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Ampeg SVPpro preamp into power amp vs. SVT 4pro or 6pro

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pfschim, Jun 4, 2014.


  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I have been on a search for an Ampeg based rig, both an amp and cab, for a month or so. Thanks to all for the advice on the various options.

    I wanted to ask another question of all of you experienced Ampeg players.

    First, I am not looking at a classic SVT (300w all tube amp) into an 810 cab. Just too much to haul for me.

    That said, what is your opinion on an SVP pro (SVT preamp) into a beefy power amp vs. an SVT Pro amp like either the 4pro or 6pro.

    For a cab, I am looking at the used market for a Berg NV610, as well as possibly having Don at LDS build me a sealed 610 loaded with Eminence Beta 10's, or Faital 10's.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you go preamp, the SVP-CL is the one to get IMHO. I know the Pro is more like the pre in the 4 Pro, but the SVP-CL is for all intents and purposes the same as a vintage SVT's preamp. Good question, though. It would appear that the 4 Pro and 6 Pro have straight up power amps rather than the 3 Pro with its driver section for the power amp. So it might work out the same to do that but I've never done it, so I don't know.

    As for the cab, you're on your own there. I've not played the NV610, but I've heard recordings comparing it and a Heritage 810e, and the NV610 sounds a little too "polished" for my tastes.
     
  3. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    I've owned every amp you listed.

    My favorite is the 4 Pro.

    I has been a few years since I had the SVT-6 - but I remember it being hit and miss tone-wise in different rooms. I am sure I could have become better friends with the parametric eq - but before I did, I got my hands on the SVT-4 Pro and that amp just seems more intuitive for me. I have been using one for about seven years now without an issue.

    I have owned a few different SVP-Pro's and SVT-IIP's. I used them with a 1500 watt Carvin class D power amp and an Ampeg SVP1600. The 4 Pro just seems a bit more refined tone-wise. If you like distortion, you would need a pedal - which is fine with me - you can't get a dirty amp to go clean.
     
  4. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    I want to ad that I sold my last SVP-Pro when I found an Ampeg B-1 (not B1R or B1RE).

    The B-1 has a tube pre and a 150 watt power amp built in. It is a one space rack mount just like the SVP - but it sounds more like an all tube SVT to my ears. These are fairly rare - but when you can find one, they are usually cheaper then the SVP and you can still use it with an external power amp. There was one on Ebay last week that did not sell - I would nab it (if you go the preamp/power amp route):

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ampeg-B-1-B-1-Bass-Guitar-Amp-Head-Made-in-the-USA-Hard-to-Find-/111361176173?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19eda4b26d&nma=true&si=CRctJ1w971UXzXV8cu%2F3PcPmbUQ%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  5. mrwood4

    mrwood4 Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2014
    Southern Illinois
    I have the svp-pro and the svp-cl. both are great preamps. I'm currently running the svp-cl into an svp-1600 bridged. I love the sound, and the head room the amp provides. If I want dirt I use pedals for that. You wont get the overdrive/distortion sound out of the svp-cl. I had considered an SVT4 pro for a while, but found a great deal on the svp-1600 (actually 2 of them) and was lucky enough to also get a good deal on the pre amps. I would highly recommend either of these pre amps if you can get ahold of one. I can't speak about you cab choice, I'm running an ampeg classic 8x10.
     
  6. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    I just read Jimmy's reply - I have not had the chance to try the SVP-CL (they are also a bit harder to find), but it would make perfect sense that the CL would be very SVT sounding.
     
  7. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I don't necessarily need to nail the old school SVT tone perfectly, just get a nice SVT style sound. I also want more watts and less weight than the original SVT brings with it (not to mention the 810 cab). Both the 4pro and 6pr0 weigh in around 40lbs (according to the Ampeg manuals). That's not out of the question weight wise, but it is a bit on the heavy side for my taste.

    When I saw the SVP-pro for sale locally, it just got me thinking about a pre/power rig because it would probably get me the Ampeg tone I want, and with silly up-wattage power amps on the market today, I could easily have 1k watts at my disposal for very reasonable $$ and pretty modest weight.

    For reference, I am using a Tech21 VT Deluxe pedal on my board these days (past 2 years) and it provides enough of the Ampeg tone for me (B15 - SVT).

    Any of you know what the pre or power amp architecture differences are between the 4pro and 6pro that make them so close in power and weight ?
    6pro seems to have 2 pre amp tubes and 4 driver tubes into a mossfet solid state power section. 4pro seems to have 3 preamp tubes (no driver tubes?) into a solid state power section. On the surface, this makes the 6pro sound more like my beloved Mesa Walkabout as far as architecture (big plus in my book).

    great to have options. gotta just get off the porch and grab one of these bad boys and get it on a gig.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think it's a shame the 6 Pro got lost in the shuffle at LOUD when they first took over Ampeg. But then again, I have no idea what the sales figures were, so I don't know if I can blame that on the former head idiot of LOUD. Came out at a really bad time, though...right in that final days of SLM/early days of LOUD time.
     
  9. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    If you are watching your weight, you do have to be careful what you put an SVT 4 Pro into. I usually build my own head cases - but I came across a great deal on a four space rack case online last year and I decided to pick it up. A few weeks after I installed my 4 Pro in it, I started using my HSVT-CL again. The tube amp is easier to handle then the 4 Pro inside of the heavy duty ATA case. I will get around to making a lightweight case for the 4 Pro soon though.
     
  10. If the SVP's are on your radar and you are watching weight, I suggest you pair one with a Crest ProLite amp.
     
    Brother Goose and Dave W like this.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I have both the SVP-CL and SVP-Pro as well. Both are really nice pres, but I do prefer the SVP-CL.
    I thought the addition of the gain knob would be a great thing since I was looking for a gritty grinding beast, but it just didn't seem to make a pleasing OD type of sound for my ears.

    I keep meaning to take the SVP-CL out with me and plug it into my Prodigy's power section. I'm curious how close I can get to an SVT sound with the KT88 power section it has....

    I would definitely pair it up with one of the Crest Pro-Lite power amps. I ran mine with a Crest CA-4 and was always happy with the tone I got.
     
  12. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    4pro is a great sounding head, and the svp-pro is great through a qsc plx, crest ca, eden wt-1000. Hard to go wrong really. I didnt like the svp-cl as much though i may not have given it a fair shake. Some of them have very low output which can be a problem with some power amps.

    Ive always thought ampeg solid state power amps were a little spooky even before the 7pro, so i have a lot of miles on ampeg pres with other power amps.

    All that said, with an nv610, the cab sounds almost the same with any amp you use.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  13. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    well, unfortunately, while there does not seem to be any lack of used SVT nPro heads avail, NV610's are fairly rare in the used market (at least the sources I have been checking - TB, local CL and GC Used Section). The LDS option may become the way to go for the sealed cab.

    I've hardly ever used a rack system in 40+ years of playing. I am completely comfortable with the idea, just don't have much experience to draw on.

    what makes you say that Ampeg power amps are spooky ? (presumably you mean the power sections in the nPro line of heads)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  14. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    I have a SVP-Pro and use a Carvin HD1500 power amp. With a SKB shallow-x rack case it comes in around 20lbs. I like the sound of mine but I've had to put some work into it to get it noise-free. That said, now it sounds great and I really like the hair I can get using the gain & drive controls.
     
    Passinwind and kzr750r1 like this.
  15. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Pretty much unjustified superstition. They just never seemed like a cutting edge solid state company. The 7pro has tons of problems but i have not heard of too many issues with 4pros. They really do sound good.

    The heritage 810e is a great sealed cab.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually, Ampeg's always been right in there with solid state as early as 67. And the SVT 3 Pro was a very forward thinking hybrid for its time, with a driver section for the power amp and different tubes for the EQ. They were also the first major company to have a micro rig, the Portabass series. So this idea that they aren't forward thinking when it comes to SS amps IMHO is because their tube amps are just so darn good it tends to overshadow some of the other stuff they do.
     
  17. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I said it was unjustified ;)
     
  18. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    The only problem I have ever had with any of Ampeg's hybrid tube/solid state amps is a result of the 3 Pro's bias pot being very sensitive. It may need adjusting after vibrating on top on a bass cab for a few years. I have put a lot of miles on the 3,4 & 6 Pro and none of them ever had any other problem.

    I did cause the class-D 7-Pro to blow something once - but that was user error. I forgot the speaker cabinet I was using was wired for 2 ohms - or I forgot the amp wasn't made to run at two ohms (whatever it was, I forget).
     
  19. I'd prefer the SVP-Pro, myself, but that's mainly because I like getting my drive from amps, not pedals.
     
  20. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    ah, ok. well, I am generally seeking a clean, warm tone with no overt distortion ( I get that the Ampeg sound could be thought of as inherently somewhat distorted). My approach is the opposite of yours .. I only get distortion from a pedal, never want it from the basic amp platform. I do use distortion in certain applications, like to fill out the sonic space in a power trio, in certain music styles, or as a punctuation in certain parts of specific songs, but I use it very sparingly and use pedals to get the effect so I can punch it in/out on command.
     

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