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Ampeg Heritage SVT-CL Output Transformer Comparison with recordings and poll

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JimmyM, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Amp A

    41 vote(s)
  2. Amp B

    52 vote(s)
  3. No difference

    35 vote(s)
  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups


    Been wanting to do this comparo for a long time, but never had a second HSVT-CL to compare mine with till Monday. And now I do...BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

    The contestants:

    2013 Ampeg Heritage SVT-CL with Heyboer output transformer
    2016 Ampeg Heritage SVT-CL with stock output transformer

    The poll asks if you have a preference. There are three choices, Amp A, Amp B, or no difference.

    Now the technical end...both are otherwise identical except for the output transformers. Both come stock with JJ tubes all around, both have all their stock tubes. For each test, I used a PJ with EMG Geezers set with the J slightly rolled off and semi-new Dunlop Super Bright Nickel strings. Each head was recorded with a Countryman Type 85 DI placed between the speaker out and cab to get the sound of the entire amp into the DI tracks. I also ran both heads into the same HSVT-810e and mic'ed them with a Heil PR40 about 3 inches from the grill. The only "processing" done was to add my Southampton All Things Equal clean boost set at unity to act as buffer because my cable run was long. It is a very transparent clean boost, and all it did was eliminate any cable loading from using a passive bass.

    Each track consists of two samples at the same settings, playing fingerstyle and pick at each setting. I recorded samples of each with the master always all the way up, and gain set at 9:00 (clean), 12:00 (mildly dirty) and 3:00 (really dirty), no tone knobs were moved, and both had identical tone knob settings. I didn't EQ the highs out of the dirty DI tracks because I wanted to hear what it sounds like full range. Naturally, the cab tracks don't have those highs as there is no tweeter in the 810e, so they sound better. The dirty DI samples sound quite awesome by removing highs past 5k, but kind of grating as they're presented.

    The DI and mic tracks were recorded at the same time for each amp, but I played through both amps separately. I did, however, do my best to match the way I played. Might not be 100% identical, but it's about as close as I could ever get. I wanted to hear the direct sound of my playing and not some second generation recording, plus I don't have a looper, so that's why I did two separate passes.

    If any of you have a problem with my methodology, keep it to yourself and don't irritate me and everyone else with your whining. This is my test, and I did it the way I thought was best, so buy your own SVT's and do your own test if you have a problem with it.

    Will do the reveal tomorrow sometime. Thanks for listening!
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    After a half hour, we're tied at one each!
  3. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    That was a fun comparison. Thanks JimmyM.
    I chose "A" although I have to say, I liked both. To me "A" sounded like it had a bit more going on in the upper end. Although "B" had a little more "something" in the lower end. My hearing is not that great so what do I know anyway! LOL!
    bobyoung53, AlexanderB and JimmyM like this.
  4. azfatboy


    May 11, 2016
    Gonna put this down to noobness, cause even though I detected oh-so-subtle differences every so often, I just could not detect a different overall flavor or timbre or "tone". I could definitely not pick out "A" from "B" in a lineup.

    But it was still fun to listen. Thanks!!! :D
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. Big John66

    Big John66

    Feb 12, 2008
    I'm going with A, by the thinest of margins. Can't wait to see the results!
    bobyoung53 and JimmyM like this.
  6. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The levels are way higher on the DI tracks.
    I prefer the mic'ed tracks over the DI.
    I preferred B over A. A sounded as just a smidge less smooth.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  7. High Camp

    High Camp

    Oct 3, 2013
    I voted "no difference", but I actually mean "no preference".
    Amp A has a bit more emphasis on the low notes, but they are very similar indeed.
    Both sound like the top of the mountain to me.
    So in conclusion: It doesn't (really) matter (to me) what the output transformer is.
    johnpbass, AlexanderB and JimmyM like this.
  8. Michael Schreiber

    Michael Schreiber Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2014
    Kassel / Germany
    I voted after my first impression as I would on a concert or live A/B.
    The sound alone made my eyes wet - tears of joy; Ampeg has THE sound, IMO, but that's THE x THE = THE² sound!

    I liked both amps, couldn't hear a difference in the DI tracks, but clearly in the mic'ed tracks.
    Both powerful and providing THE² sound that touches my soul, but Mic B is almost THE³ sound, not only touching my soul but grabbing my heart. :D

    Seriously, to me, B feels a bit more ...saturated(?) ...yes, I think that describes it best, IMO.

    Good idea putting the tracks on soundcloud for the comparison - allowed pausing the tracks and resuming from there.
    And thanks for the comparison, I really enjoyed that!
    AlexanderB and JimmyM like this.
  9. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Same. I thought B had a little more clarity but A maybe a little more volume overall. Dug the drive sounds on B a little more. Wouldn't be upset with either.
    AlexanderB, JimmyM and beans-on-toast like this.
  10. Are these downloadable? I like to download and pop them into ABXer for comparison.
    JimmyM and okcrum like this.
  11. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    B had a couple of things going for me over A. Disclaimer: I listened only to the DI recordings because I didn't want to hear the cab.

    1) B had more low end when overdriven - are the cores on the two OTs made of the same iron?
    2) B had something else, more harmonic content I think - this is what I suspected I might hear (or not).

    I'm talking small differences here, a dB or two, and no difference at all when played clean.

    EDIT: Wow still all even 1/3 ea! Wouldn't it be a hoot if @JimmyM were pwning us all with a placebo? j/k (just kidding, for the AOL people) ;)

    EDIT II: I so love the net sometimes (but not often). From the Urban Dictionary:


    To own someone to such an extent that neither an O or a 0 can express it. Started off as a typo by moron skript kiddies.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
    johnpbass, AlexanderB and JimmyM like this.
  12. High Camp

    High Camp

    Oct 3, 2013
    Only if you promise JimmyM to buy something Ampeg
    JimmyM and okcrum like this.
  13. Michael Schreiber

    Michael Schreiber Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2014
    Kassel / Germany
    JimmyM is already responsible for making me G.A.S.ing for two SVT rigs; one left, one right, and my V-4B rig in the middle - just waiting to see which one contestant B is to get that killer OT :D
    JimmyM and okcrum like this.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Apparently not, but not by my own doing.
  15. A ''holds it together'' far better when cranked. But B sounds sweeter in the lows at low gain, could be a case of louder = better?

    When flipping between the tracks and reading more comments I would forget which track I was on at the time, so not much difference overall.
    AlexanderB and JimmyM like this.
  16. The Chuck

    The Chuck

    Dec 11, 2013
    Wilmington, NC
    I like B- Thank you Jimmy.
    JimmyM likes this.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's true. Would have adjusted it on the interface but figured it would be best to leave them alone and I figured Soundcloud would take up the slack. Guess not.
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  18. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Cool mini-project!
    While it was very frustrating to do this test with a slow loading smart phone, I came to the same conclusion as ockrum. (But I did the opposite, and listened only to the cab.) B seemed to "collapse" less when overdriven, and it seemed to have more energy below 100Hz. Given the fuzzy interface (iPhone), I am not sure I could say which clean recording was A or B, but for the higher gain sections, I think B was slightly better.
    By the way, I listened through AKG K271 headphones.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
    JimmyM and Michael Schreiber like this.
  19. I decided I liked A overall better but I don't think I could pick them out of randomizer trial in a month of Sundays.
    bobyoung53, AlexanderB and JimmyM like this.
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Thanks to Michael Schreiber telling me how to make them downloadable, the tracks are now downloadable.

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