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SVT-3 and PSA-1... some tests

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Phyrexian, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. Hi there,

    tonight I'm gonna hook my Ampeg SVT-3 Pro up with my SansAmp PSA-1. I'm a happy user (since a couple of months now) of my SVT-3.

    I've only used the SansAmp with my guitar (poweramp + 4x12) and I found out it's got tons of great sounds.

    So tonight I'm gonna visit my bands rehearsal room and do some soundtests...

    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro (set flat).
    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro (set flat) + PSA-1 in effects loop (set flat)
    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro (set flat) + PSA-1 in effects loop (with some drive from the PSA-1).
    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro as poweramp + PSA-1 as preamp
    • PSA-1 (output) to Ampeg SVT-3 Pro

    I'm curious about the results.
    Is there someone around using the PSA-1 together with a bass-head?


  2. Voilà,
    I did a bunch of tests last night... here we go:

    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro
    haha, well you all know what this baby sounds like I guess. For the first time I tried out cranking the gain; I got fine overdrive sounds! I love them. Now, I've asked this before but would there be any risk for the amplifier when I crank the gain knob? This way the peak-light is always on so... the manual says absolutely nothing about overdrive sounds. Would I shorten the lifespan of the tubes?

    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro + PSA-1 in effects loop
    I couldn't hook this up :meh: Weird. So I tried the setup below.

    • Ampeg SVT-3 Pro as poweramp + PSA-1 as preamp
    This way the complete EQ settings of the SVT-3 where bypassed and nothing worked (not even the master volume!!!). I put the PSA-1 on the SVT setting. First comment: it gets loud with this preamp; the PSA-1 has got a good level knob which will give you all the volume you need. Anyhow the sound was very good but not as good as the real thing. It sounded less fat as the SVT-3 itself. Besides that I can say that the sound is more than okay though. It's got tons of distortion and overdrive available, more than you'll ever need...
    Besides that, I plugged in my electric guitar (BC Rich Ironbird) in this setup, turned the tweeter down in the cab (Peavey 410TVX) and played some metaltunes:
    Conclusion: it's LOUD! Haha! This setup needs lots of tweaking to get the bite you get from guitaramplifiers. I guess the cabinet is tuned to different to reproduce guitarfrequenties in a good manner. I prefer guitarcabinets I guess. Like I said, the bite and snarl from a regular guitar setup was missing, although the sound and pressure was massive.

    So, I hooked up my guitar in a JCM900 head and 4x12 that's at our rehearsal room and believe me or not. It sounded way better... all the bite you'd aspect from a guitaramplifier (tube) was there.

    After that I hooked up the PSA-1 as a preamp with the JCM900 powersection as poweramp. This resulted in better sounds for guitar. It's obvious that the Marshall 1960A 4x12 sounds better for guitar than a basscabinet. The PSA-1 delivers great tunes and is of course very versatile. I liked every sound, but wasn't blown away like I was with the straight sound from the JCM900 without anything added.

    My Conclusions:
    1) I Love my Ampeg SVT-3 Pro. It gives me every possible bass-sound I'll ever need; it sounds heavy, fat with tons of bottom-end and I can even get overdrive sounds out of it.

    2) The SansAmp PSA-1 is a great piece of gear! Although it doesn't get the fantastic results you get from tube amplifiers (both bass and guitar). When you want versatility at a great price, well the PSA-1 will fit you well.
    I'm mainly a bassplayer with need for one awesome sound and NOT millions of sounds available in a box. I don't need the programmability and all... it's just too much for me. I don't need this PSA-1, so I think I'll sell it and use the money for something else.

    4) I guess the PSA-1 would be great in the studio as well.

    5) For me, the PSA-1 is mainly a guitarpreamp with great sounds. It's got some bass-presets but that's about it.
    If I would be a giggin guitarplayer I'd definitely keep it and hook it up with a correct solid-state poweramp. I'm sure I'd get fantastic results.

    6) Yesterday I also noticed that I'm not a rack-guy. There's too much options and possibilities! I prefer the limitations of regular head (both guitar and bass). For now I have fantastic tones from my SVT-3 Pro. For guitar I have great tones available from the PSA-1, but I think I'm a tube man (I did many tests with POD's compared to a JCM among others, as well as many tests with footpedals). Someday I'll own an ENGL head which will give me the same amount of versatility as the PSA-1... but WITH the balls of a tube-amp.

    7) For now, I'm gonna use my SVT-3 Pro as my guitar-rig as well from time to time. I'll put a simple metal-footpedal between guitar and amp... that'll do the trick for some time.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    That's very cool info, thanks.

    I've always been a rack guy, and not a preset/footswitch guy. I have an Ampeg SVT3Pro as a backup/rehearsal amp. I've been so impressed with how it sounds through my Berg HT310 that I've just purchased an SVP-Pro preamp for my rack rig (thanks, boogiebass!), and I'm looking forward to hearing how that works live.

    I've also tried cranking the gain on my SVT3Pro to add tube warmth, with good result. I found the overdrive to be rather mild (which is why I referred to it as "warmth"), but then I used my Fender RB5 which has fairly low output... I'm sure higher output basses create more overdrive. Regarding your question, I don't see how doing this would be harmful to the amp. It might reduce the life of the preamp tube somewhat.

    I believe the SVP-Pro has an actual overdrive control, rather than the more subtle Tube Gain on the SVT3Pro. I'll post a comparison once I get the SVP-Pro.

    I also have a SansAmp Bass Driver pedal, which gives pretty nice overdrive. I haven't played rock lately, so I haven't used OD of any kind in awhile.
  4. Yeah, I also think the SVP-Pro can do more overdrive than the SVT-3.

    The Tube Gain knob on the SVT-3 does not do overdrive. It just makes the sound more compressed to my ears, maybe a little rougher.

    The overdrive sounds come from the 'Gain' button... more gain > more overdrive (dude, I'm an Einstein :) )