SVT Classic as only amp...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lurch, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Lurch


    Feb 1, 2004
    Just curious to hear your input/thoughts about the idea of having an SVT Classic as my only amp to use for not only large gigs, but also medium and small-medium gigs as well.

    The more I hear bands who have bass players with SVTs, the more I know its the tone and monster for me - it just sounds fab in the mix. I heard a few bands last weekend, and the first band had a bassplayer with an SVT + fridge, and the second had an SWR rig with either 2 4x10s or an SWR fridge, and the difference in tone/sound was striking ...all my non-musician friends with me instantly noticed the difference as well "can't feel any punch", etc.

    I know it's 'overkill' when it comes to output, and impractical for medium and medium-small gigs, but I don't have a great deal of money to be able to own a few quality amps for every situation. Would I have to have the output put at .5 for a medium volume rock band at medium-small gigs that I'd use something like a 4x10, 2x10 (Eden xlt) or 1x15 for? Oh well...I guess what I'm asking is, does anyone use their SVT not only for medium-large gigs, but for medium to medium small gigs? Am I crazy? :)
  2. I used to, but the weight was a little much for smaller gigs...

    Also learned that running it at 8 ohms (using an Ampeg 4x10) could hurt the amp, even though my dealer told me it wouldn't...

    I bought a vintage 70's Ampeg V4B instead, much less weight and still 100w of pure tube power. Through the 4x10, i have trouble noticing any less headroom or volume with my setup.

    Much cheaper too...over here (Sweden) the SVT CL amps go for something like 3500$ at the moment!!!!!
  3. Lurch


    Feb 1, 2004
    I'd never heard that running cabs at 8ohms would/could hurt the SVT Classic? Can anyone else chime in on this?

    2nd - I used a friends V4B a few times, and it barely cut it for me. Furthermore, it gets into overdrive too quickly, and it's quite heavy as well (65-70 pounds vs. 80-85 pounds), so I'd rather just have and use the SVT.
  4. I have to agree with you there about the V4B. It distorts at relatively low volume and just doesn't have the power for even medium sized clubs. It's also very close to the weight of an SVT (I'm talking vintage models of both)
    About using the SVT with 8 ohm cabinets, while it works it doesn't sound nearly as good as with the proper 4 ohm load. Lacks punch or definition or something. It's like the amp is trying too hard to produce less sound. I certainly hope it doesn't damage the head cuz I've had to do that several times.
    For larger shows I use an Ampeg 4x10 chained with a SWR 2x12 to make a 4 ohm loads and for really small gigs I just bring one of the cabs but still lug my SVT along.
  5. I haven't been using my V4B in any major-scale arena gigs, but for all the club and medium-size gigs I've done it's held up nicely...

    A bit of Tube Compression, yes - but that's why I like it :)

    About the SVT at 8 ohms, I was first told it would be OK, but my tube guy/repeiman said it could be bad, if it was used like that in the long run. He compared it to the amp trying to squeeze an ecxess amount of power into a "hole too small"...
  6. Your amp repairman is telling you right. HIGHER impedances than rated are bad for tube amps (or s/s output transformer coupled amps, but since they're not around anymore , I digress..) While a 100% mismatch is generally OK, it is NOT healthy for the amp and will stress the output tubes and transformer. How dangerous this is depends entirely on how close to tolerance the tubes are being run. Considering the SVT already runs above the 6550A's rated maximum B+, it's not a good idea. That huge output tranny will get you by for awhile, but when the amp goes, it will be a spectactular failure.
  7. Lurch


    Feb 1, 2004
    I never knew this.
    So for clarification, tube amps like the SVT Classic cannot or should not drive 8ohm loads? I know that when I used my friends V4B, it had a selector on the back where I could choose 8, 4 or 2 ohms...I thought the SVT Classic would be the same...

  8. It does have such a switch but, i'd think due to the high power output, it is rated at 4 or 2 ohm load...
  9. It CAN, but it shouldn't be done. It's like running a 2 ohm load off a solid state amp rated for a minimum of 4 ohms. You may get by for awhile, but if your crank it, expect trouble.

    IIRC, the SVT Classic has a switch for 4 or 2 ohm output loads. In the original, the speaker jacks themselves were wired as a switch. If you use the "extension speaker jack" it wants a 2 ohm load, if you use the "speaker" out, it wants a 4 ohm load.
  10. davelowell


    Jan 18, 2001
    stl, mo
    I play my Magnovox SVT all the time. Every show. Every practice. I don't mind moving it once I hear it!

  11. I would always take my 810 with me even for smaller gigs where I used to take an svt III-Pro so I could always hear myself and not be concerned with whether I could hear myself in the monitors (hell I don't even need the PA for smaller gigs). Now I can't be without my vintage svt's no matter how small the gig.
  12. You are remembering correctly. Also FWIW, the 2Pro has the same switch.
  13. watspan

    watspan Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I was in a music store yesterday, and they had a rack of ampeg heads into a switch panel , with ampeg 4x10 (4 ohm) 6x10 and 8x10 cabinets available through a second switch. I played an epi elite t-bird and used the svt classic all tube. switched through all three cabs--sorta like baby bear, mama bear and poppa bear! Each cab had a slightly different tone, but were still all-ampeg. I don't see why a guy couldn't get the 4-10 cab for when a half-stack was desireable. Other option is to get a roadie!!!
  14. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I've considered the same thing. When I finally get a vintage SVT head, buy a 4-ohm 410HLF for small/medium gigs. Then I'd buy a 4-ohm 410E cab for the bigger halls. Stack 'em up, get 'er done!!!! :bassist: