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SVT blue line or '72 B-15 N?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ryandusick, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. ryandusick


    Mar 4, 2010
    I have a big decision to make. I'm going to buy a tube amp mostly for recording purposes (I produce more than play), and I've narrowed my search down to 2 great options, between which I have to choose. I found a very early SVT blue line head ('69-'70) at $1500, for which I would need to buy a cabinet as well, and I've also found a '72 B-15 N for $1000.

    I know that the B-15's are the ultimate for recording, but I also know that the SVT blue lines of that vintage are the holy grail of bass amps. Which one will I be happier with? Obviously the SVT will be more expensive, and it's probably more power than I'll ever need, but I doubt anyone would ever regret having bought a classic like that. On the other hand, I'm sure the B-15 would suit my needs very well, but it would be more strictly for recording, and wouldn't give me the wall-shaking fun of playing through an SVT rig.

    What should I do? Help!
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Seems an obvious choice to me, since it's for recording- an SVT with an 810 is pretty bulky and way too powerful to be useful in the studio, while the B15 may be the best studio amp ever made.
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    You could always use the SVT with a smaller cab (say, a 1x15) for studio usage. OTOH, nothing sounds like a B-15. I vote both :D. Or, you could do like I did and get a B15 and a V4 for the cost of the SVT......
  4. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    they're two completely different animals.
    for recording, definitely the B15.
    IMO, blueline SVT's are a great investment, and you'd rarely ever have the need for more power, but personally i would never record using one.
  5. ryandusick


    Mar 4, 2010
    It sounds like the B-15 is the obvious choice for my needs. It's the best tone for recording, and it comes in a smaller package at a more affordable price. I think I've made my decision.

    This one's a '72, so I don't know if it's as much of a collector's item as the 60s ones, but I'm guessing the tone is still lovely, which is what's most important. Any experience with an early 70s model?

    So then the secondary question becomes, is an SVT blue line at $1500 something worth considering simply as an investment? I've seen them advertised for twice that, so is this price a steal that I shouldn't pass up, or were they just getting over-priced for a while there? The state of the economy obviously plays a role in these things.
  6. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    A 72 B15N would be the thiele design cab, certainly a good sounding amp. As far as pricing on the blueline SVT, those prices were waaaaaaaaay too high. They usually sell for about $1500-2000 tops. Anything above that is just wishful thinking/stupidity of collectors buying up amps with money they can afford to burn, which is unfortunate for the rest of us. If you've got the money to put into an amp that will sit around, then by all means pick it up to have around, but I wouldn't call that a steal of a price.
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    a '72 B15N will sound 'mahvelous'. ;)

    to me, $1500 for a blueline SVT is a decent deal as long as it checks out completely fine and has not been modified. of course, it's physical condition also has alot to do with it being an investment, but if its all there, stock, and in decent shape, i really don't think that you'd ever lose money on it. IMO, now is actually a good buyer's market, if you have the dough.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I've recorded both a full SVT rig (Angel demos with Punky Meadows) as well as the house B-15.
    As John said, totaqly different animals both have strengths and weaknesses.

    It's very easy to get a great old school R&B tone with a B-15 although I would think that in the mix the difference would never be heard assuming the SVT is hooked to a good cabinet

    Personaly, neither are my fave for a lot of sessions especialy if I'm planning on blending in a DI. My reasoning is that I can get very clear and very adjustable bottom and top from a DI, although IMO the best part of an amp is the midrange tone identity.
    It sounds different if you have to add or pull much EQ and are using channel strips or outboard EQ only.

    I find the above 2 mentioned amps don't always have a strong enough tweak factor that I can get with a SS amp and a 1x15.
    OTOH the Ampegs have their own identity and could be just right if you want your sessions to have a great, signature sound (although potentialy limited)
    It is sometimes very difficult to make a large Marshall or SVT rig sound as big as they are
    Once heard a track a friend played on that a DI was used with one of those little GK combos that sounded monsterous.
    What kind of tones are you looking for?

    Amps suck as investment items compared to guitars.
    Over the last 10 years I haven't seen that much of a jump in black face Fenders or older Marshalls compared to what has happened over the previous 10 years.
    Guitars on the other hand have a stronger return on investment, much more liquid, and way easier to ship.
    Bass investing is much less profitable IMO.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i think this clip says it all about the b-15:


    yes, mike watt is rockin' a modded eb-0 into what looks to be maybe a 63 b-15n with iggy in this and 3 other clips. either way you go it's all good. i've recorded many times with an svt and loved it. but a b-15 is a definitely a lot less unwieldy in a studio setting.

    72 b-15's sound different than watt's. his has a bit more high end and not quite as big a low end. but you can pretty much duplicate the sounds with eq on a 72. and if it has the altec upgrade speaker, you can get a little more high end out of it still. i used to have a 77, which is the same model as yours. sweet amp. i like the earlier ones better so i sold it to a gentleman who likes the later ones.
  10. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Nice JM although didn't have really have the time this morning to watch 20 minutes of Iggy; good way to start the day though!
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