Current Production Ampeg Heads - Heritage vs VR

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MasterEvan07, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Noisemaker

    Mar 30, 2011
    I've a really great opportunity to invest in a new bass rig and I've been an Ampeg sound lover for a long time but never had the scratch.

    Price point is comparable for the Heritage and the VR. I know there are some feature difference and obviously where they were made/assembled, but I want to know about sound and feel differences. Also how the quality of Ampeg heads is these days.

    I don't have the luxury of A/B-ing them, so I'm turning to the experienced ears here. After searching multiple times for similar threads I only really found CL vs VR type comparisons and not a lot of concrete 1:1 examples.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
  2. I prefer the CL design because yu have both gain and master volume controls.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    MasterEvan07 likes this.
  3. Lovep

    Lovep Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    I have owned both and I think the Heritage is better given the flexibility in gain/volume. You can't go wrong with either...
    MasterEvan07 likes this.
  4. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The two amps offer different features. Go with whichever meets your need. Personally I prefer the VR.

    Many don’t realize this, but master volume capability can be added to a VR. The master in a SVT-CL is an attenuator between the pre-out and the power amp in. If you want to add a master to an SVT-VR, you can patch a box with a pot between the effect send and return or the pre-out and power amp in. Ampeg actually sold a product that did this back when the vintage amps were offered.

    Here is the equivalent:

    Carl's Carls Custom Guitars Volume Box Attenuator

    Or you can build one.

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    Jim C, mattwear, Sparky Mark and 2 others like this.
  5. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Noisemaker

    Mar 30, 2011
    Cool, thanks for your thoughts! Why do you prefer the VR?
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  6. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The VR is basically the original SVT with some tube changes. The second channel is the same as the B-15 pre. The VR has a power tube balance pot. It’s a good feature, better than the CL in that respect. Otherwise, the power amp is the same as the CL. With the two channels linked, the VR has more tonal flexibility.

    On the other side, the CL is probably the most popular SVT. It’s simple. There are less tubes in it because there is only one channel. More people use them than anything else. The price of the CL is less than the VR. That has something to do with it.

    The advantage of the Heritage CL is that the power tubes have a longer warranty. It has better quality control. It has power tube clamps, like the original SVT had. Otherwise it is exacly the same as the SVT-CL except for the black grille cloth. Same circuit boards, same transformers.

    The Heritage SVT-810E is the best sounding 810 I have ever used. It has speakers that are not in the regular 810E. If you a considering getting any of the Heritage cabs, the Heritage CL will match it.

    I would go with whatever amp your gut tells you. Either way you are going to be happy.
  7. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Noisemaker

    Mar 30, 2011
    I appreciate your thoughts! I can't justify the 810E for space and portability restrictions, but did decide on the HSVT-410HLF - I hope that will suit presently.
  8. jnslprd


    Jun 26, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    the svt 212av is a pretty killer cabinet as well.
  9. Crusty


    Jul 16, 2016
    I have no experience with the VR, sorry. But thought I’d share my thoughts on the Heritage which I currently have into an Ampeg AV212.

    I totally enjoy this rig and it has more volume and tone variation than I’d ever need. It’s a keeper. No more GAS. I can dial it in to a great tone with my USA P Bass with minimal effort. It always sounds amazing, just needing variations to EQ depending on the room or venue. Take note of the EQ info for the CL on many threads here - it isn’t “flat” with all the knobs at noon. Bass 11oclock, Mids 2-3 O’clock on setting 3, Treble 1-2 o’clock. This has been tested by people with better ears and way more experience with these amps than me.

    I got the head for an absolute steal of $3500 with an ampeg cover, brand new (They retail for around $5000 AUD here). For a little while I still wondered if the grass was greener on the VR side, but many have reported that the best tone from the CL comes from diming the master and using the gain as volume. That’s the best tone out of these things in my experience and many say that it acts more like a VR when used like that. It’s more “open”. I also like the gain at noon sometimes and master to suit. It’s def a head that has more than enough bass.

    The good news is I have a used Berg NV610 arriving today or tomorrow so something else to look forward. The AV212 is great and compact but I’m looking for even better out of the Berg.
  10. Are you prepared for the 85 pounds weight of either CL or VR? If it's going to live in your home or at a regular gig there's less of an issue, but moving one regularly on your own is a pain (literally). I recommend that you have a go at moving one before handing over the cash. A 100 watt output V4B at 41 pounds is sensible if you will rarely/never need 300 watts.
    Son of Wobble and MasterEvan07 like this.
  11. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Noisemaker

    Mar 30, 2011
    I'm not worried about weight, per se. For now it'll be used predominantly in a rehearsal space until the show is solidified and then concerns about transportation and portability can be worked in. Cart, cases, and wheels are wonderful things :)
  12. TrentB


    Aug 10, 2010
    Orange County, Ca
    You’ll love the SVT with the NV610! It’s my main rig. I also have an AV212 and the Berg blows it away in every respect.
  13. Crusty


    Jul 16, 2016
    Indeed it does. The cab arrived just before rehearsal yesterday. The TB fanaticism for this cabinet is justified. I was reluctant to change vehicles just to accomodate an 810, and now, I don't have to. The 610 fits in my car and is all the tone I'll need.
    TrentB likes this.
  14. TrentB


    Aug 10, 2010
    Orange County, Ca
    It should give you all the volume you’ll ever need as well. That pairing gets crushingly loud!
  15. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Noisemaker

    Mar 30, 2011
    Been diggin' the Heritage head and cab - beastly! Picked up a Scrambler DI as well which is very useful. Glad I grabbed this stuff up before Yamaha purchased them as I would've lost my connection/deal!
  16. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    The attenuator is a cool idea but I don't think it will allow a VR to produce preamp drive like a CL. The CL preamp has more gain than the vintage or VR preamps.

    As an experiment, I ran my MXR KFK EQ between the preamp and power amp in my 87 and it was only possible to get a slightly amount of drive with the preamp wide open and very hard plucking. I am not certain the drive was the preamp as it could have been the input of the KFK overloading.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I don't have a preference. I never use the second channel on the VR (actually I have a 69 SVT but same thing with more commonly available tubes than the 69), and I never push the preamp gain to breakup on the CL, and I use pedals instead because I always have to have a clean sound available. Instead, I chose based on looks, and I went Heritage CL :D I honestly can't tell the difference between the CL, VR or my 69 SVT, as long as I crank the master on the CL all the way up and use gain to control volume.
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  18. mattwear


    Aug 7, 2006
    Wellington, NZ
    I tried putting an attenuater between pre and power amps on my SVT-II, and was very surprised how little Preamp drive I was able to produce. Just went kinda flabby. Similar to an original SVT preamp, I guess.
    Sounds glorious as is, and for drive I either crank it for some power amp distortion and bloom, or use a pedal.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
    Wasnex likes this.