Need opinions on new bass head!!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ryan L., Aug 28, 2001.

  1. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Ok, I am going to be buying a new head in the very near future. I will be using it to power a Peavey 810tx cab for now. I want something that is fairly versatile. I play in a band that plays everything from country to oldies to classic rock to modern rock.

    I have narrowed it down to the following choices:

    1. Ampeg SVT IV Pro
    2. Carvin R1000
    3. Trace Elliot AH 600SMX
    4. SWR Bass 750

    I have not had a chance to play through these heads, and I will not have a chance. I am going on specs and reviews to base my choices. I am looking for some opinions on these heads from people who have tried them or own one of them. Reliability is also a big factor for me, as I will be using it without a backup.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    1) Heard a lot of mocking on the supposed wattage of the SVT IV. Also heat problems and shut-downs. Good Tone.

    2) Very Versatile, Cheap, Plenty of Power. Reliable.

    3)What a tone, and what a Price too. Very reliable but expensive.

    4)SWR, havent heard it.

    In the value department, I would pick the Carvin.
    In the Tone department, I would pick the Trace Elliot.

    In my case, I just bought a Carvin RL1018 Stack, and expect it to arrive In October.
  3. JimM

    JimM Guest

    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    I play through a trace amp regularly,never tried the 600.Trace stuff sounds good,pricey though.

    The SWR 750 sounded OK for the "E" and "A" strings,but had no girth (by that I mean bottom,warmth,depth,you get the idea)on the "D" and "G".

    The Ampeg sounds good,lots of features,plenty of power.don't know anything about reliability.

    Never tried the Carvin.

    I ended up with a Sunn 1200s.Like the sound,weight isn't too bad,a little cheaper than the Ampeg and I wanted to buy from my "little guy" local dealer,would have had to go to GC or order on the net to get Ampeg.I know Sunn isn't a "cool" name,unless like me you're old enough to remember paying three dollars to see "Woodstock"when before that movies only cost a buck-fifty.
  4. MikeyD

    MikeyD Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    You can buy almost two Carvin R1000 heads for the price of one Ampeg SVT IV Pro. I have the Carvin (Series II), and it's a nice amp - extremely versatile, too. If you want tremendous reliability, power, and versatility, two R1000's would set you back US$1300 plus shipping, and you'd have the reliability of one head plus a backup!
    - Mike
  5. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Thanks guys.

    Actually, the only ones that would be new would be the Carvin or the Swr. I have a friend that works at AMS, and she can get me the SWR 750 at $10 over cost.

    The Trace and the Ampeg would have to be used. I can't afford to spend $12-$1500 on a new bass head right now, especially when I am wanting a new cab in the near future.

    Although the idea of 2 R1000's for the price of one Ampeg is a pretty good idea. I never thought of it that way.;)

    Anyone else??
  6. I like the Carvin better than the Ampeg, regardless of price. Never tried the SWR 750, but to me neither the 350 nor the 500 sound as good, for what I like, as the Carvin, FWIW. Haven't played a Trace in years, but I used to like their sound a lot. For the money, though, it would be hard to justify. I never used 'em regularly (though I did rent them once or twice when out of town), but I remember hearing stories from two different guys to the effect that they weren't very reliable on the road. That may well have changed in the interim (I'd hope so).

    BTW, someone is selling that exact Trace head--for $700 now, I believe--on this very site. Go back to the main Bass Guitar menu, scroll down past "Effects" and "Ask Dann Glenn" and look down at the gear for sale.
  7. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    So it sounds to me like the general feeling so far is to lean towards the Carvin??
  8. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    C A R V I N
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Anyone else think that maybe Luis is trying to tell me something??:D
  10. Well, figure like this, (at least I would) - two Carvins, one R1000 and if the Peavey can handle it, one of their power amps as a slave.

    Or, as Mike mentioned you could get two Carvins, R1000/R600, one being being a back-up. But I've run my R1000 mercilessly without a back-up, gigging week in and week out, trucked all over, for two years, and not so much as a whimper out of it. Mine is a Series II but I haven't seen any Series III owners squawking.

    The tonal options of the R heads are pretty impressive.

    If all I was playing was detuned rap n' roll, I'd go for the big gun Ampeg.
  11. EString

    EString Guest

    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    Not a smart way to proceed. You know why all the guys above like the amps they are recommending?

    Because they HAVE them.

    You need to go and see which one you like. There is no uber-amp that will satisfy everyone.

    FORSFYD, or you will regret it.
  12. FalsehoodBass

    FalsehoodBass Guest

    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    holypoo if you can get an swr 750 AT COST DO IT!!! I am an ampeg fan, but at a price like that... i'd say go for it... i had a carvin r1000 for just over a year.. i dropped it a few times.. no problems ever.. ampeg IMO makes the bad-assiest amps.. but at that price... it's hard to beat the swr..
    I think.
  13. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Yep, I am a dummy. And I also live in North Dakota. Wanna know where the nearest SWR dealer is?? Or the nearest Ampeg dealer?? Sure, on their websites it says that there is an SWR dealer in Grand Forks and an Ampeg dealer in Fargo. Yeah, right. Been there. Had nothing. Won't order one of these in. And Trace Elliot?? I have no idea where to find one, besides online. Carvin is pretty much self explanatory. Ask most people if they tried a Carvin before they bought it. Unless you live in California, or know someone who has one.

    THIS is why I was simply asking for opinions.

  14. FalsehoodBass

    FalsehoodBass Guest

    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    here's my opinion on what the amps sound like.. maybe it will help your decision if you haven't heard them too much

    Ampeg... my favorite i have an svp-pro... its a good "dirty" amp. Not necessarily distorted, but definately has that gritty, ballsy sound. Does rock, punk... detuned rap n' roll etc. really well. Good if you want to sound like a badass.

    SWR, more hi-fi. the same sound has two descriptions. It's called clean and uncolored if you like it.. its called sterile if you don't. The "aural enhancer" does different things for different instruments.. but in general makes you sound "fatter" Good for funk, jazz, reggae, etc.

    Trace Elliot, very clean nice tone, lots of places to mess with eq.. VERY EXPENSIVE. I know a friend who has one and doesn't like it so much, but i haven't gotten to play one extensively myself.

    Carvin... i owned an R1000. Built well, sounds nice but it lacks the warmth of the ampeg and the tone of the swr... i had the real tube (not the emulator) but to me it was worthless. It's probably the cheapest of the four, but if cash isn't too much of a problem, i would advise against getting it.

    I know a lot of people here seem to like the carvin.. im pretty sure Mr. Fabra is endorsed by them.
    Keep in mind also that pride in ownership can overshadow opinions. Goodluck in getting your new amp, tell us what you end up with.
  15. You're assuming too much, dude. I don't own *any* of those amps; mine's an Eden. I have, however, logged varying amounts of playing time on all of them I said I'd played, and none on those I said I hadn't (the distinction was clear, I thought).

    I agree that seeing for yourself--when possible--is the way to go, but don't just go dismissing people's opinions as nothing but pride in ownership.
  16. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    1) Yes, Im actually Endorsed by Carvin.
    2) Yes, Im actually THE Carvin Distributor for Ecuador.
    3) No, I would never advise for something, if I dont think its worth it.

    Thats why I voted for the Trace Elliot tone wyse.
    I have played Ampegs, I like them, But as far as I know Ampeg SVT IV is not very dependable.
    Also SVP-PRO is a Preamp, not an Amp, so the comparison is out.

    The Carvin is extremely reliable, he is looking for that. And price wyse, is simply unbeatable.

    I havent played the SWR700, only the IOD, Stereo 800, SM900 and a couple of Workingmans. They sound nice, but expensive.
  17. Wel, as long as we're jumping on Estring - people who recommend gear as the "end-all, be-all" simply by virtue of the fact that they own it nauseates me. If they truly believe it is, then fine. I don't do that.

    But you can see from any of my amp posts that anytime something like Eden or Aguilar gets thrown into the mix, I don't make a peep about Carvin. Ampegs are my #1 choice when I go out of town and have to choose rental gear. I've rented an SVT four times this year and have quite a few times in past years. But, when I get home to my Carvins, I have a lot more tonal flexibility. However, the bottom isn't as good as the Ampegs.
  18. captainpabst

    captainpabst Guest

    Mar 18, 2001
    well, i own a an swr bass 750. i love it. tons of power. i would describe the tone as accurate, clean, and (not overly) warm. if you can get it for 10 bux over cost, i personally would jump on it.

    the carvin has tons of eq. i've only heard the cyclps (which is an r600 head with 115 and 2x8t). i thought it sounded nice. i don't mean this in a bad way, but it sounded a little more generic to me - no ampeg signature 'thickness', no swr signature accuracy, etc. the price on these units is great. some people on this board have had some problems with them, but y'know, no brand is immune to problems. anyway, the carvin would be plenty loud, versatile, affordable, and sound fine. great even.

    i like and respect ampeg tone, but personally prefer swr. ampegs sound 'thick' to me. they thump. they're phat. great rock amp.

    i dunno about the trace.

    how much is a bass 750 at a little over cost? if it's right around carvin territory, i'd probably go with that. i don't think you'll be disappointed, and if you don't like it, since you paid half of cost, you could probably sell it online and get all (if not more!) of your money back. since my instincts always tell me to stay away from used stuff, i'd avoid the ampeg/trace route. i'd say if not swr, carvin. there is a 10 day trial period, afterall.

    good luck! tell us what you get and how you like it.
  19. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    hmm...lets see:

    ampeg: doesn't sound right to me, i didn't think there were that many tonal variations, doesn't have that sparkle

    trace elliot: lots of tones, but IMO very few really smokin ones

    swr: again, not many tonal variations, but it just so happens that my bass 350 (exact same thing with less power and without a sweepable midrange) sounds great to my ears. could stand to be a little warmer when paired with my warwick, but it sounds perfect with my musicman.

    carvin: great for the price, however for the price i'd get a carvin DCM1000 poweramp and a cool used preamp like an alembic fx-1 or SWR grand prix or something.

  20. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Thanks for all the replies--they have given me a good idea of the certain qualities that each amp has in their favor. Exactly what I was after.

    thanks again, guys