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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_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    True. I have a Strategy and I love it, but it really doesn’t sound a whole lot like an SVT. Actually, I have yet to hear another tube amp that nails the SVT sound - excepting an SVT of course :)
    Korladis and JimmyM like this.
  2. Dr. Gonzo82

    Dr. Gonzo82

    Jul 19, 2008
    What most people seem to forget about the SVT is that it was not designed as a bass amp, but an all-purpose amp.

    At least my China made VR doesn't say bass amp anywhere...

    In my opinion that is also the reason why the ultra high and low switches are there. Two weeks ago i plugged a mesa 810 and a marshall guitar cab into the SVT and played my Es135 guitar through it. Sounded fantastic through both cabs, with either one of the switches engaged and when I turned on my green Russian muff... WOAH
    JimmyM likes this.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Correct you are. I think that's why the second channel on an SVT sounds as it does, too...for guitar. But even guitarists decided it was just too darn loud to push into power tube distortion :D
  4. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    GUITARIST MAGAZINE Interview June 2012 | Elliott Randall

    That's the only recognizeable guitar player I know of using an SVT, and it was to track with.

    I couldn't even imagine how painful that must have been.
    A Twin or a Super Reverb in a small room cranked is max what I can handle.
    50watt 1/2 stack is too much.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I previously assumed the guitar tone on Reelin in the Years lacked tubey goodness :bag:. How ironic.

  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I actually prefer the basic voicing of the channel 2 for bass, but the EQ is not as flexible so I wind up using channel 1. Sometimes it's nice to use both.
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've done that as well, and it was a great thing back in the days when there were no dirt pedals for bass and you had to have a clean blend if you wanted any lows out of them. But I can get what I want out of them with the ch. 1 tone controls so I don't bother.
    Wasnex likes this.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I can't handle even a cranked Twin, and I can just barely handle cranking my Super Reverb at 35w RMS.
  9. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    I'm 43, I'll get there at some point.

    I hung out a lot at Prune Music when it moved to San Anselmo from Fairfax circa 1986.
    This was after Randall Smith had Mesa going full time and sold the biz to Sal.
    I was maybe 12 years old, taking the bus from San Francisco on the weekends.
    I played bass, so I had the back room pretty much to myself, everyone else was a guitar player.

    Prune was an ode to fizzy 60's-70's tube guitar amps.
    Van Halen redefined guitar a lot more than he is credited for.
    If you go back and listen to early metal or later 70's punk you can hear that super fizzy thing.

    It's later 80's and early 90's that you got these super hard chunking guitars to compete with 24/7.
    Bass got really scooped and concussive to compete via abuse of active preamps or full on EMG setups.
    Drummers all flocked to the thumpiest DW kits they could get, or those ridic Pearl kits that were all boom.

    Right now I live on an SVP-CL with Lo selector to #4, everything else close to noon, mid selector at #3.
    I play mainly passive Js with warmish pickups.
    My fingers claw from the palm bc that later 80's-on super aggressive stage thing is my formative high school default.
    I didn't blow the $ on cool active basses back then, I learned to use my right hand to dig into my crappy passive basses and crappy tube amps.

    I have to appreciate the places I got to hang out in when I was a kid, bc they really helped me form the basis of a lot of gear exploration really early.
    I wasn't the normal metal shirt wearing kid of that era.
    I was an obviously inner city kid with a visible hip hop influence that hung out at punk spots in Berkeley and Oakland.
    The fact I even left the borders of San Francisco on public transportation to pursue known gear hoards was unusual.

    I could actually read music and had years of formal music classes before I picked up the bass.
    I literally lived in some pursuit of explanation of the hows and whys of music.
    A lot of the guys that teched on tours back then were still alive and I'd talk to them about sound.

    I bummed cigarettes off Paul Kantner on my way to school, and did until he died.
    We talked about stuff, I was exactly 180deg different from his son that's my age.

    There's so much more than just the gear, it's not just the hands, its' the era of music you are hearing in your head at the time.
    It's a stacked motion of intent.
    DrMole, J-Mags, jharms80439 and 2 others like this.
  10. J-Mags


    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    @somebrains "Stacked motion of intent." I like that. That's the exact notion that retro music gets wrong. You can learn from that music, but you can't go home again.

    If you can twiddle the knobs and put a certain body language into your tone to get a sound, imagine doing that in 1973. Your entire experience of music would have been different. The stage volumes would have been ridiculous compared to most current bands. The other instruments would have sounded different. You're wearing freakin' flares! It smells weird! You've just smoked a ton of weed, but you're not high!

    You also don't have 99% of the gizmos that people are currently plugging into bass amps, etc.
  11. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    One of the best examples of not being able to go home is the Foo Fighters retro clip on YouTube from 2012/2013.

    They got Butch Vig to produce, bc he was Dave Grohls producer back in the Nevermind era. They recorded to tape, bc people don't remember that hard disk recorders were a mid 90's thing. Pro Tools wasn't really a thing yet.

    Yet it's not Nirvana, and these guys are older with families.

    They were going for intent, final output that was something a younger band wouldn't have had to go through bc it's time and $ prohibitive to record that way even 7 years ago. Skillset of your production crew matters, bc how many engineers working now logged any albums under their belt analog?

    *YOU* cannot go back, as well as young players trying to find *THAT* sound, bc time moves on.

    We evolve, regardless of what we think about that.
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Sorry to have been so unresponsive in this serious thread.

    ...The SVT/810 is the bass equivalent of the drunk fat girl on the dance floor. lots of loose wigglin' force but not a whole lot of control to be had.
    ctmullins likes this.
  13. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    You have to remember that an SVT and it’s fridge were originally designed for stadiums; two fridges paired to one amp was bound to throw out a lot of sound. I’m guessing that because it beams like crazy, it may not sound the way you want it close by.
    I’ve had terrific sounds every time I used one as a backline without any fuss.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not sure what the point of the "you can't go back" detour is in relation to this thread. I don't think people are trying to go back to mono and recording everyone in the room with one mic. Even Jack White doesn't do that! They just happen to like the sound of certain gear that wasn't invented a week ago. But that doesn't make anyone sound inherently retro any more than using something invented a week ago makes someone sound inherently modern. Especially when so many people claim that gear invented 30 or 40 years ago as opposed to 50 makes them sound inherently modern. Give me a break!!!

    I did like this little gem from Bill, though...

    I don't know about you, but I have complete control over my sound when I use an SVT and 810. Or anything I've ever used as long as it works and has enough guns for the gig. I play the gear...the gear doesn't play me.

    So there :p
    Arthur U. Poon, DrMole and JMacBass65 like this.
  15. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    You know me. I'm so used to pretty clean transparent speakers. I can feel each and every 10" break up and they feel 'springy' to me. It gives you nice low mid blurb but they're really organic in what they do...but I'd never describe their carving of a note envelope as 'precise'.

    I will still go on the record that if I have to pick a backline amp sight unseen I usually will default to the SVT/810 option. Because at the very least I know what I'll be dealing with and can get something reasonable out of it without too much work.

    We're on the road in a few rooms this week that require the use of house backline and I will say that if I show up tomorrow at the 8x10 in Baltimore and they don't have an 8x10 on stage I'll be upset, even though I have my rig in the van.
    DrMole and JimmyM like this.
  16. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    In my experience, the perception that there is a lack of precision is most likely because the cab does not produce as much upper mids and highs as you want to hear. My perception of an 810 is apparently fairly similar to yours as I like a full range sound; essentially HiFi sound.

    An 810 feels extremely slow and lethargic to me because there is not snap to the mids and highs. But I have biamped with an SVT and 810 covering 200hz down, and I found the low end was relatively tight, precise, and focused.
    BurningSkies likes this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would, but I'm certainly not looking for flat response from 20-20k hz, and I hate tweeters, so I suppose that's a fair comment. A lot more fair than the drunk fat girl thing, that's for sure!
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You won't get tweeter frequencies out of them, but I can't agree overall. I have no problem getting plenty of upper mids and highs to get snap out of them when I want it.
  19. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    lol sure....

    But yet i dont run a 3015LF and some high tuned cab. just for the reason you described.

    Aside from the regular bloom from a 810E
    Ive actually stuck to the sealed sound of that cab because it is tighter and more controlled.

    and its not some subjective typical audio rehash. ive actually heard pretty much every ideal bass driver over many years.
    somehow for some magic reason. just shoving 8 pretty average well designed drivers for the application in a sealed 810.
    just keep going back to that.

    I know what a spongy 3015 sounds like. also know what a spongy 810 sounds like. ive driven them all to hell lol.
    usually stick to the 810 actually

    then again for completely normal to loud band SPL levels. I find the snobby cheap neos to be rather average cheap neos. and take a tighter cheaper 810 over them any day
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    JimmyM likes this.
  20. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    I wouldn't expect you to agree, since you love the way 810s sound as they are. Millions of people love these cabs, so obviously they are awesome, but they are not for everyone.

    Pretty sure most people who prefer more of a HiFi, FRFR sound will find the upper mids and treble response of an Ampeg 810 to be horrible. But they actually work pretty well down low (IMHO).

    Horses for courses my friend ;).
    Bfieldy and somebrains like this.

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