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Ampeg SVT vs. Mesa 400

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AskingForIt13, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. AskingForIt13


    May 27, 2005
    New Jersey
    Hi. I know this topic has been covered before but I have not found my answer. I would love to get a Classic Ampeg svt as that is the sound I really admire. However for weight and cost concerns I've been looking a the 400. Is there anywhere I can find 400 sound clips, as no local stores have one to play through. If the 400 can't get close to the ampeg sound what other alternatives are there? Thanks.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    They don't really sound anything alike.
  3. Tool - "Undertow" ...the whole album. (that's a 400, not a 400+ I'm pretty sure, but they sound very simillar)

    The 400 has a more Hi-Fi sound when clean, but when it starts to distort, it's more harsh, with an explosion of high-end harmonics, whereas the SVT is more of a resonant sound - they both sound great, but they are two different beasts...although the 400(or 400+) is versatile, you already stated you are looking for the SVT sound...

    Maybe go for the Ashdown ABM series???
  4. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    The Ampeg v-4/v4b, Mesa d-180 and the Mesa 400+ should be on this list.
    The 400+ is still being made. (try guitar satan (center).
  5. REAL ampegs (pre SLM) are expensive and expensive to maintain.
    Ampeg is currently owned by the same company that owns crate and Mackie. Mackie stuff has not impressed me lately. Crate never did no matter what Jeff Berlin says.
    I own a 400 and if you bring the mid and bass all the way up and use the 2nd gain and pull out all the knobs that pull out, it gets pretty close to an SVT for me. But yeah it is pretty much more hifi, having a lot of neagtive feedback and such. That said, 400's and 400+s are much sturdier than Ampegs. I dont know why, but ampeg tube heads are always breaking. More tubes in their to short out maybe??
    Yeah teh D180 is more of a distorted bass head. but less watts. I think 150?
  6. Flush out your headgear new guy...

    Not so.

    Again, not so. I saw lots of NEW Mesa product defective out of the box when I still did repairs. Ampeg tended to be FAR mreo reliable.
  7. I've heard really good stories about the toughness of the Mesa Bass 400's, I hope that to be true - they certainly look and feel tough as a tank...more so than their newer products..:)
  8. Both old Ampegs and Mesas are built quite well. I've been through a few of the heads mentioned above...late 70's SVT, Mesa D-180, Mesa 400+, and they were all built extremely well and ran very reliably. I don't favor either one in terms of build quality.

    But they do sound quite different. The SVT is a very warm, low-mid oriented sound. The low mids are very focused. The tone controls are more defined, and a bit more notchy, for lack of a better term (it's not a bad thing). The amp get pretty raunchy at band volumes, but your ear just picks it up as warmth and depth in the mix with the band. Headroom isn't their strong point, they're anything from pristine balanced tonal perfection...and that's exactly what sounds so good about them. The SVT is a growly, warm, naturally compressed tone with a natural breakup that sounds messy when played solo, btut really turns into magic in the mix with a band.

    Mesas are cleaner, more refined. The breakup is more abrupt and bring on real aggessive, gritty overtones...as opposed to the warm growl of an Ampeg cranked up. The lows are rounder, they feel more weighted and a bit slower. The Q on the tone controls is wider, and they're more interactive. This makes it harder to dial in, as they're more finicky. Mesas, in general are round bottomed, weighty amps with a girthy tone, clear highs (clanky if you're not careful), and a very lingering gritty top end when you push them.

    They're a different take on bass amplification, but each has their place, and each has their strengths and weaknesses. It really comes down to a matter of personal preference. But I wouldn't look for an SVT sound out of a Mesa, or a Mesa sound out of an Ampeg.

  9. I thought the Boogie was more money? Thought Classics were averaging around $850 and Boogies were at least that...

    And is the Boogie that much lighter after racking/casing than a Classic?
  10. AskingForIt13


    May 27, 2005
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the feedback. I have a better idea of what I'm looking at now. As far as pricing goes, I have seen a couple 400 go for under $700, albeit not the 400+ models. The Ampegs seem to all go for over $800 and more often than not closer to $1000.
  11. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    400+ usually go for around $600-800. I would definately take one over a SVT-CL, but if you find an old SVT or SVT-II, its a lot harder to decide. It comes down to do you want something very versitle and a bit hi-fi overall (400+) or do you want something that is simply awesome at getting overdriven tones (SVT). I don't think reliability would be an issue with either.
  12. Erm, well im pretty sure the 400+ has more tubes than any ampeg for a start, and ive never had any reliability problems with my Ampeg SVT-II
  13. JJd2sc


    Jul 31, 2003
    Marietta, Georgia
    pst, mesa in the classifieds!

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