Help recording an SVT-3Pro

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by GMO, May 25, 2012.

  1. Yesterday, I went to a well-known recording studio here in Puerto Rico to record the bass tracks for the songs that are going to be featured in my band’s debut E.P. So I went to the studio early to set up all my equipment. I brought my basses (Fender Jazz Bass and Spector Legend Custom 5) and my Ampeg SVT-3 Pro with the Ampeg SVT-610 HLF. I remind you that this entire rig sounds incredibly powerful, warm, present, and round in live performances as well as in rehearsals. After everything was set (I let the tubes warm up for about 15 to 20 minutes), we started to record some tracks, and the sound engineer noticed that the sound that was coming out of my amplifier was weak and poor. Basically sounded dull and cheap (the complete opposite of my live performance sound). I only know a few different ways to record a bass track and correct me if I’m wrong the most popular ways are recording the bass directly through the DI Box in the interface, connecting the head to the interface, or miking the cab with the amp. I know there are a lot of ways to record a bass amp, but I don’t know in depth how the process works. Apparently all of the recording ways failed, except for the DI Box recording. Which in fact sound super nice after blending the jazz bass tracks with the spector tracks. But then I was left with the desire to blend those signals with the amp tracks and miked tracks.

    My question is what could have caused the problem to prevent my bass rig to sound as extraordinary as its sounds on a daily basis. Could it be that my amp is malfunctioning? Or did the sound engineer missed something? He said that the amp was sending a poor signal to the interface, but I differ since my amp sounds incredibly awesome where ever I plugged this monster amp. I am really frustrated, why is it not sounding good at all in the studio?

    Please let me know your thoughts and recommendations so I can resolve this matter.


  2. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    It's not clear from your post - were you trying to use the whole rig (amp and speaker) and a microphone? And that's what gave the "weak and poor" sound?

    The SVT-3Pro is a great amp (I know, I have one), but it has one weak point. The output stage has a bias adjustment, and if it isn't set correctly the sound from the speaker isn't very good at low volumes. I wonder if that's the issue you were having? Did it sound like there was a constant low-level distortion? Check out

    I've recorded my 3Pro using the built-in DI with good results. There's a push-button switch on the back of the amp to select whether the DI is "pre" (before that nice tube preamp) or "post" (through the tubes and EQ). If you want something like your live sound, make sure it's set to "post".

    The 3Pro has a MOSFET transistor output stage (not tubes), so you don't need to run it with a speaker connected. That's how I've used mine in the studio.
  3. Yes thats right. The first attempt was to record the whole rig using the amp the cabinet micked, and for some reason the signal came weak and the sounds was lifeless and dull.

    Believe me I love the SVT-3Pro!!! Its an amazing amp that gives you all the power you need to sound awesome on any stage. I didnt know about that weak point, but it did sound extremly low at my regular volumen setting.

    Let me see if I get this right in order to sound good all I need is to set the post button? Or did you meant something else cause I am a bit lost here. What is affecting the signal and the sound?
  4. jplumansoc


    Mar 15, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    what kind of mic was used and where was it placed?

    If i ever record I generally run 3 lines, sometimes more
    - Ampeg SVT-DI
    - DI from head (SVT3-PRO or MarkBass StudioPre)
    - whatever large diaphragm condenser mic the studio has like 5-10 ft away (to let the bass fully develope or whatever that means, I let the engineer just do his thing)

    If I'm really really really really bored I'll add the following:
    - Audix D6 right in the middle of the cone as close as possible
    - Shure 57 - play around with this sound, you can get a million and one sounds just from changing the angle or moving it away from the middle of the cone. I like to mike it like you'd mike most snares, off to the side with the mic pointed right at the middle of the cone. You can change the angle to taste.

    More often than not, the mix is usually 50% mic'd cab at range and 50% DI from the amp.

    If your cab sounds fine live to your ear, its probably just bad micing technique. Maybe a pro studio engi can chime in?
  5. I'm not sure what kind of mic he used. All I know is that he said that the mic was for a bass cab, and he placed it at right down corner of the cab.

    He did run all those 3 lines but unfortunately it didnt bring my sound. The engineer said that my amp was sending a weak signal, and that it was my amp that had a problem with the DI. Then he said that all amps that sound great in live performance arent necessarly suitable for recording sessions. I differ from his statement, because I know my SVT-3 Pro is an amazing amp.
  6. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    I can't promise that setting the DI to "post" (button depressed) will solve all your problems. But you'll need to do that if you want the 3Pro's tube preamp in the mix.

    There's also a knob to control the DI level (right next to the post button on the back). Make sure that's turned up. Even when it's up all the way the DI signal is a fairly low level, more like a microphone level than a hot preamp signal. The engineer will probably need to turn up the input pad on the board.

    And make sure the Gain control next to the input jack is turned up to where you usually have it when you play live. If that's turned down, you won't get the same sound from your preamp, and it will also turn down the DI signal.

    All these suggestions are for recording a direct signal. I've never used a mic on mine, so I don't know what to tell you about that.
  7. Thanks I really I appreciate for taking the time and explaining to me a possible solution to my problem of recording a direct signal from the amp to the mixer.

    I have the amp with the exact same EQ settings and gain control (to 12 o’clock) for the studio sessions as it for live performances. I even had to cranked it up the gain and the master volume knobs and it still sounded extremely low. I have to try what you just recommended with the sound engineer and see what happens.

    Quick question; if I leave the buttons pressed or depressed depending on which ones I have to deal with to get the sound I want, will it affect my live performance sound if I leave them the way they were set in the studio?
  8. In addition, before this thread, I have never ventured on using the back part of my SVT-3Pro. I only plugged the power chord of the power conditioner, the toneworks rackmount tuner to the power conditioner and to the tuner out of the amp, and the neutrik cable from the head the amp to the SVT-610 HLF. That’s pretty much it.
  9. GMO
    FWIW, I Always run the DI built into my amp in "POST" for live use. This ensures that however I hav set my preamp to shape my tone will make it to Front Of House. Many times I am also able to mic my cab live, which is then blended with my amp's DI. I'd say I mic the cab about 40-50% of the time for large venue shows. For smaller shows I never mic the cab really as the cab itself will project enough into the room and the DI will accentuate attack and note definition when coming through the PA.
    I ALWAYS check with the engineer to see if he needs me to tweak my DI level on my end. I have mine set at 12:00 by default and most of the time, that is where it stays. I have had a few engineers that required a bit more or less.

    If you run your DI "PRE" you are skipping your Preamp's tone shaping, as stated by a previous poster, which sends the signal straight from your bass guitar. This can be handy in the studio where you are likely to have access to additional external DI units or if your "sound" is more defined from your instrument than from your amp.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The corner of the cab or the speaker?

    There are a lot of variables at play here, so it's very difficult to say what the issue was.

    Just an FYI, that still doesn't necessarily ensure that your tone will make it to FOH. If "your" tone doesn't work in the mix, the soundguy is just going to EQ it right out into something that does work...unless of course, you hire your own soundguy that knows exactly what tone to get in the PA. Every room is different.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Because you said corner not speaker. Obviously you need to mic the actual speaker, not the corner of the cab.

    This brings up another variable. Did you mess around with mic placement at all? Moving the mic and inch or angling it in a different way will usually yield very different results. I.E. pointing it at the dead center of the speaker cone, pointing it off axis, pointing it halfway between the center & the edge, etc.
  13. This might not be very obvious but, have you phase aligned the different signals?

    If you're combining a D.I and a Mic, the two signals will reach the DAW at different times, which might cause Comb filter effects and make the resulting signal sound very thin.
  14. Thanks for all of your responses and recommendations. They are all very much appreciated.

    I just have on last request to ask in regards of recording a direct signal from my amp. Could someone be kind enough to list step by step how should my SVT-3pro be set up for recording?

    Which output jack should I use and which balanced line out puts should I use?

    How much should I adjust to the line output level?

    Should I depress or press the line output selector switch?

    Can I leave the neutrik cable connected even though I am only using the head for the recording, can I have the power conditioner and rackmount tuner connected at the same time in the rack with my amp at the time I’m recording?

    Thanks again for all the help!!!!
  15. ANYONE?
  16. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    If you're not plugging in a cab, you only need to use the "Transformer Balanced Line Output" Either the XLR or 1/4", depending on what you are plugging it into.

    This is dependent on what you're plugging it into. You need to bring the signal up to an acceptable level.

    Everyone has their preference. It's a pre/post effects switch. Meaning, the balanced output can put out a pre EQ signal or a post EQ signal.

    Pre: Just a clean signal, none of the EQ knobs will affect it.
    Post: Affected by the EQ knobs on the front of the amp.

    If you don't have a cabinet connected, there is no reason to have the speaker cable still connected to the amp.

    You can leave everything else, they should have zero effect on tone.
  17. Thanks dude for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I truly appreciated !!!!
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