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Confused: The Ampeg SVT sound and the low-mids thing

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by King Louie, May 1, 2018.

  1. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Very true! Personally I prefer a DR201 over an SVT. And there's also the fact that the SVT isn't exactly ideal for small, or even medium sized venues. LARGE stages is where the SVT shines. I always get a bad feeling when I walk into a small club and see an SVT on stage. 9 out of 10 times that means that 1) I won't hear myself because the SVT is projecting the sound about 3 meters ahead of me and 2) the sound will be anemic because the engineer won't let me turn the amp above 2. I was completely SICK of SVTs for many years because of this. Starting to like them again now, especially the VR.
    chris_b likes this.
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The Twin Reverb sounds awesome with bass but not a lot of power. At one time Dual Showmans were very popular bass amps. The Twin Reverb is essentially a slight variation of the Dual Showman circuit. Channel one gets a mid range control and of course, channel two gets reverb. I think everything else is pretty much the same. I currently own a silverface Showman Reverb and IMHO my Orange AD200B sounds very similar if you like that type of tone and want a bit more power.

    My first amp was a blackface Twin driving a Traynor Big B (810). I bought the JBL E120s for the Twin before I bought the SVT. I really love the way the E120s sound with bass and they could take the blackface Twin's 85 watts as long as I kept the bass control at 4 or lower.

    I had the 810E and the Big B at the same time. The Big B has less bass and bit more upper mids and high end than an Ampeg 810. I liked the sound of the Big B more, but at the time I thought it was a guitar speaker so I didn't use it with the SVT...the Twin and Big B belonged to my older brother, so I didn't want to damage them.
    craigie likes this.
  3. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I"m an old guy and I've seen a lot of amps that were the rage at one time or another. Fender Bassman's were everywhere in the late 60's. Kustom's had a brief flash of huge popularity. But bands got louder and neither had a lot of power which pushed players to look for other options. Solid state Peavey's may not ever have been everyone's dream amp but they were on more stages than anything for a long time.

    When more power was needed the SVT came into prominence. It still has a huge following, especially for those who don't mind carrying "the fridge". Folded horn cabinets were another popular power solution at the time as Jaco showed us. The Acoustic 360s and 370s with folded horns were a beast that not only produced volume but projected volume further than any other rig.

    In recent times a lot of players have opted for lighter weight solutions. There are a lot of great amps now that push huge power, sound great and weigh 6lbs or less. Also, improved FOH systems can carry a lot of bass, so in those cases you only need to worry about the sound on stage - not projecting to the audience. That changes things. With cabinets loaded with neodymium speakers and a light weight head you can walk in the door with all your gear in one trip and still kick total a$$.

    But if you still want a big rig, the SVT with 8 tens is a great choice. For some there is nothing like the feel of moving a lot of air. It does this very well.
    bigbottomend likes this.
  4. I have always found that low mids are nasty and honky-sounding, so I generally scoop the hell out of everything between 250-500Hz, leave the 'middle' mids (500-1000Hz) neutral and put a hefty boost between 1-2K (normally 1.6K) to punch through. I think it sounds great when I use my wireless system and walk out into the audience!
    Iristone, scuzzy and hintz like this.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Right. The whole idea behind the SVT was CLEAN tube sound at high volumes. However, Everett Hull left Ampeg shortly after he sold it to Unimusic because he was against them wanting to have large powerful amps. If he had still been in charge, there would have been no SVT.
  6. If you like your P Bass through just about any other amp , you're probably gonna love it through a big Ampeg rig. That's the sound I always was looking for. YMMV
    rodl2005 likes this.
  7. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    One thing to keep in mind that I don't think has been mentioned yet - this is all relative. A large number of amps have a very hyped/scooped tone by default with knobs at noon.

    Nothing against that tone, it's good for many different styles, but the point that I'm trying to make is that for many users the baseline is that level of "very scooped". So then if they boost mids a bit, they may find that they fit better in their mix - they went from very scooped, to a little less scooped, and they liked it.

    Their EQ might even look like 12:00 2:00 12:00, but if you were to plot the signal, it'd still be a bit of a smiley face. I think that this is what a large number of bassists are in fact talking about when they speak of boosting mids - not necessarily that their signal is one huge mid-bump (though that can obviously work well in certain situations as well), just that they might be boosting mids from their amp's default.

    Anyways - again, it's all relative. Just experiment a little bit with what sounds best in your personal band mix and typical volume level (and when in doubt ask your other band members), and you can't go wrong. :thumbsup:
    Iristone and Gearhead17 like this.
  8. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    If he was in charge of Capitol Records there'd be no rock and roll, blues, country.....lots of Lawrence Welk.

    PS The #4 Ultra low setting on an SVP-CL is fun.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    rodl2005, johnpbass and JimmyM like this.
  9. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
    Seriously, The Stones made Ampeg popular, but it was Ampeg alone that made the SVT; the icon it remains. I won't go all fanboy here but it's incredibly versatile. You want to "scoop the mids"? By all means, scoop them. You want to do other tonal adjustments, you've got loads of options. As someone else said, they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they are a lot of other people's that sound nothing alike to one another. At all. SansAmp and Tech21 are not Ampegs. They got close to a setting on one.
    Go try an Ampeg. Go try a Mesa, Fender, GK, Mark Bass, Bergawhatever... Just go TRY IT. Reading about tone never got nobody anywhere. Especially with articles that are based on simulators. Can't even understand why a link to a VT article was even posted here to weigh in. Whatever you do, buy what you like because you like it. The internet is a great guide but that's about it. It can point you in the right path but it can also sway you from even pondering something that may have been perfect for you! Some great advice has been given from both sides of the fence. Now it's time to step away from the computer and go to a music store to form your own opinions. Not much more can be said than what's already been posted prior to me posting. Some experience, some inexperience. Some truth, some myth.

    Sorry. It was a long day.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Maybe so, but you spoke a lot of truth.

    King, I know it's not always possible to try stuff out, but a lot of people do try to be big shots on the internet and talk about things that they don't know anything about. And even those who do know what they're talking about won't necessarily like the same things others do, so you really have to take other people's opinions with a grain of salt, even mine and Ricky's :D What we don't like may end up being something you love.
  11. niki z

    niki z Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN

    This to me is exactly right. I've tried the emulators to, and agree they sound to my ears mid scooped when engaged. Obviously they are used by countless players who love them, so rock on! I'm sure you can eq that out? To beat a dead cat, there really is nothing like the real thing. You just need to experience it.
    JimmyM likes this.
  12. TemplesOfSyrinx

    TemplesOfSyrinx Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    New Jersey
    I was thinking the same thing Jimmy. When they designed the Tech 21 Sansamp ParaDriver they went with a mid boost!

    Attached Files:

    scuzzy and JimmyM like this.
  13. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I'm convinced that Tech 21 creates their "SVT" settings by using a random number generator, chuckling to themselves the whole time.

    I mean, sure - the SVT is a flexible amp, so they're not wrong, but SVTs and their emulators all have knobs that can be turned... who's to say what the quintessential SVT tone is? I think that's really at the heart of the issue, as has already been mentioned more than a few times in this thread.
  14. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    The SVT head for me has no magic. I owned one, and used it with an Ampeg V-4b bottom with 2-15s in a reflex cab and it was mud, until I got a Hiwatt 100/w4-12 cab and used Rick-O-Sound from my 4001. IMO, the 810 cab is what made the SVT. That’s a lot of speaker area with the punch of 10” speakers. True symmetry in action.

    BTW, the Hiwatt was a much better head, especially with a P-Bass. It’s also the only piece of gear I’ve sold off over the last 40 decades that I totally regret.
  15. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Well yeah! The Ox never played an SVT did he and it was those guys that invented the stack and volume wars.
    Iristone and Korladis like this.
  16. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    [QUOTE="King Louie, post: 21283804, member: 295979]
    Now every instrument seems to have a Holy Grail of sound. For the violin it is the Stradivarius, the guitarists love the Marshall Full Stack, and for bass it is the Ampeg SVT.
    Is that so...

    Did you know that Beef Wellington is the Holy Grail for dinners.

    It is, it tops everything else.
  17. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    The Ox played through a lot of different rigs and a lot of different basses over the years truth be told. Not trying to be a smart *ss, but are you absolutely sure he never used an SVT? I’ll say I never saw a picture of him with one, but that cuts a lot of his musical life out of the equation.
  18. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Nope. You’re right—that’s a “jaco only needed 4” type statement on my part. I’m thinking of his old days in the who.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  19. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    Lol!!! Your cool. After all, I’m renowned for making those kind of blanket statements. Have. Good one.
  20. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I took the dive. Kinda embarrassing Jimmy but I bought the smallest for my spare bedroom practice. I'm starting an 80's rock band with some friends and they asked if I had an Ampeg bass amp :)-) so once I learn the little BA108v2, I'm going to get either the 200 watt Micro SVT 210AV or a BA115v2. I don't imagine we play nearly the size shows you do but we do have FOH support. It's a start! :)
    Bugeyed Earl, JMacBass65 and JimmyM like this.

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