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Are SVT Watts Bigger Than Wimpy Class D Watts?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thirtyhz, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. thirtyhz

    thirtyhz Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    For a number of years I played the full SVT/refrigerator rig and frankly for my tastes it is still THE sound. Fast forward too many years and once again I am shopping for one. What I dont get is that in any discusion about the SVT, folks tend to say things like “You dont need that much amp” or “its too loud” etc etc. Yet thats never mentioned in the conext of my 800 or 1000 watt class D amps. I can only guess that people interpret physical size and weight with volume. But to me its wattage, and a watt is a watt regardless of source. So I just dont get the perception that it is louder than more powerful amps. It would be nice to get some input from the repair/engineering types (versus conjecture). And yeah Im sure this is an old question so save your spam for your eggs. No nead to mention weight either - its good exercise when handled correctly.
    cataract and bobyoung53 like this.
  2. The thing about the SVT is it gets stupid loud before it really rawks. That's ok if you can get away with stupid loud, less ok if you can't get the rawk you want.

    Lots of SS amps can scale the rawk down if need be.

    What was the question? Shop away. They have never been cheaper. Rawk your socks off.
    MordBass, smogg and Wisebass like this.
  3. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Are SVT Watts Bigger Than Wimpy Class D Watss?

    Whimpy, whimpy, whimpy, whimpy…..:laugh:


    Of course you do! Now go and buy an SVT!

    Bim1959, pht2356, SactoBass and 3 others like this.
  4. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    In my humble experience, many of those powerful tube rigs need a certain amount of juice flowing to get their magic done.
    With a sufficient cabinet solution, you'll already drown out the less loud band members then.
    It's been an argument used by guitarists around the globe, both in practice rooms and on stages, to justify insane loudness levels to get their rigs' sounds right.
    A 1000W class D head sounds the same no matter where you set the master.
    In general, an all tube amp does give you a certain amount of that tube compression when you approach its limits, giving the overall impression of more power, while a class D power amp does not really work any magic when the limit is within reach.
    dBChad, cerrem and Roland GR 88 like this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Many argue that an SVT doesn't sound like an SVT until you push the power tubes to insanity.

    I will agree that the sound at relatively lower volumes is different than at incredibly loud volumes.

    But I like both. The pushed gain SVT sound is every bit as awesome as the pushed power sound to me.

    But it's what the others have said. The reason it gets a rep as a "loud amp" is that it has to be pushed to get what most consider the SVT sound.
  6. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    You might need to try a better Class D amp ;)

    IMO it's all about the tone. Even at levels where the tube amp remains in the "clean" zone, there's some distortion of the wave shape, and we perceive distortion as loud.
    red_rhino, S-Bigbottom and agedhorse like this.
  7. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I'm quite happy with my Tonehammer and my Sansamp + class D poweramp.
    Both can get quite dirty sounding from bedroom levels to full out loudness war against semi-deaf guitarists.
    My go-to rig is an Ampeg PF50-T though.
    What I like about the 50 Watts there, compared to the 500/600 Watts of my other heads, is that
    it is enough juice to get all registers on my 6 string to reasonable volume without straining, but
    the magic happens before I blow the drummer off his seat.
  8. andykeating


    Oct 5, 2016
    Watts are watts, but I got a 300W SVT-CL back in summer. I previously had a solid state Orange OB1-500, which I thought was pretty fierce and loud.

    The SVT makes the Orange sound like a pathetic wisp of steam coming from a tea pot.
  9. jdubbass38


    Mar 20, 2009
    I completely agree with you, a watt is a watt I’m told. Maybe it’s they just don’t make it like they used too thing

    I just picked up an svt2pro and I have an svt4pro... running my svt4pro in mono mode, single amp is 600watts into my 4ohm 810cab. Same setup with my svt2pro it’s “sickening” loud. I actually had to add additional snap features to my grill to stop rattling...lol since acquiring the svt2pro.
    wolfkeller and SactoBass like this.
  10. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    Tubes Rule. Class Drool.
    (flame suit on!)
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
    Kevnn4, R Baer, thombo and 12 others like this.
  11. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Mas huevos
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    A couple of things to keep in mind are that 300W is a LOT of power; and secondly perceived loudness doesn’t go up linearly with power; so, 800W isn’t actually THAT much louder than 300W. Which I know is weird; but, that’s the way it is. Class D is making us somewhat drunk on power. And, power is a good thing; but, 300W has been shown a long time ago to get the job done. Nothing new and no magic there.

    Also, no question that the harmonic response that tubes produce is quite pleasing to a lot of players’ ears. Class D amps are still early in development. The solid state preamps, in particular, are extremely quick and accurate. But, designers are still learning how to make them more musical, because a few EQ knobs doesn’t get you there. The Class D amps with legit tube based preamps, like Demeter, go a long way towards bridging the gap.

    Lastly, I’ll just say that, IME, that “tubish” spatial character vs the more “linear” SS character is a difference that is more apparent in the practice space solo than in the mix on the gig. Add to that the fact that bass projection is mainly borne by the FOH through SS Class D circuits on bigger gigs; and I think at some point, obsessing over “tubish” character becomes somewhat a diminishing returns thing. More useful in some respects to get to work on the signal chain. But, each to their own; and I certainly get the SVT goodness thing. It’s a matter of picking which battles you’re going to deal with.
  13. To answer the question posed in the title: NO. A watt is a watt no matter how it’s derived.​
  14. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I disagree. SVT watts are inherently bigger, badder, more manly and more awesome than those little yellow daisy watts they use in them paperweight sized girly heads...
  15. "a pathetic wisp of steam coming from a tea pot."
    -that's one of the best comparisons I've heard of another amp vs. the SVT sound!:thumbsup:
  16. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO the statement above is really the only thing you need to consider. Since the SVT and fridge is your sound, nothing else will do.

    In my experience, a high quality 300W solid state amp plays as loud as an SVT. I own two SVTs and neither will play louder than my old GKs which are rated in the mid 300s.

    I don't own any micro Class-Ds. I do have an Ampeg SVT8-Pro and an Epifani UL902C which are both high quality Class-D amps. Both are capable of producing substantially more power than my SVTs.

    IMHO, With an efficient speaker, 300W is more than enough power for most players in most situations, but YMMV.
    Ric Vice and Arthur U. Poon like this.
  17. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    “Are SVT Watts Bigger Than Wimpy Class D Watss?”

    No they are not! And stop shouting!
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  18. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Yup, used to run into this with my Traynor YBA200 when I used OD or fuzz pedals. When you change the overall volume, character and other such things change as well. Usually it's for the better, but sometimes this can cause havoc with effects that are specifically tuned. If I'm breaking out the whole pedalboard, I'm reaching for my GK stuff. YMMV, OP...personally I have two GK heads (MB500 and 700RB-II) along with an Ampeg PF-20t....all of which I love for what they do.
    two fingers likes this.
  19. I don't know if SVT watts are any louder than class D watts but I do know that an SVT's sound is so thick you can walk on it which makes it sound (and feel) a lot louder, No amp has the presence for bass like an SVT. I have played through some class D amps they were very loud but they didn't have that clear thick bottom an SVT has especially through an SVT bottom (810). I'm still lugging at 65 in fact I brought one of my heads over to Peru last year on the plane. Cost me 200 hundred extra bucks for the weight:roflmao:. They last forever too with normal tube amp maintenance. Oh they still sound good at lower volumes at least to me, still thick with a whole lot of presence. I very rarely crank mine loud enough to distort, I value my hearing too much for that but if I do I get out of the way.
  20. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    I got over it.
    Lugging an SVT around isn't fun.

    SVP-CL + GX5 works, I'll make do without power tube distortion the same way I sold my 800rb bc I couldn't use it cranked to 8.5 where it really started to wail that "special" way.

    I don't need that kind of SPL in a garage or rehearsal space 24/7.

    I can change basses and turn a supposedly too clean preamp clanky.
    Nephilymbass likes this.

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