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Ampeg SVT vs Ashdown ABM500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by junglebike, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Can you get close to the SVT tone with the Ashdown? Looking for a rig that weighs less than 80lbs, doesn't cost a bunch for tube maintenance, and sounds as good at small low-volume gigs as big ones. But good lord, the SVT sounds nice :D

    I've got a Bergantino NV610 and a killer Carvin fretless 6-string. I play everything from folk to funk to rock and latin.
  2. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Depending on the prices go for the SVT man, you can't possibly go wrong with one. Which one are you getting by the way?
  3. Look at my talkbass name, now look at what i use, go for the Ashdown ABM500 it is better than the Classic in my opinion, less weight, less maintenance, more tonal options, less money and sounds every bit as good. Why do you think so many of the leading bass players are using or switching to Ashdown. Ampeg has had its day move over time for the new kids on the block.

    I had the Classic and its good but not that good to justify the price. The Ashdown can give you Solid State clean and Tube grind and lots in between. It has a better eq section, and f/x loop and a tuner out with mute, plus the sub harmonizer. Tube drive is footswitchable etc etc, dont choose with your eyes use your ears and decide.
  4. jaffabass


    Mar 28, 2002
    Through regular use of both heads, I've found the Ampegs much more to my likeing in terms of tone. The Ashdowns have a massive bottom end (I would say almost too much) but no mids worth talking about, meaning I've had real problems cutting through in a guitar band.

    The rehearsal place I go to regularly has about 8 of both the Ampeg (older SVT-II and SVT-CL) and Ashdown heads going into Ampeg 810s. It's possible the poor tone I've had could be down to the Ashdowns not working well with those cabs? I've also noticed that over the years, the VU meter has stopped working on most of the Ashdown heads. I've found the Ampegs pretty much look after themselves tone wise, the sound is there with very little effort on my part.

    The advantage of the Ashdowns is of course the weight and price.
  5. I think the comment about the low end and mids must be something to do with the cabs as when i had both the SVTCL and the ABM500 i would say that the Ampeg had less mids, in fact i used to boost the high mids to get more punch from it.

    The mid range selector on the SVT meant you were fixed to one mid range freq. at any one time, where as the ABM 500 has knobs and sliders to adjust for each freq. at the same time. This meant that there were no holes in the sound and i found that the ABM was more punchy, yes it had alot of low end but it was clear defined low end, and a warm tone to it.

    I think the ABM does sound better with 410 and 115 cabs and it does have a good midrange if you dial it in.
  6. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    Though I really like the Ashdown I've never been able to get that full on SVT mid-growl out of one, no matter what speakers I've hooked it up to. :meh:

    For the SVT tone your really need to go with an SVT! :hyper:

    Also worth trying out though are the Landmark 300 and 600 Heads from Tech21. They can get pretty close to the SVT tone with a bit of tweaking..... :bassist:
  7. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    That's kind of what I'm worried about. I think that SVT mid-growl is power tube distortion, which really can't be replicated. Amazing that after all these years the can't come up with something to do that in less than 50lbs!

    As for type of SVT -- I'm still debating whether to get a vintage 70's unit or a used SVT-CL or even SVT-II or II Pro. I guess it would come down to price and availability. I'd like to spend less than $1000. I'm not in a hurry (i.e. don't have the cash right now :mad: )
  8. Ashdown ABM + SansAmp Bass Driver DI = SVT Growl/Warmth and a multitude of other sounds.IMHO
  9. I have always been underwhelmed by the classic SVT sound. Too me it is just not versitile enough and way too heavy to lug around. I have owned a few of the hybrid SVTs, and frankly my Ashdown gets closer to the classic SVT tone than those did. Plus it has the ability to do modern tones and is much lighter than the SVT classic. To convince myself, I recently tried out one of the new SVP-CL preamps for an extended period of time, and I found that I was able to pretty much nail the sound with my Ashdown with some EQing.

    As far as pairing with Bergantino cabs goes, I think it is a match made in heaven. I have never had an issue with midrange with my Ashdown/Bergie rig. In fact, I often leave the EQ switched off and run the head totally flat, and it cuts through anything. I think a few people here have tried the NV610 with the SVT classic. You should do a search to see what their feedback was.
  10. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    I've got three vintage SVT's and an ABM500-RC. The amount of power and low end that the ABM can put out is astounding, but I do agree with the above comment that it's tough to get "SVT midrange roar" out of it. I find myself cutting the bass way back and cranking the gain. It gets close, but not quite. It's also for sale... I really only use my SVT's these days.
  11. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    This is all very interesting -- you're certainly not making it easier...

    Ampeg: unstoppable tone, 90lbs+, ~$1k properly set up, plus maintenance, never ever breaks

    Ashdown: versatility, somewhat close to SVT tone, 30lbs, $600-ish used, scattered reliability issues

    How's a man supposed to chose???

    Any more comments?
  12. Go try both of them out with your cabinet and see which one you like the best, then go with it. :)
  13. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004

    They have very different tones. It (like all sound decisions) all comes down to taste.

    As for me, I can't imagine even getting close to the SVT growl with my ABM 500. I like the Ashdown, but either SVT (CL or 70's) wins hands down for that sound, imo.
  14. Another option for around $1000 is the Ampeg SVP-CL pre and a good power amp. With a QSC PLX (or something similar) the rig would weigh under 50lbs. and obviously require less tube maintenance than an SVT.
  15. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    What about the Yorkville/Traynor YBA200? All tube, 40lbs, $600, 200W??? I don't think I'll ever need the full SVT 300W, as I never play bone crushingly loud.

    Seems like that might be ideal. Surprisingly little info out there about them, though -- any comments?