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SVT Guru's

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by prd004, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    Bought a used SVT-VR about three or four months ago. Other than the fan being noisy as heck it's worked fine, used it at home, a bunch of rehearsals, and a couple gigs. I've been real happy.

    At practice the other day it took over five minutes to come out of standby mode. It worked afterwards but it had never done that before. For a few minutes there I thought it wasn't going to work.

    To be clear, I turned the power on, the red light came on, the fan started whining (as usual), everything seemed normal. After the usual minute or two I give it to warm up I flipped the standby switch and nothing happened: the light stayed red, and the amp made no sound. I turned the standby off again waited a minute and tried again, same thing. Turned the amp off, double checked all the connections and went through the procedure again, same thing.
    It was desperation time and my band mates were giving me the stink eye. After waiting approx five minutes in standby mode, I finally got it to fire up and I made it through practice.

    I had a gig the night before, got home way late,
    It was effing cold and raining, I had to go to work in just a few hours and had to go straight from work to practice so I left my gear in my truck??????

    What do you guys think? Cold and damp? Normal? Ever since it takes longer to come on before but not like that night.

    I have a gig tomorrow and I'm unsure if I should use it. Thanks in advance,
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    When I gigged my SVT I was one of the few I knew who never took a backup, almost all SVT users I have met take at least a D.I. with them, one of the joys of tubes.

    Honestly I would check your tubes, make sure they are all seated right, also make sure the bias lights are both green when running the head, the first thing to always check is the tubes, especially for power related things.
  3. Try a different cab with a different speaker cable, perhaps your cab or speaker cable has a slight short and the amp is going into "protect" mode for legitimate reasons.

    If not, time to have it checked out by a competent tech. And take a backup head to the gig just in case.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would never start a cold SVT until it got to room temp. Or any amp for that matter. Always best to let it get closer to room temp first as not to shock any of the glass parts. Have you tried it since practice to see what happens?
  5. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    I have a DI on my board for emergencies, but I have no PA support on Saturday. I don't have another cab readily available but I have plugged another amp into it, and it works fine.

    What is "protect mode" and what's it all about?
  6. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    Yeah Jimmy I have and it's come on every time, but not as soon as I hit the standby, it seems to take a moment or two longer than it used too ( however, not the five to ten minutes it took the other night), but not instantly when I hit the standby

    This is my first real SVT, and my first Seattle fall/winter with one obviously.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Protect mode is it not coming out of standby unless it's ready. It can also happen if the voltage drops below a certain point, which I believe is 113v. I don't know if they still have it, but at one time VR's had a relay that prevents it from turning on if the voltage drops below 113v. Johnk has an article on his website about it and how to fix it...I've been told this won't void your warranty, either:


    Honestly, I think it was just too cold to come out of standby until after 5 minutes. And it's always possible you have a tube on the way out. More than likely, though, it's cold. Fortunately you're not too far away from Ampeg HQ (Woodinville) so you could always take it to them and maybe get Hodgy to take a look at it...he's good like that. However, I don't know what their hours are over the holidays, so if you need it tomorrow, might be difficult to get in there if they're closed ;) But you can always call.
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I think it was due to the fact that you left it in your truck on a cold damp night and as a result it took longer for the tubes to warm up. I never leave my gear in a vehicle over night.
  9. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    Thanks for all the advice! I'm up for more if anybody has some.

    I think just to be safe, I'm going to use my III-Pro on Saturday, it's never had a hiccup in 19 years but I sure would prefer my VR, especially with no PA support.

    Jimmy, I drive in and around woodinville daily, if I just dropped in un-announced with my amp would they actually test it out for me?????

    Interesting article on the protect mode bypass, I just may do that

    On a side note room temperature in Seattle this time of year is pretty damn cold, and it's going to get colder in the next few months. What is a safe operating temperature, and more importantly short of putting my amp directly in front of a heater what's a guy to do?
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would absolutely call them first and make sure they have time to look at it. Common courtesy, you know? ;)

    Safe operating temp, I don't know, but freezing temps are never a good idea for any amp. If it were me, I'd bring both the VR and 3 Pro and just have the 3 Pro ready to go in case you have a problem. Honestly, it sounds to me like you're OK.
  11. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    It could be low voltage but if it happens all the time at different locations there might be an issue with the amp.

    The standby circuit has a relay in it that might be faulty. Generally relays operate over a wide range of temperatures (for example, -40C to 100C) so it is unlikely that low temperature is an issue. There are also some connectors that could be affected by excessive condensation or cold temperature swings.

    When the amp is working, I wouldn't worry about harming it. I would have a tech take a look at it, or better yet, take it in to Loud. If you need the amp for gigs, you might be able to arrange to take it in and get it back the same day.
  12. Hmmm dampness corroding contacts in the standby relay? Possible.
  13. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bring amp and voltmeter to gigs and practice
    Plug in warm amp and see if it works
    If not check line voltage; if it's 115 or higher the amp goes to a tech (that regularly works on SVT's) for repair
  14. svtb15

    svtb15 Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    I have read that solid state amps can get nano cracks if going from COLD to full temp too quickly.... I always get to a gig and turn the SS amp on and just let the fan blow room temp air trough it for 15 minutes before hitting it with high VOL which will run the temp up..
  15. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    +1. sounds like bad tubes or a dislodged tube. I'm no expert but I'm generally more concerned about moving a warm amp right after playing than starting them from cold. They generally get warm pretty quick but I believe it's good to leave them on standby mode before and after playing for some extended periods of time.

    If removing and putting back the power tubes does not do it, I think it's time for a trip to the amp tech.

    When I read the title, SVT Guru. JimmyM immediately came to mind.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LOL Laurent...I'm hardly an SVT guru! I'm more of an SVT cheerleader. I only wish I could get into the nuts and bolts of them.
  17. hodgy


    May 5, 2004
    Bothell, WA
    Tech Support- Ampeg/ Mackie
    Bring it in next week, I'll be there from 8 to 4:30 M-W. After that I'm on vacation. I can go over it, make sure it's got the 'official' relay circuit mod (not the one that's linked above), go over the tubes, etc. Just go to the lobby and someone will holler at me.
    Hopefully your amp will survive the gig. But be comforted that it's Seattle and nobody cares about the bass player anyway.
    Feel free to call or send a PM!
  18. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    Thanks Hodgy,

    For peace of mind I'm going to use my SVT III PRO on Saturday, I'd prefer to use the VR but the 3Pro has served me well for hundreds of gigs and I know there won't be any issues.

    I will try to swing the VR your way first thing Monday.

    Thanks again to all the talkbassers for the help!
  19. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I believe that they use a solid state relay in the VR, a little 16 pin PC mounted device. I was thinking more the connectors on the AC terminal board.
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    What's different?