1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Is an SVT-CL going to be that much of an upgrade?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Karma Police, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I have a bit of a quandary. Currently, my rig is a Mesa M-Pulse 360 into an Ampeg SVT 410HLF. The M-Pulse was something I traded my old M6 Carbine for, because I wanted something much warmer and less PUNCHYOUINTHEFACEANDSTEALYOURWIFE than the M6.

    The tone I get is great, and I'm slowly working my way through the parametric EQ and compressor to improve it (I posted elsewhere about drop-D dilemmas, and I'll follow that up with some of the improvements I made). I have read through these forums and been blown away by the suggestions that the 360 "isn't loud enough" - I play in our rehearsal studio's 2nd loudest band, and I've never even got the master to halfway! It's always got plenty of ooomph, and with the style of music (post-rock), it's important that I have all of the low end covered.

    However, I now have the option of purchasing an Ampeg SVT Classic, which is about 5 years old I think. My question is, would that be a big upgrade?

    I live in New Zealand, and SVTs are hard to come by; I went into the only store that stocks them, and they have none left :meh: and I don't personally know anyone whom I'd be comfortable asking for a hoon on their amp. They are also very pricey here - I'm getting a good price from a friend (who lives in a different part of the country) but it is still a massive investment.

    So, I guess what I'm asking is, has anyone tried/owned an M-Pulse and an SVT? Are SVTs really that phenomenal, or is it mostly hype and fanboy wank? I know they have great studio tones, but pretty much anything can be made to sound awesome in a studio with enough compressors and plugins ;)

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  2. JMac- Wiskerface Designs

    JMac- Wiskerface Designs Terror headcase dude

    Jul 8, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Coming from Me, advice could be considered "A fanboy wank:)". However, I once owned a Mesa M3 carbine (close, but not a M6). While it is a nice, very good sounding amp. It is not a all tube amp or SVT. Tube amps have their own vibe, which some folks love or hate.

    Needless to say, I like My V-4 and SVT way more.

    I'd say, try out the SVT if You can and see what You think. Good thing about an SVT is that if it doesn't cure Your GAS or tonal quest, You can almost always sell it for what You gave for it.
  3. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    When you crank your amp to playing/stage levels, do you want more of a clean tone or a bit of tube crunch?

    My guess is your Mesa will sound cleaner/clearer at stage level than the SVT-CL will. It's possible the two 90's era SVT-CL's that I owned were different than the current made SVT-CL's, but I personally couldn't get adequate stage volume out of them without getting a lot of raspy sounding distortion.

    I tried everything; EQ settings, different basses, cables, cabinets, and I even retubed my second SVT-CL with NOS GE 6550's and NOS 12AX7's and 12AU7's. Quite expensive and still no luck, it still was waaaay too distorted sounding at stage volumes, for my taste, but YMMV. Heck, I even tried an 90's era SVT2-Pro, same results.

    If it's at all possible, try both your Mesa and the SVT-CL side-by-side and really crank the SVT-CL's volume to see if you like it's tone. I know a lot of players swear by them, they just didn't work for me.

    I'm considering buying an SVT-VR with a matching 810E cab. As I understand it, the SVT-VR stays cleaner sounding at loud volumes. I'm researching it here and I'm hoping to take one for a spin at a local music store.

    Best regards
  4. Thanks for your replies so far guys. I suppose something I should have been clearer on - it's really not looking possible for me to try out an SVT in the near future. I'm asking around and checking the stores, but I guess I would say "assuming I can't try one out myself" :)
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I am a tube amp fan. To me there are no finer amps on the planet than Ampeg tube heads. I slightly favor the VR and vintage style non-master volume heads, but I love the SVT-CL and 2 Pros, too. I would definitely consider it an upgrade. However, someone who prefers solid state tightness may not. Believe it or not, those people do exist ;)

    I'm afraid it's a question that only you can answer.
  6. I did suspect as much, unfortunately! Still, certainly interesting that the first few replies haven't necessarily been BUY THE AMPEG IT IS BETTER THAN SEX AND DOUGHNUTS.

    Probably more important info - I'm very much into warmth, and can't stand hi-fi modern sounds (it reminds me of how 99% of bass gear demos are hifi slap...). I run the MPulse with a bit of the tubey preamp gain, and I run things pretty hot (high-ish output basses into the passive input, etc.) to keep that warmth and lack of scoopage. So I'm very happy for something not to be perfectly clean on stage ;)
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    In that case...

  8. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Yes, it's a huge upgrade. There are other options available, and many hybrids are the best (or worst, depending on viewpoint) of both worlds. I'm a huge fan of my Streamliner 900's tone and (massive) volume, but there is nothing in the world that sounds like a well-tubed and properly biased all-tube SVT. I'd prefer a VR over the CL, but either one is amazing.
  9. Given the yba-200 on tardme a whirl? 850 buy now.
  10. I don't really know anything about Traynor amps...
  11. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I'm going to guess you'll be very happy with the SVT-CL, then. :bassist:

    I often wonder if it's just me; like maybe I'm the only bassist that can make an SVT-CL sound like crap :eyebrow: . I'll hear another bassist sounding great playing through one, I'll plug into it and: Instant distortion. -Maybe I spent waaaay too much time emulating Jack Bruce's and John Wetton's hard attack approaches in my youth. :D

    But it sounds like we have very similar tastes in tone. The last thing I want is a hi-fi scoopy modern tone.

    I just went the route of a tube preamp to add warmth, big, lead sled solid state stereo power amp, into two 2-12" cabinets. Total overkill. :eyebrow:

    I think you'll love the SVT-CL. :cool:
  12. bassfreakah


    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    I would say just a different color in your bag or tricks. The all tube svt is a different sounding beast. some love it and some dont(retards) Give it a try. It could be the best thing since sliced bread for ya.
  13. We didn't think much of Traynor back in the day, but heard my friend Johnny Castle of the Nighthawks play one supplied by the club as a backline and we both remarked how great it sounded. Not sure what model, but a current one with a 4 10 cab.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LOL! I wouldn't go so far as to call them retards. Now the ones who claim to hate SVT's and then proclaim their love for SVT emulating SS amps...THEY are definitely not right in the head.
  15. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Better then doughnuts, sure, better then sex, I'm not sure, :)
  16. PWV

    PWV Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2006

  17. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    You really need to give that one a rest:rollno:

    To the OP, the Mpulse360 and 600, as you know, is a very tubey sounding hybrid amp, and along with the Aguilar DB750 and the Genz Streamliner, is about as close as you are going to get to an all tube power section with a hybrid.

    If you are looking for true all tube tone, especially if you play with some grind and distortion, there is nothing like the real thing, so my guess is you will dig the SVT. However, if you are more interesting in 'fat and creamy and smooth and big sounding' like your MPulse360, but with more oomph (without breaking your back), you might try the Genz Streamliner900 if you have a chance. Very MPulse like, but with lots more volume at a fraction of the size and weight.
  18. the TC 750 is the SHIZ... and is so much better than the SVT!!!1!!!

  19. PunkRocker33133

    PunkRocker33133 Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Northern VA
    It is an awesome and classic amp, and most of the post rock genre seems to play one. If you like cleans you may not need to. Also, it is better than doughnuts by far, not better than sex, but definitely a religious experience to play one at stage volume with the right band. IT just sits so well in the mix
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nobody would have known I was talking about you if you hadn't said anything ;)

    Calm down, Ken...just a little poke in the ribs.

Share This Page