Ampeg V4B200

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Red Planet, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    So we have talked about this a few times.
    When is Yamaha/Ampeg going to introduce a semi light all tube 200 watt V4B?
    I would think with modern day materials one could be a non super heavy 200 watt V4B Ampeg very easy.

    Mvilmany, Arthur U. Poon and Warpeg like this.
  2. Never.

    My reasoning is that why would a company release a product that would eat into their own market? The 200 would more than likely eat into sales of both the V4B and SVT.

    Personally I also feel that the weight difference between the 100 and 200 would eventually disappoint people as a proper 200 watt head is heavy (See Reeves) and not be enough of a saving to please SVT owners.

    So I see it as hurting both sides; buyer and seller.

    So I’m sticking with “Never”.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  3. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    I think the notion harkens back to the late Magnavox/MTI days when they had several V series amps to compliment the SVT. I don't see why it couldn't happen.

    The ball is on the buyers side of the court these days.
    Red Planet likes this.
  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    It's definitely doable...Consider the Mesa Prodigy, 250W at 29lbs and Mesa Strategy, 465W at 49lbs. Part of the problem is tradition. Your not going to make a lightweight 200W Ampeg tube amp without going down a different road. So Ampeg would really need a new product line that focuses on being modern and light weight. This doesn't really seem to be in Ampeg's wheelhouse and as you say, it would cannibalize sales from other product lines. Also, the Mesa Prodigy and Strategy apparently didn't sell like hotcakes so maybe light weight is not really even that important to people who want tube amps. Most people who own both the V4B and SVT seem to be happy and are not clamoring for mid powered amp to fill the gap.

    I think it's highly unlikely, but there is a new boss, so you never know what sort of crazy ideas are being thrown around.
  5. I agree with the Mesa example however if they went down the "lightweight steel(?) enclosure, smaller customwound transformer" road with the V4B200 then it wouldn't really be a V4B anymore, maybe a PF-200T?
  6. Schmo_bass

    Schmo_bass Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2017
    A PF150T would make sense and slot in nicely if the feature set was differentiated. Keep it under 50lbs and under 20” wide. Include 5way mids, External bias control and dual DI’s. Maybe add a sweepable HPF and compressor. The idea being to be a little more modern/retro - optimized for pairing with a today’s smaller cab systems, staying cleaner longer. Suspect price would basically land SVT territory.

    The others stay and continue to cover what they each do so well. V4B is pure vintage goodness for mid sized gigs and pairs well with bigger cab systems. PF50t is ideal for those wanting portabilty, juicy OD grind without excessive stage volume or have a lot of PA covered gigs and studio work. SVT is SVT.
  7. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    So I should qualify my light comments by saying it doesnt have to weigh 2 pounds or even 12 I would say 45 pounds and all tube would be very doable in a classic looking Ampeg styled head. No bells and whistles IMO, such as HPF, Compressor, etc it just make it a simple V4B circuit, XLR DI is OK. These are just my thoughts. A new classic design!

    The thing is I never like an SVT, too complicated and way to heavy. I always loved the V4B but they never have enough clean power.

    How about a vintage modern new generation of tube amps? Sorry the Mesas stuff just didn't do it for me.
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  8. Schmo_bass

    Schmo_bass Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2017
    Your idea for the spec also sounds very good, don’t get me wrong. Just figured there is better chance of something getting to market if it has more differentiation and targets different use cases.
  9. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I totally get your dilemma. You are dealing with the Goldilocks principle except there is no "just right."

    The current V4B is spec'ed at 41lbs. Some claim it makes 120W clean. To make 200+ watts the most significant change is you need different is transformers. Usually that means more weight. I believe it's possible to make the transformers lighter...but of course that makes them more expensive.

    Probably one of the best things about the V4B, it's a pretty good bargain. So an uber expensive medium powered tube amp is probably a none starter. Keep in mind you can buy a brand new V4B for $1299.99 and a brand new SVT CL for 1799.99 at Sweetwater, so there is not a lot of room in the pricing structure to work in a 200 watter. This is unfortunate, because I agree, it's really nice amount of power :thumbsup:.
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  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Personally I have no interest in one, but it does seem to have supporters. The question is if there's enough to make a run of 200w amps worth it when they have the V4B and SVT. That's a tough call, especially when they've never had a 200w tube amp that I know of. But always feel free to hit them up on and voice your opinion.
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  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Nice :thumbsup:.

    For those who are interested, the vote balance for a 200W SVT is currently 34, based on 40 for and 6 against. You need to create an account to cast a vote. So far four people have left a comments.
    JimmyM likes this.
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Supporting Member

    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    What is "super heavy"? Personally, I never found an SVT head bad. It was the cab that was the hassle, and that was due to dimensions, not weight.

    Current V-4: 41 lb., $1,300.
    Current SVT Classic: 80 lb., $1,800.

    I would say there's not enough of a market for it with the SVT CL sitting at only $1,800 and 80 lb. (with side handles, making it seem much lighter). You're talking about filling in the 39 lb. and $500 gap between those two.

    Also, you say you want it to be 45 lb., when the V-4B is already very, very light at 40. Unrealistic want, IMO.

    I say just get an SVT and get used to carrying it. Since it has a gain knob, it can be dialed in to sound like what you want, and it's really doesn't seem that heavy, especially with the side handles. Also, you don't have to put it on top of a tall-ass cab. Put it on an egg crate or something instead.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
    JimmyM likes this.
  13. primusfan1989


    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    To build a tube amplifier of that size you need large transformers which will never be light. To my knowledge there is no way around that. You can have light or you can have all tube... can't have both
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  14. groovaholic

    groovaholic Protect your hearing. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Mount Prospect, IL
    You could find a Peavey VB2 and have an Ampeg-style case built for it...
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  15. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I think this basically sums it up right? The V4B reissue and SVT are essentially legacy products. They're trading off reputation of the brand and the product lines and thus a bit hemmed in by that in some respects. They're traditionally designed straight forward/simple tube amps.

    To really change the paradigm you have to go non-traditional, lighter weight transformer designs and power supply designs similar to what mesa did with the Strategy/Prodigy or Traynor with the YBA-200 (44 pounds, toroidal transformers), or Peavey with the VB-3 using an SMPS power amp design.

    Of those, the Mesa and Peavey are discontinued. The Mesa purportedly due to instability issues with the KT88 output stage design or inconsistencies in tube availability, there was a big thread with some comments from Andy. The price didn't help, but they're also well built and made in a higher cost manufacturing environment than the imports. Haven't seen much about the VB-3 since announcement. The YBA-200 is still around, and people seem to like them.

    As has been said, a new Ampeg tube amp would have to be very different to really make any headway in the current bass amp market, price would have to fall in between the V4B and SVT without really taking over too much market share. The feature set would have to appeal to different people. Something like the PF series with added drive options, low power, dummy load and output DI, etc. Can those features be packed into an all new chassis design with associated R&D costs and still fall into the right price range? Yamaha likely has the capital and the engineering expertise to design such a product, and likely the market research to know if it would be worthwhile. I'm sure that's intended purpose of the ideascale system they launched. Also wonder if they've had any products like this in the pipeline under one of their brands already which would gain some appeal with an Ampeg badge on the front.
    Wasnex likes this.
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    The bulk of the weight in traditional tube heads is due to those large transformers.

    I get the feeling that if there were an obvious way to manufacture a high power but still lightweight all tube instrument amp that sounds just like those old ‘70s era boat anchors, then the major amp companies would have introduced them ages ago. The fact they haven’t done so tells me it’s not really doable.
  17. mmon77


    Jul 9, 2008
    If Ampeg fans are lucky, Yamaha will be as responsive to ideas on the Ampeg ideascale website as they are on the Line 6 one (they own both companies). They have incorporated many end user suggestions from the ideascale site in the Helix product line.
  18. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    The Traynor YBA200-2 fits in this niche and keeps weight reasonable via toroidal transformers.
  19. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Those are great amps. And that’s coming from an unapologetic Ampeg user.

    There are some who have argued the toroidal transformers don’t get the same sound as the old iron core monsters do. But I think thats more a cork sniffer thing than proven fact. I’ve heard amps with traditional and toroidal transformers and I didn’t hear anything you could attribute to the transformer design alone that made any difference.

    I’ve been told what some people may be getting confused about is that the output transformers in many classic amps are supposedly underspecced for what they’re doing. And the distortion caused by overloading those is a key factor in the signature sound of some amps. But again, that’s only what I’ve been told. I’ll yield the floor to our electrical engineering type members to dismiss or expand on that one. I make no pretense of actually knowing one way or another.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  20. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    You can get old school transformers made from high grade alloy that are much lighter than traditional ones. Also toroidal is lighter as well and there is ultra lightweight plywood available too. Easily done and PV already made an ultra light tube amp and so have others.