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Acoustic 370 + which Ampeg (Heritage)... 410, 610 or 810?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Panek, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    Hey all,

    My full story first. I have an Acoustic 370 amp, early 70's production (I think), and when I bought it this year I had a cab maker (around 30 years in the business, read some pretty good rep, too) build me a 2ohm 2x15" with two 4ohm drivers that he makes himself. I was shown the whole process of production. The guy basically takes an old East German Vermona speaker, leaves only the basket (which, I was told, is of surprisingly good quality) and everything essential to a loudspeaker - diaphragm, coil, etc. - is assembled by hand from parts (not East German, though). Fair enough, I thought, and went for it. Knowing the power, possibilities and reputation of my Acoustic 370, and wanting to push heavy kickass vintage early '70's road-worn solid-state USA air with a lot of deep end, I specifically asked to wire the cab for a 2ohm speaker load. That, by the way, is why I turned in the first place to the guy instead of going for a 4ohm or 8ohm factory made cab, as I couldn't find anything wired for 2ohm.

    So, the result is a 60kg cabinet with no wheels that my bandmates aptly nickname either "The Bitch" or "The Pig", when one of them has to help me carry it around. We play rehearsals in a damp basement of a building on the grounds of what used to be a factory complex making TV's. Every time we have to grab our gear and carry it up to our band's van, we have to carry "The Pig" up (and later, down) a very narrow and steep flight of stairs. It then takes up about half of our baggage space, and we have to carry it around at the venue. And believe me, it is a pain to move. Apparently, as one of my mates puts it, the only thing worse is an Ampeg 810.

    After playing for some time during rehearsals and live shows I have noticed that this combination, the Acoustic 370 and this 2ohm cab sounds rather... weak and dull. Especially during rehearsals. No matter how much I tweak the amp's settings it seems that I can't get the sound that I like, and the whole thing seems dull, like if it was choked, or something similar. The cab is definitely pushing a LOT of air, so much that when I stand close to it, on lower registers it feels as if I put my hands against a small cooling fan, and the Volume is barely around 1. There's that Acoustic legend for ya! Also, every time I hit a note there is some weird distortion going on. In the best description that I can give you, it seems like there is a "second channel" in the cab, you can hear the note from the bass clearly, and at the same time there's something that sounds like the same distorted note coming from "under" the clear sound. It's weird, I know, but it's not a problem with the amp (I'll get around to it in a second). Perhaps, if anyone's interested, I'll try recording exactly what I mean with my Zoom H4n recorder next time we rehearse at our space. I believe that one of the speakers is shot, or maybe something with the wiring.

    In the meantime we recorded at a studio... and honestly, I gotta say, that time I was very satisfied and content with the setup that I have. Hopefully after we mix the material it will sound good.

    In the end, given all the problems I'm having with the cab - sound and transportation-wise, I've decided to look for something else. Upstairs from our cramped and damp little cellar is another rehearsal space/studio, and I took their US-made Ampeg 410 (I believe it was the HE, Classic series), hooked it up and... HOLY JESUS. This thing ROCKED!!

    That made me think about getting a 410 speaker cabinet for my Acoustic 370. Later, as I began my research, I started looking into the 610 and 810 also. As for my existing 2ohm "Pig" - oh well, lesson learned, I've chalked everything up to inexperience and decided to move on. I could deal with the guy who built it, replace a speaker, whatever, but I decided against this kind of hassle. I'll just go with a factory-made cab.

    As for the amplifier, I am totally content and I really love it. I've used it during gigs with various other cabs. Some that I remember were an SWR 610, a David Laboga 610/810 (?), Ashdown 410 and various others, I loved the results so I know that my Acoustic is not the problem here and kicks ass. It's gonna stay no matter what.


    So, right now I'm in the market for a Ampeg cabinet. I'm specifically looking at the Heritage series, given all the positive press I've read about them. The ones I'm considering are the SVT-410HLF and 810, and a regular Ampeg SVT 610HLF. Can't find a Heritage model of a 610 around here (Poland), or maybe they just aren't made? And yes, I know that my current cab, "The Pig" is cumbersome and a big problem in transportation, and I'm still considering an 810, which is even bigger. But hey, it's an 810 and it's been my dream for a long time. I'll work out the transportation part with my band mates.

    Sound wise what I'm looking for is something with a lot of punchy, clear and coherent deep end. I totally admire playing such as Klaus Flouride from the Dead Kennedys ("Plastic Surgery Disasters" era; 1966 Jazz Bass, Badass II bridge, SD Quarter Pound pickups, Acoustic 150b/Traynor Mono Block amps, 2x15 cab loaded with JBL's) or JJ Burnel of The Stranglers - I believe their sound is like a runaway freight train, yet it is still very clear and coherent. I play a 2008 MIA Standard P-Bass and that's not gonna change, except for the pickups (planning on SD Quarter Pounders) and the bridge (Badass II), and in the future I'm looking forward to getting a mid-'70s P-Bass.

    Unfortunately I can't just get used Ampeg gear around here, unlike the United States for example. New gear only. The Heritage 410 costs around $1000, the 610 around $1450, and the Heritage 810 - $1653. I need a cab by the end of September, beggining of October - lots of new gigs coming up, and next year we'll probably be doing a new album.

    I'd love to simply get a 810, but I heard it's got a lot more midrange than the 410. Not really what I'm looking for, as I'd like to stay in the lower frequencies.

    So, for my choice of amp - the Acoustic 370 - and the sound that I'm looking for - deep bass, yet coherent and clear, which cab would you recommend? The Heritage 410, the regular 610HLF (Asian production, I guess?) or the Heritage 810? What are your opinions on these cabs? Thanks in advance and thanks for reading.
  2. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Interesting you liked the 410he, because other than the tweeter in the 410he that doesn't exist in the 810e, the only real difference between that and an 810e is it's half the size of an 810e. The 410he is sealed and uses the same speakers as the 810e. That is, if you are indeed referring to the 410he. The 410hlf is ported and goes EXTREMELY low, lower than any other commercial bass cab I can think of. The 610hlf is ported but its low end is situated almost smack dab in the middle between the 410hlf and the 810e/410he. Me personally, I love the low end response of the 810e and 410he...not too high, not too low...for me it's just right, whereas the 610hlf verges on being too low for my tastes and the 410hlf is completely too low for my tastes. Some dig those low low lows, but not me.

    So you're right that Ampeg doesn't have a Heritage 610hlf. But they do have a Heritage 410hlf and 810e. I have the 810e. I also have an early 70's flatback SVT 810 loaded with CTS alnicos, long treasured by SVT fans as the best sounding 810 out there. It's finally been surpassed. The Heritage 810e sounds identical to it, plus it has modern 800w power handling instead of the 250w power handling of the flatback. Cannot recommend the Heritage 810e highly enough. Best 810 ever. If you would like a little more low end than the 810e or 410he, the 610hlf may be more your speed. I'll venture a guess that you probably wouldn't like the 410hlf as much, judging by your description of what you're looking for.
  4. I fully accept JimmyM's commentsand opinons regarding all Ampeg cabs discussed..I will not dispute him..or anyone within context of this thread.

    With that said..Is there any way you can try a vintage Acoustic 408? Those cabs are loded with 4-15's at 2 ohms.

    Some are loaded with CTS..some are Cerwin/ Vega and some JBL loaded...preferably the latter choices in my opinion.

    The 408 is a unique cab, in that it has 2 front firing 15's and the other 2 are inside; firing in opposition: one up and one down..

    Same size plus or minus than ampeg 8x10 or w-horn type cab.

    If Ampeg is what you want, then I highly recommend that you follow JimmyM's very right-on and expert advice.

    However, if you can find an old A C C 408..Give it a try.
  5. I think you may find the new cabs an easier carry. The woods used are lighter and still very strong. Well placed handles and casters make the move much less of a strain.
  6. jj4001


    Dec 27, 2010
    Providence, RI
    You definitely can't go wrong with an Acoustic 370 and an Ampeg 8x10. I haven't had a chance to hear the heritage, but I love playing my 370 through the beat up, old Ampeg Classic 8x10 in my rehearsal space. No problems keeping up with anything or blowing the house down and sounding just like a bass should doing it.

    It sounds like it's difficult to find used gear in your area, but if you ever have a chance to grab a vintage Acoustic cab, do it. In my experience, of the four cabs that I've tried with the 370, the Acoustic 301 cab sounded best (it was designed to, after all.), followed by the Acoustic 402. The Ampeg 8x10 beats out the Acoustic 408 cab for me when paired with the 370.

    Also... Yes, the old heavy duty Acoustics are designed to carry a 2 Ohm load, but for me, I'm more comfortable running them at 4 Ohms. I could be completely wrong about this but I suspect it's safer to not be pushing a 40 year old amp to the max. They are plenty loud enough, with plenty of headroom at 4 Ohms.
  7. Panek : from your description, it seems your cabinet is suffering from power compression. This could be a result of using 4Ω drivers because they are getting a lot of current and that is making them hot. At the same voltage they will get twice the current that an 8Ω driver will.

    As for the cabinets, I have only played through a 610HLF and I really liked it.
  8. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I own and gig an acoustic 370 with an ampeg heritage for my led zeppelin and black sabbath tribute bands. Tone and power to die for. Recently I've been using an ampeg svt450 for a few coverband shows that require a more modern tone. The 370 with the heritage 410 is an excellent combination and the cab is very light and easy to move around and the best 410 I've ever used and tried. The cab goes low (great considering the acoustic puts out a ton of low end) and has great definition. I've played the acoustic through a single mesa 15 and ampeg 15 classic cab and it sounded equally strong as well.
  9. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    Great stuff guys, thanks for all the replies.

    Yes, I'm positive that what I tried was the 410HE... it didn't have the ports on the bottom that the HLF version has. What I liked about it was that it had more definition and sounded way, way better than my 2x15. Instantly made me think "AMPEG!".
    I've basically thrown the 610 out of the equation now and I'm thinking about either the 410HLF or 810 Heritage cabs. I'd love to get the 810, but it costs a whole lot and might be too big to fit in our van.
    As for the lows, here's another dilemma. I don't think I will be pushing the cab and amp to EXTREME LOWs, as I believe that those kinds of frequencies lack the definition I'm looking for, but I'd love to have some headroom (or actually - bottom-room?) available.
    Aesthetically I've always admired the towering 810's and they are a bass player's dream around this part of the world.

    Unfortunately, no. Just getting my Acoustic 370 over here was a big enough pain in the ass. ACC gear is very rare around here. If I only could, I would get one or two 301's and I wouldn't even be starting this thread. Can't do it around here though.
    The 408 is very, VERY tempting, but moving it around would prove to be a difficulty ;)

    Definitely what I'm looking for. I'd love to be able to move the 810 myself, even up stairs. We play gigs mostly in places that aren't very friendly towards moving gear - lots of narrow corridors, stairwells, etc, so if I could move it myself, and not resort to asking my band mates for help, that would be a huge plus to me.

    Used gear is not very difficult to get, if you are looking for brands that are popular around here. Marshalls, Peaveys, newer production Ampegs, Trace Elliots and gear made in China. That's more or less readily available. But Acoustic amps and cabs, vintage Ampegs, Sunn, etc.? They are considered to be great rarities, as they were basically unavailable in Poland back in the day (1960's-1989), and after that they cost too much and imports costs are killing us. Like I said, I'd love to get my hands on a pair of 301's, and I guess that they aren't that expensive in the States, but getting them over here costs a fortune.

    I've had a tech fix the amp when I got it and I've never had any problems running it with a 2 Ohm load. I've gigged with this rig and I play every rehearsal and it just gets a little warm.

    Awesome man, great to see someone also rocking an Acoustic 370 regularly! I've played it through different cabs also - and it sounds great with basically anything other than my 2x15... d'oh!
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well if you'd rather not have to deal with the H810e, the 410he is the cab to get.
  11. Panek


    Mar 20, 2009
    Warsaw, Poland
    I'm getting more and more inclined to the H810e :) But still would love to hear more from users of both cabs. I will be doing measurements tomorrow to see how well will the cab fit in our old Ford Transit. This (and money) might be the deciding factor in getting either the H410HLF or H810e
  12. I've been using a pair of 410HE's for a year or two now, and they sound perfect to my ears. Exactly how a bass is supposed to sound.
  13. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    another+1 for a 410he..I love mine!