Original 70's Ampeg V4B or Newer model?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tajue17, May 11, 2018.

  1. I found matching 1970's Magnavox era V4-B with 4x12 that says its been completely gone thru including new casters and handle on the cab and speakers are all new 300watt eminence.. I'm wondering if Id be better off with a brand new set up I think both would be in the same price range,,,, if I bought a new one it would be the 2x12 cab because I don't really need a big one its just for jamming in the house I don't think I'd be hauling anything..

    not completely dead set on this ampeg setup but its been something I've been wondering about,,, I like the tube sound and use a 51 bass so retro is still in with me 8^)..

    what would you do?
    ToddOfThunder likes this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That's a tough call. Let's bring in the guy with the thing who knows about the junk and stuff.

  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You could make a case for both. Personally, I think they sound pretty much the same and the newer one is considerably lighter. But I totally get the appeal of vintage gear, too.
    rodl2005 and ToddOfThunder like this.
  4. colantalas


    Mar 26, 2014
    Not to hijack the thread but does the reissue have the same kind of breakup the original does? I love my early 70s V4B but haven't had a chance to try the new version and have always loved the distortion sound of the V4B.
    ToddOfThunder likes this.
  5. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    The advantage of a V4B is that you can get the grind at a lower volume than an SVT that comes with a pushed 100 watter.

    Sonically, the V4BR was based on a magical sounding 1974 V4B. The reissue is not the same design because different tubes are used. It has some good design features to make the amp quieter, easier to service, and less costly to retube.

    I have a fantastic sounding 1974. The restoration was costly in terms of my hours and parts. It’s better than new, I’ve modded it. Anyone that wants a vintage V4B try to find one that has been well maintained and it’s up to spec. Fixing one can be expensive, even a money pit if you are paying a tech to do the work.

    Otherwise, the new reissue is the best way to go. It won’t have issues and comes with a warranty. It has a dreamy Ampeg tone as well.
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
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  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I haven't played an old one for a couple decades (used to have a Black Line V4B), but nothing about the new one sounds unfamiliar to me, even the breakup modes.
    ToddOfThunder likes this.
  7. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I think the BGM review said the sound at the onset of distortion is slightly different, but not wildly so. Can't pull up the review now. I really don't think you could go wrong either way, though if cost differences were negligible between a vintage V4/4x12 and V4B-RI/2x12 I would go new. Get the warranty, get a more useful cab (I really like the new 12AV cabs with these amps), and not have to deal with any unknowns from restoration/repair on the vintage amp. For reference, I have a 73 V4 now and have had a few of the vintage ones in the past, but haven't owned the new reissue, only played in stores.
    ToddOfThunder likes this.
  8. okay I'll pass on the original I found, its in the bostons craiglist if anyone wants to check it out but will hold out for a reissue local V4B,,, I think if I was doing a lot of solo stuff and really wanted a certain vintage sound it would matter but for what I'm doing I'll take the warranty and reliability over vintage in this case,,,,,, based on the cost mentioned to maintain an original.

    thanks for the posts everyone!
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  9. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
    I think this comparison is more apples and oranges than one would expect. I played through the reissue a couple of times - admittedly not in a gig context. That said, I was not particularly impressed with it. I have a tendency to judge everything by my 70s V4 and V4B, or my '72 SVT, if we're in that neighborhood. The reissue doesn't, to my ears, sound like it was voiced to be a V-Series amp. It's more than just the grind. There is something special about the midrange section in those amps. The new ones have slightly different mid frequency shift points than the originals. Is that what I'm hearing (or not hearing)? I don't know. I also don't know if the same transformers are being used. I would tend to doubt it, and that plays a huge part in the overall character of an amp. There is a roughly 23 pound difference between the old V4B, at 64lbs and the reissue at 41lbs. The most likely place for that kind of weight to be lost is in the transformer iron, although the chassis of the original could certainly be a factor as well. As noted above, the tube complement is different - another grey area.
    If the original has been maintained properly, I wouldn't think twice about buying it. They typically list for around $700 - less if it is due for a cap job. Most of the ones I see for sale have been serviced already, so that might not even be an issue. The 800 pound gorilla in the room is that with the reissue, you are still spending $1200-$1300 for an amp that is built in China.
    I'm not saying that the reissue is bad amp - I haven't spent enough time with one to make that determination. I just don't think one can be equated with the other, because there are way too many variables.
  10. ToddOfThunder


    Feb 9, 2016
    What did you end up doing?