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Eden VT-300A versus SVT (intial impression)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tombowlus, May 6, 2005.


  1. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I had played through my new (to me) VT-300A a bit at home, but I had my first chance to try it at band practice last night. What made it more interesting, is that I am currently borrowing fellow TBer Uncletoad's SVT rig (1970 on the head, I believe, not sure about the year of the 8x10). He is currently taking my WWU for a test spin, which is really kind of funny, when you think about it. "Trading" a little cigar-box sized amp for a rig the size of a Fleetwood Brougham! ;)

    I started off practice using the SVT. While I had played through an SVT stack on prior occassions, it had been 10+ years, and I'd never played one in a band setting. I must say, that the only word I can think of to describe playing through the SVT at practice last night is "Wow!"

    I was amazed by the visceral slam from the 8x10! Freakin' huge sounding! No lack of low end at all (even on 5-string), and it hits you like a ton of bricks! Very articulate, and on the whole just a great match for the SVT head. Nicely balanced, plenty dynamic, and just a massive, crushing tone! As for the head, right away I noticed that all the magic is in the gain knob. The EQ options are somewhat helpful (I liked it with bright on, a very slight mid boost, and the rest flat), but you really control the tone by use of the gain knob. Of course, you also control the volume at the same time! The downside was that when I got the sound I liked (gain set around 10 o'clock), the volume was just crushing everyone in our relatively small room. What gain settings do people normally use with these beasts? I can't conceive of being able to use it past noon! Unfortunately, in order to keep my volume down to where I could hear the rest of the band, I was only able to get an "okay" tone. The classic growly/punchy tone kicked in at too high of a volume. :( Oh, and passive mode really seems to be the way to go with the SVT.

    Halfway through, I switched to my Eden VT-300A (which I am just beginning to figure out). The SVT initially seemed louder (but both amps use six 6550's, so they should be close). But the Eden has two gain stages, plus an overdrive option, and it just takes a bit more tweaking to get volume out of the Eden. After messing around with it a bit, I'd say that it's capable of getting just as loud, but you feel like you are coaxing the final bits of volume out of it, whereas with the SVT, if you are not running it at gut-churning levels, you feel like you are holding it back.

    Believe it or not, with EQ set flat, the Eden has bigger low end. In fact, the low end is so massive, that it takes some EQ-ing to get it down to a reasonable level. It's not muddy, just that it overpowers the mids and highs. But, you have a good bit of EQ to work with, and you can dial in a variety of tones. In fact, without even touching the EQ, by tweaking the Gain and Master you get a lot of control over the tone. It has a footswitchable overdrive (which can get really buzz-saw like, or more of a subdued growl - I could probably dial in the SVT sound, but it would take some tweaking), footswitchable compressor (which is either on or off, no threshold control) and even switchable damping factor (low or high). With ported cabs, I really prefer it set high. With the 8x10, though, it just wasn't sounding right until I remembered that I am dealing with a sealed cab. Then I set the damping to low, and the sound really opened up. The EQ on the Eden is also footswitchable. All in all, I was pretty impressed with the Eden. And it weighs under 50 lbs, too!

    Playing through the SVT was quite an experience. If I can get my buds to help me move it, I think I will take to my gig next weekend and see how it sounds in a bigger room. I still feel like it's mostly a "one trick pony", but that's one pretty damn good trick! If I don't end up lugging the SVT rig, I'll probably try the Eden with a couple of Accgroove cabs. The Eden is certainly the more versatile of the two, but I have yet to be able to completely mimic the sound of the SVT growl through my Eden. But then again, I didn't spend much time tweaking, and I might be able to cop the SVT tone yet. I hope to spend some more time with both heads soon.

    Later, Tom.
     
  2. Cool Tom. Thanks for the share.
    You're not thinking of trading the WWU are you.... :eek:
    Sorry none of my bizz.
    I would love to try the SVT rig... one trick and all.
     
  3. Happy MurphDay

    Happy MurphDay

    Mar 9, 2004
    around
    Thank you for your review, as it adds to the board a lot
    thanks Tom
     
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Not at all. But, my buddy Phil wanted to try one out, and I wanted to do a compare/contrast with the standard by which all-tube heads are inevitabley compared, so we're each helping the other guy out. I suppose my use of the word "trade" was misleading. Sorry!

    And I have to say that as much as I am enjoying playing around with the SVT, I just don't see myself adding anything to "the collection" that I can't move into and out of my basement by myself (at least not without risk of severe back injury!).
     
  5. I have both, and the VT300A isn't capable of near the volume of the SVT, at least mine isn't. It's way more versatile though, and the DI is great. I also agree that the Eden has more low end, but you lose a lot of that when you push it. It doesn't get the low-mid slam of an SVT, it get more "fluffy" and round sounding.

    Do NOT use the footswitch with the Eden if you can avoid it. The VT300A has a VERY bad reputation for reliability and justifiably so. The footswitch does some WAYYY bad things to get all its functions.

    As far as the volume setting for the SVT, the minimum usable gig setting is 10 o'clock, since it functions as a master volume, too. I run mine between 10 and 1 depending on how mad I am at the soundguy and how good a night the drummer's having.
     
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    In our smallish practice room, I couldn't push it past about 11:00 without stopping hearts, so I'll have to trust you on the volume capabilities of the SVT. Any idea why it's so much louder?

    I think I may have experienced that. Still, it had so much low end to start with, I was pretty happy with the amount of low end at higher volumes.

    I haven't noticed any flufffiness, or looseness from the Eden, but the SVT does have a growly low-mid presence that appears to be somewhat unique to the Ampeg.

    Can you expand on this? I have noticed some intermittent volume dropouts when making changes on the footswitch (I noticed it most when changing the damping factor). But, some features (like mute, the damping control, and I think compressor on/off) are only controllable via the footpedal. Is there any way to "solve" this "problem."

    Ha! :p

    Thank you very much for the detailed and thoughtful reply, PBG! I do appreciate it.

    Tom.
     
  7. havuk

    havuk

    Jan 5, 2005
    DFW TEXAS
    Tom how does the Eden compare with your Aggie DB359?
     
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    BTW, the cooling fan on the SVT is one loud mutha! I thought it was going to take off on me, and it probably would have, if it didn't weigh as much as a Volkswagon!

    Tom.
     
  9. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Am I right by saying Tom you are talking about an SVT-CL and Psycho you are talking about a 70s model?
     
  10. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have only compared the two of these in my basement practice room. I plan on bringing the 359 to the band room next week. But, from the little bit I have A/B'd them so far:

    The 359 is much more refined and polished sounding. It has an open airyness layered atop a full, rich foundation. There is no grit (unless you push the gain pretty hard, in which case you get a bit of heavy growl - the Eden, by comparison, can go from a hint of grit to buzzsaw distortion). The 359 is a tone monster. Just drop dead beautiful tone. It has copious, detailed highs, compex, articulate, musical mids, and a surprisingly tight low end.

    The Eden crushes the 359 in overall volume, but it definitely sounds rough around the edges by comparison. Set flat, it has much more low end and much less high end, but you can EQ it to sound fairly similar. Both heads are very versatile, though the Eden probably yields a greater range of tones. It has an overdrive function that really turns it into a different beast.

    Here are photos of the innards of both the Eden and the Aggie, in case you are interested.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sorry, no shots of an SVT with its top off...
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Nope. Phil's SVT (which I am borrowing) is, I believe, a 1970 vintage.
     
  12. Hurley

    Hurley

    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    Is this common to all vintage SVTs? The only one I've had experience with (a 69-72) sounded like it had a jet engine on the back of it. :eek:
     
  13. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    I was confused because you mentioned a gain knob but the old SVTs have only one volume. The new ones have separate gain/master and I think some of the early 80s models may have also but Im not sure. Thanks for the compare though! :bassist:
     
  14. Just to say, it could be the fact the fans just getting, well, old :p
     
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine

    My bad. Some of the labelling on this particular amp has worn off, so I didn't know if the left-most knob was called "Gain", "Master" or "Volume." But yes, this unit has only one knob for volume (or is that one volume knob per channel? I forget), and that is the left most knob.
     
  16. Thats like on the SVT II, leftmost knob is master volume, no pregain, or gain dials
     
    kosmicwizard likes this.
  17. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Sounds like an old one. Theres one volume for each channel.
     
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    That sounds right.
     
  19. icks

    icks

    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    i agree, i has one and the knobs are:

    Channel 1
    Volume Treble midrange Bass

    Channel 2
    Volume treble bass
     
  20. basshag

    basshag

    Oct 17, 2001
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I owned a VT-300 for several years and ending up selling it because I couldn't get the same kind of growl and volume that I get from my '71 V4-B (modded for 6550's). I can't imagine that it even comes close to an SVT, though it sounds like you don't require that kind of volume anyway. The VT-300 has a great warm tone, and was my favorite amp with my Wal (plenty of bite there), but the reliability issues drove me crazy. An Eden Tech once explained to me that the problem lies in a design flaw that has the footswitch signal going through the tube power section - don't know if this is true or not. When I replaced my power tubes, everything worked fine again, but that's an expensive fix. I'm not sure what problems Psycho has had with his footswitch, but mine got so bad that I could hear the internal switches toggling without the footswitch even attached - not good.