Ampeg SVP-CL pre + Crest CA9, or Ampeg SVT-8 Pro head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DJJazzV, May 21, 2007.

  1. DJJazzV

    DJJazzV "There's nuthin wrong with this brain!" Supporting Member

    May 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Opinions please:
    I am the very proud owner of an Ampeg SVP-CL preamp + Crest CA9 power amp. It is the most amazing bass tone I have ever used, and I've had a lot of bass heads before. I put the Ampeg setting on #4 (Ultra Low Classic). I run it through a Bergantino HT322 cabinet. Feed the beast with an Ernie Ball SR5 HH. It is amazing!

    The new Ampeg SVT-8 Pro head has the EXACT preamp and it is powered (1300 watts @ 4ohms). Only 2 spaces as well. Same preamp tube configuration ( 2 - 12ax7 & 2 - 12au7 tubes)

    The reason I'm considering just getting the head is because I'll save about 30 lbs off my rack, save a rack space (so I could go back to a 4 space rack instead of 6), and get an Effects Loop back (even though I never use it anyway). I'm assuming the tone should be very close to exactly the same. Does anyone disagree? I know the Crest CA9 is a great power amp, especially for it's 700:1 Damping ratio. It's exactly what Jim Bergantino highly recommends to use with his cabinets

    I guess basically I'm asking is if anyone who uses a preamp + poweramp could get the same preamp with built in power, would they? Why or why not?

  2. Although I have a different set-up entirely, I'd probably
    go with the smaller, lighter, all-in-one unit providing there's
    comparable performance/tone/damping ratio
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Assuming tone is equal and ignoring weight: I prefer pre/power because of modularity. If a preamp fails, I can patch around it (using SABDDI, compressor, backup pre, whatever) and continue the gig. If the stereo power amp fails... well, at least there's a chance I can finish the gig on just one channel. Some consolidated heads have preamp output/power amp inputs, so you can possibly do the same with them... but the fact remains that the entire head has to go into the shop for repair... you can't send just the section that failed.

    If weight is a major consideration, consider a lightweight power amp. I know, I know: many TB users, and Jim Bergantino himself, don't care for the performance of the commonly available switching amps (Stewart, QSC). But I've been gigging a Stewart World 2.1 for years now with no complaints from either me or my bandmates. And I can't believe anyone in the audience would notice the difference, just as no one but me ever notices the difference between my Fender and my Sadowsky.

    All that said: switching to the 8Pro, you'll reduce both weight and number of rackspaces required... a nice convenience factor. The question is: what are the differences between the CA9 and the power amp of the 8Pro? That is, will you lose either tone or volume? I have no idea, it's just a possibility to consider based on some other TBers' experiences with heavy vs. light power amps. If you prefer convenience to modularity, and don't mind (possibly) losing a smidge of tone and/or volume, then go with the smaller, lighter Ampeg head.

    I probably haven't helped you make your decision, but I hope I've given you a few more factors to consider... :p
  4. ..yeah, setting 4 is what I use on the Pre.. Instant warmth. Probably a must for your Stingray. I know it's a must when using my Fender J bass.
  5. +1 on my SVP as well.

    And good points made by Ken I didn't consider . . .
  6. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    The only real plus you get out of the 8 PRO is an amp that has a Power Tube Emulation button built into it. The 8 PRO is designed to create the raging tube growl of an all-tube SVT at lower volume levels (and higher levels) without the hassel/reliability issues with tubes. The first 100 units were made in the USA and after that they will be made in Vietnam. I think you should stick with what you have. You obviously like the tone.
  7. DJJazzV

    DJJazzV "There's nuthin wrong with this brain!" Supporting Member

    May 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Thank you all for your opinions and knowledge. I actually love the tone of my SVP-CL preamp. With that being said, I just ordered a store's floor model of the SVT-8 PRO head. I called the store, they looked at the back of the head and it said "Made in the U.S.A." (not sure of the exact wording until I receive it).

    Ampeg support had sent me a manual for that head a few days ago. After reading though it, I was almost convinced to get it. After this thread, I was sold. It appears I can actually hook up my Crest CA9 to the preamp out of the head as well, in case I want to run 4 cabinets at insane power (not that I ever would). Of course, I'll always keep the SVP-CL preamp. I've had many preamps, and that one is my favorite, by far!
    I'll probably put the 2 TungSol 12ax7 and 2 80's made military (forgot the brand) 12au7 tubes in the head soon after I receive it. They sound amazing in the preamp.
    Thanks again!

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