Hi there to all the SVT 3 Pro enthusiasts on TB,
I own an SVT 3 Pro and I really like it. But even after years of playing, the specifics of correctly and optimally operating this and other head units often escapes me. I am no engineer, and I love playing far more than I love tweeking knobs. So I thought it might be useful for myself and others if I started an "SVT 3 Pro settings tutorial" thread. I recently went to a local music store that has been in business for 40 years, and has an excellent rep for their knowledgeable staff. Having had good experiences there in the past, I went again and got some help with my amp. I find the owners manuals lacking. So here I will start with my understanding of the use of all the knobs on this unit. Please feel free to add or subtract from anything I say here. Thanks for your input! Below is a link to the front panel of the unit, from the owners manual. http://pachterfamily.weebly.com/uplo...panel_page.pdf
1. "Input" - plug your instrument in here. In my case the tuner has an "out" to this input. I have never been able to get the "tuner out" jack in the back of the amp to work properly. Maybe I should try again...
2. "Bright" - boosts the high end of the range, +6dB @2kHz. Very similar to the "Ultra Hi" knob (#6)
3. ""-15dB" - I learned recently that this is a "pad" button, meant only to be used to "tame" an incoming signal that is too "hot." For instance if your bass has very "gainy", loud or otherwise "hot" pups, or if you use a Sansamp like me and that level is turned up too loud (see "Gain" section below). This button is an "attenuator," which is a word I was misunderstanding. I thought "attenuation" referred to turning volume up or down, but really it refers to reducing the level of an input signal when that signal is too powerful for the application in question. Whereas I formerly left this button pushed in all the time, I now understand that it is meant to be in the "out" position unless you need to cut the level of your input signal. 15dB is a lot, and made a huge difference in helping me maximize what this amp is capable of.
4. "Peak LED" - again, I was misunderstanding this one. I originally thought this light should only be coming on very infrequently, when you hit the strings really hard. But what I have learned recently is that this light should be on 75% of the time at regular playing levels. Its not a "warning light" as I originally thought it was.
5. "Gain" - 2 ways this knob is used, from what I can gather so far. One is to use it as your master volume control, with the volume knob maxed. 2nd option is to set the Gain knob at a certain level (to taste, most suggest anywhere from 9:00 to 11:00, so that the red signal indicator light comes on 75% of the time) and then use the volume knob used as the master volume control. The Gain knob controls the level of your input signal. People say this amp does not put out enough juice and is not loud enough. From what I can gather, and from my own experience, this Gain knob never needs to go past "12 noon." I can't imagine being in a band that was so loud, or a stage that was so large that this amp could not provide enough volume. But then again, I have never played at Wembley stadium... Something I recently learned with the Sansamp: This Gain button should be used in conjunction with the "level" knob so as to set the amp and BDDI to achieve "unity gain," which means that if you toggle back and forth between the BDDI being on and off, your volume level should not change. This is easy to do, and made a huge difference in helping me to better utilize the BDDI without overloading the amp with too much gain (which created unwanted distortion) from the BDDI. Now the BDDI basically adds an "active" setting/channel when I turn the BDDI on.
6. "Ultra High" - boosts the high end spectrum. +6dB @ 5kHz
7. "Ultra Low" - boosts the low end. Pressing this and the Ultra High buttons creates a "mid-scoop" effect, handy for funk and disco. I like the Ultra Low boost better than the Ultra High, but according to the manual's suggested settings, neither gets used much. The guy at the music store said to disregard the manual suggested settings because those settings can't possibly cover all the variables determined in what sound is best, such as the type of bass you play, the cabinet(s) you play through, the venue, stage size, PA support or not, and type of music you are playing. So now I use this button more, and I like the results, but I haven't tried this one live yet, so I don't know if it will muddy up the sound on a stage, as I have been warned that it will. It has been suggested that you can dial in the EQ to emulate this knob, then you can custom tailor using EQ sliders so that the mix on stage does not sound as muddy as with the Ultra Low button. Here are the specs for this button, from the manual:
+2.5dB @ 50Hz
-12dB @ 560Hz
+1.5dB @ 5kHz
8. "Bass" - controls bass boost/cut
9. "Midrange" - boosts or cuts the midrange frequency setting determined by which number you choose with the "Frequency" button below
10. "Frequency" - chooses which frequency is the "center frequency" that gets controlled by the "Midrange" button
11. "Treble" - treble boost/cut knob
12. "Master" - this again was tricky one for me until I learned more at the music store. Now I understand this to be the "output" level control. My understanding of what this means: whatever you have done to the signal with your EQ and other knob settings to this point, that signal now gets "shipped" to your speaker cab(s). This knob determines how loud that "shipment" will be. As I said earlier, most here on TB have said to set the Gain knob so that the light comes on 75% of the time at normal playing levels and use the Volume knob to control the overall volume. In my experience, this approach works quite well.
13. "Tube Gain" - again, kind of tricky. The manual explains the technical part but I keep this knob maxed. This knob basically works as a compressor, from what I have gleaned here and from the manual. If you back off on this knob some (9:00 instead of maxed), you can get some nice tonal variations, subtle but still noticeable.
14. "Mute" - self explanatory. Hit this button when you don't want any signal going to your speaker.
15. "Graphic EQ" - button that turns your EQ on or off
16. "Active LED" - tells if you EQ is on or off.
17. "9-Band Graphic EQ" - custom tailor your sound using this. Boosts or cuts specific frequencies, handy for getting "your sound" in any room by boosting or cutting certain frequencies.
18. "Level" - controls how much boost or cut you want to have on your EQ settings. Can be used as a volume boost. I have been told that you can or can't or should or shouldn't use this as an added volume boost when needed. I tend to keep it at 3/4.
19. "On LED" - tells you if the amp is on
20. "Power" - on/off switch
A little about the rear panel:
The XLR pre and post are handy for custom tailoring your signal for the FOH. The level knob on the back panel controls how much of your signal goes to the PA board.
So there you have it. Let me know what you think!