1 day then the right channel started sounding distorted and weak. Oh crap I thought, here we go again. Luckily one of my hobbies is, you guessed it, fixing music junk!
This amp was the most difficult amp for me to troubleshoot that I ever ran into. Tubes checked out ok, voltages checked out ok, nothing obviously wrong anywhere, etc etc... I went so far as to connect an oscilliscope to the output of each stage on the broken side, and compare it to the same stage on the opposite side to see where the differences were. After all - this is a stereo amp and right and left should be pretty close right? Yeah that turned out to be a really good way to troubleshoot because I was able to narrow the problem location down to one of the preamp tube stages giving me an issue. Right after that stage, distortion would manifest and start appearing in the wave (for audio input i just grabbed a sine wave off youtube, no need for a function generator on a budget!) I fixed it with about 10$ worth of parts after somebody on a music electronics forum told me to replace some magic thingy they used instead of a cathode resistor on these amps. Also, I emailed the Ebay seller and said it cost me 10$ to fix his amp and he refunded 10$ to me for the trouble. People are so cool sometimes.
So basically what I ended up with was a killer 500watt amp that I could use to listen to my music in style. I have some listening notes comparing the 500 watt to the 400 watt Mesa Strategy HERE from an old article. Since I had them both at the same time I figured somebody should do this just listening to regular music for the record. I ended up using it in my living room for about a year and loving every minute of it, it just sounded so good you understand. But I knew it was always destined to be a for-profit amp in the back of my head.
Finally I sold it on Reverb and ended up getting 867$ After all was said and done. I gave the guy a cheap custom shipping quote because he was close to me.
In summary, flipping things kicks butt because you can sincerely enjoy the best equipment money has to offer, and technically you are getting paid for it. What a wonderful world it is. On a side note, I guess I really do flip a bunch of stuff that never makes it to this site because in the last 12 months I moved almost 4k of junk through Reverb alone! Check this out: