Ampeg V4BH: Expensive & Not Loud Enough

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Vicar Philip, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Vicar Philip

    Vicar Philip

    Sep 15, 2004
    Thought I was going to get the famous (infamous?) Ampeg sound on the cheap (yeah right), and purchased a V4BH. It's a 100-watt all-tube head, and it DOES sound really good at moderate volume. However, when I used it with my band at practice last night, I found it severely lacking in the loudness department.

    I think the cab I'm using, a Fender 115 Ext Pro, is decent, but I'm contemplating returning the Ampeg and just getting the Fender 400 Pro, using the 115 as its companion cab. Anybody use the Fender? Pros and cons? Thanks.
  2. I don't know about the 400 but tryed out the 800PRO 2 days ago, it sounded really good to my surprise.
  3. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I can relate as I went from a Behringer 3000 (300 watt @ 4ohms) to an Ampeg B-2R (350w @ 4 ohms) on the pretense I could get "the" Ampeg sound and a louder amp.

    The sound of the B-2R is great for a solid-state amp but it ain't an SVT "tube roar".

    Likewise, the loudness was disappointing. I had this el cheapo Behringer with the volume on "5" through a 4x10 and 1x15. Using the B-2R I had the volume on "10", the peak light was on constantly and it was still not as loud as the Behringer.

    Where is "11" on the volume when you really need it?!?
  4. Ihad the SVT3PRO 450W and it wasnt as loud as my Ashdown Mag300 which is 300w approx.

    However my SVTCL 300w all tube is about twice as loud as the SVT3 PRO and Mag300, thats tubes for you !!

    Hartke 2000 200w very loud amp

    Hartke 3500 300w very very loud amp

  5. A couple of comments. First, from the historical perspective. The V amps were designed around 1970. At the time, 100 watts was pretty doggone good, whether with a tube amp or a solid state. One of the top-dollar solid state amps at the time was the Kustom 250 (yep, the tuck-and-roll job). It puts out a whopping 125 watts into 4 ohms. Even during the next ten years or so, solid state bass amps were generally in that ballpark (my Sunn concert bass, from the mid 70's, or the Peavey Series 400 (rated 210 watts RMS into 2 ohms). The SVT, the Acoustics, and the Hiwatts, were the really high-powered amps, and they were considered more for "coliseum use".

    I've gigged with the V4, the Kustom, the Sunn, and the Peavey amps. For moderate volumes-typical small to medium clubs, playing "classic rock" or country, they were sufficient. Not capable of overpowering volume levels, but sufficient. The V4 probably has the best tone and is the loudest of all of these, except for maybe the Peavey when running into a 2 ohm load. Though certainly even the V4 couldn't keep up with a hard hitting drummer in a really loud band, I've had decent enough volume for most gigs.

    Now for your situation: First, are you expecting too much? I've heard people plug into some really loud amps and say "boy this isn't loud"...meanwhile the audience is getting blown away a few feet away from the amp. Good bands have a good volume mix among all the band members, this doesn't have to be a volume contest.

    You can get more volume out of your amp, maybe enough to be acceptable.

    1) Are you over boosting the lows? Mids cut through. Lows just eat power and create mud.

    2) Efficient cabs play a greater role than most people realize. Try two really good efficient cabs. You'll be amazed. You can get a lot more volume merely by using efficient cabs.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Buy my Acoustic'll blow you away ;). Along with everyone in the first 5 rows....

    If I were you though, I would try everything I could with the amp before I gave up on it. EQ, cabs (call your local dealer and take the head along, and plug into a bunch of cabs), maybe even a Sans Amp ;).

    Anyway, just my $0.02

  7. Vicar Philip

    Vicar Philip

    Sep 15, 2004
    Lots of good info here, thanks.

    I wound up buying the Fender Pro 400 combo (2X10) coupled with the 1X15. This rig kicks out 500 watts at 2 ohms, should be more than enough to keep up with the two guitarists. I probably could have purchased a couple of Ampeg cabs and improved the level, but I'm also concerned about headroom (and "cash"room!).

    Also traded in my Epiphone Les Paul for a P-Bass, sure is nice! Guess I'm an all Fender guy now. The EQ section on the 400 is impressive, plus the Korg electronic tuner thrown into the deal was sweet.
  8. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Just for fun, at a wedding gig, I tried my 1972 V-4 with my A-810, and it was not loud enough. It sounded killer at lower volumes, though. I use it at Practice and run an Eden 4-10xlt and it is loud enough there :confused: It must like the 8 ohm cab better than the 4 ohm.
  9. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Yeah, what nashvillebill said, plus:

    Speakers and expectations have both changed. Now a speaker must go much lower than it did back then, with power.

    Back then it was done with more speakers.

    Now you want a pair of 10s to sound like a stack...

    News flash.....

    That extended low end and small size lowers efficiency....3 dB means you need twice the power...6 means 4 times.

    125W then, 500 now. You do the math.

    With the old speakers, 1000 watts was the whole &^%$ band AND the PA, if all ere added together.
  10. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I'm glad to read that you were able to get an amp you're happy with. Here's my personal feelings on the SLM/Ampeg gear I've tried and owned:

    I tried an SLM/Ampeg V4B at a music store, through several Ampeg, SWR, and Mesa cabs. I pushed it hard, I felt the same way, not enough volume.

    I've owned the following SLM/Ampeg heads:
    SVT-CL: Great tone. Adequate volume but not as earthshaking as I hoped. Too much distortion for my taste. But if I played hard rock, this would be a serious choice.

    SVT-2 Pro: Great tone, slightly more versatile tonally. I really liked it's 'drive' control at lower settings. Still lacked clean volume, but a great choice for hard rock.

    SVT-4 Pro: IMO the loudest of the 3, in bridge-mono mode. Great sound, but not nearly as loud(rated 1200 @ 4 Ohms) as my G-K 2000RB(rated 1000 watts @ 4 Ohms). I loved it's tone though. I decided to get more power from a stereo power amp. The search still continues.

    Now, let's get in the 'Way Back Machine, Sherman!'. Besides borrowing an early 70's SVT stack, I used to borrow a 'real' Ampeg V4B w/matching cab. I think it was a horn loaded 2-15", I can't remember exactly. Both stacks were equal to any task. Especially that SVT stack, and it didn't lack in clean volume at all IMO. When I can find one that's been well-taken care of, I'm going to pull the trigger.

    Just my 2 cents. -Art
  11. StarchMan


    Jul 30, 2003
    I totally agree about the V4BH. I had, and I let go after one year of being held back in the band situation. It had amazing tone at low volumes, and then it just could not even cut it for jams. My drummer was too loud and so was the guitarist with his Marshall JCM 800 half stack. So it'd distort and sound like ****. I like overdrive mind you, but you had to push the thing so far that it was just disgusting distortion.
    My best advice is to always buy more power than you think you need. The reason for this is because you'll always want more over time. Right now I'm running the Eden WT-800 and D-410XLT cab and it is perfectly loud and has great tone. However, I bet that in the future I will want something even more powerful. I regret buying the V4BH and losing my shirt on selling it. I should have kept saving at the time and bought something that was beyond what I thought i'd need.
  12. rob


    Mar 26, 2004
    i use the v4 with a single 410he and and i'll tell you what im very very happy.....
  13. DeeZee


    Oct 13, 2002
    I think what is really missleading for new bassists today is the cabinet selection. A lot of the cabinets are designed and IMO stiff so that they can handle the modern high powered amps. If you pair the V4bh with the Ampeg "classic" cabinets then the amp can breath because these cabinets are looser and rated at a lower wattage rating. I run my v4bh into just the svt-15e cabinet and have no problem competing with a loud drummer and 3 guitarist,....granted 2 of the guitarists are each only using (2-12") solid state combos instead of a tube half stack and the 3rd guitarist is using an amplified accoustic but I still have 3 singers that are guite loud, and can I say again the drummer gets loud!. Also I must confess that I am not overpowerering everyone with bass and the limitation of this amp keeps me in my place, sonically speaking. In my experience that is a good thing because the band members as well as the audience came to play/hear the music,...not listen to a bassplayer covering everyone up. Everyones' MMV though and it really depends on your music you are playing. We play rock based music and the overdriven crunchy tone I get sounds great IMHO.... A metaller might not like the spongy, crunchy, and tubey tone for what they play. To each their own.....
  14. i agree with you.
    i use my V4BH with different cabs to get the volume needed.
    a 1x 12 or a 2x 12 at moderate/ studiolevels and
    a 4x 12 when i want it to get louder which it does quite well.
    it´s not a loud amp thou.
    when i bought it i could have gotten a mesa 400+ for about the same price.
    why didn´t i get that one?
    well there was some strange sound coming from it and the retubing would be expencive i thought.
    i keep telling myself i did the right choice :meh:
  15. Vicar Philip

    Vicar Philip

    Sep 15, 2004
    Wow, DeeZee resurrected this thread! I've used the Fender stack at two gigs now and must say I'm impressed. It has plenty of power and I'm able to dial in the sound I like.

    I will say that if I ever get into a recording situation, I would love to use the V4BH. Awesome tone.