It's funny this thread came up, because my bassist is bringing both over tonight to band practice and we're going to do a shoot out! I'll be recording it with an EV RE20 through my RME FF800. I'll try and match volumes as best as I can, so one doesn't "sound better" cause it's louder. I will warn you though, since we're practicing we'll still have to be productive. So I'll probably close mic the cab, put a solo track of each head, and then the full band mix of each head as well. That way it'll hopefully give you a perspective on how each cut in the mix too. He'll be using various OD's and such throughout the song so you'll get to hear some pedals through it too.
He has a vintage silverface Ampeg SVTCL (not sure year or anything):
And he's got the Ampeg 200B
Here's his rig:
American Jazz Bass with Dimarzio Model J's
Ampeg 6x10 (American made)
Here are my opinions as a guitarist/recording engineer, and occasional bassist (when necessary). I've played in multiple bands with bassists that have had SVT CL's. The newer black SVT CL's suck. Older ones sound significantly better to my ears, and most of my bassist buddies agree.
Older SVT CL's are a different ball game. One of the older one's I did enjoy was a block logo from the 70's. I played in a full time band with a bassist that owned this (I actually sold it to him from the music store I worked at). Great big Ampeg sound, weighed a TON. A definite two man lift. These amps are INCREDIBLY loud as well. So if volume is your deal, get the Ampeg. I don't like so much power because I like to have control of low frequencies when recording or playing shows, so they're not running wild killing everyone. We could never get it to overdrive in a live setting, without murdering ear drums. You have to weigh practicality into these equations too...
At the same time I started playing another bassist in a side project, (that I'm currently with now), and he brought over the Orange AD200B and played it through the same Ampeg Classic cab in the last photo. Man, does that amp slay! Very clear sound. The OD is very grindy. The notes don't get muddy. A little lighter than the block logo Ampeg. I was very used to the Ampeg sound by that point, and I remember very vividly having my eyebrows raise, because of how good the Orange sounded. The Orange is a tad bright IMO, but keep in mind, brightness can be dialed back, not added.
Well a few months ago, he ran across this vintage silverface Ampeg, and just had to have it. He brought that one over, and it sounds killer! Very different than the block logo Ampeg. Very defined notes. In one of these threads (maybe this one?) it was mentioned that there's more of a mid range punch, and that statement is very true. This head wasn't as noisy as the other Ampeg, which is a big plus with me. Overall, a fantastic amp!
What is my opinion prior to the actual recording shoot out? I would say the Orange AD200B and the silverface Ampeg are neck and neck, with me leaning slightly towards the Orange. (The block logo Ampeg is out of the running.) I prefer the Orange primarily because in a band setting, I don't like midranges to fight, and the Ampeg has got some serious midrange. I'm a bit old fashioned and I believe that guitars and keys should lie in the mids, with bass covering the low end and low mids. This is obviously personal preference, but it's worked for me for years. I also think the Orange is a big punchier sound. It cuts through a mix in it's own way. I also think it takes OD pedals well. The bassist uses a Fulltone OCD, MXR Bass Comp, and occasionally a Rat or a Muff all of which really shine. The Ampeg takes the pedals well, but sort of overdrives along with them and it can make the pedals all sound similar due to the hard clipping. I'm slightly biased, because as a guitarist, I'm a bit of an Orange fan boy....
I hope this sheds some light prior to the recorded test. If you have both, and can afford to keep them, do it! Each one has it's own advantage. But since most people are sitting on the fence, I'm just going to take a side and say I'd much rather have the Orange.
I apologize for the long post. Clips soon to come (If I don't forget!)