Is this weird? (Ampeg SVT Classic)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by StarchMan, May 10, 2005.

  1. StarchMan


    Jul 30, 2003
    I recently played a gig where I decided to use the amp that was provided because 1) I was too lazy to bring my own (usually not the case) and 2) I heard they had an Ampeg SVT Classic w/ 8x10 cab there.

    I went in with huge expectactions from this Ampeg setup, as I used to own the BA-115 combo and the Ampeg V4BH. Not to mention how you see this rig a lot and many people praise it as if it is the holy grail of amps.

    My band was on third, and the first two bands were using this amp. I was utterly disgusted with the tone and how it cut through. I always wanted an SVT and 8x10 and I was thorougly disgusted. The amp had been turned up past 12:00 on the Pre-amp and the Master and the other settings were at 12:00 or past. Anyway, with both bands you could only hear/feel the E and A strings on their basses (B as well for one bassist with 5 string basses). The only time you could hear the D and G strings was when the bassist would pluck or slap and it sounded GROSS. As well, the notes that were audible from the lower strings were MUDDY as hell. I just don't understand. Maybe it is their basses or the settings? They had (from what I remember) a Lakland Skyline 55-02 deluxe and there was Peavey Cirrus I think (5er), etc.

    So, I almost felt like going home to get my amp, but I figured it's the 300 watt beast SVT so I could maybe screw with the settings. I noticed the HIGH and LOW boosts were on, so I turned them off (through experience with the V4BH), put the bass knob at 1:00, the mid knob at 1:00 and the treble at 12:00. I boosted the mids on my bass a tiny bit, and kept the rest flat. By the way, I use a Warwick Thumb Bolt-on 4 and a Warwick Streamer LX 4. The amp gradually sounded better as I adjusted a bit more. But, I have to say, and this is not being biased at all because I came into this with an open mind and in awe of the powerhouse that is the SVT...this amp is nothing like I expected it to be.

    My Eden WT800 and 410XLT cab totally slay this amp. Much more clarity in the notes and the bass/mids are more focused. I can't begin to describe how much I wanted my amp there for that show.

    I don't know if it was just that SVT in particular, but I was toatlly disapointed and rather pissed. Maybe it has something to do with when Crate bought Ampeg? or maybe just a bum SVT? Or maybe the SVT's greatness lies in the 70's like some say? I don't know, but I figured I'd post my story anyway.
  2. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Its not weird at all. Ampeg gear, on the whole, sucks. Sucks like mud.

    Course, thats just my opinion, youll find others like or love it, and theyre right too.
  3. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I find that with alot of ampeg gear. Using the 3pro I couldn't even boost the bass that much using my MESA 1516 otherwise the lows would get muddy and that cab is one of the best hi-fi cabs i've heard.

    Another one I don't like the sound of is Les Claypool's whole new rig.. I was so dissapointed with Hallucino Genetics, one of the only things the ampegs sounded good for was Toys Go Winding Down.
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    My only experience was spending about fifteen minutes with a 'Classic and 8X10 at a music store. I must admit also that I was similarly surprised.

    First of all, I was surprised at how NOT loud it was when I turned it up to maximum CLEAN volume (tones flat-ish, master on full) - it would go a lot louder-sounding, but not without being quite distorted. The distortion that it did have was pretty good, but not just head-and-shoulders above anything else I've heared from pedals or 'distortable' amps (for instance I found a $150-used Randal RB120 S.S.-amp that was made to distort, and I didn't think its distortion had a bad tone at all!). The SVT sounded better than the Randal, and sounded real good, but I guess its legendary reputation just had my expectations too high or something.

    I know I've tooted my horn a lot lately about my new GK head, but I'll do it again and say that the 'boost' distortion that's featured in the 700/1001 series really grabs me with its authoritive, growly, 'voice-y', up-front, effect; I thought the SVT was more farty as compared to the GK's 'snarling dog' sound.

    Remember, though: I have a quarter-hour experience with the SVT in my whole life...

  5. You're in St. John's right?
    What show was it?
    If it was Gear Pig's SVT CL, it's been ran hard and is not really truly representative of what an SVT does. I compared my SVT to that one a couple of weeks ago and mine eats it alive.
  6. StarchMan


    Jul 30, 2003
    Yeah, the soundguy was even complaining about the amp calling it an overly-heavy pile of junk.
  7. StarchMan


    Jul 30, 2003
    I'm in St. John's, yessir. It was the one that Music Stop rents out I think.
  8. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    we all must admit that gear owned by the venue isn't the best gear.

    Because it's used in hard condition, not taking care of and so on...
  9. Rental stuff tends to be not great, but I am a little surprised you couldn't get a passable tone out of it. Where was the show?

    I love seeing an SVT/810 when I'm mixing because they don't tend to project huge amounts of low end out into the room, which gives me better control.... Set up right, they can be tight and punchy. My '76 with the Berg NV-610 certainly is...:D
  10. So, ok...all SVT's suck because of your one experience (in a non-controlled environment, where you couldn't take time to really get to know it)? I think you're f'n crazy, mate, no offense.
  11. While I wouldn't be so mean about it, I kind of agree. If you really want to get a great sound out of any amp, you have to have the time to mess with everything until you get the sound you want. I've only played one SVT with an 8x10, and it was for just a few minutes, and I didn't get the sound I wanted out of it, but that doesn't mean I can't. However, if you're happy with your Eden's sound, which I'd have to say doesn't seem out of line, stick with it. Sorry to hear about your Ampeg issues, b/c I must say I've had similar issues with Ampeg stuff.
  12. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
  13. Surely you realise I wasn't being mean here. I'm just giving a bit of advice to be a little more rational about it. No big deal. So I used a phrase 90% of people would use in a light, flip conversation.

    ;) There, does that take the edge off? No ?!? Sorry, I'll rephrase. "I'm sorry sir, but I think your summation of this amp line cannot be taken seriously given the set of circumstances you implied"

    Seriously tho, you like it or don't, fine. But a workhorse that has served thousands very satisfyingly for over 4 decades, being dismissed entirely by someone under the one experience where a fair assesment cannot be made is quite unfair, and I stand by what I said. Part of the post I might have (unfairly) taken as gear snobbery, in consideration of the brand names he dropped for his gear.

    Starchman, I meant no offense, as I said. I just don't get into generalizations (saying things like is it because St Louis bought them? is a generalization)...guess what? My parent company just bought St. Louis Music. Does that mean quality is going to go down more in people's eyes? I just think it's a little crazy. So I used a flip comment. I think a few took that as being ALOT more malicious than it was.

    Do I like new-gen SVT's? Sure do. They're not the same as my 76. But I can still get an excellent tone out of it. It works for me. I like SWR and Eden as well, and can get useable tones out of them too. It's not a biggie... carry on then.

  14. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    if i had the money, i'd buy a svt classic, or even trade my svt and some cash for a good one.

    i have played a few over the years. they were all different.

    my one friend has two, one from the 90's and one from this year. they sound completely different. the new one sucks compared to the 90's one. there are a lot of variableswhen it comes to getting a good sound out of an amp.

    me, i have never had a good experience from using a clubs gear. well, there was that ampeg svt cabinet they have at the continental in nyc. sounds soo mean.
  15. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    ps. i would definely try another one out, it mill change your mind.
  16. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Every SVT-CL & SVT-AV i've played has left me disappointed. Just complete mud.
  17. This is an unfortunate generalisation. Sounds to me like this particular CL has issues. I'm not overly fond of Ampeg hybrid stuff to begin with but then again I'm a fan of tube amps. There have been QC issues with the newer stuff, no doubt but the CL is a good amp. The classic series 8x10 isn't my fave cab.

  18. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Is this thing on!? Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, Source Audio, Hipshot
    I played an SVT3-pro this weekend for a few minutes, but like someone else said, I had to turn it up way past 12:00 in order to get any worlume at all, so it seemed. With my GK 700RB, 12:00 is normally the max I have to go, and that's with 3 guitarists and a heavy-handed drummer!

    I think I dig Ampeg cabs, but not their amps. Maybe I just need to be convinced otherwise. At this point, GK is more consistent, tone-wise (I've owned 3).
  19. Also, it's not unusual for those who lean more towards clean, tight, fast, precise, trebly, brittle (the good kind), sterile (again, the good kind) of tone to have this reaction.

    In my mind the SVT (any of them) is not "optimized" for that sort of thing. Though my SVT can give me as much of those tones as I can stand, it's not what it does best IMO.
  20. Yeah, the SVT has its applications, not for clean or hifi applications basically!