SansAmp RBI vs. Ampeg SVPreamp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Uberfist, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. Uberfist


    Sep 21, 2006
    Greetings all,

    I'm new to the forum but was told this is the place to be if I was a Bass enthusiast. So here I am.:hyper:

    Question: I'm currently using a SansAmp RBI as a preamp but I'm interested in the Ampeg SVPreamp. Anyone out there that has owned both that can give me the "A/B" and which one they prefer?

  2. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    RBI > SVTpro IMO
    The SVTpro I bought went back in the box and returned within 5 minutes of receiving it. Too noisy, hiss,distortion etc. The RBI just plain sounds better. If you must go with an Ampeg pre, I would suggest the SVPCL.
  3. Ive heard that the problem with the SVP Pros can be sorted with a valve change, granted its not something you should have to do, but apparently it works
  4. pedulla1


    May 14, 2005

    I tried the tube changes (used Ruby tubes) but to no avail. Still distorted easily with no headroom. When I first got the SVP it sounded great but after about 3yrs it started distorting and hissing. Traded it for an RBI and tried it at home. Sounds tight in the low end but it is not for me. I carry it in my gig bag as a backup (I have an Aguilar DB680). I also own a Navigator that I have trouble getting to cut through even with the eq flat. After getting the Aggie I was free to get rid of the SVP. It was no contest.
  5. CBBass123


    Oct 18, 2005
    <this is my experience only!>
    Currently own RBI...Owned SVP-CL new for 4 days. I just returned the SVP-CL for full refund yesterday. Setup: ibanez sr506bm/srx505,QSC RMX 1450, Avatar 410, Avatar 115. I set it up in my rack expecting to do quick dials before my gig. No dice. I could not get this thing to cut through my two guitarists. I had the master 100% 75/80% up with plenty of peaking...power amp was at 1:00 cranked up. I could feel the bass in my body...but could not hear it and neither could my bandmates. I had to swap back to my RBI and BAM! RBI with drive almost all down...master set at 12:30 and power amp volume set at 10:00 is a$$ to wall loud.
    <this is my experience only!>
  6. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Inactive

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    RBI=the best solid state SVT faker on the market.

    Much the same way the Roland organs blew away the Hammond made B3 fakes for years, just because it says Ampeg does not mean it will sound like one.
  7. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    Same here. Sent the SVP CL back and I have an RBI and RPM into Aguilar DB728's - this is the super SVT!!! Just make sure you do it justice and pair it with a high quality power amp.

  8. brothernewt

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

    Apr 13, 2004
    Gladstone, OR
    I had both for a while... both great preamps but I sold the RBI pretty quickly, I much prefer the Ampeg (SVP-Pro and CL). The RBI was versatile and had some great OD/distortion sounds. It overdrives in a nasaly guitar kind of way (that's a good thing IMO) but to my ears, was very clicky/nu-metal sounding. If I played fingerstyle only and with a light touch, I'm sure I'd like it more. I found it to be the most noisy and hissy of the three.

    The SVP-Pro gets a fat warmer midrangey OD, no harsh click but still a sharp attack. Much better for my heavy handed, often with a pick style. Mine was noisy but arrived with all 12ax7 tubes (supposed to have a 12au7 in v4). Once that tube was changed (others left original) it was clean, quiet and very usable. Plenty of headroom. Was my sound and my favorite 'till...

    The SVP-CL is very rich and punchy, no OD but sounds great... perfect preamp sound to me, as close as an all tube Ampeg as you can get without an all tube Ampeg. My favorite pre, and even though I'm a lucky man and have now a brand new all tube SVT-VR, I'll probably be keeping the CL for direct recording and when I'm too old to carry the beast anymore...

    If you're interested in the SVP-Pro/CL, buy one here used... try it for a while, get a feel for it. You can keep the one you like better and sell the other for pretty reasonable price here, Craigslist, or Evilbay.

    good luck
  9. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Good lord.
  10. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    :D oh yeah!

    BTW, I have not experienced any of the noise problems that others have mentioned, even at high gain settings and stupidly loud volumes. :smug:

  11. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    I have no experience with the RBI.

    In addition to an Eden WT-500 and Yamaha PB-1, I've had an SVP-Pro for several years now. I bought the Ampeg for those times when I wanted a sound with some overdriven tube grind, and I'm pretty happy with the sound.

    IMO, the SVP-Pro is not significantly more noisy than the others noted above. Perhaps I should also mention that I've found that SVP's rotary EQ section takes some twiddling to get the tone you are after, as the tone controls are interactive and there doesn't seem to be a flat setting to begin with. Definitely dig that Drive control....
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I own an RBI, and like it fairly well. But it doesn't really convince me that it has tubes in it. Nice in its own way, though.

    I have not tried any of the Ampeg preamps in a long time, but the clips on basstasters have me very interested in trying them. The clean tone on the CL sounds great! But no overdrive from the CL? Bummer.

    Oh, and have you posted any more detailed reviews of the SVT-VR? I may have missed that, if you did.

  13. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Never tried the Ampeg pre's but I love my RBI, while it doesn't quite nail that tube tone it definitely warms the tone up a bit which is really all I'm looking for. Never had a single problem out of mine and I've had it in my rack for almost a year now and it's seen quite a bit of use.

    You might try doing a search on those Ampeg pre's because I seem to remember seeing quite a few threads on here with people having issues with them being noisey and not putting out a hot enough signal.
  14. Daytona955i


    Feb 17, 2005
    Albany, NY
    I haven't found a sound from my SVP Pro that I didn't like or didn't think was useful to some different part of music. The gain and drive knobs together can create some nasty (good) OD and all out distortion as well, and once you find the mid range you want, the mids knob basically turns into a cut through knob, you want to be heard, turn it clockwise, walking over everyone else? turn it counter clockwise.

    I can hear everything I do over some full stacks and a drummer that can make you go deaf by himself.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I own both. I'm keeping 'em, because I like 'em a lot.

    RBI: with a four-band EQ it's fairly versatile, tonally, but the tube emulation (controlled by Blend) has a mid scoop... that's part of the "SansAmp sound", which not everyone cares for. With everything flat and Blend maxxed, the mid scoop is prominent... somewhat like Ampeg Ultra-Lo switch. I keep Blend at 40-50% because I usually don't like a severe mid scoop. Also, IME the RBI is best used with milder overdrive. With a hot bass and Drive cranked the distortion can sound harsh. But in the right environment when I tweak settings just so (subtle OD), I can get the sound of warm power tubes (run slightly in the red).

    The SVP-Pro has the amazing Ampeg EQ section: three contour switches (ultra-lo, ultra-hi, bright), treble, bass, and the wonderful five-position midrange control. There's also a 9-band graphic EQ but I never use it: it's solid state and sounds horrible when clipped. IMO the SVP gives very good overdrive *and* distortion. Distortion is achieved by cranking Drive and Gain and running the unit with the clip light flashing constantly or even full on. The distortion isn't as buzzy or harsh as most because some treble is rolled off when the Drive control is cranked... a nice idea.

    It might sound like I favor the SVP-Pro. It does have more versatility in terms of EQ and overdrive/distortion. But the RBI has it's own range of tones. I tend to use the RBI for modern shimmery gritty kinds of overdrive... songs by Nickelback, Godsmack. For warmer phatter tones I use the SVP. But that's just personal preference; I have no problem using either in any situation.

    P.S. I've read about noise problems with the SVP-Pro, but mine doesn't have any. There is a bit of hiss compared to the nearly silent RBI, but it's not significant. FWIW I bought mine used, and it had been retubed by its previous owner. I do not know if a noise problem existed before the retube.
  16. bebass

    bebass Sho Me Music Commercial User

    Sep 3, 2006
    Bolivar, Missouri
    Authorized dealer for Bergantino, Dingwall, Genzler, Phil Jones Bass, Cort, Traynor
    I have no experience with the Ampeg pre.
    But the RBI I have is a really good preamp. Good range of tones. You have to be careful with the setup, but when you are, it sounds amazing. The only drawback, which is a drawback with ANY single channel device, is using an active and passive bass in one gig. Totally different adjustment with my active Cirrus, my Dillion Pbass copy, and my Kramer metal-neck.
    I say get an RBI and a lightweight power amp and you are good-to-go with most any cab.
  17. Uberfist


    Sep 21, 2006
    WOW! You guys kick butt! I'm gonna stay with my RBI.

    ...if it aint broke...

    Thanks everyone.
  18. GaryM


    Jul 28, 2006
    Dundee, UK
    In case you were wondering what i_got_a_mohawk was on about I just asked the same question on another forum.
  19. MotorTed


    Apr 16, 2006
    CT, USA
    The only time I didn't like my SVP-pro is when I was playing through a 410 with a tweeter and I engaged either the bright or the ultra Hi button by accident. (it's the one next to the mute button on the bottom row). It sounded harsh but I found it sounded great through an 810 without a tweeter.

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