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SVT Bliss last night. Any decent substitutions ??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lsimy, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. lsimy

    lsimy Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    I have not been playing too long (~12 years) and for the first time last night played an all original 1972 SVT head into a mid 90's 810E cabinet. I must say, I was completely floored and this was with my totally sterile Modulus Q5. Now I very clearly see what the SVT fuss is all about. Amazing.

    Needless to say, I wish I could have a full on rig but apartment living has made it difficult as well as the fact that I don't want an 80+ lb head.

    I'm considering the cabinet especially with the tilt-back design but my question is, does anyone have a head recommendation that would work well with the 810E and not bust the bank or the back ??

    I know I should go the whole enchilada but it just won't happen now. I also know the V4BH is out there but it does not seem like it will be powerful enough if I ever need the headroom. I've seen folks wind up old GK 400RB's into 810's and sound killer. Any other heads including some of the newer modern stuff ?? Thanks !!

    p.s. this is NOT to begin some threading war over who is warmer than this and better than that but just for some suggestions from folks who have tried some of this. -thx
  2. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I have played through a GK 400RB/SVT 8/10 cabinet rig and it sounded good but it had no headroom at all. You might want to check one of GK's higher wattage heads. They have one that puts out 1000watts bridged into 8ohms. I have also played through an old SVT 8/10 and an Ampeg V6B 240watt head and it was very loud.
  3. timibud


    Aug 29, 2004
    I've got an old Ampeg V6B I'm not using anymore I would let go, but it's no SVT! 240 watts, Solid State. I went to a Peavey Max-800 watts to get REAL LOUD! :smug:
  4. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999

    The SVT bliss you experienced is a combination of both the SVT head as well as the 8X10 cab which is actually 4 totally isolated and sealed 2X10s. Going for the 8X10 cab alone may not give you what you want, and you would also only be partially there with an SVT head and some other cab (IMO). I'm an old guy and I haul the entire PA, as well as my SVT head and 8X10 every gig. It is really not that hard. The cab is on wheels, and the head, well....its not like you're going to be carrying it on your back across country is it? You're only going from your car/truck to the gig. If you want more eq options than the early 70's head (or the classic), you could look for a used SVT2 (non-pro). SVT2 is also heavy. Can sound identical to the early 70's head, and also has parametric eq if you want. if playing bass is a big deal in your life, and you are particular about tone, then I would think that a heavy bass head which is a possible issue only during load in and out would be last of your worries.

    Not to be a smart-a**, but I'm 54 years old and I haul all this stuff every weekend. Every one of my SVT heads is smaller and easier to move than any similar rack mount system I am aware of. And I get the exact tone I seek all the time, every time.
  5. You could get an SVP-CL and a QSC PLX power amp used for a decent prics and it would be fairly light.
  6. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    thats what I did, svp-cl and power amp.
  7. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    I fully agree with the poster above -- nothing but a true-tube SVT head and the 8x10 is going to duplicate THAT tone. If nothing else will do, then that's all there is to it.

    HOWEVER, I can offer what I think is an "acceptable" substitute. I gave up on my mid-70's SVT a couple of years back due to the weight and the difficult multi-turn 3-flight stairway up to my apartment. I bought a GK 1001RB (1st version, not the one you can get now which has even MORE power). It's not the same tone (I mean, really, nothing is like THAT tone) but the power and options are excellent, IMO. And it's 64 lbs. lighter.....

    I've run GK (and the SVT after I sold my 8x10) through a 10+yr old Hartke Transporter 4x10, and both amps sound excellent. In fact, the GK/Hartke rig is my main setup. I'm not a full-time pro, but I do a lot of paid sideman work in LA -- this amp has to carry of lots of differnt types of music including R&B, blues, alt rock, hip-hop, and new metal. This rig always sounds good to my ears and to those of everyone I've worked with. At just shy of 50lbs, the Hartke saves you at least 75 lbs....

    This works great for me, except for certain outdoor gigs -- I have a smaller Genz-Benz rig (250w, 1x12) that I run in tandem in case the PA isn't all it should be (I pull the double rig out about 4 times per year).

    Again, you won't get THAT tone, but you will have plenty of headroom, good tones, and you can fit your rig in a small car.

  8. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    First of all, congrats on the Vintage SVT experience! :cool:

    I agree with the posts that suggest you invest in a high wattage stereo power amp (Crown, QSC, Crest, Stewart, etc.) and an Ampeg preamp. I really like the SVP-Pro. I haven't heard the SVP-CL, but I've read here that it's tone is great. You'll probably be able to get your power amp & Ampeg preamp used, which will save you quite a bit of cash.

    Now, this setup won't sound exactly like the Vintage SVT head, IMO nothing does, but it will have an SVT-ish vibe.

    A used SVT-4 Pro is another good option.

    I hope this helps, -Art
  9. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    hey, im looking to go QSC and ampeg pre amp to get a good SVT kinda sound, hard part is finding one used and cheap too.

  10. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    For an Ampeg preamp, don't forget about the older SVT IIp. I have one paired up with a QSC PLX-1602. It sounds pretty good to me. It sounds great through a Bergantino NV610.
  11. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    Nothing better then that SVT tone eh? I love mine and yea it is a heavy lug to pull around but oh man the tone! I have yet to find a true sub for the SVT/8-10 solution. I agree that G-K is a great idea, check out the 1001RB it CRUSHES, but yet the tube goodness is hard to beat. It just cuts so well through that unholy Bogner, Mesa mix. Just a thought, are the new EA combos a possibility? I have not played one but this could also be an option.
  12. lsimy

    lsimy Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    Thanks so much everybody. These are all some excellent concrete examples and suggestions. I think I'm pretty sold on first getting that 810 cab. I love the fact that the new ones are able to have each set of 410's separated.

    As for a top, I'm sold on some form of Ampeg pre whether is be an older one, SVP-PRO, SVP-CL and possibly an SVP-BSP. I once owned a BSP and the clean channel was amazing. It was also patching-central which is something I like.

    Thanks again !! Any further thoughts, please keep 'em coming.
  13. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    If I had to choose, I would take a vintage SVT head (with all it's weight), rather than the cabinet. I'm sure the 8x10 soundes great, but I've had the opportunity to play through several vintage heads with various non-Ampeg cabinets, and it always sounded great.
  14. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    If you can only have ONE part of the equation, I recommend going for a vintage SVT head. I would say that the SVT head will sound great through ANY quality cab you could purchase, and will be a lot easier to transport than a refrigerator cab. I pair my old SVT up with an Eden 410xlt, an Aguilar 210, and both stacked. It sounds great in all three formats. I'm partial to the 210/410 format - but I like to REALLY feel my amp.

    I don't know if you can get close to the THE tone you're looking for with a fridge cab and some other amp. Go to a music store and try a 810 with the SVT 4 or 5 Pro. The difference between them and the Vintage SVT is pretty noticeable. Imagine how much farther you get from this tone as you stray further from the format.

    I love the sound of the GK1001RB, and really want to buy it in combo form - but it's no SVT.

    Just an opinion (or two). :)
  15. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    I agree with the above posts -- the GK is no SVT.

    I also agree that if you have to get just one component, get the SVT head. Here's why:

    1. The SVT head makes ANYTHING sound good (I've run it thru the Hartke, an Ampeg 8x10, and an EV 2x15 with Fender speakers -- it always sounds like God's amp...)
    2. The head is easier to transport than the cab.
    3. The head holds value better than the cab. Six years ago, I bought my SVT head for $550 (and got a second "parts" head with it that I later sold for $325). Now, you can't find one for less than $800 if you're really lucky, probably more like $1,000 - $1,200. I bought the cab seven years ago for $500, sold it two years later for $500 and I *regularly* see them listed around LA for the same price, more or less.
    4. The head will make for better recording should you want to use it that way, the cab won't.

    Anybody got more reasons?
  16. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    A great alternative to the 810 is the 610HLF.

    Extended bass - and it will fit in the backseat of your car - no van required.

    Heck for that matter, check out the 410HLF.
  17. +1
  18. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    Since early 70's SVT's are the stuff of legend, why doesn't Ampeg just remake this amp?

    The SVT classic isn't it either. It doesn't have the same tone as an SVT from 67-73.

    It just befuddles me why amp companies like Marshall and Ampeg mess with a good thing and waste our time and money.

  19. SVTs sound great through 410HLFs (I own one). They sound better through Berg NV-610s. I own one of those too, now my HLF is gathering dust..:D

    The closest facsimilie of the old tone in a more manageable package would be an SVT with the NV-610, IMO. For anyone who doesn't know, the NV-610 is a sealed box like the 810, but it's smaller, much lighter and has extended frequency response compared to the 810. In fact, I think it sounds more like the original square 810s than the new 810s do.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I like the Ampeg HLF cabinets a lot, however Mark totally nailed it IMO (especially because he uses an SVT). A big part of the vintage SVT sound comes from the sealed 8x10 enclosure. As noted, the HLF cabs are of modern design: ported and tweetered. That's a good vibe, but not the same as the 8x10.

    My "faux SVT" rig is the Bergantino NV610 pushed by either an Ampeg SVP-Pro or SansAmp RBI. It has that killer tone: punch, growl, whatever you wanna call it. I'm sure it would sound even better with an old SVT on top, but both my ears and back are happy with the compromise. :)