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Ampeg SVP-Cl vs. SWR Interstellar Overdrive

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by markjazzbassist, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. okay guys im buying a preamp and the final decision is down to these two. I am in a jazz tro and play a fender mim fretless jazz bass with EMG pickups. We play a lot of 70's jazz and fusion type stuff. Help me out here with this decision.
  2. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    I would go with the Ampeg. I had an Interstellar Overdrive that I ordered without ever hearing. I was really unimpressed. It did not work well as a distortion unit with another head, and I thought the clean or "regular" tone was not impressive. Not much punch, not bite or growl, and overall very nondistinctive.
  3. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, if you want a cleaner sound, the SWR will give you a cleaner, more "hi-fi" sound. The Ampeg will be darker, and more tubey sounding. Both are fine units, just depends on what you're after.
  4. can i still get a little crunch and grit out of the ampeg?
  5. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    I think that is a clear definition of the differences in sound between the two. If you can't play those specific preampls, I think playing through an SWR and Ampeg head will give you a better idea. The one thing both companies have in common is signature sounds that run across their entire lines more or less.
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I don't know about the CL. I have an SVP-Pro (and, in an act of complete self prostitution: it's FS), and it can definitely get very gritty. It's sort of an overdriven sound, I'd call it crunchy and gritty, I guess. It's basically the sound on most every rock album out there, that full on Ampeg roar. Of course, I've never pushed mine to that level, or heard a CL pushed to that level, just the heads, so I couldn't swear by what the Pro or CL do at high volume.

    They're both definitely all-tube, though. If I was going to call the Ampeg (preamp or otherwise) sound anything, it'd be grinding; not that it's any better (or heck, different) than gritty or crunchy, but that's just the word I'd use for it.
  7. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I agree.

    Although I haven't tried the SVP-CL, I've tried an SVP-Pro that I liked. I have an SWR I.O.D.. It's used as a backup to my Purity preamp. While my Purity was being "fixed", I blew the dust off of my I.O.D. and used it on a gig. I wouldn't say is has a terrible tone but IMO it's tone lacks definition and it's EQ section isn't very flexible.

    - Art
  8. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    Definitely try the two before making your decision. then listen to other bands that sound similar to what you are looking for and determine if you need a clean, hi-fi sound or the thick and chunky rock tone.

    the svp-cl doesnt get much overdrive to it. mine stays clean even with the gain at around 5 oclock.

    the preamps are seriously different though. maybe Dr Phunkypants will chime in here soon. he has had a CL and i think he still owns an IOD.
  9. my decision will probably be the svp-cl because i want the oh-so-warm tube like tones. An alembic f1-x would be ideal but i can't seem to find any used and i don't think i wanna spend 7-8 hundred bucks for one new. Thanks a lot for all of your input i really appreciate it. I have tried out both and the hi-fi deal is not going to cut it, i want that old school vibe.
  10. If you have the chance, you might want to tryout the SVP-pro aswell
  11. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Maybe not........

    The SVP-CL is NOT like any of the current heads.

    Specifically it is NOT like the SVT-CL head. I wish they had chosen a different name for it, because about 80 percent of folks will naturally assume it is just that preamp pulled out into a separate chassis. It ain't.

    Start with the fact it has the 70's SVT preamp structure and circuit as its base.

    Then a switch allows changing that basic circuit and associated tonality to some other and more modern varieties. But, that switch allows returning to the straight 70's SVT when you want to.

    So, I would suggest you play through it and check out all the knobs before deciding in advance "what it is going to sound like".
  12. Its based on but not the exact same as the original SVT, kinda like the SVT II is apparently (minus a couple pre tubes)
  13. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    WRONG ....... Not so........ false.......... etc, etc

    SVP-CL is the same circuit as SVT from the 70's.

    It is NOT minus a couple tubes....it is NOT the same as any current head. Where are you getting your mis-information?

    The current HEADS have various "close but not same" preamps. Earlier heads have used the "12AX7 mod" circuit.

    The SVP-CL does NOT use the "12AX7 mod". It is NOT "missing a couple tubes".

    The ONLY significant difference in the SVP-CL, is that the 12DW7 is "made" with more available 12AX7 AND 12AU7 tubes.

    Since the 12DW7 is a composite of half a 12AX7 with half a 12AU7, that means a very minimal difference. We used a 12AX7 for the "gain half" and a 12AU7 for the "follower half" in each case.

    You need to check your information before making bold declarations like that..........
  14. so your using 2 (essentially half of each getting used) tubes, instead of a 12DW7, so its not the same, so what i said stands, its not the exact same, its based on it tho, so nah :p

    i never said it was anything like any current model

    i know your from ampeg, but hey, im bored and looking for some flaming :)
  15. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I´ve owned both. The IOD sonds a bit cleaner but still warm. I could never get along with the controls. I sensed some great tones in there some times but I could not get them out, if that makes any sense. This pre sounded great with the build in poweramp driving my cab. But it´s only 5W. I could not get that sound through any poweramp. The Eq messed it up I guess. :meh:
    With the Ampeg on the other hand the tone was great from the start. I don´t like any other new products from Ampeg. I´ve always prefered Ashdown and the 70´s Ampegs. But the SVPCL is really great. The Ultra low switch changes the character of the sound and makes it really versatile. But as always YMMV. Try it out! It´s my favourite sound with Thunderfunk as my close second choice.
  16. Alembic preamps show up on the used market quite regularly. There was an F-1X in the TB classifieds for less than $400 last month, and one sold on eBay for $450 a couple of weeks back. Two original F-2Bs sold in that same price range last week.

    Sorry to derail the thread, but if the Alembic is what you really want you should be able to find one used -- at a decent price -- with relative ease.

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