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tube troubles - I think

Dynamo Hum

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I have a Mesa Boogie Nomad, about six years old. It's been knocked around a bit but it seems quite sturdy.

I'm having problems mainly with the gain output. To be more precise, it just doesn't sound as crisp and tight as it should. Probably a better word to describe the problem would be oversaturated. Sometimes it just sounds noisy.

My amp used to sound so warm and creamy but now it's just getting to be obnoxious.

I'm hesitant to describe my problem as having to do with microphonics, even though that has been suggested to me, because I just don't really know what that means or is supposed to sound like. A friend told me to test for that by turning on the amp and tapping the preamp tubes with a pencil, listening for feedback, which I did, but I didn't hear any feedback. Maybe I was doing something wrong. I don't know. I'm kind of an imbecile when it comes to electronics.

Does this sound specifically like a tube problem? Should I just replace the lot of them or start with the preamp tubes? And how do I know which are the best to suit my purposes? And does higher price equal higher quality in the tube market?

Just to put this in perspective, I perform for a living so getting my sound together is extremely important. The sound I require is crisp, warm and flexible as I play all manner of rock, jazz and blues, etc. I may be playing some smooth R&B in one set and loud crunchy rock in the next. Therefore, maintaining a consistent, rich and versatile sound is of the utmost importance to me.

Thank you very much for your advice!

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