Opinions/Advice on Magnavox Era SVT

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AndyMan, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. AndyMan

    AndyMan Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 17, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio
    Hello Everyone:

    I have an opportunity to pick up an early 70's SVT head. From the jpgs I recieved & the Unofficial Ampeg page, looks like a 72-75. Dude is asking $800 locally, and the amp is in Ex condit. so he says. Have'nt checked it out yet. He said it was retubed & rebiased 1-2 mos ago.

    Thoughts re: (1) Mangnavox era SVT heads in general and (2) the $$$ deal

    Andy Russ
  2. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Search for posts by Psycho Bass Guy. This topic has been discussed to death.
  3. Rock City

    Rock City

    Apr 8, 2001
    I have two Magnavox SVTs and they are the BOMB!
    Be sure to see a service invoice for the retube. If it has been tubed and properly serviced you should expect MANY years of hard use before it needs to visit the doctor! If i've been touring a lot, I take mine in just to get them cleaned and checked about
    every 6-8 months.
    Just a note; Psycho Bass Guy will argue this but.....
    I reccomend you stay away from SUPER early Linden, NJ Ampeg SVT's. The reason is that they used 6146b tubes in the power stage and can be very unreliable and even harder to find! These amps can be converted to 6550's but will cost$$$$
  4. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    Get it now! They are they amp everything else wishes it was.I have a 69.Everyone I know who had one and sold it,are still kicking themselves in the ass.If youve never played one before,when you do youll hit a couple of notes and smile.
    These amps make an electric bass a different instrument.They even change the way you play.You find yourself playing less notes,and just listening.
    You must have the SVT bottom also.At least I havent found its equivalent yet.
  5. AndyMan

    AndyMan Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 17, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks for the info guys!

    I'm picking the amp up Friday. Here are 2 jpgs, front and back.

    The best date I can come up with is '68-75.

    Andy Russ
  6. craig comparato

    craig comparato

    Oct 10, 2002
    comparing it to mine..my guess is that it's pre '73
    as mine has the plastic on/off switch and light.

    hope that helps

    I have a svt-3pro that the SVT obliterates

  7. You will not be disappointed, mine is pretty much identical but not in as good shape cosmetically. And do snag the old tubes if you can, like someone else mentioned there's a good chance you'll like them better.
  8. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    not sure but I think the black silk screen puts it no earlier than 1972. I have a 71 with blue silk screen and a 73 with black silk screen, both amps kill. They also kill my back lifting them in and out of the truck...but its worth it (and I'm a geezer). I don't know how much different the old SVTs are form the new ones, but I've heard there is a significant difference. Dennis Kager who used to build them with the old company, and who now services my amps, told me the old ones are "stiffer" sounding, not as loose as a new one and it is due (he says) to the heavier power transformer. I will not however go for the 8X10 cab...some things are just unreasonable for a man of my age and needs. I use mine with the SVT410HLF, and it sounds super. Despite any promises you may have from the seller regarding condition, don't be upset if it needs some work. I'm in NJ and there are a few guys who do good tube work here. You should find one in your area and have him go over it. I don't think your amp would be a 68...they started making them (production models anyway) in 69, and debuted them on the Stones U.S. tour. Get a piece of 1" foam rubber pad and put it between the head and the cab...it'll reduce vibration and lengthen tube life.
  9. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Two of my friends both have vintage SVT heads. One's a '69 and the other a '71 I think. They both rock. $800 seems like a good deal too.

    As for the cab to go with it, I don't think you really need a vintage 8x10. One of the dudes I know plays through a Ampeg 410HLF and it's killer. The other guy plays through 2 old school Carvin 1x15 cabs. The cabs are pretty crappy, but the rig still sounds pretty good.
  10. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    You prob already know, but just make sure your cab is not 8 ohms. The original SVT was designed to be used with two 8X10 4 ohm cabs. The SVT410HLF is 4 ohms, 400 watts RMS.
  11. gmann


    Mar 1, 2001
    The amp tech I use used to work for Ampeg. I used to have an early 70's V4B. He was able to narrow down the year to a early to middle 72 based on the plug which was a two prong. The head also had a polarity switch because of the lack of the grounded plug. It seems around late 72 on Ampeg/Magnavox switched to three prong plugs and eliminated the use of a polarity switch. Hope this helps.
  12. I "think" I've seen polarity switches on later (but still 70s) models with the 3-prong plug. If so, does the plug render the switch useless? Did Ampeg retain the switch to be consistent? Also, I'd like to contact your tech with this historical knowledge. Let me know how.
  13. Do you think anyone is still alive who would really know the details of this? I hope there is. I mean at some point there must have been at least two people involved in the change from blue to black. Maybe more if Ampeg "contracted out" faceplate work (did they?). Did the color on other models change and did the change coincide with that of the SVT?
  14. gmann


    Mar 1, 2001
    Jazzbasser I sent you a PM
  15. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Here are, as far as I know, the best sources of SVT knowledge still alive today. I've spoken with each of these guys at one time or another.

    Dennis Kager, Central Jersey Music, 1627 Rt. 27 Edison NJ 08817, 732-572-1911
    He worked in Ampeg early on, look in the Ampeg book you'll see many pics of him testing equipment. He is a wealth of knowledge, albeit a very busy man. Dennis does my amp work.

    Jess Oliver: Designed the world famous B-15 and other amps. Former Ampeg Vice President. Still plays bass in the NYC area. Now making his own line of amps.
    Oliver Sound, 225 Avoca Ave., Massapequa Park, NY 11762; phone: (516) 799-5267

    The Book: If you have an old Ampeg and don't have this book...well you aren't really an Ampegophile then. Get the book. An extensive reference to all amps, instruments, effects, and pickups from the "Amplified Peg" and Bassamp of the '40s to the high-tech SVT of the '90s is provided in technical articles, timelines and appendices. Includes tech tips and resources. Foreword by Les Paul, technical editing by Greg Gagliano. 288 pages, over 200 photos, beautiful 32-page color section. $29.95 plus $4 S&H (MO res. add 6.725% sales tax) (US orders) check or money order direct from the authors. Make check or money order payable to Gregg Hopkins and send to:
    P.O. Box 25091
    St. Louis, MO 63125

    Other great sources of knowledge:
    Gregg Hopkins and Bill Moore (both co-authors of the Ampeg Book)
    Gregg is now at Vintage Amp Restoration.
    I've bought restoration supplies from Gregg.
    PO Box 25091, St. Louis, MO 63125
    phone 1-314-631-5030

    Bill Moore:
    Bill Moore is a regular on The Bottom Line Website:

    A great web source of Ampeg info-

    Andre Audio-Tronics, 375 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036; Phone: (212) 765-4345 Fax: (212) 765-4345 was started by another ex-Ampeg employee.

    Professional Audio Services, 2031 Bridge Avenue, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742; phone: (732) 295-8690; fax: (732) 295-7140; email proaudserv@aol.com. Rich is one of the "Ampeg bretheren" behind the scenes of Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound.
  16. gmann


    Mar 1, 2001
    Hey LuckyDog'

    I have Dennis work on my stuff as well. Not only is he a wealth of info but he is a top notch tech as well. I PM'd Jazzbasser with his name and phone # also.
  17. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Gmann, are you by any chance associated with Ben of harp fame?

  18. gmann


    Mar 1, 2001
    Nah, just been around the block a few.
  19. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    OK I thought I might have recognized you by your webname
  20. craig comparato

    craig comparato

    Oct 10, 2002
    You prob already know, but just make sure your cab is not 8 ohms. The original SVT was designed to be used with two 8X10 4 ohm cabs. The SVT410HLF is 4 ohms, 400 watts RMS.

    Should i be worried about running mine with
    just one 4ohm cab? I'm planning on buying a 610HLF
    as it's less deep than the 410HLF which should allow me to shimmy it into the back door of my Jetta.

    I currently have a GK 410 cab that's 8 ohms
    and i'm definetely planning on getting the new cab
    before playing out or practicing..

    also has anyone had problems fitting a 610hlf in the back of a Jetta ;)