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Ampeg Preamp Shootout: SVP Pro vs SVP BSP

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dmaki, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. SVP Pro

    52 vote(s)
  2. SVP BSP

    13 vote(s)
  3. You can't go wrong with either one!

    17 vote(s)
  4. They both suck

    5 vote(s)
  1. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    I'm looking to update my rig and have been thinking of getting separate pre and power amps so that I can swap power amps when I need more juice/have more money to get a nicer one.

    I've been listening to some samples of preamps online (at Basstasters) and I like how the Ampeg SVP Pro sounds. However, I've never heard the SVP BSP, but from the description on the Ampeg site it sounds really killer (clean and drive channels, with footswitchable channel selection and tuner mute).

    So, the question is, which one do you like more and why?
  2. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    with some new tubes in it the SVP-Pro is a killer preamp if you dig a really fat and dirty tube tone. it does a pretty mean SVT IMHO even with a SS poweramp. i've played the BSP and never really cared for it... keep in mind that both were new when i a/b'ed them. i don't know how much the BSP might benefit from a re-tubing. jawzzz has owned both (he is/was the owner of my SVP when i sold it). the only reason i did sell it was because i was looking for something a little more defined, and i planned to get a vintage SVT but that fell through in the end.
  3. BottomLine


    Nov 17, 2002
    Rochester MI
    Big Joe,

    What brand of tubes did you put in your SVP-Pro? What of change did you notice in the sound?
    I just purchased a new SVP and was just interested in the reason you changed the tubes!
  4. i just got a used svp and would like to know of some good tubes i should get,is it hard to change tubes or is it soe thign i should bring to a pro.

    when i look in the vents i can see one tube isnt glowing as brite, is that normale
  5. jawzzz


    May 23, 2003
    Denver Colorado
    They both are good preamps if you like the Ampeg sound, but they are both very different. The SVP pro that I bought from Big Joe was great. It did not have any noise to it at all, and the tube sound that you could get from it would really "growl". I think that it is the same preamp as found in the SVT 3 pro.

    The BSP could get a good tube "growl" to it, but not as good as the SVP PRO. The distortion was much better than any pedal I have tried, but it would most likely be useles unless you are just farting around at home IMO. It also has push/pull knobs for gain boost(distortion),compressor,and a gate,(needed for the distortion channel, unless you like a high end hiss;) ).

    Overall, they are both excellent pre's, but if I had to choose one, it would be the SVP PRO. And get the tubes that Big Joe put in it.They were awesome.:bassist:
  6. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    The more I think about it, having a footswitchable EQ would be more useful/practical than a distortion channel. If I can get a good Ampeg tube growl without the EQ, then I could set the EQ for slapping or a deeper setting. I'm probably going to persue finding a used SVP Pro.

    BigJoe: like BottomLine and warwickben asked, what kind of tubes did you use as replacements and how did they affect the tone?
  7. SVP-Pro

    I need to link up some songs that we've done for DL. Maybe after we get some more stuff recorded. I run out the post EQ DI to our in-ear rack for practice/shows. Been playing with it more lately, really getting happier with it. Basically the "rock" setting in the user's manual, bit more drive blended in and a smidge less mid setting 4.

    I would love to change tubes in it, I'll prolly just search Talkbass for some tube ideas. I remember there being a seperate thread just for that.
  8. I'm another proud owner of the SVP-Pro, and I agree with everything that's been said so far. I hear a lot of complaints about them being noisy, but the hiss out of mine is quieter than the sound of the fan on my poweramp (next to zero noise).

    Fat, growly, dirty, Ampeg tones.
  9. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    i believe that they were NOS chinese jan's and i ordered them from lord valve. i told him that i had an SVP-Pro and that i wanted fat, vintage growl and he hooked me up for under $60 shipped. the thing hummed like crazy when i got it home, the new tubes not only completely warmed it up but gave it a real nice vintage tube tone to it as well... my advice would be to just email him and ask what he recommends for the specific tone you are looking for be it growl or definition.

    is the one that is not glowing as bright in the fourth position form the left? that is the 12au7. if it is another tube, it still might not matter as long as it isn't microphonic and you are happy with the tone you are getting. and changing them is not hard but it may void any warranty if you do it yourself... all you do is pull off the top and firmly but gently, pull out the tubes with a slight twist, and put the new ones in place also with a slight twist...

  10. i bought the preamp used. so i dont have to worry about a warranty .

    iam new to the hole tube thing wats microphonic
  11. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    a microphonic tube sounds like tinkling or breaking glass on just about every note you hit regardless of tone/treble settings. in some cases it can also sound like a metallic buzzing as well. if you have ever heard a horn/twetter going, it can sound like that (at least to my ears) and when it continues after you have disabled the horn, you know it's time to check the tubes... ;)
  12. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    The BSP is the same pre as in the SVT5, which I tried before I bought the SVP-PRO. My cursory test results are on another post.

    IMO, the BSP is only worthwhile if you like the distortion sound AND can live with it's rather limited EQ options. I did like the distortion, but found I needed the EQ from both channels and mixing them took away from the EQ curve I wanted. It's kind of a catch-22, you can mix the channels for the distortion sound you like but lose your EQ setting, or mix for the EQ you like but lose your distortion sound. I couldn't get both nailed down at the same time.

    The other big drawback of the BSP was the -6db pad wasn't enough (for me anyway), even with a passive bass straight in. Unless you really like the sound of the tube breakup you'll be needing to cut your gain somewhere before it hits the pre.

    The SVP is a great sounding pre, with a huge amount of EQ options. And you can always run a distortion pedal into it. I've been experimenting with different tubes, but have been too busy to finish testing them all yet. Will post results on that other SVP tube thread... but so far my favorite is the EH.
  14. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    I used to own one of the SVP-BSP preamps and I didn't like it. I have given it some much deserved scathing reviews here and will be happy to do so again. The clean channel isn't too bad, thick and fairly warm with plenty of gain. The overdrive channel? Think about fingernails scratching down a chalkboard or dirt in a blender. Thin, brittle, NO bottom, just awful. I tried everything, from mixing the channels to all possible EQ settings, but just got crap out of it. The compressor blows chunks too. :spit:

    And there isn't a tube for the distortion/overdrive, it's all solid state. That's right friends, transistors, IMO the arch nemesis of good OD/dist. The 1 "tube" (an el cheapo Groove Tubes reject piece of crap) that they come with is only used in the first gain stage. Mine did benefit from a NOS Sylvania 12AX7A however. I really tried to make it work for me and gave it every chance to win me over but it just never did.

    The SVP-PRO, now there's a nice piece. A friend has one and it is a wonderful sounding pre. That's the one I would get.
  15. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA
    i have a question about the svp pro. is there any difference between the older newer ones? are they just cosmetic differences? because i'm set on the svp pro, but i'm trying to decide whether it would be better to buy used or new.
  16. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Like Ineal wrote, the distortion circuit on the BSP is entirely solid state.

    As you know, the BSP is the "Billy Sheehan Preamp", developed by Ampeg for Billy. I've read at least one interview of Billy where he's stated that he prefers solid state distortion for bass...that's why the BSP is designed the way it is.

    The BSP is a rather specialized product...Billy's Yamaha Attitude Bass has dual outputs, one clean and deep (the EBO style pup at the neck) and one for the P Bass pup which gets distorted. With on-bass volume controls, Billy can balance his tone accordingly. My guess is that some of the features of the BSP were added to make it more marketable. Billy is also a self-confessed compression junkie...which may help to explain why the compressor on the BSP is so over the top.

    Billy still uses his Pearce BC-1 preamps, most likely with the Billy Sheehan mod (which Pearce offered as an option) for enhanced distortion capabilities. When I saw his rack during this year's G3 tour, I could see cables going to the BC-1 but not the BSP installed in the same rack. I'm not 100% certain, but it sure looked to me like Billy doesn't even use the BSP :eek:

    So, for an all around bass preamp, I would think that the SVP-Pro would be a better choice. However, it all comes down to what sounds best to your and meets your individual needs.
  17. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I owned an SVP Pro (Fuzzbass now has it) and found it to be an excellent preamp for rock. Mega output levels, too. Man, that thing will drive ANY power amp! Thumbs up.
  18. I've got a SVP-Pro and it started out real noisy. The longer I used the quieter it became. It has the tubiest sound of all my pre-amps. I think it is also quite versitile given the way you vary the amount of overdrive and it has a lot of EQ options. All in all it is a great pre-amp if you can find a quiet one.
  19. no wonder i can't even give my bsp away on talkbass!

    i did send it over to bass tasters the other day, so we'll have clips of it fairly soon. in my own listening, i preferred the clean channel of the bsp to the pro -- it's cleaner and less characteristically ampeg than the pro, but it's still a very warm clean channel. the overdrive can get nuts, but blending a higher gain clean with a low gain overdrive yields a very ampeg tone.

    check out basstasters in a couple weeks if you want to compare. maybe i'm just weird, but i prefer it over the pro.

  20. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Hey RCZ...isn't it like blasphemy or something to live in Meridian, MS and use anything but Peavey? :D