Buy Ampeg SVT Classic 300w head??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mike Carter, Oct 13, 2021 at 3:42 AM.

  1. Mike Carter

    Mike Carter

    Aug 23, 2021
    Hello all. I converted to bass from guitar and began gigging in local bars, parties, festivals. My band is playing a few originals and rock covers like Alice in Chains, Aerosmith, Highly Suspect, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Foo Fighters, Sublime. I'm currently playing two Fender P Basses (one is tuned to E flat with a Hipshot Xtender and the other to drop C). My current amp is an Ampeg SVT-7PRO through an Ampeg SVT4x10 HLF cab.

    Considering buying an Ampeg SVT Classic 300w head to gig with. I know it's heavy af. Money isn't issue. My reasoning is to improve the quality of my sound. I'm guessing it would be a worthy upgrade. Any thoughts/opinions regarding improved sound with such an amp change?

    Thanks in advance.

    shadven and DJ Bebop like this.
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO try before you buy. You might love might not.

    The 410HLF tends to be mid scooped with really big, sloppy lows. If you don't like your sound, consider the problem may be the cab. Most people who like this cab seem to use really high powered solid state amps. Most do not like it with an all tube head. Tube amps have a lower damping factor...meaning the lows will be even more sloppy.

    Good Luck!
    TonyP-, quickervicar, tmw and 10 others like this.
  3. Mike Carter

    Mike Carter

    Aug 23, 2021
    Thanks for the speedy response! I wasn't aware of that cab issue at all. Thanks for the insite! I'll definitely be aware of that now and check out the head. Thanks again!
    DJ Bebop and Wasnex like this.
  4. Mike Carter

    Mike Carter

    Aug 23, 2021
    What's the right cab choice for the head, in your opinion?
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    SVTs sound great with many different cabs IMHO...although perhaps not the 410HLF.

    Lot's of people love the SVT with an Ampeg 810, and AFAIK this would be a good choice for the bands you listed. I believe the 810AV and 810E are the same cab with different grills. The Heritage 810 has upgraded drivers that many, but not everyone, likes better. @JimmyM will probably give you a description of the tonal differences.

    You might also try the SVT with one or two Ampeg 212AVs. These are ported cabs with tweeters, but they are supposedly voiced to sound a lot like the 810. One 212AV is 4 ohms and two would be 2 ohms. A pair will be about 8lbs lighter than an 810. But the 810 will be easier transport in many circumstances, since it tilts and rolls.

    The 410HE uses the same drivers as the 810E, so it's 8 ohms. Ideally you want to run either 4 ohms or 2 ohms on an SVT so you a pair would be a good choice. A pair of 410HEs is slightly smaller than an 810, but will weigh considerably more.

    I personally hate playing through an 810, but it's an iconic sound that millions of people love. If I was going to run Ampeg cabs, I would probably go with a pair of 410HEs or a pair of the 212AVs because I like tweeters (YMMV).

    Buying an SVT is a pretty serious investment and it's also a very large and heavy rig. IMHO it's a really good idea to try one and get feel for the weight and portability before you buy. It should not be too hard to track one down for a demo.
    REV, baxter_x, DJ Bebop and 3 others like this.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Definitely try one out first. I've been pretty happy when I've played through 7 Pros in the past but my usual rig is an SVT or V4B RI. It would be a worthy upgrade to me but I love the all tube sound, I just can't get it from other gear.

    I would echo what is said about the 410HLF but it's totally up to you and what sound you're looking for. I'm usually looking for more mids and a tighter low end. Your P bass may give you enough mids though, or at least somewhat even everything out.

    I use a Bergantino NV610 with the SVT and V4B. It's smaller and lighter than an 810 and sounds close enough.
    rodl2005, Wasnex, DJ Bebop and 4 others like this.
  7. I joyfully used an SVT-CL (and an MTI) with an Ampeg 6x10 cab for years. They can be had pretty reasonable on the used market. If you want the real deal get an 8x10.
    DJ Bebop and Mike Carter like this.
  8. Mike Carter

    Mike Carter

    Aug 23, 2021
    Thank you very much for such a thorough response. It helps greatly. Take care.
    Wasnex and DJ Bebop like this.
  9. Great advice. I own a 410HLF, and I think it sounds better with my 3Pro than my Classic. Both of those heads sound great with a pair of 1-15" Ampeg cabs.
    Wasnex likes this.
  10. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    First off, welcome to TalkBass!

    Now, here's a trick to clean up that HLF cab a little (as well as your tone in general). Put an HPF (High Pass Filter) in front of your rig. I used to run an SVT-CL in front of a 610 HLF cab. That HPF made that rig come alive! It cleaned up the low end perfectly and allowed that ridiculously cool low-mid thing the SVT is known for shine through.

    A Broughton Always On HPF is always a tiny option that is great quality.

    So try that before buying a new cab. And, yes, every bass player should rock a real all-tube SVT (or Mesa 400, or Fender/Sunn 300W, etc.) amp at least once in their lives. I preferred the Ampeg and owned two. Never regretted it one bit.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 8:50 AM
  11. Brich


    Nov 18, 2013
    HPF in your chain and the hlf is great, it's what I run.
    Standalone likes this.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    As much as I enjoy the tone of the old fridge, which is much more versatile than people make it to be, it's useless if it doesn't come with roadies.
    We're in the days of 10 pound 1000w amps and ampless stages. Enjoy it.
    TonyP-, DJ Bebop and bassdude51 like this.
  13. Slpbass81


    Dec 16, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    Endorsing: GHS Strings
    It’s honestly the only amp I would buy without trying first. I would buy one used off Craigslist or reverb. They are not in high demand anymore and go for under $800 at times.

    I have gigged mine for 10+ years with either an 8x10 or 212av. Both cabs are great
    Mastermold and andy67 like this.
  14. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Yes. If you don't mind carrying it, there is nothing better. If you end up minding, there's a v4b at half the weight, less power, but the DI out goes through the whole amp.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 8:32 AM
    SC Bassboy, DJ Bebop and andy67 like this.
  15. One word, YES! There is nothing like an Ampeg SVT Classic for tone and power and it’s hidden secret, completely plug n play. I totally adore them except for the weight. However, if you are fit enough, you’ll love it!

    ps, if you are not overly bothered about brands for cabs? The Hartke AK410 is a superb partner for it. 500w @ 8ohms and 51lbs. I used that with my old Classic perfectly.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 7:31 AM
  16. VitoMB


    Sep 28, 2019
    Quebec, Canada
    I used to run a US made 3Pro (and a 4pro at the rehearsal space) with Asian made 410hlf. I did hook a DBX160A between preamp and amp in the 3Pro and put a Broughton HPF dead last on the pedal board. All this tightened the low end very well. It was a very nice sounding rig. At some point, I have replaced it with a SVT VR 1977 and matching 810 cabs. I cannot be much happier. YMMV
  17. AlenH


    Jun 18, 2019
    I'm using an SVT7 pro with a PN410 HLF ... no sign whatsoever of that woolly sound of the standard HLF and plenty loud enough! Sound is very precise and clean...if I need a bit of drive or dirt in the sound I use an Alpha/Omega.
    If I ever needed bigger volume I would add another PN410.. but honestly I have doubts it will ever be required - there is more than enough in my current rig to silence the drummer :) A big upside is the weight of the PN series.. light enpough for me to lift on my own with killing my back!
    johnnynitro likes this.
  18. I’m going to double what was said on other posts. Not only try it, but try a bunch of other gear as well. I’ve owned one and they are what they say they are. It’s a classic piece. But, having had an SVT, and a Hiwatt, as well as my current 300 watt Eden tube amps, IMO a lot of the SVT magic is using it with the 8-10 cab.

    With that cabinet, you have at least 2 of those 8-10s at about your ear level on axis for clarity, and the remaining speakers are some what off axis (think about how much more low end you hear standing beside a bass can as opposed to being in front of it), the combination is kismet, clarity with a nice low end.

    If I were buying a rig today, I’d be concerned about the cabs design with equal weighting of the amp. Frequency range, efficiency, the resistance (ohms) as well as how the cabs are tuned/ported are very important considerations and will greatly effect how you total rig will sound.

    As for the “romance” of owning an SVT, I’m not going to knock it or try to talk you out of it as I grew up with that technology where there were few other options available. As a personal preference, I prefer tube as it’s engrained in my brain (such that it is) that it’s how a bass should be reproduced, which is the only reason I can think of at this point I’d ever want one being honest. Sure isn’t the potential deferred maintenance costs. Tubes do need to be replaced at times and it isn’t usually a cheap repair.

    Anyway, have fun in your search. There are a lot of great options for you to get your “sound”. Be patient and diligent, and best wishes.
    Wasnex likes this.
  19. Treblefree


    Apr 8, 2016
    Upstate, SC
    Another in the camp of buy an 810E instead or some 210E's etc. And the SVT if you can afford it.

    I play an SVT-7 PRO. I have both the 410HLF and the 810E. The 810 is hands down the winner in sound. I can get "good" sounds out of the 410 and it can handle gigs with ease, but the sound of the 810 is just glorious to me in comparison and would always be my preference. I also have a Hartke 210, but once again, no comparison.
    johnnynitro likes this.
  20. KaseOfBass

    KaseOfBass Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    You can't go wrong with an SVT Classic IMO, but the SVT-7 Pro is a very good sounding amp, too! I don't currently own a Classic, but have definitely played my share of 'em throughout the years. I do currently have an SVT-2 Pro and an SVT-7 Pro and they sound very similar to my ears - more similar than different. The 2 Pro offers more tone options than a SVT Classic, but both do sound inherently similar to my ears.

    There's no mistaking the tubey goodness the 2 Pro brings to the table and with the Drive knob, it can get much more grit going than the 7 Pro. With that, I've been bringing the 7 Pro recently and pairing it with my Bergantino NV610. As mentioned previously and IMO, some of the SVT magic is the pairing with the 810 cab or a comparable sealed cab like the Bergantino NV610.

    I've never cared much for the 410HLF cab as it just got too loose in the low end. So for me, I'd be more inclined to consider the 7 Pro paired with the Ampeg 810 an improvement in stage tone over a SVT Classic paired with the 410HLF.
    Treblefree, TrentB and Wasnex like this.
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