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Ampeg SVT-3PRO vs Trace Elliot AH350SMX

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by superkicky, Feb 21, 2008.


  1. superkicky

    superkicky Guest

    Sep 3, 2005
    In terms of sound, how does the Trace stack up to the Ampeg? I have an option to sell my SVT-3PRO and get an RAH350SMX with some extra spending cash left over. I've played both before and I liked both tones, but I never had the chance to sit down with both amps and take my time to A/B between the two.
     
  2. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    I think I would go for the Trace. Their mids really cut well, and I thought it had more usable volume than 3Pro in my brief experience w/the 2 amps. I don't know anything about servicing the two, but I suspect it's not an issue. That Trace was pretty common for a while.
     
  3. superkicky

    superkicky Guest

    Sep 3, 2005
    Did you miss the Ampeg tone when using the Trace? Servicing probably won't be an issue... I have a guy who lives near me who knows Trace gear pretty okay.

    I'm really on the fence here... to be honest I think I'll be happy with either, but I've always wanted a Trace.
     
  4. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Another vote for the Trace.
     
  5. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    I had both at the same time. I loved both. A different take on bass tone that is equally well-executed. Reliablility is good on both. The Trace seemed put-together a bit better. I did have a transformer bolt drop out of the Ampeg during transport & take out much of my circuitry--freak thing. The Trace had a wonky button so I took it to a tech for replacement. Unfortunately, the tech decided to skip town with everyone's gear to feed his drug habit--another freak thing.

    If you buy the Trace & don't like it I'll take it off your hands for you. After all, they light up green. :rolleyes:
     
  6. superkicky

    superkicky Guest

    Sep 3, 2005
    Did you love either more? ;) I know how that freak thing feels — I had a merch vendor run with band fund money last year; was really annoyed by that one.
     
  7. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    Well, the Ampeg did the Ampeg thing pretty well (driving rock). Plus, it covered me for jazz & worship gigs when I needed it. IOW, it was more versatile than what some people give it credit for.

    The Trace did one thing exceptionally well: making fingerstyle rock cut like using a pick. Listening to Mark Harmon from The 77s grind his Stingray through a Trace stack was the clincher for me. Listen to "Woody" off of their Pray Naked album to hear his punch & grind. Tight, compressed, and nasty.

    In retrospect, I guess I miss the Trace more.
     
  8. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    Hope this comparison/comment helps:

    I have a 3-PRO that's been (one of) my bread-and-butter rigs for a few years now. (my "arsenal" also includes all-tube Mesa and Ampeg heads; and a Genz Neo-Pak).

    First off, I have ZERO tolerance for the "3-PRO isn't loud enough" theory; insofar as :
    IF it's not loud enough for a player, they either picked the wrong model for their needs, whatever they may be,, or are not working in venues with pro-level FOH in which the superb Ampeg DI takes care of business.
    I personally suspect that a lot of 3-PRO 'haters" are playing in a garage. 'Nuff said.

    The 3-PRO has classic Ampeg tone, it's not an SVT, but the tube path front ends of the PRO series hybrids are in their own class, tonally, and that class is the Ampeg signature sound.
    There are those who don't like that sound.... No comment :)D)
    :)rolleyes:).

    Insofar as my views on the Trace, hope this is reasonable and helpful:
    Not familiar with the 350, but a while back, I played through and LOVED, then of course, BOUGHT, the new Peavey-owned, Trace built in England AH-500-7. I understand that it was engineered by Trace to produce what's considered the classic "Trace" sound- It even defaults to that sound when powered up!

    My comparison? I'll keep both, thank you!
    No question the Trace, rated at 500 watts RMS @ 4 ohms is louder than the 3-PRO (rated at 475). See above view on volume/headroom issues.

    The tones are very different- The punch of the Trace floors me, as does the rich Ampeg tone.
    The compressor on the Trace is awesome, I've never heard my slap-styles defined so eloquently.
    The tone from the 3-PRO for fingerstyle R&B (I am one of the few who seems to feel that Ultra-low is excellent!) is beyond compare for a vintage, old-school phat defined tone.
    Muddy???? My Azzzz! Nothing else produces the classic B-15 in Motown studios tone better than an Ampeg. No competition.
    And of course I understand those who disdain that signature sound produced by "muddy" players like James Jamerson.....
    And there's not much better tone around than an Ampeg if you have occasion to play some Blues...
    !

    The Trace is more modern, but not hi-fi; not to me.
    For a more contemporary sound, it's more mid-oriented, has a brighter attack, and the punch and impact has it's own character.

    Well, come to think of it, I can't help you! I don't need or want to sell either of these heads. And the tremendous excitement about the new and not-so-new micro heads that weigh 6 ounces doesn't get me overwrought either.
    ...Been there done that with the Neo; great amp, nice to travel light at times, but I work out, so 26 and 30 -something lbs. respectively with the 3-PRO and Trace doesn't stress me.

    You'll not get an Ampeg 3-PRO sound with the Trace; you'll not get a Trace punch & attack with the 3-PRO...
    So if you canot have them both, ask yourself...

    Which one do you like better?
     
  9. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    Very well-stated.

    (And I'm finally glad to find someone else who seems to think that 400W is enough for any situation. What's the deal with everyone "needing" 1000+W heads? I smell a new thread.)
     
  10. superkicky

    superkicky Guest

    Sep 3, 2005
    =realdeal

    You are not helping my wallet! ;) I do believe I'm in the same situation as you... I've never had a better tone live than with my P-bass through the Trace, but I've never had a better studio tone than a Lakland through the Ampeg.

    Maybe it's because of what you said — the Trace throws a ridiculously heavy punch that can't be matched by the Ampeg and that's what I need when I play live, but in the studio the rich tone of the Ampeg beats out the Trace where it matters.

    Decisions, decisions!
     
  11. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    Keep the Trace, sell the Ampeg & get a really good DI box. How's that?
     
  12. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    I sympathize with your wallet!:D If $$ grew on trees, I'd have more gear than the over-abundance I already own!!

    Trace amps sound absolutely fantastic live, and sit in the mix SO well...
    Ampeg- IMO they are the epitome for recording, and bring big smiles to Engineer's faces...
    Check this- Have the studio mic your cab (preferably Ampeg of course) and double-track the bass, through the board AND with your (Ampeg of course) rig mic'd.
    The end result will be most pleasing.

    As far as between Trace/ 'Peg...

    GOT to have both!
     
  13. Realdeal...I agree, the front-end of the 3-Pro and their DI is hard to beat!!!! Well said... +1.

    (I record w/my SVP/cl, but thinking more and more about the 3-pro... .)

    Jimbob
     
  14. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    realdeal, great observations on the Ampeg/Trace comparison and I agree completely.

    After I had been out of the bass playing game for years and it was time to buy a new amp it came down between these exact two amps. The Ampeg has that traditional Ampeg tone that is just fat and old school. I really liked the features the head has and almost bought it.

    I ended up buying the Trace though as I couldn't afford both. I fell in love with the Trace tone years ago when I was just a noob. The punch of these heads is great and, like realdeal mentioned, they don't sound sterile. The features on the Trace are a bit better than the Ampeg. The dual compressor is a huge plus IMO.

    I also agree with the weight comment. I don't need micro heads as I'm tough enough to handle it. ;)
     
  15. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    That's the joy of dual-amp (or more!) ownership!!:D

    ...EVERY time I switch from working with the 3-PRO (I use the same 2 Ampeg Classic cabs with both) I'm floored by the output punch & tone from the TRACE, it literally knocks me back on my heels from the IMPACT!!
    And likewise, going back to the Ampeg produces a big, phat, tube-oriented round classic tone.
    Love it.

    And I think that BOTH Trace and Ampeg heads have really
    carved their own niches as far as having solid and
    defined and recognizable bass tone that's both heard and felt...:cool:
     
  16. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    T.R.A.C.E.
     
  17. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004


    ...and A.M.P.E.G.

    That's the joy of dual-amp (or more!) ownership...





    :bassist:
     
  18. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    While I'm sure the Ampeg is a perfectly fine amp, I'd say keep the Trace Elliot. Very few amps can match a Trace Elliot SMX blow for blow.

    Unless, of course, you want to sell the Trace Elliot to me, then I'd say keep the Ampeg...;)
     
  19. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    Me too!
    I agree with all of realdeal's comments . . . and !'ve "GOT to have both!"

    FWIW, I've got a AH250SMX that I use for rehearsals, but for live I use a SMX Dual Compressor pedal AND 2 SVT3-PROs . . . that way I get that TE "punch" AND that "rich Ampeg tone"!

    :cool:
     
  20. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    That was my live rig for several years. With my D410XLT cab it threw this throaty growl across the room. Too bad the pedal died recently. :crying:
     

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