Originally Posted by sunbeast
I had an SVT-CL and sold it when I bought my Mesa D-180, quickly followed by a 400+. For me, the Mesa had more useable headroom, a far more versatile EQ section, more inherent depth, and a clearer/ more articulate sounding driven tone for my uses (I found the SVT-CL to basically have one sound when cranked to a certain point, where the Mesa through the same cab retained its tweakability into much higher volume/driven settings). The 400+ was also easier to move around and still lighter when racked than the SVT. I personally didn't find the bias circuit of the SVT-CL to significantly increase useable tube life either, though I do agree that the lack of a built-in bias system on the Mesa was pretty ridiculous.
Great assessment, and you match my feelings on the 400+.
I never had the original tubes, so I can't comment on that, but the set that is in there was used for about 3-4 years before I stopped using the head, and stayed very consistent tone and power. That set is still in the head, which I haven't powered up in about 15 years. A couple of the pot shafts broke off (can't understand why they used nylon shaft pots on that amp!), and it was blowing fuses, so I stopped using it until I could get it looked at, and then started using my 800RB and then a Trace Elliott.
Now I'm going to get it fixed and sell it, with the matching 4X10 Mesa/Eden cab. I like my Hartke LH-500 quite a bit, and it's lighter.