Fender Super Bassman rig vs. Ampeg VB4 rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BatmanJones, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. BatmanJones

    BatmanJones Inactive

    Aug 29, 2015
    I would consider myself an Ampeg guy. I love their tone but right now I've got a PF500 powering a 410hlf and I'm starting to get the itch for something different. I'm just getting kinda tired of wrestling with the eq to get a nice mid tone out of it and less mud. I was considering saving up for a VB4 and the matching 212AV cab cause I like the idea of getting an all tube head and right now I'm playing small/medium gigs so it ain't like I need the big SVT.


    I just saw on FB marketplace there's a MINTY mint Fender Super Bassman 300 head and 610 neo cab going for $1300 together. Also, it's got the blonde oxblood tolex job which is rare (I guess).

    Would I be a complete dingus for passing up on a deal like this? Should I save up for the Ampeg? Any advice or personal experience with either rig would help, thanks.
  2. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I’ve had both and they’re awesome.

    The V4B with one 212AV was great at home and in lower volume practices, but not enough for me on a gig. With two 212AVs (or later I would move to a Heritage 810, which was even better), the tone was glorious and had plenty of volume. I could set it right on the verge of breakup so that I had a nice warm clean tone that I could get a little grind out of when I dug in. Hard to replicate that with an SVT without blowing everyone out of the room. Fantastic rock amp. Lighter, quieter (no fan) and simpler to use (with fewer knobs than the Super Bassman).

    The SB gave me some of the best tones I’ve ever had. The notes have more heft behind them than the V4B. I never got that power tube grind I got with the V4B, but with the second channel could dial in some grind that I liked just as much.

    I’d argue there is a lot more flexibility than the V4B, which to me was a downfall honestly. I never liked the EQ on the first channel and always had to dial in some of the second channel to get what I wanted. Sometimes that worked incredibly well and other times I ended up frustrated and fighting through a gig trying to dial it in with no success.

    Which is what led me back to Ampeg. Very easy to dial in. I ended up selling my V4B just because I liked the SVT-VR more and the V4B was not getting any of the gigs. But I regret that some days.
  3. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    Maybe start with picking up a 212AV to use with your PF500.
    EtoBb likes this.
  4. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I love SVT classics, and most of their ilk, but I have never liked the baked in tone of the V4B, just not my thing.
    I've tried a few Bassman 300's and always liked them, even without taking time to do the small tweaks.
    I found the PF500 disappointing on all counts, especially the wooly bottom end (although that might work with a Gibson bass for some Cream tones)
  5. BatmanJones

    BatmanJones Inactive

    Aug 29, 2015
    Very helpful, thank you so much.
  6. BatmanJones

    BatmanJones Inactive

    Aug 29, 2015
    I like the tone quite a bit when dialed in properly, but perhaps that "wooly" low end paired with the boomy hlf is where I'm finding my issues.
    johnnynitro likes this.
  7. BigBear77

    BigBear77 Inactive

    Aug 30, 2017
    Never tried the Baseman 300, I’ve owned a Bassman 100 which I alway thought sounded anemic to the V4B.
    Bent77 likes this.
  8. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    Funny. I just pulled out an old Bass Gear magazine today and they reviewed the Super Bassman head with the Bassman 610 NEO cab. Both Tom Bowlus and his tech Tom Lees loved it. Tom said if he ever got famous and played big stages, this is the amp he would choose because it was a right combination old school and modern design. I like the cab because it weighs a lot less (NEO, 79 pounds) yet still has the individual 210 compartments and built-in wheels/handle design. "Easy to maneuver".
    BatmanJones and mikewalker like this.
  9. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I’ve owned an SVT II non-pro and a super Bassman 300 at the same time. Both are great. The Super Bassman 300 is lighter, louder, and IMO more versatile. The Ampeg eq is easier to use, but the SB300 has the clean Fender channel and the modern channel with active sweepable mid control, so you can get more variety. SB300 sounds HUGE, and can stay clean at crazy volumes. And it’s self-biasing.
    Yobnwal, Mili and BatmanJones like this.
  10. Gotta V4B and Super Bassman.

    I gig WAY more with the SB than the V4B... SO much weight on each note. The V4B is great, but.... so much versatility and power with the SB, it just MAKES yr band sound better...
    According to the punters at the many gigs I've used it at. I always seem to get compliments after gigs with the SB.... more so than anything else... strange
  11. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Between the two the V4 is the flatter amp. It’s like an SVT without the low mid hump. I find the V4 easier to dial in for that reason, but do enjoy the room filling sound of the SVT when I use it.

    the BGM review on the new V4B has frequency sweeps.
    V-4B Old vs. New Head to Head | Bass Gear Magazine

    The super bassman amps are interesting. Can do the classic fender sound on the vintage channel but also has the hybrid channel with the active eq to dial in more modern tones. Covers a good range of sound in one package. I’d probably go for the 100T over the 300, but for $1300 with a cab that super bassman would be a good pickup.
    BatmanJones likes this.
  12. Oh I don't know, nothing sounds as "right" as a SVT to me....
    johnnynitro likes this.
  13. There is a long thread here about the SB300.
    You might want to check that out.
    For 1300 I'd suggest grabbing it before it gets away.
    If you don't bond with it, they sell fast.
  14. OkayistBassist

    OkayistBassist Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2017
    I have a Super Bassman, 810, 410 and 100T all in the blonde / oxblood.

    I have owned the Super Bassman and 8x10 the longest. It is the perfect amp for what I need if I’m doing full band stuff. It is perfectly loud enough. It has handled anything I can throw at it.
  15. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    You definitely have your work cut out for you trying to get midrange and less mud out of a SVT-410 hlf. That cabinet is the very definition of scooped mids and super low end. Your PF500 would probably sound better through about anything that would handle its power. There are a variety of 212 cabs out there that can produce plenty of mids while NOT producing the mud....
    BatmanJones and johnnynitro like this.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Get it. The 610 neo is 1300 by itself. You can always pick up a v-4b later if you want to. Its awesome. But the bassman will be awesome too. And, the neo cab is the price of the entire deal.

    Oh, I have the v4b set up with the 212. Its amazing. I also have a pf800 and two 210he cabs. They're amazing. 100% different. 212av sounds like a small 810. Its voiced to do so. Big and deep, yet still punchy and full of life. Its very odd how they did that. But, i havent found a set up as clear, tight, and yet still sound full as my portaflex rig. They're both killer set ups. Just, different. 20200618_194710.jpg 20200615_202119.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
    BatmanJones likes this.
  17. BatmanJones

    BatmanJones Inactive

    Aug 29, 2015
    Reading this is making me re-think. The words "famous" and "big stages" to be specific lol. Maybe this amp is overkill, I mean in all honesty I could probably get by with a 210 Ampeg combo haha. But lort, the GAS is real and it's killing me.
    jeff7bass and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  18. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I bought one of my PF500s discounted from GC as a returned item, because the previous buyer (a TB member, as it turned out) did not understand how the mid control worked. It worked just fine, and I still have it 6 years later. I've never had a problem getting the tone I desired out of it, and muddy and woody are probably the last things I'd think of to describe the tone. Those are more cabinet than head descriptors.
  19. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I don’t have the SB, but I have the Bassman 500 which has the same preamp section but with a class D power amp. The awesome thing about the Bassman series is that the preamp is so flexible. You can get that overdriven grit from the preamp, you don’t need to crank the volume all the way to get it to sing. I’m sure that driving the power tubes up at full volume gets you something extra, but I don’t think you’ll feel like the SB is too much at any volume because of that flexibility.
    smeet likes this.
  20. Jwood

    Jwood Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Richmond, Va
    I’ve owned both and sold both. But bought a V4B again. It’s a great useful tube amp that is easy for me to get a good sound out of with minimal twisting. I tend to lean more to amps with less knobs and functions.
    TC.65 likes this.