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RATM / Ampeg SVT-2 Pro

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SplinteredSkull, Oct 13, 2013.


  1. I love the bass tone of Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine) so I decided to see what equipment he uses. Up pops the SVT-2. I haven't heard of it before and I was wondering what some impressions of it were and how much it goes into his tone. Reviews I've seen on it are good, but they seem harder to find. I've played both the Ampeg svt-3 and svt-7 pro, neither of which I cared all that much for. However, those are both hybrid and not all tube. How does the 2 compare to those as well as how versatile it is for different genres? I know in RATM self-titled album and pre-95 Tim used a Stingray, and afterwards switched to custom Fender Jazz basses. Their is a definite difference in his sound, so I'm wondering how much the amp actually plays into his overall sound? Any amp with a warm sound and deep lows do the job?
     
  2. capcom

    capcom

    Mar 23, 2005
    You might also need some overdrive to make the sound a little bit more aggressive.
    For example both SVT3-Pro and SVT2-Pro and the old non-pro version of SVT2 has preamp tube "Drive" feature.
    Also, when pushed to limits, overdriven tube power amps gives very natural aggressiveness to the sound. I would also take this into consideration.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The SVT 2 Pro was discontinued last year, as most people prefer the tolex/grillcloth look. To me, all the all-tube SVT's are very similar as to be pretty much identical except with slightly different features. The only difference with the 2 Pro vs. the rest was the graphic EQ and the additional drive circuit. Not saying you'll sound like Tim by buying one ;) but any of the all-tube SVT's (2 Pro, SVT-CL, SVT-VR, or vintage SVT's) will get you the core of the sound Tim gets. He also uses a few pedals and several 2-Pros/810e cabs at once with different sounds. But at the end of the day, the sound comes from him and the gear isn't everything.

    The SVT 3,4 and 7 Pro, OTOH, are hybrids, meaning they have tube preamps with solid state power amps. They're great sounding in their own rights and will cop a lot of the classic tones of the tube amps to a degree, but you can tell the difference between them and an all-tube amp. And the 7 Pro, being a newer design with a lightweight power supply instead of the big power transformer of the 3 and 4 Pro, also sounds a little different than the 3 and 4 Pro.

    That isn't to say they're bad or can't get you on your way to Timdom. But despite owning a few SS amps and being happy with them for what they are, I'm an Ampeg tube snob at heart and I'll always prefer the all-tube SVTs, V4B or B-15 over anything.
     
  4. Yes his low-end can get aggressive in some songs. I wasn't sure whether to attribute this to his amp, effects, or bass but it is more than likely a combination of all three.
     
  5. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    You're forgetting that his hands account for a lot of his tone as well.
     
  6. Yea, I'm no looking to get exact, just similar. I'm not necessarily saying I'm going to go out of my way to buy an SVT-2 either. I'm just curious about the amp and if I could get a sound similar to his without it. I've always wanted to try an all-tube Ampeg; I've heard there's something magical about them. And the svt-2 pro is in a price range lower than the rest which would make it more accessible to someone like me, if in fact i tried an all tube and wanted to go that route. Was it really discontinued based on looks?
     
  7. I'm sorry if this if this sounds like another "How do i sound like ____" thread. I'm more so making an inquiry about the head and how just head itself plays a part in determining Tim's tone.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    No, it was discontinued based on sales. Most of us picked up the more traditional looking SVT's. Rackable amps just aren't as popular as they were at one time IMHO, especially 85 lb. rackable amps.
     
  9. AdamR

    AdamR

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Ive see videos of him using VRs. I believe he also uses a Clean/Dirty rig.
     
  10. Yea it's my understanding that thing weighed a ton. But besides looks and the EQ they're all essentially identical? I think it's the SVT-VR that has the same tube setup doesn't it?
     
  11. And does anyone know if the second SVT-2 is for power slaving alone, or as a second channel, or to change/enhance tone?
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    No, the SVT-CL is closer in spirit to the 2 Pro, whereas the SVT-VR is designed more like the vintage SVT's. The difference is the 2 Pro and CL have a separate gain and master volume, which allows you to not only mimic the sound and feel of the vintage heads with only a single volume knob, but it also allows you the ability to crank the gain and dial in some preamp distortion without being too loud. Not quite as awesome as power tube distortion, but will result in you not being fired for being puke-inducingly loud.

    And Tim runs like 3 different rigs all with different sounds and switches between them and/or blends them together. I think he uses like 6 different lines together between micing and DI'ing, all with different sounds.
     
  13. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    As I recall, he used 3 SVT-II Pro Premiers. Each had its own cab:
    #1 was set fairly clean, into an 8x10, and was always running
    #2 was a little dirtier, into a 4x10
    #3 was set to be very dirty, also into a 4x10.

    He used a foot switch to add #2 to the mix for a little more drive, and then also #3 for maximum nasty. A pretty cool approach!
     
  14. Ah gotcha :smug: . And maybe that's why I love the tone so much. It's just truly unique and always changing up. Guess it's time to just go off and work to create my own super special tone for playing RATM then :bassist: Haha, still get to enjoy Tim's though. And what are good prices on SVT-2s and CLs in case I run across some and like what I hear?
     
  15. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    the regular svt2 (non-pro) doesn't have a drive pot
     
  16. That is very creative, and definitely explains the massive thump of awesome
     
  17. capcom

    capcom

    Mar 23, 2005
    Ah Yes, I also just checked now, it seems it doesn't also have input gain knob.

    Thanks for correcting. I apologise for misinformation.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, the 2 Non Pro is more like the vintage SVT's with single volume. Fantastic head, too. Can't say I've ever played a bad SVT tuber unless it was broken.
     
  19. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Correct, on all accounts!
    The II Pro Premier (all 250 of them) did have gain, drive, and master volume pots. Lots of dirt is available.
     
  20. AdamR

    AdamR

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    You also need to heat your tubes with a torch before playing too, lol
    You can get a good look at his settings on his VRs eq.
     

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