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... And then there were 2.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bannedwit, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Okay, I have done my time and research to narrow my search down to two tube bass amps and have come up with the following:

    Ampeg SVT-2 (pro or non pro)

    or a

    Mesa/Boogie Bass 400+

    No matter which one I decide upon, the amp will be pushing an Ampeg 810e cabinet.

    This is where "you" come in. Tell me your experiences and what you think would work best for me.

    I "believe" that only one place around me carrys the SVT-2. Other than that, I cannot go and try before I buy. That bites but it happens. my local G.C. Has every other model except the SVT-2 and Mesa 400+ so that too is out of the question.

    I looked at reviews and they are pretty even. I hear the pros
    Mesa is lighter, lots of tubes but not as overdriven...

    Ampeg is more overdrive but quieter than the Mesa and heavier.

    I will be using this setup exclusively with a Fender P-Bass (1/4 pounder pickups and a MusicMan Stingray-don't own one yet)
    I will be playing with a pick and am looking for that alternative, emo style bass which is punchy, and has some overdrive and bite to it.
  2. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    My new mesa 400+/nv-610 rig has worked out great, with my band. (loud rock) I was down to the same (400+/svt) choice as you, I just found a smokin deal, on the mesa first. The svt-II (non pro) is a great amp that seems to have, one great sound. The mesa, is much lighter, and will give you more tone choices.
  3. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    I recently switched from am SVT2 non-pro to a 400+. The main reason at the time was simply weight - lifting the SVT onto an 810 really did do my back in. I still miss that trademark SVT sound but it is a bit of a one trick pony - the400+ is much more flexible but it does take a while to get used to the tone controls. I have recently started using it with my Sansamp BDDI pedal which can get me as close as I want to an SVT tone and works nicely as a footswitchable effect between clean and an Ampeg drive. I do not miss the SVT any more now, but I must admit to some serious soul-searching when I first did the change and before considerable trialling with the 400's tone controls.A tip- if you get the Mesa a 4 unit Gator rack works fine and adds minimal extra weight, but drill holes under the handle grips to allow the fan to do its job properly (it is side mounted).
  4. albass111


    Feb 13, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I assume you've eliminated a SVT VR. (they're gorgeous)

    Anyway, +1 for Tim. I've the found the 400+ is a little more versatile and I actually think the quality is better. It actually has performed well for me in funk situations. I hate replacing tubes though.
  5. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i just picked up a 400+ to replace the svt classic head i was using.
    i much prefer the sound, volume, and flexibility of the mesa.
    i run an a/b/both box to split my signal into both of the input channels simultaneously, and that seems to get me the best results. with a clean input gainstage(both around 4) and the main output at 3, i get as much gain as i could get out of the svt with a clean input setting and the main output all the way up. the mesa also handles all of my instruments with amazing results(4string 30" short scale passive bass guitar, 7 string 34"scale 18volt active bass guitar, and 41"scale 18volt active eub)
    while the ampeg didn't fair so well with the various dynamics.
    so....mesa all the way here.
    both great amps though, a nice problem to have!
  6. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    I'd go for the Mesa with a SansAmp Bass Driver DI in front of it to add extra grit and distortion when you want it... :bassist:

    Or alternatively, forget the tubes and the weight associated.... and get a Tech21 Landmark 600... ;) :)
  7. SVT-II (non pro that is, the 2-Pro isnt a scratch on it) all the way, its not as much of a one trick pony as people make out, i use my BDDI infront of it most of the time, am usually not able to crank it to get that lovely overdriven power tube sound

    Using my Ibanez ATK400, i can change the pickup selector switch, knock the graphic EQ button on and knock my BDDI off to go from a really gritty chunky overdriven punk/hardcore sound to a really good slapping and popping tone, the Mesa may have a bit more variance, but the SVT is by no means a one trick pony

    The only downside is they are heavy, pfft, wussies :p
  8. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    wow, i am suprised that the Mesa is the one of choice...

    How will they match up against the style 'I' play in?

    I need to dial in the overdrive direct. I dont want pedals or DI's in front to do it for me unless it is absolutely necessary.

    I want the warmth, overdrive and sound of a vintage bass amp.

    So I guess we are up to 3 now:
    SVT-2 (older one)
    SVT-2 Pro
    Mesa 400+

    (can someone tell what the difference is between the pro and non pro like a pros and cons kind of thing?)

    I am set on the 810e cabinet by the way. That is a must have.
    Keep em coming thanks.
  9. 2 Pro has speakons, a pregain, 9 band EQ, tuner out etc etc etc

    The II has a much superior fuller sound IMO, but, only has volume and normal EQ controls, no fancy speakon outputs, and no tuner out

    The best overdrive sounds come from power tubes, which means it has to be loud, but, with the 2-Pro you could get pre tube overdrive at lower levels, you cant really control the level of overdrive on the II as its just a volume control, but trust me it sounds alot nicer
  10. Do a search, i posted all the differences a while back in a topic, ill have a look for the link

    [edit] found it [/edit]

  11. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I've used both and found the Mesa much punchier, warmer and a lot louder. I think it's lighter too, not sure tho'.
  12. Might as well consider a vintage SVT, unless you are set on having it in a rack. I would have to say that the II (2, non pro) and the 400+ are both superior sonically to the 2-Pro in my experience. I have a Mesa 400+, and it has a huge variety of tones. If it is only that overdriven tone you are after though, I think the II takes the prize, although it is a bit heavier :meh: . But the II is also out of production, so you would have to look used. The new SVT VR, which costs significantly more than the 2-Pro, is supposed to sound more like a vintage SVT than the 2-Pro, and since the II sounds more like a vintage SVT I'd imagine that the VR resembles a II sonically. Also, you would need a local dealer to get the Mesa; you can't buy em online except on EBay. Also, just out of curiosity, why do you have to use the 810 cab?
  13. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Becuase I have been running everything to Hartke 4x10 and 1x15 stack. And I like the sound of all 4x10's...

    It is the industry standard. Dont get me wrong, I will have my SWR 4x10" cab for the small shows or for practicing at the house...

    So I am going to take a look into the SVT-VR and the SVT-II (non-pro)

    I am guessing that the Mesa is louder becuase that thing has a billion tubes in it.. well like 12 + 6 tubes or something like that...

    I do want this to be in a rack but I know of cases that my guitarists have which store your head and then have a rack above it... All shockmounted and stuff. so...

    I guess it is down to 3 again...
    - SVT 2 Pro
    - SVT 2 (non pro)
    - SVT VR

    ANYONE OWN THE AMPEG SVT-VR? it is new so only a handful may have this thing.
  14. mattvon


    Jan 22, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    +1 for the non-pro II...

    I run mine a lot like I_got_a_mohawk does, with a BDDI running into it. I've been able to get a number of different sounds out of mine, IMO a good deal of that will depend on the cabinet you pair it up with. It'll sure sound different with the Hartke 410 than it will with the Ampeg 810!

    I've got no complaints with mine--dead reliable and plenty loud for anywhere I'll play.
  15. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Thread closed, Thanks for the information guys... I just got a killer deal from the guys at Bass Central for a NIB SVT-2 Pro. Great guys, highly recommended. www.basscentral.com

    I know I know... why the pro?

    1.) I am in need of reliablitiy or at least warranty stuff so this new one is all ready to go in that aspect. And if it does fail, I know it will be covered for a while at no charge.
    2.) Killer deal
    3.) I have done some more research and all the guys I respect and admire for the style I am aiming for are using them. If their techs can dial in what they are using, then there is no reason why I can't...
    4.) It is coming ASAP so I can record with it next week...
    I will post the tracks or samples of what I dial in...

    Thanks again everyone for the information and time put into helping me out.
  16. Broken record here... I like my II Pro... I like my II Pro... I like my ***bump SKRAAAATCH!!!***

    BUT I have no experience with the Mesa, so I cannot compare the two.

    I have the SVT II PRO on the 810e cab and use my MMSR5 primarily - what I love about this sound is the warmth, the drive, the 'rock and roll' sound of it! I can sound like any and all of my bass heros (well, maybe not so much on the Geddy Lee side) but almost all of the others!

    BUT, I do not like the weight, or the fact that it has proven to be a very hi-maintenance amp... Went through about 6 months of trouble-shooting a power-drop, sound-loss issue that turned out to be directly reltated to the heat it generated. Now, mind you, I stupidly had that monster stuffed in an SKB case that choked off it's air flow... so it was MY fault that I had those problems... so, hi-maint. in that you need to know this heat thing is a factor before you stupidly stuff it in to the wrong road case...

    But I like my II Pro... I like my II Pro...

  17. I dont think the mesa will be much louder really, they are both 300watt rms amps . . . erm, the SVT-VR isnt out yet, and when it is will be pretty pricey
  18. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    That is what I figured...

    I thought the Mesa had a bit more juice however.

    Thanks again,

    I will be all over this thing!
    I have about $3k in basses and have been pushing them through Harkte's for way too long! That should be illegal
    (no diss to Hartke users, I have their lowest end speakers and had the Hartke HA-4000)

    The SWR WorkingPro 700 which I have now is definately awesome but too clean for my style. I will probably still hold onto that one in case this SVT-2 poops out on me in the future...

    NOw that I gots a real job, I can cough up the cash finally.
  19. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    The ampeg SVT-2 Pro arrived today!
    Awesome amp, absolutely amazing!
  20. Congrats, glad you like it!

    Meant to say earlier on, the SVT-II is reliable as hell, you dont read many failures of them, the SVT-2Pro is reliable aswell now, after a problem with a few early batches in which the tube protection circuity was a bit dodgy

    Congrats on the amp tho!

    - Will

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