Warning I understand that nobody can decide for me what I do want and should buy. This thread comes after 3+ months of extensive lurking (both the internet and the TalkBass google search), so if something about the gear listed here has been said repeatedly before there is a good chance that I've already come across it. That being said, I still feel that sharing my very own situation may lead to a new handful of wise advice, useful for me and for any other confused passerby as well. My writing is dense even in my mother tongue, I apologize in advance for any brain damage caused by the reading of this post. Also, carrots. Background (skip to Facts if you are easily bored) I've been playing bass with an important lack of discipline for some years, being my main background some keyboard and music theory shamefully forgotten long ago. But this last year I've been able to man up and steadily rock my cheap Yamaha and Peavey combo (later through a DI and headphones/loudspeakers), and I've taken advantage of the chance to play in a rehearsal place with some friends. Now my main bass is a Squier VM Precision, which I play through the (also bassist) drummer's amp. At first I thought of buying an Ashdown ABM EVO III head and a matching cab, but from the moment I stop to look at what was being used by the players I enjoy I became more and more keen about saving up for an Ampeg. Right now I'm rehearsing with the drummer's Ampeg B200R combo and I really enjoy it most of the time. I've been bitten by the big-heavy-amp snake and want more than what I currently have access to. I'm about to move to a new home in the same town, so I think my amp buying window of opportunity is open 'till early January, because the moving will be sponsored by my beloved family but as soon as I'm on my own I will sure as hell spend all that amp money in small "indispensable" commodities. Facts My maximum budget is EUR 2000, it may exchange moderately well into USD, but it's not that much for buying Ampeg here in Europe. Vintage/used US gear is affordable only when shipping to CONUS; and there is no second-hand market for such things in the glorious south of Spain. I'm happy with my correctly set-up Squier and its finger-plucked flatwound strings. I'm such a simpleton and no more money is going to be spent that way in the near future. It may be my only chance to build a decent bass rig for years to come. Awesomeness comes first, size and weight aren't a constraint if worth the effort. It should cut in a punk rock live mix, it's what my current and only band play (although by the lack of roundwounds and picks you may see I'm not very anal about it). I see no problem there. But as soon as I can I'd love to start a reggae/dub band, so it must be able to stand this different approach. Boominess is mainly welcome, I don't mind having to EQ it away if it's the price to pay for being able to achieve some of it at demand. I'm also interested in a wide array of styles from early Motown or classic rock (CCR/Skynyrd/anything cover bands must be cliché in the USA, but unheard of right here), to 80's hardcore, but there's nobody in sight eager to play those styles, not to mention stoner/doom, therefore it's not a priority. Deals First love affair: the hybrid one SVT-3 PRO + SVT410 HLF = EUR 1776 SVT-3 PRO + SVT410 HLF Heritage = EUR 1938 The first pack I found to be both slightly tubey and affordable. It's been used by some bassists I've heard, it seems to be a noticeable improvement over the borrowed combo I play and I'm not experienced enough to find it underpowered as half of the posters say everywhere. On the other hand, the HLF cab seems to be the choice for a deep bass sound and the many controls of the SVT-3 Pro might be enough to keep the boomy HLF beast tamed. I haven't heard with my ears IRL the cheaper/more powerful alternatives like the SVT-7 Pro, so my rack-mounted amp of preference is still the SVT-3. Of course, a challenger always appears... Second love affair: the all-tube tank SVT-CL + SVT410 HLF = EUR 1999 Display unit/Repackaged SVT-CL + SVT410 HLF = 1811 EUR Display unit/Repackaged SVT-CL + SVT410 HLF Heritage = 2005 EUR OK, I was already in love with the 3 Pro (in its glory and it's quirks, already knew about MOSFET bias and all!) and thinking about how much would a good looking rack box cost when I accidentally discovered two affordable SVT-CLs. So now I could aspire to be the owner of the backline beast every big player rents for gigging around here, the same one I've most heard being played by the pros! Tube warmth and goodness is not a newfound secret for me, it's just that I previously thought that my money wouldn't allow me to play in that Ampeg league. I'm sure that a SVT-CL would make me a happy camper, I've tasted it live as a gig goer and tubes are cheap to replace, at least where I live (there are some horror tales of expensive tube replacements in the internet). My biggest fear is buying it to later discover that what I want is a SVT-VR or a Heritage (I have no means of trying one of those). It would be hard to find a second-hand buyer for the CL afterwards and it would eventually mean losing money. But they are out of the "save to buy one before you leave home" range, so it must be the SVT-CL or no all-tube SVT at all (for the record: I like its separated gain and master knobs). I've also heard nasty things about coupling one of these valve heads with the ported HLF, but the reasons aren't in the reach of my understanding. It should be noted that a sealed SVT-810AV could be obtained here for about the same amount of money as the 410 HLF Heritage (the other 810s are more expensive), making everything a little more confusing. Last-minute contender: the lightweight beauty PF-500 + SVT410 HLF = EUR 1186 PF-500 + SVT410 HLF Heritage = EUR 1380 And then there's the least expensive, yet most versatile and easy to carry around choice! And with what seems enough power to gig around our relatively small bars without PA. What I've heard through that head doesn't disappoint but I don't know how would it do through the HLF (better than the tube ones?). It might be the more apt head for chaining effects, but I don't want to end up compensating with pedals if the head tone doesn't fulfill my expectations by itself. I came to this amp when I thought that having some of those heavy heads I would eventually look for a lighter one to mess around. Could as well start by owning the light one, and gather some real-life experience before I jump into a pricier wagon. Right now the PF seems to have the most satisfied customer base of the three heads I like, but that's probably because it is the most recent of them and haters need their time to hate. In conclusion... This inane newcomer to the Ampeg world is eager to hear anything you might want to say.