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Need Advise on Ampeg SVT-2 Pro & SVT-3 Pro

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by cassanova, Jun 5, 2001.


  1. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I was at Mars today buying some strings, and I couldnt help but look at the Ampeg Stuff. I saw the Svt-3 and Svt-2 Pro heads, I played them both and they both sounded very good with minimal tonal differences to me. The svt-3pro is 450 watts @ 4 ohm, and the svt-2 pro is only 300 watts. Other than the power ratings is there any major differences in the 2 heads? Which is technically the better head? I know thats pretty speculative but I plan on going back tomorrow with my bass and giving them both a good workout and bringing one of them home.the svt-2 pro also has 5 12a x7a tubes compared to the 3 in the svt-3 pro, does this affect the sound all that much, cos i didnt really hear much of a difference. and the svt-2 also has. the svt-2 pro also has one more power tube than the other one, not sure if this really makes a big difference either.
     
  2. I think the difference can only be heard when you play 'em on law-violating sound levels... and don't think the guys in the shop will appreciate that :)
     
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    I've owned both and can tell you a few things here. At one time, I had a rack with both models mounted in and I switched back and forth often...so my comments are those of experience, not blind loyalty just because I own one or the other.

    The SVT II Pro is an all-tube amp, similar to the SVT Classic, but in a rack-mount package and a few goodies added. It's capable of some pretty astounding output levels and the tone is to die for if you like tube tone. Don't let that "only 300 watts" fool you. I can't imagine many gigs that the average player would run into that wouldn't be more than amply powered by that beast. It's also very heavy...close to 80 or 90lbs if I remember correctly. Since it has a tube output section, it'll need power tubes occasionally, depending on how often you play...and it won't be cheap...something in the neighborhood of $300 after biasing, etc. However, if you can justify carrying it, it's THE Ampeg tone.

    SVT III Pro: hybrid head, meaning tube preamp, solid-state output. Same preamp section as the SVT II Pro. The output may be listed at 450 watts, but in reality, it seems very underpowered (to myself and many others). Nowhere even close to what the SVT II Pro will generate. The sound is a good useable, working set of tones. It's not super versatile (neither is the SVT II), but it's a decent rig in a MUCH lighter and smaller package than the all-tube version.

    I'd say you need to examine your priorities and intended uses. If you need volume and can justify the weight and bulk, the SVT II is hard to beat tone-wise...matched at even volumes, you'd be able to hear a substantial increase in warmth and depth in the all-tube head. I bitched about carrying the thing, sold it, and then proceeded to build a rack that's bigger and weighs almost as much...go figger. Pick one up and carry it up some stairs before you buy it....that oughta tell the tale. If you'll be doing lower volume gigs and space/weight is a consideration, you might go for the SVT III Pro...it'll cover any reasonable size gig. Hell of a lot cheaper, too.
     
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You can bias the SVT-II yourself, the amp has LEDs and trim pots so you don't even need a multimeter like on the older SVTs.

    A tech can bias it in about 90 seconds...don't let 'em fool you!
     
  5. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    mchildree, what do you mean that neither of them is that versatile? I dont know much about amps, I just use my ears. Do you mean its only suited for one particular style of music?
     
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Well, I guess "versatile" is a relative term and I probably shouldn't have used it....I play rock, country, R&B and everything else I get the call for, and both of those amps gave me tones that were just fine for all those styles. I was comparing the Ampegs to a level of tone control you might get with say, an Eden Navigator preamp and power amp setup. Which is more than 99% of most players need anyway. I'm speaking of the ability to drastically alter your tone in one way or another.
     
  7. Ampegs all have that "Ampeg" tone, to varying degrees. It's a pretty thick deep chunky tone, kinda ill-defined (when compared with SWR, Eden, other hi-fi amps).

    "The classic rock tone" :) But the versatility is limited to fine-tuning that Ampeg sound, not being able to dial in different characters like, say, an Eden WT is better able to do.
     
  8. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Whats biasing? Ive heard the word b4 Im just clueless as to what it means.
    Im very amp ignorant, Like I said Ive always just used my ears to determine if I want a amp. But Id like to learn alot more about them. I went back today and gave to 2 of them a very good work out again, as well as an ampeg svp-pro preamp. And again left the store with nothing.
     
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Cassanova, have you considered the SVP Preamp and maybe a Mackie 1400? I think you could get into that rig for under a grand, and have all the power you could ever need, in a 3-space rack package, which is smaller, lighter, and more powerful than the SVT II Pro.

    I love how the all-tube amps sound, but if you've played one head-to-head with a hybrid and weren't sold one way or the other.... You'd probably be just as happy with a hybrid rig. The power amp/preamp rig is just better, IMHO. Plus, if you decide to sell, the Mackie power amp alone is selling for about the same price as an SVT III Pro on the used market.
     
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I agree 100% with mchildree's 1st post. I also owned both amps in rack cases & I love the SVT II. BUT it's need alot more attention. You need to change the power tubes, depending on how often you play, @ least once a year or so. Pretty costly. I got the SVT II @ sam Ash as they lot their dealer agreement & it cost total w/tax $650 (that's waht I sold my SVT III on eBay for!!!!) IT'S REALLY HEAVY!!!!! I use it with an SVT 810 & @ late gig's I wanna kill someone!!! :D

    Don't get me wrong, the SVT III is a super amp & if I didn't get the SVT II so cheap I'd still be using the SVT III.

    P.S. When I got the amp I called Ampeg & said I bought a new Amp & the tubes were bad. I had to fax a copy of the receipt & they send me a brand new set of power tubes for FREE. I had to send the old one back!!!!!
     
  11. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Ive been tinkering around with the SVP preamp, and havent ruled that out just yet, Its got the same circutry as the SVT-2, just without the tube power. I liked the sound of it, it sounded deep, and warm. If i go that route Im going to just run it with my Hartke and let that serve as the power amp for now. Will there be that much of a difference in sound if i buy the svp preamp and use ss power or will it be barly noticable?
     
  12. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Well, let me start by saying "I'm Deaf"

    ...but, I don't think you'd hear that much difference between using your Hartke for power and using a power amp like the Mackie. I could tell a big diff between the all-tube tone on an SVT II and solid state power, but if you don't that's okay (lots of people don't). All in all, use your own ears and judgement..and remember, you're never stuck with anything. Gear is easy to sell.
     
  13. terraplane

    terraplane

    Oct 14, 2002
    Italy, Palermo
    There are lots of difference in svtIII and svtII pro sound. Svt3 have a much....aggressive sound when played at normal volume...svt2 at moderated volume is much dynamic and warm (cause of the alltube power section). When you push, things are differents...Svt2 pro give you a awesome output level, and you can push, and push and push! You can get overdrived, but It can't be wrong, it's a all tube head, and overdrived sound is pretty good for my taste! Svt3 pro, like all SS or mosphet amplifier, when pushed into distortion (clipping), make a farty sound...you can't hear sound, only a big fart:)
    But svt3 is less havy, less expansive and mosphet power stage is an ethernal thing...in the 2pro you must change power tube if you crack one of this, or if you don't treat the head with max attention..you must give her cooling time after a gig, and all of the attention that a tube amplifier need.