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Letting go: MB 400+ or SVT CL

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fradubio, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Hi Folks,
    I need to downsize and am not playing my medium/large rigs much these days (mainly playing upright and the GK MB150). I'd like to unload one of my large (and heavy) tube rigs to fund some guitar gear and I can't seem to decide between letting go of an early '90s SVT CL or similar era Mesa 400+.

    I know, I know, it's an enviable place to be... but there's a part of me that thinking with the 400+ being discontinued, I may never have the chance to own one again....

    I like the sound of both, though they have a different way they hit the chest. The Ampeg is more tooth rattling and the Mesa seems more solar plexus focused.

    Any thoughts?
  2. lavaman67

    lavaman67 Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Ypsilanti, MI
    Having owned both, I still own the 400+. The 400+ is much more versatile amp, with much more focus across the board. The SVT-CL really just does one thing well IMO... low mids. I did exntensive A/B comparisons between the 400+ and SVT-CL and it wasn't even close IMO. The Mesa won on all counts. Far more clean headroom, less wooly and a far more usable range of sounds. And comparison was done after significant power and preamp tube upgrades in the SVT-CL. Though the upgrade greatly improved the overall tone and headroom, it still wasn't in the same league as the 400+.
  3. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    I would keep both in a secure place for 5 years and get 2500 each out of them then.

    You can't get a Mesa 400+ anymore OR a US made SVT.

    Both will be highly sought after.

    But if you sell your Mesa let me know :)
  4. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    Both have great value now and enormous value in the future. You will regret selling either.
  5. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    You'll have to ask yourself which one you'd rather gig with if that phone call
    comes in for that big rock,etc, gig that you thought might not ever come again. You
    may need that bigger rig just in case. Both amps are killer at what they do.
    You do have a tough choice to make.
  6. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    Having owned both, I still have the 400+. I much prefer the solar-plexus-drilling punch to the Ampeg's rumble. You don't really notice the Ampeg until you take it out of the mix, whereas the Mesa makes itself an intricate part of the sound. It's more versatile, lighter, and it's louder with more clean headroom. Also, it seems more consistent in tone at different volume levels as opposed to the SVT, which only really sounds best at near-max output when the 6550's are screaming.

    Value wise, both will skyrocket in the future, but keep in mind that everyone wants an Ampeg SVT, but only some people want a Mesa 400+. The SVT will be easier to sell no matter what.

    Do yourself a big favor and keep the 400+. Do what you want with the SVT, but don't let that Mesa go!
  7. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Jeez, I don't know. Sure, you can't buy them new anymore, but there are a TON of these amps out there. The original SVTs are appreciating, but I'm still not sure they'll be selling for $2500 in 5 years--what's the average price for them now, around $1500? How many people are going to pay more for a CL or a 400+ than an original SVT?
  8. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    That's another thing...... pitting the 400+ against a vintage SVT is a much fairer fight that the SVT versus the SVT-CL. In either bout, the Classic loses. I can't think of any reason the Classic would be better than the vintage unless you love Speakon THAT much :bag:
  9. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    "Solar Plexus"

    I love it. Keep that one!

    I'd never put a CL ahead of a Mesa.
  10. Id keep the 400+, and im an Ampeg fan.

    I dont think either will be making major bucks in the near future to be honest. While MIA Ampegs will probably be sought after, and the 400+ being discontinued will also make it sought after. Both of the Amps have been mass produced for over 10 years, I doubt either will be rare or hold a (much) higher price tag any time soon.
  11. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    but let's see........ the D180 was deleted in the early 80's, and the 400 was discontinued in the late 80's and neither of those command any more than a used 400+. I suspect that when they replace the 400+ with another updated tube amp, it probably won't skyrocket in demand unless the new amp is drastically different, or is no good (both of which are unlikely).
  12. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Keep the Mesa. Unless you can find a 400, or a D-180!
  13. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    what would make the 400 or D180 more desirable than the 400+? The D180 would be cool for lower volumes, but I don't know why the 400 would have any advantage over the 400+?
  14. I had a 400 and didn't find it appreciably different than the 400+ and actually traded it for the SVT-CL.

    Well, it seems most folks lean with keeping the Mesa or possibly keeping both. It is a hard one to decide. I think that's basically what I've been thinking anyway, so I guess I'll have see how long I can stave off gas.

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