Is the Ampeg SVT-CL really that bad?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Geezer Brown, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Just wondering why the SVT CL gets such a bad rap around these parts. I just want to hear some of your opinions on the amp, I own one myself and love it, but I wish it could get a little dirtier. Fire away.
  2. I love mine. Only complaint is it's too big for a lot of gigs. Can't get good tone until you have the power tubes cranking. Just solved that by picking up a V4.
  3. Honkycat


    Sep 18, 2012
    I've never really noticed them to get a bad rap...It is still the standard of he industry sound,all other amps are compared to it...I had a Vietnamese one that was really good...It was just to big/heavy for me.
  4. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    Some people like the VR better. That's all.

    I prefer the CL.
  5. not sure what you mean, the only people I know to have them won't give 'em up, and with good reason, I wouldn't either!
  6. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Don't really see any bad rap about the SVT-CL.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The only bad rap the CL ever gets is because the gain adds a layer of compression that the VR doesn't have, IMHO. But I learned last year that if you crank the master way up and use the gain to control volume, it'll sound like a VR or vintage head. My new Heritage CL sounds identical to my 69 Blue Line when you do that.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    If you can't achieve the level of dirt that you are looking for with a pedal there are a couple of things that you can do.

    Have a tech check out the amp. You could have a weak pre-amp tube. They could also bias it a little hotter. This could be at the expense of power tube life. You can also buy a matched power tube set that has the onset of distortion at a lower level. This explains it a bit.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    They get a bad rap?
    mbelue likes this.
  10. Shane Carter

    Shane Carter

    May 21, 2007
    If you can't carry it in one load, it's no good, where have you been?
  11. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    They get a bad rap? As a person who owned and gigged and SVT and was happy to get rid of it I still wouldn't say they got a bad rap.

    I just find they colour your sound more than I personally like, you don't get your basses tone you get that Ampeg sound. Which is perfectly fine but just not for me.

    Unless you are talking about loading them, I will definitely bash that load in/out I do not miss carrying mine at 3 AM.
  12. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    I loved the power amp section of my old CL using a BDDI as a preamp. It was maybe the best bass amp tone I've ever had the pleasure of using. If it wasn't for the heavy weight and high cost of maintenance, I'd still be using it.
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Now THAT is a myth I don't get. I can totally tell my different basses from each other, and just last week, a dude with a Warwick Thumb 5 used my Heritage SVT rig and it sounded like a Warwick Thumb and nothing at all like my Precision.
  14. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Hi Jimmy,
    I'm a fan of yours and respect all you have to say on Ampegs. I think in this case it's just a misunderstanding. I don't think he's saying that it masks the sound of various basses so much that they all sound alike, just that it adds its own color. That's the thing that many people like about Ampegs. But if it's not your cup of tea then it's easy to see how it might not be for some people.
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I can dial mine up to near-flat no sweat! Knobs won't be at noon but I can still get it.

    Nice of you to say that, though, especially after I just disagreed a little with you about the PF350 and PF500 in the Portaflex Club thread ;)
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 LET'S GO BLUE JAYS...(in 2016)...LET'S GO!!

    Too heavy, too big, expensive to retube and won't do 8ohms.

    Besides that? Perfect.
    Rodslinger likes this.
  17. About the bias part...
    I have the easy bias feature on mine, how would you go about making it dirtier?
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    It is harder to get both trios properly biased hotter just using the LED system.

    The best way to do this would be for a tech to open the amp and set the bias in a similar way that it was done on the vintage SVT's. The cathode current is measured by taking a voltage reading across a 1 ohm resistor and the bias is set to whatever value is desired.

    But before doing this I would first have a tech check out the amp to ensure that it is performing up to spec and it is sounding the way it is supposed to be. Then look into possible changes to make it distort more.
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Yup, like PD said. I don't mean it totally takes them over, just they all get that certain colour added to them. I don't see how one could not hear it. I guess we shall agree to disagree good sir. :)

    And yeah, though I don't prefer the SVT I would still recommend it to somebody looking for something like it. There is a reason the SVT is the standard rock amp, not a coincidence.
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    With my Heritage, I'm using JJ's, and it just gets a little warm with a Precision and doesn't really do much more distortion than that in the preamp. The best way to get more out of it is to boost the signal before it hits the preamp. It's very much dependent on the output of your bass. With my EMG loaded basses I can get a pretty good head of steam. With a passive Precision, I can get some light OD going and that's about it.