Ampeg V-2 tone compared to V-4 & V-4B

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tim Skaggs, Apr 1, 2018.


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  1. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I have a 1970 Ampeg V-2 guitar amp that is, without a doubt, the best sounding amp I own for amplifying bass. It has crystal clear highs and deep smooth lows, and with the three freq. selectable midrange to cut or boost, it's easy to dial in a good tone for about any bass on any speaker cabinet I have.

    The problem with the V-2 is well known; at 50-60 watts, it's not powerful enough to play in a lot of settings. The next step up is the V-4 which I've read does have enough power to play in most indoor settings.

    So a couple questions for those that have had the opportunity to hear all;
    1. Does the V-4B sound very similar to the V-2 guitar amp?

    2. Does the V-4 guitar amp and the V-4B (bass) amp also sound very similar?

    I have a Fender Studio Bass head that has plenty of power, but it does not have the same tone / voicing as the V-2 & I really prefer the V-2 tone.

    If the V-4 guitar amp and the V-4B sound about the same, it provides more opportunities to find a used unit, and I can ignore the reverb just as I do on the V-2.
     
  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    The V4/B used the same basic preamp as the V2. Between the V4 and V4B there were a few changes in the pre but you can adjust a V4 to V4B frequency range with a few coupling cap changes. It doesn’t make a huge difference, and since you already like the V2 you’d be fine with a V4. The V4 and V4B used the same power amp which was pretty much a 100 watt version of what you have. I mostly gig with ether a B25, V4, or a 200 watt hiwatt-like amp. With the right cabs the V4 has never been an issue for me.
     
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  3. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    You are confirming what I suspected was the case. I'm on the hunt for a V-4 and now that I know I can include the guitar version on the list, I have a larger market from which to choose. Thanks.
     
    coreyfyfe likes this.
  4. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    The V4 was the guitar version and the V4-B the bass version. I think the tone centers were dropped an octave or so for bass on the V4-B. V4-B cabs were monsters and sounded like one too. I used a rented V4-B bottom with a B-25B head once (similar output to your V2) at an outside gig and I couldn't believe the volume and sound out of that cab.
     
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  5. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    They used the same tone stack on both, the coupling caps after the first gain stage on each channel (C3, C6) and into the tone stack (C7) were 0.1uf on the V4B but 0.01uf on the V4. Both used PEC module #6470000 (same as SVT, others) for the bass/treble, and the same cap values around the midrange inductor/driver circuits. On my V4s I've changed C3 and C7 but kept C6 as is but there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between the two, maybe a bit more low end roll off on the second channel when set up this way.
     
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  6. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I had a V4-B years ago and the only difference between the V4-B's and the SVT's tone sections was the low position on the mid switch, the V4-B was a little higher, 1000 Hz vs 800 for the SVT.
    I never tried a V-4, there's got to be a way to make a V-4's tones be the same range as a V4-B I would imagine.
     
  7. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    The V4 and V4B both use 300, 1000, 3000 on their midrange circuits versus the 220, 800, 2500 of the SVT. The way to make them sound the same is what I said above - change the coupling caps in the preamp. Outside of this, the low boost was only available on the V4B and the sensitivity switches and reverb were only available on the V4. The power amps were identical.
     
  8. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    If you haven't found/checked out this thread it covers most of the V4 vs V4B stuff pretty thoroughly

    Ampeg V4 vs V4B: The Definitive Guide to the Differences
     
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  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    The only drawback of the guitar version is that it has reverb and the circuits and tubes to support it. Later models had the distortion circuit. These complicate things but both sound good.

    Then there is the VT-22 212 combo, same amp in different packaging. See the attached service manual. They weigh a lot. Some people build or buy a head case from fliptops and mount the VT-22 amp in that.

    If you want a new amp there is the V4B reissue. Coupled with the SVT-212, it sounds particularly good.

    I have a rebuilt '74 V4B and love it. The earlier models had the metal knobs. When Loud reissued the V4B a few years ago, they based it on, by coincidence, a good sounding '74 V4B. The vintage and reissue are similar but not the same designs. Both are amps.
     

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  10. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    That's right, I knew they were similar it's been a long time since I owned one. I thought you said changing the caps didn't make much of a difference or did i read your post wrong?
     
  11. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I had a metal knob version years ago, wish i still had it, I had had it all rebuilt by a tech friend who did a great job.
     
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  12. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I love the sound the Stones guitarists used to get out of those early Ampeg guitar amps. I used to play with a guy who had a V4 stack, I liked it better than a Marshall, very thick sounding amp.
     
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  13. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Yeah not much difference, my point was more there isn't much different between the two amps even without the change so I wouldn't sweat it.
     
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  14. spaz21387

    spaz21387

    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I have a reissue v4b and can say its loud enough for indoor gigs. It also has a post tube di if you want to let the pa do all the hard work...
     
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  15. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Arkansas
    If you like the V2, then you’ll love the V4. Love my early 70’s metal knob V4. It has NOS 7027a’s and RCA/GE pre’s. A vintage V4/V4B has been my main go to amp since 2009. I’ve sold a couple over that time, but I quickly bought another to replace what I shouldn’t have sold in the first place.

    A few months back, I had a sweet 67 Showman head. I A/B’d it with my V4 and made recordings of guitar and bass with both amps. Same cabs, same Precision and Les Paul guitar. Both sounded great, but the V4 sounded better with both the bass and the guitar. The V4 just has that something special going on. Sold the Showman afterwards
     
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