New SVT Fridge vs Vintage SVT Fridge

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ezra1, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. I am still digging on my new Ampeg Portaflex PF800 w/PF210HE.
    It is the Ampeg tonality that I like.
    So it has got me thinking SVT.
    I like Blues,Classic Rock and Stax R&B.
    I am a gear hog. About 40 guitars and basses. And 9 amps.
    I do have a massive Ashdown ABM EVO 500 w/ 2 410 cabs. I like it and it is awesome,I plan to keep it.Most modern amps seem too HiFi for my tastes. It sounds like an Ashdown but not an SVT.
    If I get an SVT it will be a tube model and most likely very few excursions out of the house.
    I see that Ampeg has 3 tube SVTs.
    And one is made in the USA.
    I know that the modern amps do not use the same tubes as the vintage.
    How do the new ones compare ( and which new one to get if I go that way ?) to the Vintage ?
    And same thing with the 8/10 cabs ?
    Last but not least shipping.
    Buying new I get free shipping.
    Used could be expensive.
    I am going to wait on buying until after I return to work this summer.
    So I seek advice from knowledgeable gear guys.
  2. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The best Ampeg 810 is the newish Heritage SVT-810E. It sounds like the original flatback but can handle a lot more power. New also comes with a warranty which is a plus.

    The new SVT's are better because they use readily available tubes, don't thave any issues that many vintage amps could have, and come with a warranty. Sound wise, very close to the originals, many feel that they sound exactly the same.
    Sartori, AlexanderB and ezra1 like this.
  3. Which modern head, or are they equal ?
  4. Point-counterpoint:roflmao: Beans is right but I've had 70's heads and cabs for years including two flatback cabs and almost always only use one cab and I've never come close to blowing them out and the heads last and last with minimal maintenance. But to tell you the truth if I were going out today to buy a new SVT I'd probably get a new VR too. You've got to be an animal to blow out flatback cabs. I used to blow speakers back in the 70's but the bands were a lot louder back then and I stopped blowing them when I started using two cabs which was the norm back then (and Ampeg spec'ed since those old cabs are only rated at 240 WRMS). But they all sound good
    GreaserMatt and beans-on-toast like this.
  5. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The SVT-CL (classic) is the most popular and is used in a lot of backlines. It has a single channel and a master volume. There is also the Heritage CL. Pretty much the same amp with a grille that matches the Heritage 810. It goes through a better quality control process.

    The SVT-VR (vintage reissue) is based on the original SVT design that dates back to 1969. It has two channels, no master volume, and offers a bit more tonal flexabity because of the two different channels. It also costs a bit more. Both versions use the same power amp with the exception that the VR has a power tube balance pot. It can allow the amp to operate quieter if the power tubes are not perfectly matched. A nice feature but a small detail.

    Both of these all tube amps sound fantastic.

    Of course, there are other SVT models that have different feature sets.
    Sartori, bobyoung53 and ezra1 like this.
  6. The Heritage CL and SVT -VR have got my attention.
    The Heritage is made in the USA.
    What about the SVT -VR ?
  7. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The CL and VR are both made in China. This isn't a problem, the quality is there. As I understand it, the Heritage has an extra QC layer of inspection and testing in the US. Not sure if final assembly of sub sections made in China is still being done in the US. For example speakers and wiring harness installed in the US, vinyl covered cabinets produced in China. In the case of the Heritage CL, transformers, chassis, cabinets are built in China. Circuit boards are assembled in China, they are installed in the chassis and hooked up in the US. Perhaps Jimmy can clarify.

    cc: @JimmyM
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
    AlexanderB and ezra1 like this.
  8. The Heritage CL is "assembled" in the US. If I was going to buy a new SVT I'd buy one but just for the extra quality but Ampeg half-hearrtedly trying to pass it off as USA-made is LAME. Except for the very first year of production, SVT's all have 6550 power tubes. Jimmy has always said, and my experience led me to concur, that all-tube SVT's all sound about the same. I have changed my tune on that since I got my 1969 SVT. It's a whole different animal than my CL or any of the other SVT's I've played through.

    Here's a list of SVT's in order of appearance and from what era:

    SVT blue line, Linden, 6146B's
    SVT blue line Linden
    SVT blue line Magnavox
    SVT black line Magnavox
    SVT-HD MTI black panel
    SVT-HD SLM black panel
    SVT-HD Skunkworks SLM black panel
    SVT-CL SLM/Loud
    SVT-2pro/premier edition SLM
    SVT-CL Heritage Loud

    When the 810 cabinet came out, Ampeg was naming cabs the same as the amps they were meant to be used with so the 810 was designated "SVT". At first they had CTS drivers, then Eminence. The flat back was phased-out and the towel bar/wheels cab phased-in over a period that spanned 1973 and 1974. The cabs were rated at 240 watts until MTI put out one that could handle all the SVT's power. I don't know what its power rating is exactly but every 810 made since then has been up to the task although there are some different models with different characteristics.
    Sartori and AlexanderB like this.
  9. So parts all made in China.
    Assembled in China.
    Except Heritage CL Chinese parts assembled in USA ?
    ( I don't really have a problem with Chinese made stuff. I have a Ashdown Mag 300 for about 8 years with no problems and just got the Ampeg PF800 and the build looks good as does the sound . )
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  10. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    At one time, there were quality issues with some of their amps mad in china. I had a Vietnam made SVT-VR that was a mess. All that is long behind them. No need to get hung up with where it's made. There never was an issue with the 810 speaker cabs.
  11. So which do you like better the current SVT-VR or Heritage CL ?
  12. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    If given the choice, the VR. You can chain the two channels together which is nice. Channel two is very similar to the B-15 design, different tube but sounds the same. Well coupled with a 300W power amp. The main reason why I like it is that it looks like the vintage one. I guess I'm funny that way.

    As I said earlier, they sell more CL's than VR's. A lot of people like the CL.

    The front grille cloth frame of the VR will not match the cloth on the Heritage 810. People have bought Heritage cloth from Loud and redone the frame to match. You can see the differences on the Ampeg site.

    I currently have a '71 SVT that I restored to better than new condition.which amp you would like is a personal decision. If at all possible, try to check them out in person. That isn't always easy to do.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ampeg has never tried to pass it off as USA-made, only assembled.

    Really? I'm telling you I can't tell a lick of difference between my Heritage SVT-CL's and my 69 SVT when I plug into ch. 1 normal. What do you hear that I'm not hearing?

    A comprehensive list, but you missed one...there were two models of MTI SVT' with the oddball tubes that the Linden and Magnvox SVT's used, one redesigned with more common tubes.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Both are terrific, and both have advantages over the other. As Beans said, the two channels can be useful. Back in the days before distortion pedals were actually made for bass, I would use both channels in my 69 SVT and run ch. 2 as an effects channel and run ch. 1 clean. The bright inputs are cool if you're into brightness, too. There was a time I was. But any more, I just use ch. 1 normal when I use it, and I can get the same sound by diming the master on my CL and using gain to control volume, and I loved the look of the Heritage, so I went for it instead. People will argue with me whether it's the same sound or not, but I can't tell the difference and that's all I care about :D And I like that you can get a little compression and preamp overdrive at a reasonable volume by cranking the gain and using master to control volume, though I don't do much of that on gigs. Only way to get overdrive out of the VR is by cranking the volume past 11:00, and while it's awesome power tube drive that sounds better than preamp drive, it's going to be at a volume that will explode your spleen.

    Anyway, just to be clear, there is very little difference between the black SVT-CL and the Heritage on the inside. The biggest difference is the tubes...the black SVT-CL and SVT-VR come with Sovtek tubes, the Heritage comes with JJ's that have been given a 24 hour burn-in to try and weed out the obvious bad ones.

    Some people have already quoted me as saying that all SVT's are good as long as they work, and I still believe it. Just depends on what you want.

    As for cabs, go Heritage. Not even a question about it. The regular 810e sounds quite good, yes, but the Heritage is a step above. Has the sound of the early flatbacks but takes almost 4x the power of the old ones. They use different American made speakers than the Chinese 810e's and av's.
  15. Ok....Got cha on the Heritage 8/10 cab.
    The Heritage CL might be a better bet just because of the 24 hr Burn In on the JJs.
    Wish they offered that on the SVT VR.
    JimmyM likes this.
  16. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The warranty on the Heritage amp's tubes is longer as I recall. But you can buy burnt in well matched sets. See for example.
    maxschrek and JimmyM like this.
  17. I get burnt in tubes from KCA and CE Distribution.
    Some from Mojo.
  18. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    ezra1 likes this.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I wouldn't let it be a deal breaker if you're set on the VR.
    ezra1 likes this.
  20. I realize they have never outright misrepresented that aspect. It seems like they're trying to have their cake and eat it, too. Either it doesn't matter where the amp is made or it does - and the Heritage doesn't stand for either.

    I can't fully stand by the assertion until I've spent some more time with it. So many differences in the controls and tube complement. It might be that they DO sound the same when they are dialed-in to. I just plugged-in and played without much fiddleing, so there's that. My effort to describe it is going to come-off like platitudinous trope, but it was more SVT: just bigger, ballsy'er, growly. The distortion was different. More concentrated in an area of mid-range, maybe? Really I should do an A/B with my CL and twist all the knobs.

    Oh! That's right. Good catch. Driver or pre-amp tubes? I forget. You remember the specifics? Then I guess the early SLM-era SVT's followed suit....
    AlexanderB likes this.