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Recommended Ampeg Bass amp for the studio

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AlanCo, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. AlanCo


    Feb 5, 2016
    Hello, most Bassist I will be recording will bring their own rigs. I need a recommendation for a small, great sounding rig to mic up for those who don't. Problem is I am close to the end of the budget for the year.

    I own a Ampeg SVP preamp that sounds great but the overdriven tone sounds like mud. The tones I need are classic rock. Lately I have been listening to the bass sounds of Tom Hamilton and Dusty Hill. I know Tom usually records with a Ampeg B15. Both Tom's and Dusty's tones are heavily overdriven.

    Have been looking at an an Ampeg B15T, PF500 and even the Micro-VR head. Any recommendations? Also, what would you recommend for a cabinet? Have been looking at the PF-210HE and the PF-115HE.

    All suggestions are welcomed.
  2. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    How about the PF-20T and the 112HLF?
  3. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I'd definitely get one of those new 20 or 50w all tube heads. If it were me, I'd pair that with a 212av, but that might be bigger than you like.
    cfsporn likes this.
  4. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    Here we go;

    First, I can't comment on Mic'ing cabinets in the studio, as I have always chosen to go direct. Below I will detail the two chains I've had the most success with. Before I do let me say this... the Ampeg SVP-Pro is my FAVORITE preamp anywhere... and I've owned them all. Literally ALL of them, with the exception of the newer boutique stuff from Jule etc. It sounds to me like your preamp needs a professional retube. Just dropping 5 new tubes in that pre can have great results, or terrible results. I STRONGLY recommend you get it professionally retubed before you consider anything else...when that unit is operating properly its very VERY tough to beat. If you decide you're done with it, I'll buy it.

    Here are the signal chains I've had great success with in the studio;

    The "Cover all bases" setup:
    1. Channel A: Bass plugged directly into an A-Designs REDDI, Groove Tubes Brick or any quality DI, straight into the board
    2. Channel B: Parallel out from the DI to a Sansamp Programmable Bass Driver DI (with three different levels of overdrive), Wet out to the board.
    3. Channel C: Dry (unaffected) out from the sansamp to either an Ampeg SVP-Pro or Ampeg SVT-7Pro EQ'ed with my favorite tone, DI out to the board
    We would start with a mix of A&C to get the tone that worked best for the track, and we could mix in whatever amount of the Dirty Channel B we wanted without having to re-track. I got GREAT results with this. Bear in mind, all 3 signals went into the board parallel, 3 separate tracks in protools using individual track gain to mix. All 3 signals went to a sidechain compression loop with a Purple Audio Leveling Amplifier.

    The Rock or Metal setup:
    1. Channel A: Bass to a Radial Rack Splitter, side one straight to the Ampeg SVP-Pro with the gain set high enough to get some good dirt, bass slightly boosted, mids boosted at setting 2 (or less often, 1) and all highs cut via the graphic EQ.
    2. Channel B: Radial split side two to a Sansamp Bass Driver DI, Bass and Treble boosted, with a judicious amount of presence set in... and PLENTY of drive to give that klank and grind.
    Both signals into the board in parallel and two separate tracks in protools. This allows for that dirty grind that defines the bass well in a dense guitar mix, but the notes never get lost or indistinct. For an EXCELLENT representation of what this kind of setup sound like check out this TRACK. You can clearly hear the two different signals with 2 different overdrive and eq setups.

    There are TONS of people who will disagree with me, but I always found mic'ing cabs to be more trouble than they're worth. Most of the time it just muffled up my signal, and mic placement with 2-way cabs (cabs with tweeters) always caused frustration. The only time it could be worth it to me to mic a cab would be if the client wanted a VERY specific sound, like the B-15 sound, which is famous. You have an AWESOME preamp there, if you cant swing any of the above (or dont want to), there are plenty of ways to Reamp the DI signal from that Preamp into any cabinet you like, in fact that would probably be preferable. None of the other amps you mentioned are likely to give you a better sound, especially if you're trying to get a lot of overdrive without using effects.

    Hope this helps!!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    spankdaplank likes this.
  5. High Camp

    High Camp

    Oct 3, 2013
    Ultimately the PF50T with the PF115HE, otherwise the PF20T with the PF115HE.
    Second preferred cab is the SVT210AV, IMHO YMMV
  6. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Ampeg B100R if you can't ge a B15
    KF2B, Bobby Bass and corndog like this.
  7. jbd5015


    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    B15 or PF50T. The PF50T is going to give you the DI signal very similar to the REDDI as well as being able to give you a post transformer DI without having a speaker hooked up. Obviously you can have a speaker hooked up to mic as well.

    I pair my PF50 with a 212AV and its a great live rig for my needs.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sure, Ampeg's tube amps are the best way to go, but heads like the Micro VR or PF350 are pretty good alternatives on a budget. Or even you preamp and a power amp into a good small cab will work well, though I'm not sure if it does distortion.
  9. AlanCo


    Feb 5, 2016
    Hello my friends. Thank you for all the great suggestions! The PF50T looks killer but with a cab it might be out of my price range at the moment. Found a good deal on a Ampeg B100R and a killer deal on a Ampeg B50R I might pickup just to have laying around the studio.

    Pablomigrains post got me thinking I might be going in the wrong direction. I am running the Ampeg SVP preamp into an 1176 compressor into the DA converters. Sounds fantastic and feels great too! Since the studio just got moved, I've been trying to dial in sounds to increase my workflow.

    Now I've been using Dusty and Tom's Bass sounds just as a starting reference to quickly dial up tones. I've nailed their tone except for three things. #1 the gain. Even when the gain is cranked on the SVP and input is clipping, it's about half as much over drive as they are using. #2 room ambience. You can hear that it's mic'ed because of the room ambience and it just sits in the mix a little better. That's why I want to mic a cab. #3 High end "clank". Both of these sounds has a high end "clank". You can really hear their strings rattling across the frets. I think it has more to do with the amount of distortion going on with the upper harmonics than a horn in a cabinet. Don't believe they used a cab with a horn.

    What about running a Bass overdrive pedal into the front of the SVP? SVP out to power amp/speakers and mic that up. Any recommendation on pedals that won't screw the tone up? Any other suggestion's? What am I over looking? Thanks for all the help, Alan.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sure, I love a good dirt pedal.
  11. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    PM me...

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