Is there a Class D/Micro Head that will acheive this sound? VT-Bass 500 vs Ampeg PF-500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TheFantod, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. TheFantod

    TheFantod #5 of the Pentaverate. Took Col. Sanders' spot.

    Aug 7, 2009
    Eastern N.C.
    TL;DR Version: Tech 21 VT Bass 500 or Ampeg PF-500?

    I have 3 rigs I use:
    1: Ampeg SVT-VR, both channels bridged through SVT 8x10. Lots of mids, lots of warm tubey goodness. Not a ton of grit. Just a bit.
    2. GK1001RB-II, through an SVT6x10. I run the low-mids & hi-mids a little high, and I can get this to sound pretty much exactly like the SVT-VR. Maybe a little more dirt.
    My third rig is just the GK through an SVT 4x10HLF. This is simply a smaller version of #2.

    Is there a Class D/Micro type head that will capture a similar sound, running through the SVT4x10HLF? I was looking at the Ampeg PF-500 and the Tech 21 VT Bass-500. I don't need a super-powerful amp for this rig. This is more of my "super portable/small venue/backup" rig. I don't really need a DI for this rig. I'm just looking for something nice & small (and light). But I need enough headroom to push the 4x10, and hopefully with the same sound.
    I rotate 4 different P-basses through this rigs, all with the same pickups (Fender '62's). All four basses cop the same sound.
    Oh, I've tried the GK MB series, including the hybrid/fusion, and could not find a warm, tubey sound with them. They were all too "modern" sounding.
    And yes, I know that no Class D amp is going to perfectly replicate the sound of tubes. I just want as close as possible.
    So besides the Ampeg & Tech 21, is there another micro head I should look into? I know there's a lot of love for the Tonehammer & Mesa Subway, but I'd like to keep it around $500 if possible.
    Between the Ampeg & Tech 21, is there a winner? Nearest GC is 100 miles away, and they don't have the Tech 21 to try out.
    EDIT: I listened to a ton of samples on YT and found "my" tone from the Ampeg. I'm just worried about reliability, from all the horror threads about those things.
    Thanks in advance.
    P.S. - Yes I know the 410HLF is a beast and I eventually need to get a much lighter cab. That's in the future.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    How about a tube pre into the GK effects return?
  3. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    Have you looked at TC Electronic? The RH heads are made to emulate both tube preamp and power amp in regards to grit and compression. Awesome sounding and ridiculously loud amps while the BH heads can also get you there with the TonePrints. The PF500 is a pretty decent amp while I was a little disappointed with the VT 500. Although if you don't need a lot of power (volume), the PF and the VT should work fine.
  4. Agosix

    Agosix Supporting Member

    May 7, 2013
    Woodhaven NY
    Quilter bb800
    Rocksolid likes this.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I love the Tech 21 VT Bass stuff. I would consider purchasing the VT bass pedal and running it into whatever head has the best features for you otherwise. Or just get the VT Bass head.
    pfschim likes this.
  6. I think your 410HLF is the biggest obstacle in achieving your tonal goals. Not only is the thing a beast and hard to transport, but also has too much low end and is hard to get that midrange, dirty rock/metal sound out of. I'm actually planning on putting mine up on craigslist this weekend and I'm going to pick up two 410HE's instead. It should actually be easier for me to transport two of the HE's over one HLF considering that it's too wide to go in the trunk and barely fits through the back doors of my car.

    the VT Bass 500 would do the job much better than the PF500. I used to own the PF500 and wasn't impressed at all with the overdrive circuit. Even better than the VT bass would be a Aguilar Tonehammer or the just released Darkglass 500.
  7. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO

    Mostly this. But I had a bad experience with the VT500 shutting down mid gig/rehearsal/whatever, and had to return it for another.

    Which had the same issue.

    I have a TH500 now, and Its ok, but its not my favorite. I feel like its muffled and dark, which some folks dig. They call it "warm" :)
  8. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Sounds heavenly, sounds like tubes, does NOT sound like an Ampeg.
    But that'd be my recommendation too. ;)
    Rocksolid likes this.
  9. I have the Mesa D800, which I would consider a lo-mid or "darker" sounding amp. I run a darkglass B7K through the front of it, which gives me control of the high-mid frequencies that I can't control using the knobs on the front of the amp. This results in a very versatile setup that can go from gritty, warm and tubey to crisp, modern and glassy. Now I just need a cab that doesn't turn everything I run through it into mud :banghead:
  10. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO

    ha, yeah, my first cab was a 410HLF in '04 or so. I got rid of it real fast. no mids, all murk.
  11. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    If your intended goal is a more portable rig, why are you worried about shaving 10 pounds off a 20 pound head instead of shaving 40 pounds of a 90 pound cab? I bet you could find something like a Genz Benz STL 210T cab that should pair well with your GK (as long as you're careful with output levels) and would save you at least 50 pounds from your HLF, and only cost in the neighborhood of 300 bucks or so. Hell, you could get 2 of the cabs and use them together, not really have to worry much about overpowering, and you would STILL be saving about 20 pounds off your current GK/HLF rig.
  12. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I was playing a 2x15 cabinet with a RB1001 last night (spare stuff for the keyboard player_
    It sounded nothing like my SVT-CL pre and a 2x15 which is what I use at our rehearsal space
    I just don't see the 2 as similar so not much to add.
    Another question (as posted in another thread) is does Class D sound like heavier conventional amps
    I have a MB800 Fusion that sounds great but nothing like an SVT, Fender 800 Pro, or pre/power amp.

    Also had a TH500 that was just too wooly for multiple applications

    Agreed with many of the above that cabinets create significant tone shaping
  13. I recently picked up a PF 500. It has pretty much replaced my SVT Classic. That 85 pound monster sounded incredible but my 65 year old back was really starting to complain about it. I couldn't be more thrilled with the PF 500. No , it doesn't sound exactly like the Classic , but it's darn close. Took me a bit of working with it to get it dialed in but after about five gigs with it nobody (including me) is complaining. Still using the 8 10 with it but that has wheels on it and it's easier to load into my P.U. truck than a 4 10. Just back it up to the tailgate and rock it in. Only one gig in the last year had any steps and I can always get some help from the band mates for that.
    rodl2005 likes this.
  14. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    VT Bass, VT Bass Deluxe or VT Bass DI in front of your choice of Class D amp will get you what you seek as far as an amp.
    I run a VT Bass Deluxe into a Demeter VBP-M-800DJ thru a variety of cabinets and am very happy with this set up.

    As others have already said, your 410HLF is another issue entirely. I am not a huge Ampeg guy like some here, but that HLF cab is nothing like the Ampeg 810 cabs. If you want that fridge sound in a smaller format, you might consider the SVT410HE.

    good luck
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I'm a big fan of both the PF series and the VT stuff. Have not tried the amp, but the controls are basically the same throughout the VT line with some slight variations here and there. I use a VT Deluxe on my fly gigs and certain gigs where I don't take a full pedalboard because I can have up to 6 clean and dirty sounds programmed into one box that runs on a rechargeable battery forever. I also have a couple PF heads and they sound great, too. I find all of them perfectly acceptable substitutes for the SVT, although let's get real here...I'm still very much a tube snob and that's applying a goodly amount of tube snob perspective vs the need to have something small for many of my gigs. Not like I've lost my mind or anything :D

    For me the difference between them is in versatility vs ease of use. The VT has the PF beat for has a lot of tonal control, plus it will do any type of dirt sound from a very light overdrive to fuzz. But the character knob is very powerful, and it changes the way the rest of the knobs work depending on how you set it. Once you get used to how the controls work, it gets easier, but even after 10 years of using one regularly, I can still screw the pooch when making an adjustment if I'm not careful. But when it's dialed in right, it kicks much ass. The PF, OTOH, is a lot easier for me to dial in. The controls, while they don't line up tonally with the SVT setting for setting, are basically the same, and just like the SVT, you have to try very hard to get a bad sound. And you don't get the heavier dirt sounds but you can get some mild-medium overdrive by cranking the gain hard.

    So I don't think there's a clear winner here. It's more a matter of which approach appeals to you more.
    kap'n kro and Stumbo like this.