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Ampeg V4 question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by freebeer, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. freebeer

    freebeer Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2002
    Suburbs of Detroit...
    Hey all, what's the difference between the old (70's) V-4 and the V-4B? I know one is a guitar head and the other is a bass head but really where is the difference? A bud of mine has an old V-4 he wants to get rid of and I would like a 100watt tube amp to use when the mighty SVT is not needed. Is there easy conversions to anything to make the V-4 bass worthy or is it fine like it is or what?
  2. It's probably fine like it is, but there are a few capacitors in the V-4 that are slightly smaller than those in the V-4B. It could easily be converted, but you probably won't need to do it. It'll sound pretty good as is for bass. The transformers are the same between the 2.

  3. Two main differences. The V4 has reverb, the V4B does not. The V4B has a Ultra Low switch which cuts the midrange to make the bass seem louder. Other than that, same amp. There are different revisions of the circuitry over time but my year's V4 has the same preamp and poweramp as the V4B. Capacitors are generally the same except for the reverb addition which added more stuff. On both versions, at least for my year, the input from your instrument goes straight into the control grid on the first preamp tube, which gives it more tone IMHO.

    The V4 is a great bass amp, all you do is turn down the Reverb knob. It will put out 100 watts RMS plus some, into either 2, 4, or 8 ohms, just flick a switch on the back. Last week the bar manager asked me to turn down, and I didn't even think I had it cranked.

    To get the V4 cranking in it's full glory, it'll need a cap job. The power filter capacitors should be replaced. Then check out the coupling capacitors, I eventually replaced all of mine. The 7027a tubes are easy to find at Triode Elec. (if you don't want to take the cheaper route of 6L6GC's) Supposedly you can get a lot more oomph by modifying to go with 6550 or KT88 tubes, but I personally feel an auxilary filament heater and cooling fan would be necessary, along with re-biasing for the different tubes. Maybe over the winter I'll try going with KT88's.

    V4's are fairly cheap on Ebay. The earlier ones are better IMHO, the ones with no "master volume"--instead there will just be a Volume 1 and volume 2 for either of the input channels. Also the earlier ones have toggle switches for power and standby, instead of rocker switches.

    But definately get the caps replaced!! The multi-section 40-40-40 twistlock is available again by the way. Substitute a 120 or 140 for the 40-70 in parallel.
  4. freebeer

    freebeer Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2002
    Suburbs of Detroit...
    cool. thanks for the info fella's. very informative!!
  5. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Mine is a 72 Magnavox. I paid $275. The cap job was $120. and this amp is a real '65 Buick".
    It has a better tone, (to my ears) than the SVT that I had. Way FATTER. I'll never sell it. It has the reverb, but you just back it down to O. It still has the 7027A power tubes in it.

    BUY IT!


    Oct 23, 2002
    Gales Creek,Or
    I am seriously cosidering a V4 or a Musicman 130 or 150 Hd.Can anyone give me their opinion?
  7. Go for the V4,


    -great tone when restored
    -undervalued (means you can find 'em cheap)
    -not the crushing volume of a SVT
    -built like a tank
    -relatively easy to have serviced


    -heavier than h***
    -lots of expensive tubes (but they ARE available from specialty tube places)
    -need a service tech that knows tube amps really well
    -don't work on it yourself (other than replacing tubes) unless you're qualified to work with high voltage, there's 545 volts in there and it can kill you. I'm serious.
    -not as much clean volume as a modern high-powered amps, (solid-state)
    -not a lot of variety in tones (but what you get sounds great)
    -not the crushing volume of a SVT
    -since they're old, will need electrolytic filter caps replaced.


    Oct 23, 2002
    Gales Creek,Or
    I am definately leaning toward the V4B.I am relatively new to Bass(played guitar for 25 years)I have only been actively playing bass for about 6 months.So I don't fully understand what is needed to get the mids thru the mix.Ampegs have a great rep and are used so much that I figure "how far wrong" could I go with an ampeg.

    My interest in the Musicman Head is that it has a solid state preamp and 150 watts.I have no idea what I am talking about but would the solid state preamp factor on the music man give me more clean head room? Enabling ot to cut thru better?

    I really don't know.

    I own three guitar amps Line6 Flextone XL,Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and a Silvertone 1482 (to die for).
  9. Many people claim a tube amp rated 100 watts RMS will sound as loud as a solid-state amp of 200 watts or more. The general opinion is that a tube amp distorts with good-sounding even harmonics, whereas a solid-state amp distorts with ugly-sounding odd harmonics. I do know my Ampeg V4 is loud, and I measured 100 watts exactly at clipping (observed on an oscilloscope with a 1000 hz sine wave input). My old Kustom 250 put out 125 watts at clipping, but yes, the Ampeg "sounded" louder. Fatter midrange, definately more "growl", for lack of a better word.

    I have a hartke 5000 which puts out 250 watts per side, and has a tube preamp. The Hartke is WAY louder than the V4, but the Hartke's tone is cleaner, more of a hi-fi sound some people call it, whereas the V4 and other tube amps have an overdriven sound which sounds really great on certain songs. Note that the V4 is very clean up to full rated power, whereas tube guitar amps are made to go into saturation quickly.

    Either solid-state or tube can cut through with a little EQ. If i had to choose between a V4 and a similar wattage power amp,the decision would be based on other factors, such as portability (am i going to be carrying a heavy amp up four flights of stairs every day?) and tone. Do you want a warm tube sound or a clean crisp "modern" sound?

    I play classic rock 50's to 80's stuff, and R&B , so a tube amp driving 2x15's produces the sound I'm looking for. But the weight!!!

    The reissue V4B is lighter and different than my old V4, so my comments are based on the old vintage amp.
  10. RATZAX


    Oct 23, 2002
    Gales Creek,Or
    I am not that interested in the reissue V4B. the difference between the Vintage V4 and the V4B is that the V4 has reverb and is a guitar head and the V4B is the true bass head.I admit the weight is a little daunting.

    Nothing worse than a guy looking for a piece of equpit.They know all the piddly stuff way before they spent 1 minute playing it.So forgive me.

    The guitars I will use so far are a Amer Fender Precision,MIM Jazz, Hagstrom H II N B (like a Gibson EB w/two humbuckers).
  11. You don't see nearly as many vintage V4B amps up for sale, usually it's V4's. I have a V4 myself.

    As we've said, the amp and preamp is practically the same except the V4 has the reverb, the V4B does not. The V4B has an ultralow switch, which actually just cuts the mids a little to make the bass sound deeper. On the other hand the V4 has a 3 postition selector switch to let the midrange control either the 300, the 1000, or the 3000 Hz range. For bass I turn the selector to the 300 Hz position and boost the mids a little.

    So though the V4B is touted as being a "true" bass amp, in reality the V4 is just as good as the V4B at playing bass...PLUS you can play guitar through it and get great reverb!! As far as tone, I don't think anybody could claim the V4B has a better bass tone than the V4, after all it's the same circuitry.

    I'm basically saying, if you see a good V4, go for it, don't get hung up on finding a V4B "just because that's the bass amp"

    I do think there are some people who put down either the V4 or V4B but what they don't realize is they are 30 year old amps, and the capacitors do go south with age (not only the filter caps, but coupling caps too). Restore the caps and either amp will be reliable, powerful, and ready to gig for another 30 years--and have as good a tone as anything out there on the market today, for less than $500 including a little restoration.
  12. RATZAX


    Oct 23, 2002
    Gales Creek,Or
    Thanks Man,
    I really needed someone to just come out and say that the V4 would work just fine.I am really a guitarist who just recently switched over to bass.So having a Bass head that could dual as a guitar head is a real plus.

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