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So how "underpowered" is the SVT 3 pro?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jiant., Jan 30, 2005.

  1. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    In light of me wanting an Ampeg tube amp, I've started to look at this one quite a bit. When some of you guys say that it is "underpowered" what is that compared to? Will it sound softer than the Behringer that I'm using now? Would I be better off going for the B2-R or some other solid-state with just as much wattage? Thanks and God Bless.
  2. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    It would help if you told us your requirements are. For example, do you play in a small jazz trio or a metal band with two full guitar stack, or somewhere in between.
  3. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    I play in a melodic rock(heavier melodic stuff) group. I'm up against 1 Marshall 100w (solid state) half stack and a 50w tube Fender Bassman through a 2x10, although in a month or so this setup will become a 120w crate full stack. There are a few places we play that we don't have PA support, but for most shows we do.
  4. well if you are going to use a full stack 410+115 or 2x 410 etc. the volume will be enough. with a smaller cab setup it might be trouble or u might have to eq alot to make yourself heard.
    i used my swr as a preamp into the svt3 at a tour with another band with great results. the amp itself is abit muddy but some people get great sounds out of it.
    don´t expect more volume from the svt3 than from a b-2r but just alittle bit more headroom and abilitys too boost the bass if u want to.
  5. You don't say what cabs you will be using, but I tried 410+115 (both 8ohms which equals 4 ohms), and a 410hlf (4 ohms) and this amp did not/does not have "it". I found it very hard to get "my" sound out of it, and although the volume was cranked, was still not very loud. If you are stuck on Ampeg, look at the SVT, but I would pass on the Pro III. I traded a B5r for the Pro 3, which I traded against a Yorkville XS800. Haven't looked back since.
  6. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    IIRC, the svt 3 pro is somethig liek 350 or 400 watts into 4 ohms, and can't handle a 2 ohm load. to get the max out of it you need to be using a 4 ohm load, preferably four tens, two twelves, two tens and a fifteen, etc. as far as it being "underpowered" i think what people refer to is that ampeg may have been a bit generous with the stated power rating. i recall it being about as loud as an swr 400 or eden 400. back in the day, a trace elliot smx 300 absolutley killed all of those amps volume wise. TE was more conservative with the wattage rating. in fact the TE 300 was a heck of a lot louder than an SWR sm-900! there are a lot of ways to measure wattage, as in you can "fudge" the data quite a bit. an amp may be 400 watts, but at what frequency? it might be 400 watts at 1 kHz, but not at 40 Hz.

    probably the loudest amp you're up against is the 50 watt tube fender. (tube amps tend to be louder than their ss cousins). it's generally thought that to compete all out with a guitar player you'll need four to ten times the wattage that they have. that's because bass frequencies take more wattage to reproduce well, and that at most volumes the human ear doesnt hear lower freqencies as well as midrange ones.

    keep in mind that every time you double your wattage you only get a 3 dB increase in volume, which is the smallest difference a person can hear. lemme give you an example. most of the time i play thru a bag end 1x15 and 1x12. they are both 8 ohms and rated at 200 watts rms power handling, but be rates their stuff very conservatively so you can hit them with a lot more. i have a 150 wat swr head that i can play a lot of low to low medium volume gigs with. i had an eden 400 watt head that would get just a bit louder which handled medium to medium high gigs. I never needed more until i started to play with a really loud guitar player (100 watt all tube head and a 4x12). now i have a stewart 2.1 power amp that puts out 400 watts a side into 8 ohms so on most gigs with him i'm using 800 watts. this is theoretically just a bit louder than the eden, but is actually more like 6 dB louder (rather than 3 dB) because stewart seems to rate the wattage less liberally than eden. this covers just about all gigs. sometimes i run the stewart in bridge mono mode for a total of 2100 watts into the 4 ohms of the 2 cabs, but i really have to be careful of overdriving them at this point. In some super loud outdoor gigs i've brought along a 4 ohm bag end 2x10 as well. at this point the stewart puts out 650 watts a side into 4 ohms (the 210 on one side and the 12 and 15 on the other). the extra volume i get at this point is more from adding another cabinet than from jumping from 800 to 1300 watts.
  7. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Yeah, I forgot that my gear list isn't my sig anymore. I use the HLF 410
  8. I found that my old SVT3 PRO was just about loud enough for a four piece rock band playing samll to medium sized venues without pa support. I had to boost the 9 band graphic volume to max to get a decent volume from the amp using two 8 ohm cabs.

    I would say it is more like a 250w amp, i had the Ashdown ABM300 and it was as loud as the Ampeg.

    I used for about two days the Hartke ha2000 200w head and that head was louder than the Ampeg.

    Why not pass on Ampeg ( alot of people are at the moment ) and look elsewhere as there are better amps for the money on offer.
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    IMO, the HLF sounds better in the store than the standard sealed 410, but not at a gig. to me, it seems like after eden released the front vented 410 xlt in 1993, all these other companies (ampeg, swr) rushed to produce front vented 410 boxes with lots of low end. what a lot of these boxes lost was a tight sound and cutting midrange. i've never gigged with a hlf, but i've heard other cats who have and traded them in for the sealed ampeg cabs instead.
  10. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    according to what I have read in many threads here at talkbass, the hearable difference between 450watts and 350watts or even 250 watts would be hardly noticable.
    Also according to what I've read here, you would need a 4x increase/decrease in power to hear some difference in volume and a 10x increase/decrease to hear double/half the volume.
    I am not an amp tech so I can't give you charts and graph proving this but from my experience playing through different amps, I can't argue with this theory.
    So in other words, I personally wouldn't worry about it if someone says a 450watt amp only puts out 350 watts. If they are saying the amp only puts out 100 watts or 45 watts then I would consider something else.
    If you like the tone of the amp, buy for that reason.

    And now for your reading pleasure on this subject, I bring back from the golden oldies era of forgotten talkbass hits.... The original Ampegs are underpowered thread......
    Read, learn, enjoy....
  11. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Thanks for all the imput, it's all been really helpful! IvanMike, yeah I heard a lot of that stuff before I bought the HLF, but went ahead and got it anyway(I actually didn't even get the chance to play it before I bought it.). I really enjoy my HLF, I've had it since last September and it's been really good to me, even with my measly Behringer driving it. I'll continue reading up on all of these amps and such, and next time I'm out of town(since there is nothing around here aside from way overpriced Hartke and Fender stuff, the Hartke 3500 is $800 at my local shop.) I'll just try everything that I can find in local music stores.
  12. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    I don't know about four to ten times, but I do think that in order to cut through a 100w marshall stack, you would need at least 300 watts. It takes more power to push all that air in order to faithfully reproduce the bass frequencies that are desired. I've been in situations where I've slaved a 180 w bass amp and have had to mid and treble up my sound in order to cut through the mix. It's not just volume but tone as well.
  13. Char-Lee


    Aug 29, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    I owned this amp for almost 5yrs and I played Hard/Melodic Rock i.e Sevendust, Filter, Hoobastank etc. I found that with the right eq-ing this amp can stand up to anything. I played with two guitar players who both had stereo 80watts/per side power amps and loud drummer. I used an Ampeg 810 which pulled the full 4ohm 450watts the head could dish out. I played small venues and larger venues 1500 seaters. I was always able to hear myself and most listeners agreed it was a very thick and present tone. The other thing this amp has going for it is durability and realiabilty. I took this thing on the road, used it 10hrs a week, and it never gave me a problem. I would say that the only real issue I had was the range that the band played in, we were all tuned down and sometimes the head was so warm and phat that it would directly compete with the guitars and kick drum, so I just re-equed it and it was great. let me know if you have anyother questions

  14. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'd always use the 10db boost on the eq, and leave it pretty much flat... that helped with the volume issues. I did have a ****load of cone area (4 10"s and 3 15"s)