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Pls Help! Need more head room from SVT VR

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by twonky, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. twonky


    Jun 8, 2006
    Ok, so I got the SVT VR and the SVT 810 AV cabinet about a month ago.

    I love this rig, mostly.

    I should also preface this post by stating that this is my first tube amp. I have been reading as much as I can about them, but it very possible that I am missing some fundementals. So any help/opinions is/are appreciated.

    So, I am playing in a rock band, a LOUD, ****ing rock band. Both guitar players are using full stacks and the sound is...well, loud.

    I love the way my rig sounds w/ the volume at about 11 o'clock, treb at 12, mid and bass at 2-3 oclock. The ultra and the mid are flat and the ultra high is off.

    the problem is that I must turn the volume up to about 2-3 o'clock to be heard. So, I try and back the eqs down accordingly but at some point w/ this amp, when you crank the volume it just turns into super compressed overdrive and looses punch.

    So, my question is this:

    Asisde from getting a 2nd cabinet, is there anyway, by switching tubes or something, that I can achieve at least some clean headroom at higher volumes?

    I think the amp is shipped w/ 6550s.

    Thanks again for any help

  2. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    You COULD go with KT-88s, and bias it cooler to get some more headroom, and also swap out the 12AX7s for 5751s or 12AT7s, but that's a non master volume amp, so the only way to get more clean volume is probably with another 8x10 (yes, i'm dead serious).
  3. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Are you a big fan of the 810e? I recently sold mine for two
    410hlf's and I like how the lows are cleaner, the mids are more pronounced, and the highs are clearer. I still have some of that 810e sound in the 410's, but the improved clarity across all frequency ranges has made me much happier when playing my 5 string.

    Besides that, what kind of bass are you using? What are the tone settings on the bass? What kind of cable are you using? Did you flip the switch on the back of the VR so it will put out 4 ohms at 300 watts instead of 2 ohms? Are you hooking up the VR to the 810e the wrong way? The VR only does 2 or 4 ohm loads, not 8 ohm load by itself. Verify that and let us know.
  4. aniki


    Aug 12, 2005
    Hey welcome to my world :)
    I totally know exactly what you mean. I play in a v loud/heavy band too & this is the exact reason why I cant use all-valve amps any more. They all do this once pushed to the absolute limit.
    I ended up having to slave my Orange to a SS power amp for extra headroom. Which eventually led me to hybrid
    In your situation the only thing I would do first is to cut your bass eq back to about 12o'clock or a bit less as you may be wasting a bit of power unnecessarily due to the cabs 'middy' preferences.
    After that, either more 'surface area' or more watts required IMO
    Good luck
  5. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Personally, I like the way tube amps overdrive. Am I the only one?
  6. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I think if you're playing at bone-crushing volume, all bets are off.

    I've never had to run my SVT past 11 o'clock.... and have plenty of headroom. I hope you guys are wearing some ear protection - serously.
  7. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    I'm with ya Ox.

    Any time I have a problem like this, I always blame the guitarist.

    So... are the two full stacks, cranking they're bass knobs to 10, by any chance?
    If they're stepping all over your frequency, get them to stop.
  8. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I know this is zero help but,

    If I couldn't get to where I was going with an SVT and an 8x10. I'd be going somewhere else.

    Take care of those ears. They won't grow back.
  9. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Lower your bass and hit them in the mid!

    Seriously. If you have too much bass going on, the amp will distort earlier. Also, bass can muddy up your tone, having to also put more highs or high mids to clear it up.

    Put the bass knob at 0, then add some mids.. you might start hearing yourself again in the mix. Try playing with that, until you have a good tone.
  10. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    100% true to what everyone said. If the 810 and the tube amp can't cut it in a rock band, it's the guitarists and drummer who are screwing you up. Probably the guitarists are down tuned - with the bass knob all the way up and likely very little midrange and cranked highs.

    Hearos Hi-Fidelity ear plus drop all sound levels down 15dbs and allow you too hear your rig really well. I can always hear the lows, mids and highs of my rig with these ear plugs on. There is not much, if any, of a sound difference with these ear plugs and your normal ears. The only difference is the volume your ears get. They work great in many different situations.
  11. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005

    NOooooo you are not.

    sounds like this guy needs some super efficient cabs.

    Maybe two omni 15s staked in a line array

    Or prehaps a omni 10 with w titan 39 underneath

    or maybe a DR top with a tuba bottom

    All the above are horn loaded bill fitzmaurice designs

    which are designed to make a lot of sound from not a lot of watts.

    Other than that I'd change your Preamp tubes to be as hot and clean as possible - 5751 might do the trick but they do kill the highs a bit. noticeably? who knows.

    Or - and you DO NOT want to hear this - maybe you need an amp that is designed for massive cleans

    might I reccommend the Carvin B1500? ;)
  12. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005
    After reading your first post again it definitely sounds like you might be looking for sounds out of another type of amp.

    Though I really would look into some of bill's designs as they have been known to "put out" in a very good way.

    on a side note - I just bought a pair of the Hearos Hi-Fi

    I'm so anti ear plugs it's not funny but if I want to keep making music I'm going to have to compromise right?

    Gearhead17, if they suck at the hi-fi thing- I blame you :D
  13. Zharlon

    Zharlon From Ice Station Zebra....to Deep Charch 9

    Apr 19, 2003
    Northwest U.S.A.
    reading your post is kinda depressing in a way....

    I learned the hard way thats it's MUCH easier changing tubes than changing the attitude of loud guitarists, let alone 2 FULL stack meatheads....

    Over the years it became very apparent to me how much mo betta a group plays together, when the volume floor is lowered...All that volume muddies up more than just the sound....it also loosens up the groove......my theory was the powerful sound waves scramble the thought process just a bit..

    I'd would suggest a strategy to employ against the guitarists in an effort to get em to turn down a bit, but somehow I have a feeling it would be futile....(sorry, but i mean...2 FULL stacks? honestly thats kinda laughable)
  14. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005
    Especially considering there are ways out there to nix at least one of the 412's for each guitarist and maintain the same volume.

    I thought the 80s was over ;)
  15. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    Several good points made here... I'll echo the one's I'd run with and add.

    First, for sure... flatten out the bass EQ. It will eat up your power and cause earlier breakup.

    With the volume at 3 o'clock, it's going to be a dirty sound, that's the amp (and why most like it/the original). I've found with mine, that there's not a huge volume difference between the volume at 11 o'clock and 2, the tone just changes, try moving it back a little. You'll get a cleaner tone that will actually cut through a little better, which equals more perceived volume.

    Get the guitars to turn down a little if you can. If you're that loud... well it's fun but you won't be able to hear your wife when you're 50 (though maybe that's a bonus).

    Here's the last thought... proximity. A full stack of 4x12 cabs sits higher and points right at your head. Assuming you're a person of average height, your 810 is probably a little shorter than you... move your cab accross the room so that you're 10-12 feet away from it. The low end will open up more (you wont miss having brought down the low EQ knob) and you'll be in a part of the room where you're rig is louder.

    and if that doesn't work... 2 810's looks reaaaallly f***ing cool! :smug:
  16. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    BassJunkie730 - Don't worry, the ear plugs work really well and they don't give that blanketed effect that so many other plugs give you. The cheapo Hearos (20 pack and they are like $5) blanket the sound and kill the lows, mids and high terribly. I could not hear a damn thing I played with those things on. Anyway, I compared the sound of my rig with my ears plugged (Hi-Fi Hearos) and unplugged (m naked ears) - it's pretty close. Slight change yes, but why pay $200 or more for custom ear plugs when this $12 solution is just awesome? They really save your ears. Put them in your ear slowly and pull them out slowly, otherwise they can be a bit uncomfortable.
  17. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Hearos (the nice ones that run about $15 at Guitar Center) aren't completely flat, but they are pretty darned close. I have recently become a HUGE fan of them. Loud rock band gigs now sound like a reasonable db level. From here on out I am using them for every gig other than low level acoustic stuff. I can actually hear well enough to intonate on fretless improv stuff. I am actively encouraging every musician I personally know to get a pair.

    On topic. Tell the idjits in that act to turn down. Way down. If the guitarists want the tone of their amps when driven hard, tell them that they need small cabs to keep the volume level down. A single 212 is all any guitarist, even the loud ones, ever need. If they refuse or if they insist on ganking their eq in your frequency ranges, then walk off the act. It is a complete waste of time to try and play with gui****s that refuse to take the overall mix into account.

    Just my $.02, but I am right.
  18. Zharlon

    Zharlon From Ice Station Zebra....to Deep Charch 9

    Apr 19, 2003
    Northwest U.S.A.
    +1 ..you are right.... I get a funny mental image of watching those 2 guitarists drag all that amp to a bar gig "dude, the chicks will really think I'm cool with 7 feet of amp behind me"
  19. syciprider

    syciprider Inactive

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Goodness, I can't imagine how loud this act could be.
  20. Your post is reminiscent of a gig the other night. We were playing a party gig, and we turned up really loud. Being in a garage, the sound was reverberating all over the place and generally louder than it would be at most other places with more space. Anyway, we get going and even though the guitar and bass amps are up pretty high all we could hear was the drums. We totally screwed the first two songs. Amazingly, my suggestion of turning down made it so that we could hear everything well, and the soundguy in the audience (running the vox) said we sounded much better. Sometimes you just gotta turn down. Maybe this example is a bit extreme; someone said that on the way to the party they could hear us inside of their car a number of blocks away. Kind scary considering that I accidentally left the ear plugs at home that night.
    I was using my 400+ with NV 610, guitarist was using some sort of 100 watt tube head with my 215 cab. Not quite a full stack, but damn close.

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