Reason to buy V4B over SVT?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BigBadBen67, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. BigBadBen67

    BigBadBen67 Supporting Member

    Hey guys,

    I’ve been shopping for a new amp and have been lurking around this site doing research.

    I know the best way to buy an amp is to grab your bass and go try them out. But living up in the northeast US that’s easier said than done, though I’ll probably hoof it down to Boston or Albany if I can find some I can try out there.

    I know I want a tube amp because I just love that classic tube sound. I’m looking hard at the Ampeg SVT-CL and the V4B. I think the V4B might be perfect, but, you know, what bass player doesn’t secretly long for an SVT?

    I’m a big guy and I could really care less about the weight. So that’s not a factor. And I want to just spend what I need to and get the amp that will suit me best.

    I can get a new V4B for $1300. It seems there are any number of used SVT-CLs in good condition for about $1000.

    So here’s my real question: I get that they are both great. But for a player who never intends to play more than smallish outdoor shows and medium clubs, is there anything about the V4B that would make it better than the SVT? All other things being equal is there anything that would make the V4B preferable over the SVT?

    I should say that my playing style tends more towards the blues (think Duck Dunn) so I would want the volume I get to be loud but not terribly overdriven. I tend to want a rich, clean tone more than an overdriven rock tone.
  2. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    That sounds like an SVT-CL to me. Mine can get stupid loud while staying clean by diming the master volume, and controlling overall volume with the gain. To thicken it up a bit, turn the master down and give it more gain.
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    If you want big clean tube warmth the SVT is the way to go.

    Benefit of the V4B is that it’s half the weight and works well with 8 ohms cabs.

    There are other options out there as well, but there are always used SVT-CL/VR/2/etc amps available on the used market. Benefit of being a big name and known commodity.

    Personally I like having one of each. Options are nice.
    saabfender likes this.
  4. Ed Byrnes

    Ed Byrnes Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    Weight was a big issue for me and it seems like every where we play there is FOH support, so headroom wasn't a big issue, so I went with the V-4B. Also, the warm slightly overdriven tone I get with the gain at 9 and the volume at 12-1 works for the blues/rock band I play with. That said, if weight is no issue for you, and the cost is a push (Used V 4-Bs are available for $800-900), I'd go SVT-CL.
    drumvsbass likes this.
  5. BigBadBen67

    BigBadBen67 Supporting Member

    Thanks guys. Kinda confirms what I suspected -that the SVT is the way to go. And honestly, can you really go wrong with an SVT? Sometimes the old ways are the best.

    I appreciate the helpful replies.
  6. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I have had both and think the V4B worked slightly better tone wise.
    OTOH, I bought used for $200 in the 70's and it just didn't have enough clean power for use with smaller cabinets.
    SVT for the win; the 84 lbs. does get old after about the 10th time for a 2:00 AM load out.
  7. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    I have owned both, several times. I honestly think that the V4B, even though I don't use mine all the time as I have several other all-tube heads, is probably the one that I would keep if I had to choose. Why? - I can make it loud with more cabs, weight is a plus, tone is reasonably versatile but sit-in-the-mixability is extremely high, and while it never draws attention to itself I can always rely on it to get the job done and make me play better because it gives me some sort of indefinable confidence.
    This little homily, inspired by a bottle of good wine, has just made me realise I should use my V4B more often.
    mattwear, ThinCrappyTone and P-oddz like this.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Clean volume for mid size clubs and outdoor gigs sounds more SVT than V4B to me.

    Expected advantages of V4B: No fan noise, 8 ohm speaker tap, gets tubey at lower volume, less weight, less baked in low mid boost, cheaper to maintain.

    Expected advantages of SVT: Louder, more baked in low mid boost.
  9. BigBadBen67

    BigBadBen67 Supporting Member

    Whew, ok. Trigger pulled. I ordered the SVT-CL (and one of those new 212AV cabs that I've been itching to try).

    Now I can't wait to get it in and make some noise!

    One last question -It looks like the SVT-CL can do 1/4" or Speakon connections but the cab can only do 1/4". Any recommendations for cables? Is there a benefit to doing a Speakon to 1/4" or should I just stick to 1/4" on both ends? And does shielded vs non-shielded really make a difference? The manual says not to use shielded.

    Who's making the best cables these days?
    orik, Madhouse27 and rickdog like this.
  10. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Speaker cables are not shielded.

    On this amp, speakon isn't really necessary, and as you said the 212AV does not have the jacks.

    I have speaker cables from a dozen different brands, they all work. For a short run basically anything you can buy in a music store should be fine.
    MobileHolmes and Ed Byrnes like this.
  11. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi BigBadBen67 :)

    If you want loud get a V4B. :D

    If you want louder get an SVT. :laugh:

    I don' t :laugh: I am gasing for a V4B (even clean it' s freakin' loud!) but this is not about me!!!

    Get your SVT and shake the earth! :thumbsup:


    oups too late! you ordered :smug:
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
    joeypee and drumvsbass like this.
  12. P-oddz


    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    This thread illustrates GAS at its fiercest and finest.

    OP asks question at 5:30.
    Three responses later, he's convinced of what he already knows in his mind.
    Trigger pulled on shiny new thing by the next morning. ;)

    Congrats on the new amp, and the 212 cab rocks, IMO. You'll enjoy it very much.
  13. Blaze Barlow

    Blaze Barlow

    Mar 8, 2018
    Nashville is the deal my friend..I am an ampeg player and I will give you the low down on whats going some will come out here and try and give you specific this and that about the two amps..but I am going to tell you like it is..both are good just costs less money and has less power..the other costs more money and has more power..and that is it..some of the older ampeg heads did not have both a gain and a master knob..I would want one that had both of those new if you can afford it..the warranty is worth it..some of the older ones can be a money pit..actually I am using a SVT Pro 4......3 tubes in the preamp..mosfet on the output stage..
    Ed Byrnes likes this.
  14. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Enjoy your new amp. Having an amp with a warranty is better than used. The SVT-212AV is a very good sounding cab. Two are even better than one.

    If given a choice, I would go with a speakon to ¼” cable. I like the locking capability of the speakon. Buy a good quality cable with Neutrik connectors. Get it just long enough for your needs.

    Here is one example:
    Pro Co S14NQ 6 6 ft Excellines Speakon to 1 4 TS Speaker Cable | Full Compass
  15. Joth


    Apr 22, 2007
    I have both a SVT and V4B from '78 (ahem and a V4 too) and they're close enough in weight that one might as well drag out the SVT, V4B is nice but SVT is just more of everything. I will say I personally prefer the V4B to be set up with 6550's, I did a bit of a shootout with mine against a Bassman135 (both set up with 6L6) and the 135 gave the V4B a run for its money, surprisingly, I expected the V4B to have the upper hand there.
  16. jeffb28451


    Aug 6, 2006
    Leland NC
    Our bassists v4b was unreliable, and had quite a warm sound, as I remember,but that was 20 years ago. For the price difference it would have to be SVT and NO, I won’t help carry it.
  17. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    The speaker cable is just a length of wire to transmit serious voltage to the cabinet. Not too much magic here, anything will do. Speaker cables have more diameter than instrument cables. They don't care about noise, so they are not shielded.
    I myself use 1/4" to speakon if the amp has speakon - for one simple reason: I won't plug the speakon cable into the line out and the IEM mixer into the speaker out by accident.
  18. Inky13


    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    They are both great amps but I think you made the smart choice.
    Nobody ever wished they had less power. :cool:
    BigBadBen67 likes this.
  19. sowilson


    Jul 5, 2013
    V4B and 2x12 Ampeg (gets dirty at lower volume)
    SVT and Fridge (gets dirty at higher volume - plus it's great exercise)
    or both of the above (link them, have fun, be loud)
    Fenderer Super Bassman 300 and 6x10 neo (same power as SVT but much lighter) - great sound too
    Jule 700 Tardis Monique or Monique Dovecage and M700 poweramp plus Bergantino HDN212 ( Wonderful tube goodness but much cleaner than the Ampeg) nice, light wonderful cab for the win. (Could also use Alembic Preamp).
  20. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I've been to many concerts where I wished the band had less power.
    AndyPanda and Inky13 like this.