MHO of SWR WP700, Mesa M-Pulse & BB750, Ampeg SVT-CL/AV & more

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MentalBass, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Hey all,

    Just thought I'd share my opinions on some high-end amps I tried out today at the Long & McQuade here in Toronto. I used my Ibanez SR505, and all tone controls were set to 12 o'clock (or flat, in the case of sliders). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to really crank any of the amps, as there were quite a few customers in the store. I tried all the amps with the same gain and master settings; specifically, the gain was at 9 o'clock, and the master between 7 and 8 o'clock.

    First off was the SWR Working Pro 700 into a Son of Bertha and a Goliath III. Transparent tone, really clean & punchy. I was able to conjure up some tube-like growl, and for the most part, I loved the tone I got out of this amp, which is sort of scary because it's completely solid-state! As such, it's very powerful, but I wasn't too impressed with the on-board compressor, although it did have a very nice sliding EQ.

    Next I tried the Mesa M-Pulse 600 with a Powerhouse 1x15 and a 4x10. The first thing I noticed was that tube warmth, even with the gain at 9 o'clock. Significantly louder than the SWR at the same settings, able to be just as clean as the SWR, but also able to get serious tube growl by using the shelving bass control. With all tone controls set to flat, it was louder, had more bass and warmth and the same amount of clean, fast response as the SWR. By turning down the bass slightly and boosting the mids slightly (using only the shelving controls), I was able to get it to sound exactly like the SWR. Any doubts I had about this amp being able to handle slap style were eliminated. It is tight, focused and POWERFUL.

    After that, it was the Big Block 750's turn. This was hooked up to a 2x10 and a 1x15. To be quite honest, it sounded almost exactly like the M-Pulse 600. It's really a beautiful amp; spartan, mean and purposeful-looking. With the overdrive control turned up around 1 o'clock, I was able to get some really fat, old school rock tone. It would be a definite contender for my next amp, were it not for the fact that it puts out its full power into a 2 Ohm load.

    Then came the Ampeg SVT-CL and SVT-AV's, hooked up to Ampeg 6x10's. With tone controls set to flat, they sounded... like mud. Plain and simple, it was the worst sound of any amp I've tried in the past two months. No definition, notes were not articulated; it sounded like somebody hitting timpani with big afro-headed mallets. I guess I'm just not a fan of all-tube sound, because the SVT-3 PRO sounded much, much better.

    Gallien-Krueger was next on the list with its 1001RB & 18'' combo. This was the amp of the bunch that sounded most like the SWR, since it is also all solid-state. Accurate and punchy, if you blindfolded me and I played the SWR and the GK, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, save maybe because of the fact that the SWR was hooked up to two cabs, while the GK was a combo with an 18''. I don't really like GK's setup, with respect to the Bi-amp action; one for the woofers, and a separate 50W for the tweeter. Unnecessarily complicated, but I do see its uses. Nothing a parametric EQ wouldn't solve, though.

    Finally, I tried out the Yorkville BassMaster 800 (not sure if I got the model number right) into a Yorkville 8x8''. Wow. For $855 CAD, I wasn't expecting much, but I was definitely impressed. It was somewhere between the Mesa BB750 and the SWR in terms of its tone. Able to sound clean or overdriven thanks to its tube overdrive controls and preamp selector switch (tube or SS), it really was very versatile. And 800 W! Not bad; that's basically a little over $1 CAD/Watt.

    Hope this helps!

  2. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    First, I agree about SWR and GK sounding a lot alike. When I was shopping, those were my 2 main contenders. I particularly liked the Shape/Aural Enhancer features on SWR amps and went that way. Both are excellent. I hear GK's new Neodynium line of cabs make an INCREDIBLE difference in tone.

    Also, anything Mesa Boogie sounds so warm it makes me cry. I love it, for that style.

    I've only tried low-end Yorkville combos in smaller music shops, but everytime I do I have absolutely loved the tone I get from them. They're usually pretty cheap, too. Very underrated for the lower budget peeps. Great deal.

    Good reviews.

  3. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Nice reviews, thanks! :)
    I must say though, I would NOT judge all tube amps by what Ampeg has to offer.
  4. supeRad


    Nov 23, 2004
    i had an svt-classic and sold it for my current db359, both all tube but different beasts. i really liked both but i think when i rebuild my rig, i am going to go back to the classic. im not trying to save a buck or anything but after trying the aguilar out, i realized the sound i really wanted i got from the classic. btw, i rock an Ernie Ball MM4.

    i really dont get why ampeg gets such bad reviews more often than any other brand ive seen mentioned here.. i sold my 810 to try and get me a schroeder which i plan to order once all my accident nonsense is cleared, which isnt anytime soon.. anyways, back to the matter at hand.. i pretty much agree ampeg cabs arent all theyre made out to be, but i think their heads are pretty good.. pricey to most other brands, but you can find deals on used stuff. and i now forget what exactly i wanted to conclude with.. and it being lunch time, ill be back with an i eat my fill.. assuming i remember my point
  5. Both the worst and best bass tone I've ever heard live came from two different Ampeg SVT all tube heads. Could have had alot to do with the fact that one was a vintage one and another was a CL model, and the guy using the vintage one was about 10x better than the other dude. I'm sure everybody can guess which sounded better. I couldnt bring myself to ever purchase any Ampeg gear because I'm not an all tube kind of guy, and ampeg's SS stuff doesnt do it for me.