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SVT vs. V6: Market feedback request

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hasbeen, Dec 30, 2005.


  1. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    Hello All;
    I'm doing a little comparo between the two. Also comparing them to pro level hybrid SS amps. I have purchased both so they are really getting a thorough testing.

    I know what I like and why but would love some feedback. Of the two mentioned, which do you like .....why? And, what style of music do you play?

    Other input would be helpful:
    * Does the weight stop you from considering an all-tube amp?
    * Would you be more or less likely to buy a tube amp if it had a more "modern" or "versatile" preamp then these two?
    * If these two aren't "your" tube amp, what is? Eden, Aggie?

    Thanks a bunch in advance.
    Kindest Regards,
    Roger Hart
     
  2. SVT - Give me a '69 or early 70's one and we're talking! i love my SVT II tho :D

    V6 - I would also like one of these, different, yet still good sound, would prefer a V8 tho ;)


    *Weight doesnt bother me
    *I dont like modern/versatile preamps, give me something that can plug and play anyday :)
    *SVT-II (have), V8 (want), Peavey Classic 400 (want)
     
  3. el_Kabong

    el_Kabong

    Jul 11, 2005
    Haven't used a V6 so I can't comment on that one, though I did have a V-type (hybrid) that I wasn't crazy about. I have an svt-cl now that tone wise I'm very happy with. I'm into funk, acid jazz and soul. The weight of the amp doesn't worry me once I put it down and plug in! I've got another option I can put together with a TL Audio 5051/ca9 rig but at half the weight it's too heavy as it just doesn't sound good enough drag around (and it doesn't sound bad!). I always use my svt or my old 700rb (light & sounds ok) in preference.

    I'd be very interested in an all tube amp with a modern, versatile preamp as long as the tone wasn't sacrificed to achieve that flexibility. As soon as it doesn't sound great it's going to weigh too much! I like the eq on the svt but it is limited. I think I'd be close to satisfied if the mid controls were simply duplicated to provide two bands. I use a boss eq20 pedal for more flexibilty and it's an acceptable solution.

    I don't use a tube amp for an 'old school' tone or to get overdrive. I like the way the svt sounds running clean into a modern efficient cab, and the way it feels to play. It seems to me that many (most?) tube heads are designed with something of a vintage outlook. An all tube amp with a modern perspective would sure interest me.
     
  4. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    thanks for taking the time ....this forum is always helpful.
     
  5. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    GREAT POST! Very helpful info. You read my mind as far as the mid section goes. I was thinking both heads would benefit from two, parametric mid controls. One for low mids and the other for uh, mid mids. I also like the fact that you mentioned feel which in my opinion, people don't talk about nearly enough when evaluating amps.
     
  6. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    el kabong- PS, yes, many tube amps have a "minimalist" and or vintage vibe about them. As a product manager I have to be very careful about what configuration our product takes.

    For instance, if we made an SVT or similar clone, why would we expect anybody to use it vs. Ampeg? I call the Harley syndrome- as a Harley rider what you could do to build a better bike than Harley. If you go build it, he still won't buy it because it isn't a Harley. The customer is already "owned". In the amp business, Marshall and Ampeg have that. And, Ampeg is a classic and plain and simple, it works.

    I'm studying these two amps though because you still need a reference. One is the classic icon and the other is a very sought after, some would say hyped, exotic.
     
  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    When I am in the "mood for tube", I look for a head (or preamp/amp combination) that offers the harmonic content, hint of warmth, and musical midrange that I only seem to hear in tube amps, but also one that avoids some of the "pitfalls" I have heard in some tube amps, namely loose, slow and/or bloated low end, truncated highs (which is weird to me, as some tube amps have all kinds of high end), and a general bluriness or lack of clarity/articulation. The good news is that you can, indeed, get all of this (and more!) from an all tube head. My absolute favorite all-tube head is the Sadowsky SA200. It nails every positive that I talked about, and avoids every pitfall (in fact, it turns some potential "weaknesses" into strengths). But, my V8 sounds very nearly as good in clean mode, and goes on to offer a range of very usable, very nice overdriven tones. Plus, the V8 is monstrously powerful, and it's volume/headroom capabilities go far beyond that of the SA200 (or most other heads, tube or SS, for that matter). One interesting observation is that neither of these has extensive midrange control, but yet, they have drop dead awesome mids. Go figure.

    As for the SVT, I prefer vintage units, and a friend of mine let me borrow his vintage SVT head and 8x10 for a while. Driven fairly hard (75% or more), I find this tone to be highly addicting, and just about the perfect growl/grit for rock-n-roll, but still very dynamic and clear. However, in my experiences with both the head and the 8x10, neither could really capture that same vibe at lower volume settings (and by comparison, the SA200 and V8 are able to give you their best tones at a variety of volume settings). Still, IMHO, the SVT is the best at what it does, and I can't quite cop that SVT vibe with any other head.

    Weight? Not an issue for me, really. I expect that an all-tube head, with some really beefy transformers, is going to weigh a fair bit.

    Modern preamp design? Well, first off I think that just what constitutes a "modern preamp design" is a matter for some debate, in and of itself. ;) I have my share of preamps, and for the most part, I am always happy to have one or more band(s) of parametric EQ on hand - especially for upright gigs. But, now that I have "fine tuned" my amps, cabs, and basses (and the various combinations thereof), I find that I really don't use much EQ. Sometimes, EQ can screw up your tone more than help it. I'm not opposed to a powerful EQ, but I like it to be bypassable, if possible, and usable (when necessary). But above all, it needs to sound "musical." This sort of sounds like a cop out, and I guess maybe it is, but when I play with some EQ's, it seems like I'm throwing darts blindfolded, and I don't know what I'm going to hit. Whereas with other EQ's (the SA200's tone controls come to mind), it seems like I can't dial in a "bad" tone no matter what I do. All in all, I'm not sure how helpful this paragraph has been... :meh:

    One final thought on versatility. As mentioned, I have found that the SVT (and some other tube heads, to be sure) seem to sound their best at a given volume, but aren't so hot at other volume settings. The ability to deliver excellent tones at a variety of volume settings is important to me, and something I have come to look for in tube heads. Second, if an all-tube head is to offer overdrive/distortion, then I am also looking for a wide range of usable tones. This is also a somewhat rare characteristic, IME. And one more comment on overdrive, I would love it if someone would offer an overdrive (either onboard or as a standalone unit) which allows you to blend in clean lows with the full range overdriven tone. Ideally, I'd also like to have control over the low-pass frequency of the clean signal. An EE friend of mine and I came up with a SS overdrive mockup that did just this, and boy howdy! does this approach sound good! IMHO, of course.

    I guess that's it for now. I'm sure to rant on later... :D

    Tom.
     
  8. lame(B)ass

    lame(B)ass

    Jun 18, 2004
    Slovakia
    I played only once thru all tube amp - it was some kind of Solton (East Germany company) head and 2x15" cab.


    But if I were on market for tube amp, I would like to find one with:

    - versatile sound - ability to go from tight, bold, in you face mean sound to mellower, singing sound
    - simple controls - simple, but powerfull and useful eq. No gizmos. Don't want bazillion of knobs (300W Sunn) or bazillion on bands on EQ (SVT-II Pro). What's the point when most of the time they are left flat. :eyebrow:

    Looks like nice semi-parametric 2 band EQ for mids might work.

    - power - nothing ridiculous, but enough to never worry about it
    - weight - I know this is problem. Tubes = heavy. But how's possible theat the Eden 300w tube head is much lighter than the others? I quess the technology made some advance in the last 30 years, so I hope it's possible to make the amps lighter without sacrificing sound and power.
    - reliability - it's great to own amp with beautiful tone and ton of power, but when it spends most of the year in shop, it's not good! :rollno:
    - good DI - I know many prefer to mic tibe amp, but high quality DI can be extremely handy in some situations


    Small useful things like tuner out and mute switch could be nice too. :) :bassist:
     
  9. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    thanks both of you for your time and some well thought out replies.

    Kindest Regards,
    Roger Hart
     
  10. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    hey, I replied to this topic over at HCBF... (I'm speddling there)

    so when are you guys coming out with an all tube head? :smug:

    I'd be curious to try the tube side of a GBE mated to a higher watt EL DIABLO power section :bassist:
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Just curious, but what is HCBF?
     
  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
  14. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    you're too smart for your own good....must be your last name. I've done just that- put the GBE pre section into the return of the effects loop on an el d. sounds very, very fat but of course no head room.

    With this V6 and SVT I've been doing the same thing. Comparing them as stand alone units but also running the pre of the GBE1200 through these amps power sections. It makes me think we should do a two channel pre amp section based on the GBE1200 with a 400 watt tube output. This pre arrangement may be too over the top for some tube amp devotee's though.

    When......it is tough to say.....end of 2006 most likely. We are already working on it.
     
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Hi Roger,

    I've been a working tube amp technician for over 30 years. I even worked for Fender in the factory at one time, on the tube lines only. And honestly, in all that time, I've never been taken as a player with with any tube amp for bass. Of course, I love the results that many other players have gotten from the SVT, B-15, etc. I've never seen nor knowingly heard a Trace tube amp I'm afraid.

    These days, I play electric upright on jazz gigs mostly. But I also occasionally enjoy playing hip-hop, funk, metal, and all sorts of standard rock flavors. I only play fretless, BTW. I'm a geezer, but I still like to play TOO LOUD sometimes. The bottom line: I can get nearly everything I want from a 5 pound integrated amp plus a single space preamp. Not everything from one preamp though, I have around 4-5 different ones at any given time.

    If you could build an all-tube amp that sounds as good (to me) as what I currently play, all you'd need to do is get it under 20 pounds (at 300 watts minimum), in 2 rack spaces, at a price point no higher than $1000 street price, and you'd be about half way to getting my money. :cool: Weight is absolutely, postively, a critical factor in any purchase decisions I can foresee making for the rest of my life.

    I had an interesting discussion with an engineer friend of mine last week. I was fishing for different tone stack topologies for a tube bass preamp I currently am prototyping. He chastised me for going for something that sounds good no matter what. Since I'm not trying to market anything (at least yet), I tried his approach with an open mind, and came up with something that I think might be pretty special.

    I do believe that one reason Ampeg, Fender, et al have been so successful is because they eschew giving the user much potential for bad EQ or gain structure choices. But "modern" implies that you do allow those choices. When I'm mixing behind a big console, I don't worry about unnecessary features, I just worry about whether I can get the sound I need at that moment. So a feature-laden tube amp from your company might get my attention, if you put some kind of new spin on things. I've enjoyed the solid state G-B amps I've played through quite a bit.

    Why not just have an Old School channel and a modern one though? Then, as Tom says, a bypass switch is a useful option. ;)
     
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Very nice! I would be highly interested in such a beast. Put me down for one! :D
     
  17. I'm gonna go change my undies now. And see how the ol penny jar is filling up.
     
  18. el_Kabong

    el_Kabong

    Jul 11, 2005
    Personally I don't find the two channel option particularly enticing. When I want to switch to a completely different tone I'm perfectly happy to stand on a stomp box. If it's a smaller change I'll use bass's facilities or alter my technique. There's a million stomp boxes on the market, they all do different things, have different sounds and vibes. With so much choice in that area I'd rather have a head where the budget was spent on building a quality, great sounding amp with a feature set that makes it possible to get that great sound with a range of instuments in a variety of playing situations.

    If I was starting with an svt, my feature wish list would go something like this. Dual band semi parametric mids with maybe switchable corner frequencies on the bass and treble shelving controls. Mute switch. Slap friendly compressor, simple (just a 'more' knob would be fine with me!) but punchy sounding and retaining openess in the highs. Switchable (variable?) high pass filter to reduce muddiness on horror stages and to preserve clean tube headroom. Transformer di (transformers just sound good to me) switchable to pre or post eq. 2,4 and 8 ohm taps. I don't think I'd use all these features all the time but I'd certainly feel like I had purchased a flexible, powerful product.

    If the harley syndrome was bugging me and I felt the need to further differentiate my product, making the compressor and mute footswitchable would be useful. I'm not keen on a second channel but footswitchable gain (cut as well as boost) and contour controls would give me all I'd ever use.
     
  19. mgmadian

    mgmadian

    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    +1. I'm a big fan of 2-channel amps as I frequently switch between fingerstyle and thumbstyle play. I have and use effects, but find that separate amp channels (w/dedicated Gain and amp-based EQ) is best for switching between these tones.
     
  20. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Actually, it would probably make some sense to check out the feedback on the "Uncle GAS" thread regarding the Jackson Ampworks all-tube bass head project. Not that I think GB should cop what JA are doing, but there is certainly a lot of good feedback on that thread.

    Tom.