SVT 3 Pro vs. SVT CL tone comparison please.

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by ultra60, Dec 23, 2013.


  1. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

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    I've got (2) 3 Pro's. I have no issues with these. They don't suffer from volume issues. I like the tone, and I'll mention that I never use the graphic EQ.

    Curious to know what I would gain, tone wise, by moving to a CL... 50 pounds of a weight, plus back problems are already figured in. I realize I would have to worry about replacing power tubes on occasion.

    I use (2) 15" Ampeg Classic cabs, and can already move some air. Would the CL really give me anything I don't already have?
     
  2. f.c.geil

    f.c.geil I'm your huckleberry... Supporting Member

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    If you like the tone and have enough volume, don't change, they sound nothing alike (to my ear). The CL has much more heft, more grit, more volume, more of everything Ampeg. It is the Ampeg sound, really.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Ya, what Fritz said, except I do hear some certain Ampeggy similarities between both. But it's a different vibe than the tube SVT for sure. Used to have a 3 Pro and it was a good amp, but the tube SVT is THE sound.

    However, if you don't want to lug an 85 lb amp but want to get into the tube SVT sound, you could check out the new V-4B Ampeg came out with. It's 100w, weighs 41 lbs., and sounds just as awesome as the SVT. But if you're happy with your 3 Pros, not a thing in the world wrong with that.
     
  4. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

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    In the early 90's I used a Sound City 120 with 8x10's. And I was able to hang with 2 full Marshall stacks, no problem. I don't think the output (loudness) between 100 watts (V4B) and 120 watts would be that different. I believe I've read on these forums that some guys have issues with V4 heads, volume wise.

    How would the V4's 100 watts compare to the 3 Pros supposed 450? Technically, you'd think the 3 pro should be louder than the CL.
     
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  6. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

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    Very different actually. The SC120 is just an altogether different animal than the ampegs, much more highs and high mids, cuts through everything, but doesn't have the strong lows/low mids of the ampeg amps. With the SC120 (at least mine) the volume knobs basically just switched between off and on with the amount of gain changing from there, it got loud fast and from there just got dirtier. Great sounding amp once I figured out the EQ, but with the smaller transformers and circuit differences it just didn't have the bottom of the V4/SVT amps (I traded it for a V4 a few months ago). The V4, even cranked up, sounds a fair bit quieter than the SC, though that could be all in the voicing.
     
  7. sincity

    sincity Supporting Member

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    I like the 3 Pro better than the SVT II Non-Pro I had for the following reasons:

    Clean tone is thick, just like the SVT. There is a heft to the tone. It is a big, badass tone.

    I can overdrive the amp (a little to a lot) much more quickly at reasonable (small to medium sized gigs) volumes.

    I can get a very good slap tone using the graphic EQ as a second channel.

    Weight. No need to explain.

    I have been so impressed with this amp since I picked it up. Mine is a late 90's head with the blue lettered graphic.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    The 3 Pro hits 450w in any tests I've ever heard about, so it's not "supposed" ;) I don't exactly know how much difference in volume there is with it and the V-4B since I no longer have the 3 Pro, but one advantage of tube amps is that they can get louder and sound cleaner than SS amps with the same wattage being pushed since tubes handle distortion more gracefully than SS amps. I would be a little surprised if the 3 Pro wasn't louder than the V-4B, but trust me...it ain't quiet!

    Still, if you're happy with the 3 Pro, don't let me talk you into switching. It's a killer amp.
     
  9. meatwad

    meatwad

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    While there are already enough "SVT-III PRO lacks volume" threads here to choke a donkey, I will speak from experience that the 3 certainly lacks nothing when it comes to volume.

    But compared to the SVT-CL, when pushing two Ampeg 410HEN cabs, it does lack a noticeable "depth" in the bottom end for whatever reason. To my ears the SVT-III PRO and the CL sound somewhat similar, and I even juggled back and forth between the two for a couple of years trying to decide this very thing for myself, but in the end the CL won. It just seems to push more air, punch harder, sound deeper, and then you get the magic that's within an SVT's tube power section working for you when cranked up..
     
  10. mazdah

    mazdah

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    As long as you don't overdrive the tube power section of CL and don't use ultra-lo and hi filters there is very small difference between them.
    I spent many hours comparing my 3pro with my friend who has Anniversary CL and 810E. We tried my P and his 3 Jazz Basses through both amps.

    CL is little brighter and deeper. But the difference in weight, size and price is MUCH bigger than in sound.
     
  11. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

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    thanks all... good information. I will have the opportunity to compare my 3 pro against a 70's SVT tonight. I realize this will be different than the CL. I've not played through a 70's SVT in many years.. so this is gonna be cool.
     
  12. mazdah

    mazdah

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    Keep the filters and EQ off. If you'll find 3pro lacking punch, dynamics and presence compared to CL, try set master at max and use gain to control the volume.

    I think 70's SVT are much different than CL, which was introduced more like in 80's (MTI?)
     
  13. JBNeedsBeer

    JBNeedsBeer

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    IMO, the 3 has better versatility with the graphic EQ, but the CL has more volume, power, and deeper lows. You'll really feel the difference with an 8x10. A 70's SVT will just eat everything for lunch (in a good way)
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Once you crank the master all the way up and use gain to control volume in a CL, you will find that the differences between it and a vintage SVT pretty much disappear.
     
  15. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

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    IMO/IME there is no comparison.
    I had a 3Pro while I also had a SVT-CL and a SVP-CL / power amp.

    The 3-Pro did not sound 3-D in sound stage and even after rolling some expensive tubes through it, I was not impressed. It does not have the clear high end without being strident either. It sounded more like a solid state amp with 5 tubes than a Walkabout with 2.

    I wanted to like it due to light weight and all the tonal adjustments but I couldn't make it happen. Tried the gain settings a million different ways. One amp I have never regretted selling.
    Others may feel differently but I think they suck.
     
  16. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

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    They do!! They sound like an SVT-450 with a tube preamp. I hate the 3Pro. Really, the only SVT Pros that I've played and liked are the IIs and the 4Pro (I've never played a 6 or 7, fwiw)

    was there ever an SVT-1Pro?? Or were the IIs the first 'pro' models made??
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    The regular SVT was always considered the I and the rack mounted II was the next in the SVT line.

    4 Pro is a killer, for sure. But I had no major problems with using a 3 Pro, although I did resent it because it wasn't all tube.
     
  18. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

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    and this is why nothing else will suffice.

    I played over 250 shows over a 3 year period with a combination of the 3Pro and/or an SVT-350/450/BR2E with tube preamp...once I went totally tube late in 2012, it was like the final puzzle piece - I was no longer fighting my tone.

    Now, I just need to be a better player lol
     
  19. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

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    it's ALMOST tube-like.

    I compare the 3Pro with, say, a Line 6 guitar amp.

    It sounds like tubes...it just doesn't feel like tubes.

    But man, it's close.
     
  20. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

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    At practice, last night, I used a '78 SVT for the first 1/2, and my 3 Pro for the second.

    Cabinet was an Ampeg 4x10 with a horn. This rig belongs to our singer, but we don't usually practice at his place. So this was a first. I was up against a late 70's Marshall 1/2 stack, and loud drummer.

    Volume wise, the 3 Pro could compete for what we were doing. I attempted to EQ the amps as close as possible. To me, the amps sounded very different tonally. The '78 was full and very clear. The 3pro seemed more narrowly focused. I might have been able to come close to the '78 if I messed with the graphic EQ, but decided not to get into that.

    So my impression was that tonally, the '78 clobbered the 3pro. But here was the funny part. My band mates knew that I was comparing to see if I wanted to buy an 85 pound monster. They all thought the 3 pro sounded as good as the '78. I guess its all about where you are standing in relation to the amp. I was directly in front, and getting 100% of the glory. If you are off to the side, and there's other noise in between, the perception seems to change. very odd. I do believe that someday I will end up with a heavy SVT, though. From what I heard, I was impressed by the difference.
     
  21. sincity

    sincity Supporting Member

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    I have an opposite opinion of this because I think many of us will rarely get to use an SVT CL cranked wide open to get "that" sound and tone in a small or medium club / bar environment. Maybe in a rehearsal space, but not too often in a club.

    The SVT 3 Pro can get you there, IMO, 98% of the time. Beautiful overdriven tone or big and clean tone if you desire. Nice low-mid grunt with a quick attack as well.

    I have owned the following tube amps: SVT II Non-Pro, Fender Bassman 300 Pro, Mesa Boogie 400, Trace Elliot VA400 & Trace Elliot V6.

    I love this amp and I think the tone is everything that I could possibly want out of a "real tube" amp in a hybrid package. Very portable as well compared to the big guns.
     

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