Ampeg SVT-2 Pro feature (DRIVE) also availble on other amps???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Phyrexian, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. Hi There,
    I've got an interesting question for you guys...

    The Ampeg SVT-II Pro is an awesome tube-amplifier.
    It's got this button called 'Drive' which overdrives your sound of course (read the pasted text below, straight from the manual).

    "DRIVE: This control is used to overdrive the preamp in order to get various distortion sounds. In the fully counterclockwise position the preamp is in the cleanest, traditional SVT condition. As the control is rotated clockwise, signal level is increased to drive the preamp harder (into distortion). The tone of the signal is also changed to provide a smoother overdrive. "

    I 'd like to know if this function is also available on other amplifiers (cheaper ones...) from other brands (Hartke, ...)
    Also, does this button exist because this Ampeg is fully tubes powered, or would this feature also be possible without tubes?

    I don't think this kind of overdrive is the same as amplifiers with a seperate distortion-channel (like the Ampeg B5R of the Ampeg SVT-5 Pro)? Or am I wrong?
    Can someone also explain me the difference between the overdrive on the SVT-2 Pro and the overdrive on the BR5 and SVT-5 (on both a technical level and soundlevel)?

    Thanks, Bart
  2. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I know that the SVT-IIIPRO has a drive knob & my SVP-PRO pre-amp has a drive. I'm pretty sure the drive knobs control the pre-amp tubes to make it distort/overdrive. Any amp that has a tube pre-amp might have some sort of drive knob. I'm not sure how the distortion work on the solid-state amps though.
  3. Thanks,

    is it correct that both the B5R and SVT-5 are solid-state?
  4. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    Drive at SVT 2 is adding distortion.
  5. The SVP-BSP Preamp's distortion (which I believe is the preamp section for the B5 and SVT-5) sounds different than the SVP-Pro distortion. Also, The SVP-Pro distortion is a little more useful that what you can pull out of an SVT-III Pro, IMO. The Drive controls on the 3Pro and SVP-Pro don't seem to function in the same manner, either. At least that's my experience and I own a 3Pro, a SVP-Pro and a BSP.

    If you want distortion, I'd go with the b5, SVT-5 or BSP preamp. I think it is more useful than the Pro preamp in this regard. The Pro has a better clean sound, however. The BSP was designed for distortion and it offers a wider variety of distorted sounds.
  6. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    G-K offers a "Boost" on their solid-state heads which is designed to simulate tube overdrive by adding some growl. Mr. Gallien calls this GIVE-
    or "gate-induced valve technology".
    I had a 400RBIII & the boost added a lot of flavor
    to the tone- not quite like tubes, but a nice touch.
  7. I use to own a 2Pro and I felt like the "drive" knob was useless. Had almost zero affect in any position. I was disappointed. But I liked just about everything else about that amp.
  8. Alright,

    for two months now I've got a SVT-3 Pro. I'm quite happy with it but I wished it would go louder (I play in a metalrockband). I'm only using it with one Peavey 410TVX 8 Ohm cabinet though... adding another 8 Ohm (probably an 1x15) would make my amp sound louder I guess (it would run on its full 450 watts then)??

    I found out myself that the Drive button just adds some sort of clarity or very slight 'grind'... no real overdrive at all but I like it it.

    Anyone else with experience on the 'Drive' button on a SVT-2 Pro? Is it very different compared to the SVT-3 Pro?


  9. You have to turn on the drive and grank the gain until the red light comes on when you're playing. I think alot of people forget the second part.
  10. RebelX

    RebelX Guest

    Oct 27, 2001
    Merrimack, NH
    It's been a while since I researched this, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.;)

    The SVT II and the SVP-Pro are the same pre-amp (I own the SVP). The drive knob on these units drive the 12AU7 tube that's loaded into the 4th slot. To leverage this you just crank it up using your ears as the guide. The peak/mute LED will light up the more overdriven/gritty it gets. Unlike most solidstate amps I've used, this is a good thing! The manuals for the SVT-II and SVP give a fairly decent description of how to use this. If I'm recording something that needs fat and clean, I leave the drive know off, but most of the time it hangs out between 12:00 and 1:00 for my everyday rock and roll. I'm still looking for a good OD pedal, but the drive provides me all the grit I need for day to day use.

    The SVT-III however, is an entirely different beast. It has a "Tube Gain" knob that according to Ampeg, "...varies the high voltage supply to the power amp tubes." This did not add grit or overdrive like on the SVT-II or SVP. I played with one is the store for around an hour and found that I just couldn't coax the same sounds out of it.

    Enjoy the SVT-II. I'm jealous!
  11. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    As far as solid state amps that have drive...the RBI has it.

    Actually, alot of tube preamps don't have "drive" like you might think. One of the reasons I got an SVP over something else was because of this feature. I haven't used it much though.
  12. There's a drive knob on my Ampeg B3 head (SS pre, SS power). It adds clarity to the sound up to about 1 o clock. Then it gives a fuzzy, shreddy sounding distortion. Sounds like the speakers are eating themselves.
  13. terraplane


    Oct 14, 2002
    Italy, Palermo
    You wrote: "for two months now I've got a SVT-3 Pro. I'm quite happy with it but I wished it would go louder (I play in a metalrockband)"

    My friend, if you play metal rock, I think your power stage must be SS. The reasons is that metal sound, for bass, is rarely distorted, and in metal sound you need lots of clean power...svt2-pro (my own head), can give you clean sound at normal volume, but if you push it, you get a distorted sound. I like much that, but for metal...

    The drive knob is to get much drive to the preamp. The difference between 2pro, and svp-pro, is that the second, is the preamp of svt-2pro without power, distortion is the same, but if you use that on a SS power stage I don't know how it can sound.
    I don't know other amplifier with this kind of knob, other amps have distortion channel, but is not the same thing. This is a real tube sound.
    If U need only to get a little distorsion sometimes, I will suggest you some pedal, like ebs,or hughes & kettner tube factor, that is a tube pedal, that can give U 2 kind of distortion: the first little distortion only when you play hard, the second,powerfull overdrived sound:)
    I hope you can find some ideas from what I've wrote:)