Superbassman or v4b?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Santinotafarell, Mar 14, 2021.

  1. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    So i play small to medium, ocassional large indoor/outdoor gigs, Upright bass and electric.
    My main 2 electric basses are a yamaha 2025x, and a 60's style p bass.
    Need to play all styles of music, but never need overdriven tone...
    I like organic tone. Tube tone, but not pushed in to grindyness, however a bit of breakup can be nice..
    I have always wanted a tube amp, and now is the time! Widdled it down to two heads..
    Ampeg v4b or fender superbassman
    Here's my little list of perceived pros and cons so you can dissect and dismantle my thinking

    Superbassman (300 watt)
    - Tone seems more versatile, and i love the sound
    - I Like the idea of the 115 neo cab, and a second one or a 410/210, and i know it can handle that cus its a beast.
    - Fender neo cabs seem great, Happy with on brand cabs and possible configurations
    - Have seen only positive glowing reviews

    - Weighs more
    - Costs more
    - Seems overkill to haul around for most of my gigs realistically. But at the same time im a younger dude, and wouldn't mind getting a tire wheel cart or something.
    - Buying it used seems harder ( no local ones,) and new is expensive

    Ampeg V4B
    I played a ampeg v4b through an svt212 at GC
    - great tone love it...
    - light, more portable
    - There's a brand spanking new mint condition one locally for a good price

    Cons/ Concerns
    - would adding an extension cab for bigger gigs if needed, be appropriate? Does that add volume even?
    - Could you suggest a cab combination that would A) be on brand - Ampeg or fender B) work for small gigs or outdoor gigs ?
    - Might not be versatile enough tonally?
    - I don't need overdriven tone. I just like organic tone
    - Can i use 2 115's with it? can i do a 212 and a 115? Or is it optimal with the single 212?

    So overall it would seem i am leaning more towards the superbassman, but actually the portability thing and being appropriate for hauling in to smaller jazz gigs is a big factor, since those make up 50% of my gigs. on top of that i would save 1000$+ going the v4b route. i don't know... can someone here just buy me both? or... tell me what to do? lol... Oh and no other amp head suggestions please. I dont like the ampeg 50t, keep hearing the fender 100t doesn't cut the mustard, svt pros seem cool, especially the 3 pro, but 450 watts seems not that great, svt cl is overkill. Not interested in markbass heads anymore, not interested in mesa not interested in getting a berg cab.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2021
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Surprised you don't like the 50T if you like the V4B. They actually sound quite close to me, although 50w might not be enough to play louder gigs and the V4B will. Adding cabs does definitely add volume. Get a big enough cab and a V4B will be enough to get a respectable band fired from most gigs. You can use whatever cabs you like. Just follow the instructions for the jacks to plug them in for the impedance you'll be using.
  3. Get the Super Bassman.

    I've got both and the Super Bassman gets way more gigs!
    If you're playing in bands that are at least as loud as a reasonably strong acoustic drummer, then the V4B might not cut it, staying clean especially.
    I use one or 2 Bassman Pro Neo 115s, usually just one. Sure 2 ( more speakers) will generally give you more volume, but, again, the V4B gets dirty (beautifully) easily.
    The Super Bassman is a beast, but ain't THAT heavy. Not nearly as a SVT-VR and not that much more than the V4B

    Both beautiful amps, but if I'm looking for CLEAN tube tone, the VINTAGE channel of the Super Bassman is sublime.
    smeet, alembicbones, mattwear and 5 others like this.
  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO either would be a good choice for bass guitar. I would be inclined to use a different type of amp for upright. IMHO upright benefits from a more flexible EQ.

    All things equal, If I was young and strong I would go with the more powerful amp. I toured professionally and there were many gigs where IMHO 100W would not be enough. It's not very often that you really need more than 300W IMHO; especially if you have a decent cab.
  5. I use a Fishman Platinum Plus PRE/DI/EQ.... It's a few yrs old now but has a graphic, hpf and a few other nifties.
    I LOVE the Super Bassman with upright btw.

    The V4B is nice too, and SVT-VR that's often as backline at local shows is also very nice.

    The warmth plus warmth of the good all tube amp and the upright bass, just gets thumpin! I love it!
    Santinotafarell and Wasnex like this.
  6. Dp1363


    Jan 8, 2011
    South Jersey US
    I agree the V4B is the best sounding amp I ever played through. But I ended up selling it because the 100 watts want enough to cut through on most gigs.
  7. And I'll agree... even if it's just some gigs... if it's not enough, That's a real problem. For me. Can't have that.
    Wasnex, Santinotafarell and Goatrope like this.
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    They're both great amps. I've played through both.

    If you adore the Ampeg tone then nothing but an Ampeg will do.

    The Superbassman is (IMO) more versatile in the range of tones it can deliver. And it has a great stage sound. So if you're not completely hooked on the whole Ampeg vibe (and there's lots to like about the Ampeg vibe if you're a bassist) the Superbassman is an excellent choice. I'm a longtime Ampeg owner/player and I wouldn't mind owning and gigging a Superbassman if that tells you anything.

    So with two equally excellent choices I think that in your case it all comes down to factors: (a) volume and (b) weight.

    Volume is easy. If you think you're going to need as much volume on tap as you can reasonably afford to cover your gigs then the Superbassman wins out. It's a more powerful amp.

    Weigh is a personal thing for you to decide. The Superbassman tips the scales at 64 lbs. The V4B at 41 lbs. Depending on your age and physical condition that extra 23 lbs. (about the weight of a small dog or three year old child) could be the deciding factor. I'm not a big young guy. I'm 66, about 5'8" but I've kept myself in decent physical shape over the years. I can sling up to about 80 lbs. worth of gear without too much hassle. (Or at least for now. ;)) So that difference wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me. Especially since there's carts and handtrucks and other gadgets to handle most of the grunt work when loading in and out. But again, it depends on your physical condition and not mine.

    I'm not going to talk about money. Since you're seriously considering both amps I'm assuming you've already worked out the necessary finances. And while it's always nice to save money, I get the feeling it's more a nice thing to have rather than a necessity in your case. So the money thing is all yours to call.

    So bottom line: I like both, and think either would do you well. Speaking purely as myself I'd be inclined toward the Superbassman if felt I really needed the extra headroom (the V4B will start breaking up sooner) and stage volume. (Which I don't btw.) But since I don't usually need a huge amount of stage volume, I'd just let the PA handle the heavy lifting if it were in a band doing a lot of loud gigs. So I'd most likely just go with the V4B, save some money and weight, and know it'd probably be easier to sell for less of a loss if it ended up not working out and I needed to get something else.

    But that's me. What about you?
  9. 808State

    808State Inactive

    Dec 30, 2020
    100 watt tube head is more fun and easy to deal with.

    Depending on band levels minimum cab would be a 2x12
    and for louder gigs maybe a 4x12


    Its really the game with having a lighter more reliable 100 watt head.
    They tend to require more speakers to work.

    If most the gigs have a main pa. Be great head.
    Really depends on what level you need to reach at practice.
    Santinotafarell likes this.
  10. Flog

    Flog a Viking in Tejas Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2017
    Denton, Tx.
    Agree that 100 watts is questionable for large/outdoor stages. My V4B turned into a mushy distortion box when trying to compete with drums and guitars outdoors.
    inthevelvet and Santinotafarell like this.
  11. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods!

    Here too.....brought my old classic V4B out to an outdoor stage with 810, and yea.....radical distortion. Which is good in some cases, but I was wanting clean this night.
    Santinotafarell likes this.
  12. SiSoldier

    SiSoldier Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Super Bassman will handle any gig and they sound great. I really enjoy playing it's little brother 100T, which works for all my gigs no problem.
    rhopper, rodl2005 and Santinotafarell like this.
  13. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    V4B is a pretty loud amp! How many outdoor gigs are there nowadays that don't have 10+ kiloWatts of house PA?
    I haven't played a bar in a few years, do they demand 110 dB at the back now? :woot:
    (I used to gig a V4B on a 6-10 cab and it played 400-seat bars perfectly well...)
  14. tchristian

    tchristian Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Missoula, MT
    "svt cl is overkill"
    Why? At least you'd be comparing two 300 watt tube amps with each other. Other than weight, why rule it out absolutely? What am I missing?
  15. torinodeathride


    Dec 1, 2020
    I used to play an 70's V4b and sometimes 100 watts wasn't enough. Especially outside and shows in bigger rooms without a bigger PA. Punk rock/indie rock clubs or warehouse shows. 300 watts is really just more head room too, which isn't just about volume. Plus 6L6 power tubes sound different than the 6550s in super bassman. I've come to realize over the years that the 6550 power tube is really the best. I play a Verellen MeatSmoke the opposite of clean tone, I am not after it. But 6550s have big low end and mid lows that 6L6s can't get IMO.
    Santinotafarell likes this.
  16. Erik herman

    Erik herman Gold Supporting Member

    I would say Super Bassman if you can swing it, great tone and very flexible! I have 2 of the neo Bassman pro 15s, they are incredible. They are the best 15s I’ve had to date. For smaller stuff I’ll bring one and a second if I need the big guns. It’s unfortunately been a while since they’ve moved but they are great cabinets!
    The head is really personal preference but I like the Fender tone better and that head has all the bells and whistles. There are a few used right now online for around $1,000
    dbbltime and Santinotafarell like this.
  17. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Thanks all, definitely a tough choice. I need to think about it some more and absorb all that. I have an epifani 210. Would it be cool to pair the super bassman with a 115 neo and the epifani? If you gig a single cab like the 115 or maybe the v4b with the 212, do you tilt it up a little, put it on risers or keep it on the ground? Especially outside? I would like the sound to hit my ear not my legs and wonder which way you guys do it without PA. I could sit down too, always an option. Svt seems cool too, overkill was not the right word - super bassman just seems more my style since svt is a tad heavier, and the bassman is already pushing it in terms of how many pounds im willing to lug around. Thanks all
    tchristian likes this.
  18. Santinotafarell

    Santinotafarell Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    P.s. I love upright with tube amp, almost as much as getting the upright micd and going through front of house or recorded with a good condensor mic or my dpa 4099- two of my favorite sounds ever. The most magical sound of my life was upright through a real b15 :) my least favorite tone ever is upright bass through 95% of solid state amps bleh! ( Aguilar tone hammer, was an exception )
    mikewalker and rodl2005 like this.
  19. Erik herman

    Erik herman Gold Supporting Member

    Since you mentioned that 210, I LOVE my Epifani Ul610. The neo 15 and the super Bassman are wider than the Epifani cabinet, there would be 2 or 3 inches of over hang on either side of the 210! Also to mention Fender has casters that easily slide in and out of their own holes on the bottom of the cabinets.
    Santinotafarell and rodl2005 like this.
  20. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Let's clarify. I am not bagging on tubes. I am bagging on limited EQ. Tube amps frequently have a very simple EQ that IMHO simply does not get the job done with upright bass. But if you have a great utility EQ, it can be a none-issue, as long as you have plenty of power.

    However, IMHO the voicing of the rig is a huge factor. The last time I worked with a tube amp and upright it was a full Ampeg SVT and 810 rig, and the results were awful. This was a backline provided in Siberia. The bass player was using an Ehrlund EAP. His normal rig was a Euphonic Audio NL210 and one of the top of the line Acoustic Image heads. This rig and pickup combination always gave him a very authentic upright sound and plenty of headroom (what we commonly refer to as MBOL). In contrast, the SVT wanted to feedback in the low mids and the EQ points were no help. So not only did it sound awful, he could not turn up enough to kick the band. All he could do was turn down the amp and let me send more bass through the PA. It was very frustrating for both of us.

    Personally I think the SVT would have been fine with the addition of a good utility EQ, which we did not have. But an Ampeg 810 is never going to give an authentic upright sound. Also the 810 puts out a very strong signal right in the frequency range where amplified upright tends to feedback. IMHO it's a really bad choice for this application, but YMMV.

    You are certainly free to use whatever gear you want. For the record I wouldn't recommend a Tone Hammer for an authentic upright bass sound either, so maybe our goals with upright are just drastically different.


    Have a nice day and good luck!