Ampeg backline amp choice - help me decide which one
Going to play two sponsored shows in Texas next week :cool:
Got the backline info today. For bass there is a choice, SVT 4Pro or SVT 6Pro, into an 810e. There will be serious FOH, the venue is providing Countryman DI's, and will do DI and cab mic mix for bass, so all is good in that regard.
As I have limited recent Ampeg experience (I have had all kinds of old school backline SVTs over the years - just not in the past 10 yrs or so) , I wanted to seek the collective wisdom of TB to decide which of these amps might work best for me.
I am currently using a PF500/115HE rig for most gigs with this band, and I really like the way the PF500 fits the sound of the music (think alt- country, rockish, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams etc etc). I will use a Fender Jazz Deluxe and currently set the PF500 very clean:
Gain = 2 o'clock (peak light rarely glows)
Comp = noon (just trims the peaks on the Fender)
Ultra Lo ON, Ultra Hi OFF
Bass = 12:30
Mid = 3 o'clock+
Mid selector = 5 (highest mid setting)
Treb = 12:30
the sound is tight, punchy and plenty big down low for the style.
I see that both the 4Pro and 6Pro are tube front ends, and the 6Pro has a comp built in, but beyond that, I do not see anything to indicate the significant differences.
I will also be going into the FOH via DI and cab mic, and will trust the sound guy to do a good balance in the house (hope so anyway), so the amp will really just give me pants flap/vibration and stage tone.
So, TB, which Ampeg should I plug into ?
Either would likely give you the sound you want with a little eq tweaking, so I'm no help. Except that the 6 has a parametric eq, so maybe choose the control layout you are more comfortable with. I own a 6 Pro and have played through plenty of 4s, they are different sounding, but you can dial in the sound you describe pretty easily on either. Good luck.
Wish I could help...I've only played the 4. Really liked it, though. Has a real balls feel. And if you've ever felt balls...
WHOOPS! Anyway, flip a coin, though I must admit that parametric EQ's scare me in comparison to the standard Ampeg EQ's. Other than the graphic, the 4 Pro's EQ most behaves like the PF500. The dials might not line up exactly, but same basic EQ.
I've only tried the 4. My advice with it set the graphic eq completely flat and ignore it. The 810 will roll off in the right frequencies on its own and using the graphic will just add unwanted noise and sterileness. Use the knobs especially the mid character knob to find your tone.
I've used both, and greatly preferred the 6 Pro. Awesome amp, my favorite Pro series, including the newer 7 and 8Pro's.
+1 for flipping a coin. Both sound great, both have a ton of headroom, both have familiar/intuitive basic controls. The 4 has a graphic EQ over the 6's semi parametric EQ. But it's not like it's remotely difficult to get a good sound out of either without even touching that stuff.
Don't over think the selection. Whatever you ask for, chances are you'll get something else. At least you can read the manuals beforehand so you are familiar with both amps.
The EQ vs semi parametric will both get you where you want to go. The 4 has more power than the 6 but neither amp will be pushed with FOH.
Having a PF500, you might be most comfortable with the 4Pro.
Yep, Flip a coin.....
the backline will have both the 4Pro AND 6Pro (for some reason), so it's apparently my choice, and I'd like to get as close to the PF500 sound as possible. Also, I'll get about 5 min to sound check, so there won't be much time to decide, and as there is major FOH, the amp is not going to make a huge difference anyway.
I just thought it would be interesting to see what TB had to say about this. I am pretty chill about backlines, they are what they are. I usually get the basic sound I am after no matter what.
Remember to turn the gain up till the light if flashing almost all the time and use the level as your volume. It's a trick a lot people don't know until you start playing these amps.
Ya, last time I used a 4 Pro, I had the gain on 3:30 and only had the slightest hint of distortion. Which I liked a lot ;) Think I rolled off some treble and left the other knobs flat.
I will most likely do little or no Para EQ tweaking and just look to my bass to get most of what I want. After that its really up to the sound guys to balance to overall band. Its cool that they will DI and run a cab mic.
At the moment, if I had to jump on stage right now, I'm leaning to the 6Pro because of the onboard comp, even though I suspect the PF500 comp is probably not exactly the same as the one in the 6Pro. I do use compression in my overall tone, and from looking at the specs of both amps, if I engage the ultra lo, nudge the bass and treble just a bit, and leave the para EQ alone, I will probably be right where I want to be. The 6 has an interesting looking "tube voltage" control.
I'm with nephilymbass on this one: Use the 4 and ignore the graphic EQ. The 8x10 will sound good with the controls set flat right out of the gate and all you'll need to do is a little tweak or two with the standard Ampeg EQ. Easily taken care of in a 5-minute sound check.
Also, heed MissTheTrain's advice - set the gain knob so the 'clip' light is flashing as you play normally. Yeah, I know; then what's the point of having the light? All I know is that's where these amps sound best - and they sound really good.
Note: the "tube voltage" control works opposite how you may think. Fully CCW or "off" provides more tubey crunch, while CW is uber clean. It's subtle, and the volume needs to be up there to hear it, but it's a cool feature on a really cool amp.
If that's anything like the 3-pro, it sets the plate voltage on the preamp tubes - but it's a little counter-intuitive. Try it at both extremes to get a feel for the 'squishiness' it adds, then stick it in the middle wherever you like it.
EDIT: Hmmm... looks like RickenBoogie beat me to it!
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