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New V4-BH users, please offer me your advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Arranger, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    I'm looking to switch from my SVT-350H to a V4-BH. I'm looking for more depth and smoothness from the sound. The SVT-350H has always been brittle and I find myself using pedals to get a rounder and slightly distorted sound. I'm always fiddling with the 350H tone controls looking for a sound that just isn't there. It is, however, reliable and clean.

    It seems to me that an overdriven tube sound is what I'm headed for. I played a new V4-BH about two years ago and it really seemed right. I can't afford the weight and cost of a CL. I have some questions, though:

    How is the V4-BH for recording - with the XLR out - any hiss or problems?

    Is the V4-BH a hissy, dirty amp for low volume studio use? All my other equipment is clean and hissless, so my household power seems really clean.

    If the power of the V4-BH is limited for a medium-size gig (small church recreation halls, fire halls, for example), could I just pre-out the V4-BH to my seperate 550W solid-state rack-mount amp to get the juice behind it and capture a similar sound?

    My current cabinets include an SVT-15E and a pair of SVT-210Pro cabs. I like modular/portable. I play rock/blues/alternative/country/grunge and almost never use a pick. One of my basses (Carvin Koa 4) is strung with flatwounds. The other is a Fender USA Deluxe Jazz 4.

    Would you take a crack at describing the sound would expect I'd get?

    Thank you, very much, for your time and experienced replies.

    By the way,
    anyone try Ampeg's forums... They have so many sticky threads that your recent post will end up at least one page back. It's pretty insane. No wonder there are no replys.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I used to have a V4BH just this past summer, but I ended up selling it for more power and a more hi-fi tone. The V4BH is only 100 watts, so you don't have a whole lot of headroom with it. It can handle small gigs and even some medium gigs, but it really starts to break up after that. You can use the Slave out to power a separate amplifier, or pre out to power a power amplifier. I don't have much experience with the DI.

    The tone is great! It is warm and smooth, with really nice clarity. It sounds great with the cabs that you have. That is the same rig I used to use. The amp is fairly flexible, it still gives you the classic colored ampeg tone. It has strong lows and low-mids.
  3. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    Wow. Thank you Adrian, for that thorough reply. You seem to be describing just what I have an interest in achieving. I really don't need quantity, just quality.

    Any others, please?
  4. i´ve been using my V4 in the studio last week and i didn´t have any problem with hiss and noises.
    i didn´t use the DI ´cuz i have alot of distortion from the amp that really doesn´t sound so good when lined.
    i have almost always miked it during shows.
    i think it sounds best when u push it a little harder and get that sweet tube-overdrive. i think it sounds a little too dull at clean levels with lots of lo-mid, but maybe that works just fine for u?
    it´s not incredibly loud(unless u put the gain past 2 ´ clock) but at smaller shows i don´t think you need anything bigger.
    the bassplayer in the other band at our rehearsalplace used to have a SVT-3pro(hybrid 450w) but ended up with a V4 after trying my amp, he was after a warmer rounder sound.
    anyway i´m satisfied with it.
  5. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    Bump - any others?
  6. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Ampeg will release soon the 1U rackmounted CL preamp, if you have a 550W amp perhaps you should go for that pre/power setup ?

    What do you think ?
    More information: Here


  7. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
  8. HA HA
  9. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    That's just the right size! Thanks. I had read about this elsewhere and never got a close up view!
  10. DeeZee


    Oct 13, 2002
    I purchased a V-4BH back in November of 2003 for similar reasons that you are considering one. I have always owned solid state heads/combos for years and have never been happy with my tone. In the past I even experiemented with tube preamps and solid state power amplifiers (rack mount stuff) with even less satisfaction. Unfortunately I wasted 1000's of dollars over the past 10 years or so on high tech dissappointments when the tone I was after was right there all along in the all tube amp. I am convinced now that I could take any manufacturers' all tube bass amp and get this fairly simple rock tone,.....It would not have to be Ampegs' particular all tube amps. Now with that last sentence being said, I now do favor the V-4BH because it is small enough (wattagewise) that you can push it into a slight power amp distortion and not just out and out kill anyone with its SPL (sound pressure level). Like someone else said, its clean tone is ok, but when you push the preamp tubes and also the power amp tubes as well, the thing gets really sweet sounding and "opens up". I play in a local Christian rock/pop cover band and I just don't think I would be able to use the 300 watt Ampegs SVT's because it just would be too loud once you get to the point that you are getting the power amp tubes to saturate,...but back to the V-4BH. The point to where my bass pushes the preamp tubes as well as the power amp tubes is with the GAIN around 6 to 6.5 and the MASTER at 6. At this point all the good things that I like in a bass tone are present and without the use of pedals which I always have thought of as "band aids". You have natural compression and your tone is full of lows, mids, and highs. It's very round and the distortions I am hearing at this point are not perceived as distortion really,...its more of a musical growl which give the notes a meaty feeling. Now if you have an active bass and you give this amp too much lows or mids, you can get some unpleasant distortion/speaker flapping, so don't think this thing is flawless in getting your tone. I could easily see a newbie basskid plugging in and accidentally getting some wild flapping bad tone and thinking, "Solid State is the only way to go",.....I probably would have done the same thing in the beginning and is probably why I wasn't allowed to know about this amp until now :) I just think its a great head, but you will have to do a little tweaking, probably moreso on your bass especially if its active. I would say that the example EQ settings in the manual would be a great start if your bass is passive. Their rock setting with the exception that I kept the HIGH button ON, worked well with my Fender P-bass. For my 5 string active bass, I keep the amp eq more flat and do the eq'ing from my bass. There is one word of caution though. A reviewer on harmony-central said it about this amp and I am saying it as well. You really need to use Ampeg's "classic series" cabinets with this amp. If you use their pro line or another manufacturers high wattage cabinets then the V-4BH's limited power may not drive those drivers and get the tone or SPL that you need. In other words, a manufactures 210 rated at 400 watts RMS or worse yet Ampegs Pro410 which is rated at 600 watts RMS or 1200 watts peak (program) is just too stiff. Its drivers are made for high wattages and just too stiff for 100 watts to breath well. I am sure its possible to do some mixing and matcing with other cabinets and get descent results but I don't think the limited wattage of the V-4BH will ever be able to "breath" right unless you use the looser "classic cabinets" I play fingerstyle only and hit the strings with authority and can make my Ampeg classic 210 work in our band. I am competing with 3 other guitarists and a keyboardist but all of them have smaller solid state 35-50 ish watt combo amps and not turned up too terribly loud. The keyboardist/sax player runs her stuff through a 200 watt keyboard amp though. The drummer can get very loud. The 210 alone is admittedly a little borderline but I can make it work especially if I feed the DI out to our stage monitors to help fill out the sound. I also have a SVT-15h if I need the extra grunt. The DI does seem to work well for this purpose and doesn't seem hissy. I don't have any recording experience with the amp though although I think it would do well. Its surprisingly quiet depending on which bass you feed through it. Another thing I like about this amp is that there is no "clipping LED" on it nor is there any need for it. It never failed with all that solid state stuff I owned in the past, but anytime I got a semi descent tone out of the stuff, the clip light would either flash repeatadly or else stay on,......It was just something not right or "taboo" with only getting descent tone out of an amp when the "clip" light was staying on and then I wasn't sure if I was going to really damage the thing or not. On this tube amp clipping is a good thing and perfectly acceptable, and thus no light needed,...Hope this helps in your quest

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