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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. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    If you turn off the horns, a pair of 410HEs will sound very close to an 810E. Same driver and the tuning is close/or identical depending upon who you believe. I already posted the specs, the -3db point for the 410 is 2hz higher than the 810E, but perhaps coupling between two cabs would equalize the low end. IMHO make the decision upon which form factor will better suit your loading situation. Here's a TB argument you might enjoy 410He + 410He = 810E?

    As we are talking specifically about the SVT...it is designed to run into 4 or 2 ohms so I will not advise you to run a single 8 ohm 410HE with this amp, especially if you are pushing the amp to it's power limits.
    Those in the know, will tell you to get the Heritage 810 because it has upgraded drives that sound better. The Heritage SVT is also reportedly a bit quieter (less hum).

    Despite the SVT/810E being an industry standard, I rarely see them. They are by no means ubiquitous. On the few occasions when I was presented an SVT/810E in a backline, I opted to use my own rig: rack mixer->power amp->Eden 210XLT. The SVT/810E, IMHO, is not the right sound for the variety of music I typically play. I often switch between string and electric bass. Now if I were in a U2 tribute band, I would be all over the SVT/810E.

    IMHO, you really should try out the SVT/810 package before you buy...don't make the same mistake I did and buy the amp without a demo. I have seen them at Guitar Center on a fairly regular basis.
     
  2. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    First, my disclaimer: I'm not a tech, and it's been a long time, - too long for that matter, since I've owned an SVT.

    So I'm going by my distant memory. The eq section of the SVT-CL, with it's 5 position mid frequency selector, and it's ability to cut or boost each frequency band makes it my favorite eq section (I also really like the eq section on G-K's RB Series heads, and Aguilar's Tone Hammer eq section) of any bass amp I've played through.

    In my mind, the Ampeg SVT might have a "Baked In" tone, (Or could that be attributed to the incredible 810E cabinet?)but with it's IMO fantastic eq section, along with it's Ultra Lo and Ultra Hi switches, makes it possible to get a very wide range of bass sounds. IMO it's very hard to make a healthy functioning SVT sound bad, I I'm mainly a fingerstyle player, and at the time I had my SVT2-Pro/810E, I was playing P-Basses, Jazz Basses, a Rickenbacker 4001, and MusicMan Sterlings.

    I never used the Ultra Lo and Ultra Hi switches, but I assume if I was able to play slap style bass, they'd be just the ticket to get a killer slap tone, - along with many other killer tones.

    In my mind, an SVT is no one trick pony, and for me, having such a great eq makes the SVT the ultimate.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    yes!

    we come not to bury the mid-scoop but to praise it!

    judicious mid-scoop can get you a bass sound that does its job of filling out the low end and making the band sound big without getting in the way of the melody instruments and vocals.

    if you want to play complicated parts in a fusion/funk band then maybe it isn't for you but if like me you just want to make regular pop/rock songs sound good then it's nice to have a sound that brings the low end, has some zing on top so you can hear the pitch/timing, and otherwise leaves room for the other players.

    back on topic i hear that sound from a real SVT (old one or VR, not so much the classic) with the ultra-low switch in, and i use a sansamp BDDI which does a good job of recreating it.
     
  4. King Louie

    King Louie

    Jul 17, 2016
    @walterw : Which settings do you use on the sansamp to recreate the tone you describe? And for what instrument config (Precision, Jazz, which pickup)?
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    blend dimed, level way up and drive down to maybe 9:00-10:00, EQ to taste (mostly treble & presence around noon and bass up a good bit). that's straight into the PA and straight into a power amp running a couple of single 15 cabs, no actual "bass amp" involved.

    for "regular rock bass" it sounds great on stage, into my IEMs, and the soundguys are always happy with it.

    i'm banging on a passive P bass (pictured) but that overall vibe works with whatever. with active basses i suppose if you boost onboard too much you'd need to roll back accordingly, but i don't think you should do that in the first place :)
     
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  6. Your initial post seemed to be addressing live situations, not studio, so I think it's fairly safe to say you were talking about the SVT & 810 as a unit. While performers will use different cabs in a live setting, or an 810 with a different amp, the photos of popular artists, their tv appearances, etc. typically show the iconic SVT/810 used together. This is what we ge used to seeing, particularly when starting out, as you are.

    Safe to assume that is what you were asking about, and what should have been addressed in the answers. Not surprisingly we got lost in the weeds. This is Talkbass after all.

    My experience, as an owner of a 76 SVT/810 for 31 years now, is that it doesn't scoop the mids (unless you dial it up that way), is very flexible from a tone sculpting perspective (although I don't do much knob twiddling), and is a sound that is instantly recognizable, particularly when pushed and regardless of which bass I am using (I have a jazz, Rick, and a P). They all sound like themselves, but through an SVT lens. (I deliberately used a non-audio term here so as not to spark another debate, as I am sure one would have started had I used the word "filter".)

    I happen to like what the SVT does, even though mine only gets out of the house once or twice a year (I have smaller rigs for most gigs). If I could, it'd be the only rig I would use.
     
    Arthur U. Poon and G-Z like this.
  7. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Not really and no need to get preachy...the original title of this thread included the phrase "Ampeg sound" rather than "SVT sound." Only late in the thread did the OP clarify that he was interested specifically in SVT/810 otherwise my posts would have been quite different. Actually I would not have posted at all as it should be obvious that I don't care much for the fridge, although I owned one for several years.

    My recommendation stands...find an SVT and 810 and try it out. You'll either love it hate. If you hate it, try the SVT with some other cabinets.
     
    Korladis likes this.
  8. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    Modern 215 is kinda cool with SVTs, preferably sealed.
     
    Wasnex likes this.
  9. Not sure where I got "preachy", but whatever.
     
    Wasnex likes this.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Thanks for posting those.

    "One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions." -- Adm. Grace Hopper

    This confirms my reading of the SVT schematic, which is the closest I've ever gotten to an SVT. Amusingly, the schematic is a published document, and leaves no mystery about how the amp is designed. It strikes me that the SVT was intended to be a high fidelity amplifier, albeit realized with tubes.
     
  11. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Sorry...I'm super sensitive :bag:.

    Ampeg SVTs are awesome! :bassist: But, I usually prefer a different speaker than an 810, IMHO :vomit:. However, YMMV so I totally respect your opinion :thumbsup:; especially, since many people agree with you. In other words, I accept that 810s are fabulous for those who like them.

    Have a nice day!
     
    JMacBass65 likes this.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I keep saying this over and over and over and nobody believes me. That is EXACTLY why it was designed...high fidelity tube amp for high volumes. I've never understood the mindsets that tube amps can't do high fidelity or are only good for dirt. That's some internet BS that somehow caught on.
     
    DrMole, G-Z, Vanni and 4 others like this.
  13. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    You're not alone brother, that's what I thought tubes were for too.
     
    G-Z, JMacBass65 and JimmyM like this.
  14. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    They didn't have uncles that drove Checker cabs for DeSoto that got 30mpg off a Chevy 260ci inline-6 with a crappy single pot carb and a powerglide.

    They also never heard of guys using McIntosh monoblock tube poweramps powering Klipsch horns to make ears ring in the disco era.

    Old was never any good, flying coast to coast in a plane with radial engines is a myth.
     
    ctmullins and JimmyM like this.
  15. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Homo sapiens might just as well have been named “homo armchairovergeneralizatiens”. :cool:

    People just love to pigeonhole, and then pontificate about it.

    Anyway, I’ve always wondered what exactly the “Ampeg sound” actually was, as though it was a single easily identifiable sonic signature. I’m really glad to learn via this thread that it isn’t. Well, the SVT head anyway. The fridge, yeah.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well with the lows rolloff and no tweeter, it's got a certain character that's inescapable. But there is a ton of versatility in it just as there is in the heads. You just have to like that low end rolloff and no tweeter, which I do.

    As for the "Ampeg sound," that's a marketing term. One that Ampeg fully embraces and rightly so, but one only need to listen to the many different bassists who use them and sound different from each other to know that there are a lot of different "Ampeg sounds."
     
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  17. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Sometimes I wonder if the secret to the "Ampeg Sound" is that they don't mess with your sound. ;)
     
    Arthur U. Poon, G-Z and JimmyM like this.
  18. DStJ

    DStJ

    Jun 20, 2014
    Oceanside Ca.
    My theory is that in the old days, You needed more sound "presence" on the larger stages, and the SVT certainly does that. Nowadays there's usually a sound company that has monitors strong enough to add some fill to the stage. I like SVT's, and have owned a couple, and 2 cabs too, but too heavy to haul around, and I prefer the sound of other amps, and cabs, which is a whole diff conversation.
     
  19. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Here's the fault to your logic: SVT8-Pro 2,500 watts at 2 ohms, 23 lbs. Doesn't sound exactly like an SVT, but IMHO gets pretty darn close.

    I don't think volume has anything to do with it as there are plenty of lightweight heads that will play louder than a 300 watt SVT.

    Want to do it with tubes, try a Mesa Strategy at 49 lbs....about half the weight and double the power.
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Very nice amp, the strategy... Doesn't sound like an SVT though :)
     
    DrMole and Wasnex like this.

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