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Ampeg SVT VR/SVT610HLF cab

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by WCHIII, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Im new here, fairly new to bass gear and would really appreciate some advice here. I've finally landed a good bass gig and have decided to get the 'dream' rig. I've decided on the Ampeg svtvr and 610hlf cab. I started doing reseach and soon learned the following. Tube maintenance...costly, and now I've read that taking the amp out of a cold vehicle and turning it on will blow the tubes. What about playing outside in the cold? How do you warm the tubes up in order to turn the amp on? What is the temp thats critical? I live in south Louisiana and while we dont have severe cold weather, we do get down in the 30's. I will be playing outside for a Mardi Gras Festival that will be on the cool side probably. Any and ALL advice on this particular amp, pros and cons would be extremely appreciated... Happy Holidays to you all...
  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Don't keep the amp in the car overnight when it's below freezing and then turn it directly on without letting it come up to room temp. That goes for any amp, not just tube amps. But that kind of thing is bad for the tubes. Otherwise you should be fine. Playing outside in the cold is probably okay.

    Power tubes will probably have to be replaced once every 2-3 years if you're gigging steadily and using the amp for rehearsals, less if you use it less.

    General tube amp pointers are available all around the internet, but this is a good one. http://www.geofex.com/tubeampfaq/taffram.htm

    Other than that, just make sure you have it plugged into a proper speaker load whenever it's in use and you should be fine.
  3. Thanks....
  4. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL

    Using Standby on the tube head is a great idea for warming up the head. While loading the gear in, make sure to leave it sit around for around for 20-30 minutes so the amp can slowly warm up prior to switching it into Standby. While that may be overkill, it definitely can not hurt. Good luck.

    Lastly, figure out if you really want that tube style tone. I certainly did not after playing a Mesa 400+ for ages. I am much happier playing a clean solid state head and adding pedals for overdrive/distortion.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not me. Give me tubes any day of the week.

    WCHIII, once in a while you have to replace a tube or two. Big deal. I've got some tubes that have lasted me over 10 years in some of my gear. It's so worth it, though.

    As for weather, if it's cold and isn't going to get any warmer, then just use it. It's only when it's freezing outside and you bring it into a warm environment that you should let it warm up to room temp before turning it on. This goes for any gear, whether tube or SS.

    Anyway, don't panic so much about tubes. They're not made like they were in the 60's but they're still pretty good, and they're not delicate like light bulbs and only need to be replaced when they go bad (don't worry...you'll know). Treat your gear right and it will treat you right.
  6. Gearhead17, I know what you're saying but that tube sound is what Im after. The band I just joined does 60's/70's horn band, Motown, classic rock, etc. Im trying to get as close to that as I can and Im thinking (not always a good thing) that the tube sound is what I need. Im 57 now and not getting any stronger so the only thing Im really dreading is hauling this stuff around. I really want the 810 too but dont have room in the jeep for it. Im hoping the 610 HLF wont be too far off from what an 810 could deliver.
  7. stiles72


    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    +1 for the Standby switch. Regardless of weather/room temperature, I always like to get my amp set up first thing, and put it in standby mode so the tubes have plenty of time to warm up while I load in the rest of my gear, or help get the PA, lights, etc... set up. And even if time is not a luxury, dont sweat it. Tube amps are tougher than many people think.
  8. WCH, if you have not yet purchased a cab, consider this. I have a 70's SVT and have used it with all types of cabs, sealed 4-12's being some of the best IMO, but never an 810e. I bought the 610hlf after being totally impressed with its low end in the store. Since then I've begun to regret the decision because there is so much low freq. it's hard to get my sound. I re-EQd, I plugged into "bright", I covered the ports in the cab to make it a sealed cab. I believe it's an awesome cab, but it's not the best for a tube SVT. I like mids and tight lows, I happily use two 15's most of the time with my V4BH and flat wound P bass. I've always liked the sound from an 810 though, and I'm considering replacing the 610 with two 410HE's, I've read that they have pretty much the sound of the 810e that we both don't want to tote around. If you still want the 610, I have one with a silver/blue (vintage) grill, a fitted cover and the orig black grill.
  9. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    To my ear, there is a HUGE difference in tone between a good tube amp and any SS one. Tubes last a long time. Quit worrying and play.

    Keep the head in a warm location. Then take it to the cold location, plug it in and let it warm up.
  10. Vistacruiser, thanks for the advice. Two 410's never crossed my mind.
    Perfect solution to the problem. I can load all that up easy and suppose
    I can just use on of the cabs on smaller gigs. Thanks! That's the
    Route I think I'll go
  11. Try 'em out or seek opinions from those who have 'em. The freq response of the svt410he is similar to the 810e and I believe they are a sealed enclosure. But they are 8 ohm so make sure the head can run one safely if you intend to do that. The svt410hlf, which is a 4 ohm cab, is very much like the 610hlf sound wise.

    A bit of irony, the time I took my SVT out to a buddies house to plug into his 810e, we were going to set up his SVT Pro 4 to sound like my orig. SVT, one of my tubes cracked from the cold. :bawl:
    Consider a road case.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not with the VR you shouldn't. The 410he is an 8 ohm cab, and while two of them make a VR totally happy by running at 4 ohms, not so much at 8 ohms since the output transformer wants to see either 4 or 2 ohms. It's usually OK at low volumes, but higher volumes will stress out the OT and tubes and can lead to early failure.
  13. Thanks jimmy!! I may just keep my Fender Rumble 410
    4ohm cab/Genz Benz 6.0 for smaller gigs.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Never a bad idea to have a couple different size rigs for different gig requirements.
  15. Dumb question here. If you turn the tube amp
    on, on standby, to warm it up. Do the speakers
    have to be hooked up? I saw a video on YouTube
    'Ampeg svt vr repair', and in one part the guy
    stresses not turning the amp on without having
    the speakers hooked up. Then later in the video
    He tells a story of sleeping in the cold with the
    amp turned on under the blanket for warmth.
  16. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    When it's in standby, no, you don't necessarily have to have a speaker cabinet hooked up, but as it's not a good idea to run the amp this way, it's best to plug the cab in before turning the amp on just out of habit.
  17. This kinda worries me. I know me! I cant tell you how many times I've gotten all hooked up at a gig, turn the amp and nothing....Once again, forgot to hook the amp to the cabinet....
  18. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I've done it once or twice with my tube amps. It happens. And it's not going to kill the amp instantly as long as its not a frequent occurrence.
  19. Well, I ordered my rig, comprimised a bit, but I think Im going to be happy. Ive got an Ampeg svt 3 pro and svt 610hlf coming in early next week. I played the svt 7 pro for a while in the store but love the way the 3 pro sounds. It also is capable of some pretty good tube sound as well. Who knows down the line...I still hear that SVT VR calling my name...
  20. oinkbanana


    Oct 20, 2011
    nothing satisfies like the svt-vr imho.
    enjoy your new rig!