Ampeg SVT IIPro vs. Mesa Bass 400+

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MrFortuneCookie, Oct 2, 2001.

  1. Ampeg SVT II Pro

    18 vote(s)
  2. Mesa Bass 400+

    48 vote(s)
  1. I was wondering, what do you guys think of these two tube heads? What are the differences in sound between the two? And if you could pick, which would it be, and why?
  2. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    is the SVT2Pro all tube? i didnt' think so....

  3. Yeah it is. Look on the Ampeg site. It's a 300 Watt all tube head.
  4. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    well i'll be. i thought the only all tube ampeg head was the SVT classic.

    in that case i don't know what to tell you. i've never played the SVT2pro, just the mesa bass400+. i liked the bass 400+ a decent amount though.

    although if i recall correctly, i liked the sunn 300T better.

  5. 400+ all the way. You can dial up a huge variety of tones....a real "plug n" play" amp as well; minimal tweaking. I got a fantastic punchy mid tone from it, similar to the SVT.
  6. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    The Mesa has a darker, more deep sound to it that blows the Ampeg away, IMO. But, your experience may differ...
  7. Shumph


    Aug 25, 2001
    On the move
    The Sunn 300T is awesome if you want all tubes. I bought the Sunn 1200s my self and I love it.

    Otherwise the 400+ is the way to go. It was my second choice.

    The only thing is I could only find the mesa in mars where I live and I refuse to spend my money there.

    Mesa needs to rethink their distribution setup.

  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    You like the Mesa because you can have it sound like an SVT? WOW. LMAO.


    I like the Sunn 300T also. It has 2 channels, 1 clean & 1 w/distortion, & you can blend the 2 channels $ get some really nice sounds out of it. I think it has too many knobs on it. LOL. I like it alittle more simple*.

    I personally like the SVT II better. I have been using it w/an SVT 810 cab for about a year & love it. Wouldn't play anything else!!!!

    P.S. The Sunn is designed by the original designer of the SVT's.

    *I use my SVT II EQ'ed flat & I don't use the Graphic EQ. I boost the parametric EQ slightly as needed. Can't get any simpler than that. :D
    <a href=""><img width=385 height=70 src="" border=0></a>
  9. jbass27


    May 4, 2001
    St. Louis, MO
    I'll take an SVT 2Pro any day! I had a customer come in one day telling me he wanted to A/B those two heads, so we used one cab and just switched heads back and forth. The Ampeg sounded a lot better. The only head that sounded better was an Aguilar DB359.
  10. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Ampeg all the way. But I would get one with a MOSFET power amp so it would get louder... like an SVT-4. 1600 watts HAHAHAHA!!! :D
  11. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    I used to have an SVT-4 pro. Both my '72 SVT and Mesa 400+ blow it out of the water. 1600 watts? Riiiight...

    400+ versus SVT-2: I'd say it depends on the tubes in the Mesa. With the the stock chinese tubes, it's a close race. With Svetlanas in the 400+, it is transformed into an absolute monster.

    Never tried the Sunn 300T, but I'd like to!
  12. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I second this!
  13. bump
  14. I think you are comparing 2 different philosophies of where the bass belongs in R&R music. Mesa amps have a tone that puts the bass in more of a supporting roll while Ampeg puts the bass on more of a equal footing with the guitar. It is almost like Mesa was designed by a guitar player and Ampeg was designed by a bass player.....:bassist: jmho
  15. damoN17

    damoN17 Guest

    Apr 26, 2003
    for pure power, I have played live gigs on the road
    (big difference here, on the road, not in my carpeted studio in my flip flops) and i can tell you that the best amps for ALL TUBE operation on the road is the mesa 400, but no way is it louder than the ampeg. the reason it 'sounds' louder and punchier is it has a tremendous frequency response in the mids, more so than the ampeg. the ampegs have real difficulty accurately passing the mids to the speaker. the ampegs (newer ones) have the ultra lo switch, which no self respecting bass player would leave off, and it changes the amps character dramatically. it boosts the frequencies close to 50hz on the input signal, kind of like having an EQ pedal in line with the 50 hz maxed out, THAT is the ampeg sound.
    LO LO LO rumble. you can A/B these two heads at ANY guitar center, for as long as you want ( i worked there in the bass dept) and you will hear a punchy loud sounding mesa, and a booming rumlble your jeans cuffs from the ampeg.

    now, regarding the ampeg all tube amps, of which i have also owned the ampeg svt 300 all tube power amp with the ampeg svt II pro pre amp, for a total of 3 input tubes, and 6 6l6 power tubes.
    that sucker was not as loud as the mesa bass 400 +, but it was a much cleaner sound, and weighed nearly the same. I have also recorded two cd's using active bass guitars into a classic 72 ampeg which has never left the studio, and tone wise it was the best sounding amp i have ever heard. none of the modern SVT amps, including the classic, REALLY Sound like the old 70's blue face ampegs, this amp was with its original SVT 8-10 cabinet, sold as a matched set.

    there you have it, Ampeg has the lower sound, mesa has the punchier sound, mesa is louder in pure tube, the svt IV pro can push 4 8-10's louder than the mesa (tested it) but , it will still sound somewhat 'muffled' compared to the mesa bass 400.

    we didnt even get into the m2000, which is like a cross between a mesa and an swr, with the shapable EQ'ing. this brings mesa to a whole new level, i feel that if i had the cash, i would either buy the mesa m2000 or the MOBASS 1300 from SWR, no other amp on the planet has more tonal options and DEEEP tones than the mo bass.

    i have been playing bass for 18 years, ive owned ever kind of amp you can get. gimme a tube pre with a solid state power for touring.

    (i just got an swr sm500, its pretty damn cool too)

    damoN17 out
  16. I beg to differ. A Mesa 400+ does put out its rated power, but the SVT 3Pro does not even come close, especially into a four ohm load. It's not so much tubes versus s/s as it is a good amp versus a bad one.

    Everyone gets so caught up in "specs" and terminology that sometimes things like this get said that show how getting caught up in trying to play techie can make you lose sight of the big picture. Sound IS volume. If something sounds louder, it IS louder, whether it is by large amounts of current (compression) or spl weighting. I'm not trying to pick on damoN17, just pointing out what should be obvious.

    Ampegs are FAMOUS for midrange grind. If anything, the Mesa has a more "scooped" R'n'B type sound. The ultra lo switch on my old SVTs is a total tone sucker, leaving nothing but undefined boom. Don't need it anyway, since the amp has tons of low end, but the only way I can see a purpose for it is with a REALLY midrangey cab with no lows to start out with.

    Not IME. As I said before, the Mesa does LO while ampeg does grind. Of course I'm speaking about REAL Ampeg amps and not the POS SVT 3Pro (Can you tell I still hate the one I got rid of because I got tired of rebuilding it?)

    The SVT 300 uses 6550 output tubes; can't even sub 6L6's without serious mods and then you'd be castrating what little power the amp's protection circuitry lets it develop.

    How many Bass 400+'s have you played? I'm no huge Mesa fan for other reasons, but a 400+ ought to be MUCH cleaner. If the one you played was at the GC where you worked, I'll bet money some dufus Korn kid had toasted it. I used to be a manager for GC.

    No argument here. I'd also like to add that the old straight back 8x10 cabs sound infintely better than the newer rollbar cabs. I played with a borrowed, brand new, Ampeg 8x10 last week powered by my '70 SVT and compared to my cabs, the thing sucked beyond belief, NO lows, very little mids and bad highs, just a big wall of muffled fart.It was so bad, I was worried something was wrong with my head until I got it home and fired it up on its own cab.
  17. slacker


    Nov 27, 2001
    Portland Oregon
    I hate to come to the defense of the new Ampeg gear, but I used a new 8x10 for almost a year before buying my Mesa cabinets.

    At first, it did sound like crap. Stiff, lifeless, no defintion, no bass. But after about a month or so of hard use, the true tone start coming through in spades. It just took a very long time to break-in.

    I almost returned the cabinet in the first week, but now sometimes wish I still had it. Not to say it sounds better than vintage. And it is one hell of a lot easier to move the tilt-back design.
  18. Boozy


    Apr 29, 2002
    Kelowna BC, Canada
    how about this (I'm just thinking, I know this isnt exactly on topic, oh well)..

    split your signal from your bass into a Mesa 400+ and into a Ampeg SVT-II Pro.. get yourself 2 old school Ampeg 8x10 cabs (even the new cabs would be good considering your gonna sound good regardless).. then see how that sounds!!! my guess is it would be absolutely perfect... eq the svt for major mid range yummyness out of one cab (bumped mids) and eq the 400+ for lo end and hi end out of the other cab...

    if you have ever heard the live version of green day - when i come around (woodstock 94) you will see what i meen.. that is what i think this setup would sound like.

  19. Jacob Bartfield

    Jacob Bartfield Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    Trumbull, CT
    I wasn't to crazy about the 400+ when I tried it. For a tube amp, it didn't sound particularly warm at all. It's definately go with the Ampeg.
  20. thelastofus

    thelastofus Guest

    Jul 3, 2002
    Bakersfield, Ca
    Jacbob my thoughts exactly. I think all of the comparisons between them for reasons other than tone is just plain silly. I'll say that Mesa probably makes better built more reliable amps than ampeg but consider all the ampegs that have been on tours for years and years and years with mostly every band out there, it's hard to argue about their reliablity. and the volume issue? does anyone here really care that a 400+ is louder than an ampeg? who cares what the # of watts it puts out is, listen to the sucker and you know it is loud, loud enough for anything. The mesa will stay cleaner at high volumes granted, but c'mon isn't rock'n'roll supposed to be at least a little dirty?