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Early '70s Ampeg V-4B Impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jefenator, May 11, 2010.

  1. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I gigged out my new-to-me V-4B for the first time, last night. Here's my take, so far.

    We started out with a mellow rendition of "Let's Stay Together". Playing fingerstyle with the tone rolled off, I have never had a bass rig feel so "right". :bassist:

    I tried a few things to bring out the pick attack while leaving the bottom largely intact. I settled on the "ultra-hi" switch. Not as "spanky" as the Sunn (or as deep, for that matter) but it worked. Apart from that, I was pretty pleased with all 3 knobs at 12 o'clock. I wanted to experience that true vintage Ampeg "grunt" and I definitely felt it!

    As one would hope, this 100 watt amp did fill the room and punch it out a little more than my 60 watt Sunn does. Unfortunately, toward the end of the last set, I had hit my volume ceiling. That disappointed me a bit, given just how bulky and heavy this thing is. (A proper servicing might help - I have no idea what shape the tubes & caps are in.)

    So there it is. It's not the most practical piece of gear I've ever tried, but I'm glad I took the plunge.

    I welcome any other V-4 users' thoughts.
  2. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    I love my V4 as well! But it does unfortunately have it's limits. . .regardless it soudns wonderful. What kind of cabinet are you using it with?
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    a big cab makes a lot of difference for available volume. what are you using? i used an 810 when i had one.
  4. It wants efficient cabs. The V-4B folded horn cab was loud. No idea what people thought of its tone. I think a pair of B-25B cabs with D140s or EV 15L's would be amusing.
  5. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Good hint - thanks for that!

    I'm using a fairly efficient Aguilar 4 ohm 2x12. There's stairs involved on the main steady gig so I'm not too eager to go bigger. ;)
  6. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    Oh okay, well thats a good cab. Is it the GS or the DB?
  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    It's the GS, which is a bit "scooped". :meh:

    But really, running out of tube headroom isn't so terrible. :D

    I've been using the 60 watt Sunn on that gig a lot and sometimes I think the lower wattage is good for keeping a cap on things. By the time that's maxxing out, we're plenty loud for a monday night.

    For saturday nights, I've got the 180 watt Mesa. :hyper:
  8. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    the V4B is a GREAT sounding head! I recently sold mine (to a buddy who still lets me jam it in his studio/rehearsal space) but I'll buy another someday soon, I'm sure

    here's a shot with mine on top of my Orange 15" for some GAS

    (ran it with a 66 Jazz bass too :p talk about TONE FOR DAYS)
  9. dubstylee


    Feb 9, 2007
    Yeah the GS might be a bit scooped, but the V4B is heavy in the mids, so maybe it helps equal it out a bit.
  10. beebassdude

    beebassdude Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sterling, VA
    glad this thread popped up. i recently bought a V4, i thought it was damaged on shipping so i took it to my tech, turns out some of the preamp tubes were installed incorrectly and it had two fried power tubes. no big deal, easy to fix, good news.

    he mentioned that these heads are "fixed bias" and is doing some sort of mod to make the bias adjustable. while i understand the differences, im just wondering, what are the pros and cons of a fixed bias vs self bias? is there any reason that i should have kept this head fixed instead of him changing it to self?

    any info would be awesome. thanks guys!
  11. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I believe - and this is from trying to remember stuff I've read, not technical expertise, but - fixed bias just means the bias is set by sets of resistors, which can drift over time. Adding an adjustable bias pot onto the board allows you to control for that a little better and really hit the sweet spot of your tubes. I don't see a reason to be concerned. My tech installed a bias pot in mine the first time he had it in the shop as well.

    To the OP - a bigger cab would definitely help out in the volume end of things. I use an early 70s 8x10 with mine. It's beastly, both in sound and weight.
  12. Jaguar


    Nov 19, 2006
    I use mine with a 8x10 for shows.In my home I have two separate SVT 15`s.My band is extremely loud and I have no problem.But I like that distorted P-bass tone
  13. beebassdude

    beebassdude Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sterling, VA
    i have a '72 V4 with 2 70s V6-B 215 cabs. ill have this up and running next week. hopefully its insanely loud and killer.
  14. jastacey


    Feb 8, 2009
    I've got a V4-B and the few times I ran it, I used my Berg NV425, and the volume was noticeably louder than using my 8x10 before breaking-up ... so to get the maximum clean volume, you''ll need a efficient cabinet .. the settings I used were treble 12 noon - Mid switch 300, control at about 1 o'clock - bass at about 1 o'clock .... the bass was a P-bass with reissue 62 pick-ups and flatwound strings
  15. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    V4B. Wow, that takes me back. I didn't like mine all that much. As others have said, cab efficiency is the name of the game with any amp in this power class. If you really want this amp to shine, try two 2x15 cabs with it. On big jobs I used to run mine into a B25B and a V6B stacked horizontally for a total of four fifteens. All with the factory drivers. I tried this amp with an SVT cab for a while but it was unusable at volume; that cab simply had too little ROI on a decibel-per-watt basis. There was a reason the designated mate to the V4B head was a folded horn. That's called "a clue." ;-)
  16. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I don't know man, I can't get much higher than 9:30-10 on the dial before I'm melting faces with this......

  17. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Uhh, Jeff? Were we maybe separated at birth?? We have a lot of the same gear... I use my V4 with a matching V4 4X12 cab and it gets stupid-loud... Reaches a volume ceiling about 11 o'clock then starts getting grindy.

    I usually run with everything at 12 noon, (maybe a smidge more bass), and the volume at about 10 o'clock... Definitely get it serviced for peace-of-mind if nothing else...

    My Sunn 200S through the same cabinet also kills, though with that head I prefer a single TL-606... Such a pure tone stack!

  18. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I run mine through a pair of JBL K145s (15"s), and don't think I've ever had to play it above 10 o'clock. It's plenty loud, and sounds fab. The only time I really need more power is if I'm doing an outside gig or a no PA support gig with a 5 string EUB.

    I've got an SVT for that. :D
  19. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Hmm... I suddenly find myself with 2x15 GAS.

    Glad to hear your V-4s are breaking up around the same volume settings as mine.
  20. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Yeah, Corey, that's exactly the rig I was running, except my head had black switches if my memory serves me right. Also I had the tilt-back. I don't know what yours is. Not sure there was any significant difference in terms of efficiency WRT drivers used in one cab vs the other. The Ampeg experts here will know. My head ran out of gas trying to make up for the SVT's high-pass nature -- basically trying its best to compensate for that cab's tendency to discard fundamentals. Maybe I was pushing more bottom end in the mix than you are with yours, in order to try to "stay away" from what the other band members were doing frequency-wise. Could be anything. But, glad yours is working out for you.

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