I've owned a VB
-3 for 1 1/2 years now. I have owned just about every tube bass amp at one time or another in my 50 years of playing bass. This includes the first edition of SVT, and later versions. I tried the VB
-2 and The Traynor; owned a Sunn 2000s (sweeet), 70's B-15 and the list goes on.
I bought the VB
-3 for a few of reasons: I wanted an all tube amp (I didn't currently own one). I needed a reliable amp that could work on 220v and 120v. I was intrigued by the SMPS power section which equals light weight (two back surgeries).
An most importantly I got a super deal from GC's used website. I think I paid about $800 for a mint unit.
I will cut to the chase here: The amp is well worth $800, in my opinion it is WAY overpriced at $1800.
Here is my impressions; YMMV.
I am not a fan of EL34 tubes in bass amps. To my ears they always soud thin and distort too easily. This was less obvious in the VB
-3. But on the recommendation of BbyBld I put in a matched octet of EHX 6CA7 big bottle tubes which made a big improvement (for $180). I also tried 6L6's whic were nice but not as good as 6CA7's.
I currently use it with a Mesa Scout 15 cab.
The features are pretty good. Foot-switchable channel select, compression, mute and graphic.
Compressor is fair, not great but usable. The control should be less sensitive only the first 1/4 turn is useful.
The graphic is a bit of a tone suck,I don't use it, my active basses (Dingwall and Carvin SB5000) are fine for eq compensation.
The tone stack takes a little work to get used to, but the resonance and presence controls can be dialed for just the right amount of "tubieness".
Power is adequate.
I also have an SVT-IIP preamp that I run into the effects return (using the Peavey power section) which can almost (but not quite) get the SVT tone.
One last comment. I always thought of the VB
-3 + Scout combination as a more "vintage" rig to use with the Carvin SB bass. The other day I tried the Dingwall with this combination and spent some time dialing in the tone stack and especially the resonance and presence controls. For my ears, the tone, the tubishness, that dynamically driven envelope sound that only an all tube amp can deliver was all there. And I hereby claim this as my "signature" sound! LOL