Markbass vs Ampeg and Ampeg + Epifani?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Santinotafarell, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Hi everyone,
    I am primarily an upright bassist, but recently most of my work has been through electric bass. In an effort to try and dial in my sound, I have owned about 10 bass guitars in the past 3-4 years. I'm down to owning 6 now. My two favorites, are a road worn jazz and Nash pb62 ( Though I usually love any fender usa or Mexican jazz or p bass). This is all to say my quest for the sound has been long, but with more emphasis on the instrument, less on the amp. Probably since that's alligns with the philosophy of upright bass, which is to get your desired sound out of your instrument first... wellll
    I feel silly to admit, but iv'e discovered recently though just how much the head is in coloring tone if not more so than the instrument itself for bass guitar. After already owning Aguilar, Markbass and GK rigs I've finally come to terms with the fact that I won't ever be fully satisfied without a tube head. I've considered some options. One especially being an Ashdown ABM600 since that is gear that Robin Mullarkey uses and I think around 500 watts is right for the gigs I do. (check him out he's great)
    Recently I bought an Apollo Twin X and got a couple plugins... one being the Ampeg svt 3 pro. I tried the other bass amp emulators too, eden wt800, Ampeg b15, Ampeg svt (which I also love) but I played through the svt 3 pro from 9pm until 5am in the morning with both my Jazz and P bass. That sound is what I want to represent on my live gigs, which range from small to large venues.
    I do a variety of genres and the svt 3 fits perfectly for me in being modern sounding enough for me and but fulfilling the low end with some real life and feeling.
    currently I own 2 mark bass heads
    A f500 and a mark bass little tube.

    I'm thinking of keeping one of those as back up and picking up a svt 3 pro.
    ( Was considering an svt 7, but reading reliability issues has scared me away.)
    My current rig sounds great, but I consider getting thee sound to my personal taste a top priority after 20 years of playing and never being getting the magic feeling I got when I plugged in to a vintage Ampeg flip top early in my career. The current Ampeg plug ins I am using, and the few times in my life I was able plug in to an Ampeg tube head (and maybe one Ashdown head) are the only way I recall not just being happy with my sound but also inspired. It also allowed me to play simpler bass parts. It allowed me to enjoy the role of just being a bassist even more than I already do!

    here's the thing, I only have 2 cabs a 110 Epifani and a 210 Epifani Dist. I love the dist 210 for it's weight and natural sound. I feel like the whole point of having Ampeg is for that low end and warmth though, so I'm obviously weary that my single 210 will "get me there". Do you think I will be happy running through my 210 with an svt 3 pro for small/medium size gigs, or should I plan on investing in different cabs as well? I worry about having to lug around heavy cabs but that sound has become an obsession and I won't be satisfied unless that sound is doing that thing. You know what I mean. Should I go with buying a new or used svt? Should I focus more on cabinets? Is there anyone else who switched from mark bass and why didn't you like it? Any bassists who prefers mark bass to Ampeg? Any advice, criticism, or insight would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I think the 3 Pro is a great little head, and though it doesn't actually qualify as an actual tube amp, it does have driver tubes for the power amp and three tubes in the preamp, and that counts for something :) as for whether you'll be happy with cabs or not, only you can answer that. I use a 210 on a lot of my gigs, and even though I'd rather it be an 810, my last gigs before the lockdown just weren't made for an 810. But yeah, if you have a 210 you like, I could easily see it being great with the 3 Pro.
    Santinotafarell likes this.
  3. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    A few thoughts come to mind. First, if you're looking for Ampeg advice, JimmyM is the gold standard in my book, and in lots of other folks' books as well. So you started off with great advice!

    You mentioned that you had owned Markbass, GK and Aguilar heads. IMO they're all fine companies and certainly reflect a cross section of what's out there. I'm not sure though that based only on a sampling of products from those companies I would conclude you need a full tube amp. However, if Ampeg gets the sound that you've been after, they are the benchmark that many measure iconic bass tone by - and for good reason.

    Finally, it's been my experience that you can easily get as much in the way of coloration from cabs as you can from heads. I think Epifani makes great gear, but you may want to audition some other cabs to see if some of what you're after in tone/voicing might be helped by a change there. In looking at different cabs I would focus less on number of drivers or their diameter and more on producing "your sound" at the volumes you intend to use the cab(s) at.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  4. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Thank you both. I was going to order an svt 3 but now maybe I will head to guitar center again and plug in some heads to my cabinet, and my head in to other cabs just to gain some more perspective on my current rig. Especially since you mentioned that a cab can change the voicing just as much, I was not aware of that. I rarely have had a chance to try multiple cabs side by side and it's hard to get perspective in guitar center. but I will report back on any gear change after that. I do see a used svt3 on guitar center and they have a 90 day return. 450ish$. Should I buy new or used if I do go with that head? And are their Chinese made versions or are they all USA made? Thanks
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Recent Ampeg heads are made overseas. That alone doesn't make them "bad".

    Let me throw you a curveball.

    How loud are you expecting to be? In other words, do you have to cover the room with sound or just the stage? If you want to go for that Ampeg tube sound, and not carry around an SVT, go for the PF50T. That and a couple of vertically stacked 210 cabs would be loud as snot but not require a crane to get from your car to the stage. And, if they are sealed Ampef 210 cabs they will have that classic low-mid Ampeg bump.
    Santinotafarell likes this.