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Ampeg SVT CL -- Gain and Master Volume

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kmon, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. kmon

    kmon Supporting Member

    May 11, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Just got an SVT CL and 8x10...

    Noticed that a lot of guys recommend maxing out Master Volume and using Gain as a volume control.

    I tried it, but kind of dug the traditional approach of setting Gain to taste and using Master Volume.

    Might have just been an artifact of where I was: a 16x14 rehearsal room and at a relatively low overall volume. I was just able to get a nice grindy tone that way, whereas the maxed Master Volume approach put me at a ridiculously loud volume before I liked the tone. I might have felt differently had I been in a situation where more volume would have fit.

    Enough of that...I'm looking for comments/guidance/cautions on the various approaches to Gain with this amp. I've never owned an all-tube rig before so I'd really appreciate any pointers.

    Also, kind of polling fellow owners to see what approach you take, and whether it varies by situation.

    Thanks!! :)
  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    The cranking the master, controlling volume with the gain approach is closer to a vintage SVT/SVT-VR in terms of operation, which is why many people make that recommendation. And yes, you have to be ungodly loud with a vintage/VR amp to get distortion. If you like the tone how you had it set, then go for it. It's your amp and your sound.
  3. fitz420

    fitz420 Knows Lows

    Oct 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I put a 5751 in v1. Helped round off the lows and keep it from breaking up as early.
  4. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Don't own one but have played plenty as backline over the years.

    Maxing out the master makes it operate nore like a non-master volume amp thereby making things pretty loud when turned up enough to get some overdrive, as it's making the power tubes distort as well as the preamp.

    That is indeed too loud for many smaller gigs, so, there is nothing at all wrong with your approach of turning down the master there, it's needed. The geit you'll then get will be coming more from the preamp and not the full on roar of driven power tubes but that's juat the way it is. It's a big, loud stage amp.

    I don't believe the SVT is designed in such a way as some others where you can just pull pairs of power tubes and rebias, thereby making the amp weaker so you can run it into distortion without getting too loud, so, one other way to get more of that is to use less and/or lower spl speakers. Like a 4ohm 410, 212, or even 115 if you can find one that can stand up to all that power. Single speakers that can handle that are very few, but, using less speakers is about the only other way to quiet one down.

    I have a couple design ideas I'm tossing around for speakers specifically for folks who want to run their SVT's into some dirt while being able to use them in smaller places, but they are a ways off yet.

    In short, use the master if you need to, nothing wrong with that.

    Maxing the master makes it act more like the old amps that didn't have a master volume, but, the tradeoff is you run too loud for a lot of smaller places if you turn up into the dirt zone. They do sound nice run clean too though.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    What they said.