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Ampeg svp-cl

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by inazone, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. inazone

    inazone Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    I just brought it home and had a short run with it. First of all, I Like It. I used a epi 410 and berg nv610 with a modulus, Fbass and tobias killer B. Havent had the time to try it with the berg 322 yet (my fav cab!).

    I had the svp-pro but it was too noisy and the cl is as quiet as my aguilar db680 pre. I think if you take the graphic eq out of the pro, the cl has a lot more tones in it. The pro with the graphic might have more tones but as mentioned in another thread they are more of the same where as the cl has different tones. In comparison to the db680 the svp-cl can be thicker. You can get the 'thick' out of the db680 but the 680 is a very 'fast' pre so it doesnt seem quite as thick. So far I can get the two pre's to sound prety close to each other but they still can each get quite different and have their own voice, if that makes sence. Thats what I was looking for.

    I like the fack that ALL of the nobs are useable. You can turn them full on or off without getting the tone funny but still change the sound a lot. For an example the eden nav is known for "a little goes for a long way" and when you get them too far the tone gets weird.

    Compared to other pre's Ive owned: It can get close to the top end of the demeter but more of a mid range top end and not quite as crisp. On the other end it can get every bit as thick as a ashdown rpm evo II and not get as muddy. It is a fast pre but not as fast as the db680 or a EA Iamp.

    The cons; I think the green logo is too bright. It might be cool on stage but right now, dang, its bright. If you dont like the lights on the eden navigator, you wont like this.
    The output is very low on the svp-cl. There is a mod for it and its a simple one (and Im going to have it done). So far Ive just used a qsc plx 3402 and this combo is VERY quiet compared to other rigs Ive tried/used. Keep in mind, for my use I need it loud. It might work with the crest CA9 but I havent tried it yet. btw, yes I know there is a mod for the plx amps too.

    I have to keep it short, I have a gig tonight but in a nut shell, this one Im keeping. All of the preamps mentioned above are very nice but just didnt quite do it for me (except the db680, Im keeping it too) and the svp-cl is one nice pre. Im going to use it for a set or two this weekend and see how it does live and I'll make my next opinion/judgement, just thought Id give a quick review.
  2. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Nice.......I´ll wait for the post-gig review!!!
  3. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Great review. I love comparisons between different preamps. Thanks! You have pushed me in the SVP-CL direction. I cant afford the Aguilar anyway. :D
  4. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Excellent review!

    Can you point me to the mod for the svpcl?

  5. Great review Inazone! I've used my SVP-CL pre for about 20 gigs now, running through a QSC RMX1450 bridged into an SVT-810E. I too find the output very very low, especially compared to my old SVP-PRO. Playing through my Geddy Lee Jazz w/ stock electronics, on the -PRO I'd run the gain at 2 o'clock, master at 12 o'clock, and the QSC at about 1 o'clcok. With the -CL, to get the same volume, I need to run the gain at 3 o'clock, the master at 3 o'clock, and the QSC wide open. Not much headroom available, but I must say it's unbelievably quiet even with the gain and master up this high.

    Tonally, "thick" is a great description. Other words that have come to my mind are "meaty" and "organic". The green logo is damn near as bright as the sun if you stare directly into it :eek: but it does look cool on stage. :cool:

    It's a keeper for me as well. Paired with my 8x10 (or Avatar B212 for small gigs), it has the exact sound I'm looking for that matches the boogie blues and southern rock that we play. If you do get more info about a mod to increase the output, please either PM me or post it up here. I really want to look into that.

    Obligatory pic:

  6. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA

    That IS bright.
  7. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    the light is the only reason i bought the thing. LOL

    i finally got to use my CL with my band during practice. coupled it to a GS112, and it was seriously thick, but then i am used to using an SWR for practice.
  8. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    i want to get one now, ive been looking at pre's for a little while and the CL looks like its the winner. Compared to the BBE BMAX /T and other ampegs, it seems like the best, i would run it with the same power amp as you. but threw a 2x10 untill i get another cab.

  9. I think you'll be more than pleased with it. The 5-way Ultra Low and Midrange selectors really make it quite versatile. I ordered mine from BassNW--best price at the time I bought it and they were great to deal with. I used the above pictured setup bridged into my new Avatar 2x12 for the first time at a smaller gig last week and let me tell ya 1400 watts really makes that cab sing. I bet your 2x10 paired with a 2x12 would make a fantastic gig rig.
  10. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    Thanks guys for the scoop on this thing...sounds very interesting.
  11. Anytime lo-freq! I'm a regular on another forum and don't post much on here, but I thought I'd chime in since it seems there aren't alot of people using this fantastic preamp yet. A few other quick points about it that I feel I should add:

    • It has NO effects loop, only a Tuner Out
    • The DI is remarkably quiet and sounds very good for recording
    • It will not do OD like the SVP-PRO. A little grit when pushed hard yes, but that's about it
  12. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    im really hoping this pre will bring out the bass in my avatar 2x10 im only semi-happy with my peavey's tone and i think the ampeg will bring out a good tone for sure, with a p bass.

  13. inazone

    inazone Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    Well, I still like it. Enough that I used it full time on sat night. Fri night I went back and forth with the db680 (4 sets each night). I ran a modulus bass with aguilar pre and bart pups and a modulus with emg pre/pups. Epifani 410/212 and the crest CA9 for power.

    First, the svp-cl into the plx 3402 (I had both power amps there, one for the rig and one for pa) wouldnt cut it. I tried this in sound check and there simply isnt enough voulme. I switched to the Ca9, had the CA all the way up and had to have the master on the svp-cl at 3:00/ gain at 1:00 to get the volume. I dont run the basses all the way up so I can adjust on the fly for dynamics for different song. I did have plenty volume though.

    I might change the descpition of tone from "thick" to "weight". If I was to read the xyz amp was 'thick' I wouldnt think it was for me. The tone in the cl is tight so I might say that it is deep with weight. There are other tones to get out of this pre but this is what I was after. I used the wireless to go out into the crowd and the tone wasnt over barring but still had weight to it. The top end was there as well. When the cl warmed up it had a very nice grind to it nut not broken up or over driven.

    The one thing I would like it to do better is get more of a "zing" from the upper mids and highs. Part of this is the cabs. To my ears, Bergantino cabs are much better at this dept than Epifani. Still the trace elliot tone does better at this than ampeg, Ill play arround with it more to see if I can find it. At this point I think that sound lies inbetween the "ultra high" and "bright" buttons.

    Over all, like I said before, this one is a keeper. Its very quiet at idle (no hiss, buzz), even with all the gains up. My biggest complaint is the low output and the bright logo. I cant stress enough that different basses sound different so keep in mind what basses I used. I dont want to steer anyone wrong here.
  14. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    how long does it take the tubes to warm up? does it have a mute at least or standby?

  15. inazone

    inazone Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    Btw, I talked to ampeg (nice guys I might add) and the low output will be changed sometime in the newer production runs. Any ampeg service dealer can do it. Its just changing out a resistor/capacitor or something. Quick (well under an hour) and should be cheap to do. I havent had time to do it yet but will in the next couple of weeks. Give ampeg a call, their number is on the website and they will lead you in the right direction.
  16. inazone

    inazone Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    It has a mute button and you can get a foot switch for it, kinda cool.
    When you turn it on the logo lights up white and then turns BRIGHT green after a few seconds, maybe five-ten??? About 3/4 into the first set, after it got hot, it started to get the tone that I liked. That might/probably is the tubes though.
  17. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I guess i ought to weigh in here, too. I was the first to complain seriously to my dealer (Chuck Levin's) and Ampeg about the output issue. And I had the first modded preamp done. It seems the pre was originally designed to work with the new Ampeg power amp--which I might add seems a little silly to me. I mean, if you're content to have an Ampeg pre AND power amp, why not buy one of the SVT's? But anyway.

    So the output on the initial models was too low for SOME power amps. Unfortunately the QSC PLX series is used extensively around here and it was one of the worst. I use a Stewart World 2.1, so they're both Class H amps. Brian Meader at Chuck Levins worked with Tommy at Ampeg and they devised a solution which involves a two-minute fix by a qualified electrician. Ampeg Insider will pop in here and remind us that it's NOT an op-amp. ;)

    Anyway, that mod is really only necessary for the original models, since it was subsequently incorporated into the design. I don't think anyone knows about this mod excepts us, so it probably won't do you much good to ask a BASSNW salesman "is this a modded version?" I guess it's more a matter of taking the one you get and seeing if you're happy with it's performance. If it's too quiet, Ampeg can do the mod.

    One other thing. I changed the 12Ax7's out for higher gain tubes and while I wasn't EVER getting grit, with a switch the preamp started to break up at 6-7 on the gain knob. I used EH's which are known to run hot. The night I changed the tubes, I forgot I'd done it and when I started playing I freaked out "What the hell is that sound?!?! Ahhhhh! Real overdrive!!" Scared me at first.

    Anyway, don't let any of this scare you. It's a great piece of gear. Six months from now, the mod thing should be where it belongs--in the past and confined to the first days of rollout of a new product. And for those of you who say the light is too bright, I have one word: electricaltape.
  18. inazone

    inazone Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    Thanks for posting. It was your thread that got me thinking about the svp-cl in the first place.

    The production run for the "mod" preamps hasnt started yet, at least thats what ampeg told me. They also told me its a regular thing now as far as mods go. Even so if a person wanted this preamp dont wait for the new run. Just get it and have it done. Never know, you may not "need" it done and if you do, its not that big of a deal.

    lol, Ive thought about the tape. The mrs is very artistic and is working up something for me so the logo will still show (it is cool) just not so bright.
  19. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    the mod isnt that big of a deal to me now. maybe in time it will be once i get over haveing ampeg gear.

    should i buy it new or go used? i dont see whats wrong with buying used... there is usually at least one or two ampeg pre's of some kind on ebay, but i need to wait for a good priced classic to come up or someone to sell it privately.

  20. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    Hey Dr Phunkypants, i have yet to get mine modded for the sensitivity. did you notice any change in the tone? did it sound like the CL was trying to overdrive the power amp at all? i decided that i like the way this pre sounds out of the box, i would just like to make sure i am getting everything i paid for out of my power amp.