Can anyone give me a review/rating on the ampeg SVT II all tube 300watt head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Zharlon, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Zharlon

    Zharlon From Ice Station Deep Charch 9

    Apr 19, 2003
    Northwest U.S.A.
    I am looking at one o these babiews for sale and wanted to get any opinions from those that have had experience with the amp...It seems similar to my Mesa400+ in looks and tube era and all....I know there is a distinct diference tween the Mesa all tube and the Ampeg all tube heads, just from posts here on talkbass....
  2. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I have both of these.

    Have had the 400+ for many years, just got the SVT 2 Pro a few weeks ago, so I can't give a long-term review on it. I'll give my opinions, I'm sure there are others that will disagree vehemently.

    Sonically, the 400+ stays cleaner at higher volumes. Since you have one, I won't go into details on the 400+. The SVT2 has only one input, it has a pad switch. I used to run my effects into one input of the 400+ and a dry signal into the other, I can't on the SVT. Switchable graphic EQ on both. More flexible tone shaping controls on the SVT2, selectable mids is nice. SVT2 has 2 speaker outs and a 2-4 ohm switch, 400+ is much more flexible there. Both have a groggy, tubey tone. 400+ has a slightly better clean tone to my ears.

    The 400+ doesn't reallty distort much unless you crank the pre gain, then the sound is quite bad to my ears. The Ampeg, on the other hand, was made to deliver huge fuzzy bass like there's no tomorrow. Deliver it does. You can play pretty loud, reasonably clean, but once I heard its massive fuzziness I stopped worrying about clean tones.

    On the back of the Ampeg is one of the coolest features ever on a tube amp, and one that every tube amp should have. Pots for adjusting the power tube bias, and lights to indicate when it is biased correctly. On the Mesa, you have no option for adjusting the bias and must take it to a tech, unless you are one. If you live in a cave in the woods like I do, finding a tech can be a challenge.

    Can't comment on reliability for the Ampeg, though looking inside it appears to be nicely constructed. My Mesa went 7 years on its first set of tubes. It's an early 90's model, and didn't give me any trouble until very recently, but now it is not functioning properly. I really can't blame the amp, it has served very well for a long time. Neither Mesa nor Ampeg has a readily available Email address, though Ampeg at least has an 800 number. I have received offers of help from some TBer's for which I am grateful, but my finances dictate I must park the 400+ for now and time constraints prevent me from spending the day sitting around waiting for a tech callback.

    So, I've tried to edit the bitterness out of my post, but right now looking at my 400+ is like looking at a faithful old dog that is about due for that last ride to the vet. Putting that aside, if I had to say which one sounded better under ideal conditions, I really couldn't pick one. Love the middly, groggy sound of the 400+, love the ripsnorting growl of the SVT2. I had never encountered a louder amp than the 400+...until the SVT.