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SVT3 or SVT4...the verdict!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by eastcoasteddie, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    So I went back to the store with my G&L to A-B the SVT3 Pro and SVT4 Pro once again, and this time I brought my brother (who is a recording engineer and knows better than I do what to tweak in order to find pitfalls and such in a piece of equipment)

    We started with the SVT 4 and went through all it's levels, adjusters, contours and volumes. No holds barred, shakin' the crap out of the store.
    Lots of headroom, good onboard compressor, good sound from the eq. The EQ sliders have a longer travel than the sliders on the SVT3, which means you have a better chance of hitting a sweet spot. Same range, though +/- 12dB. The Limit Defeat switch on the compression opens up some extra room at the top as well. All in all, a very good package, quiet electronics, lots of useable features. One thing that isn't great about it is that when you press the Lo, Hi, bright switches, it causes some noise in the circuit. Not always, just when you press the buttons, a slight "pop" or "crackle"

    as soon as we plugged in and started playing a bit louder, you can feel limited, like your face is up against the ceiling and you can't go any higher. And when the amp starts struggling, it doesn't sound as good anymore. The Tube Gain knob is a nice feature, but it has no compressor. Comparing to the SVT 4, one can feel very trapped in what it can do. But it still is a very good amp, but it may not be the best choice in our musical direction. My brother plays stereo'd half stacks, a guy that screams his head off, and a drummer that's all over the place.

    So SVT 4 Pro it is for me.
    I was going to pick one up yesterday, but that store location didn't have one in stock. The salesperson that was helping me out last week recognized me and for some reason thought I was looking for a bass, not an amp. He seemed very confused as to what whas going on that very minute.
    I asked if he had that amp in stock, he said he'll check.
    He returned and said they have an SVT 450...but that's not what I wanted. He said he'll order one and disappeared. He then returned with another customer and started plugging in an acoustic guitar...
    This guy's on crack! so we left.
    If I go back to that location and order one, I'll give the sale to a young girl that works there, and started asking about my G&L, saying that they had one a while back and that is an awesome bass. I'll go in and head straight for her.

    But I don't need it right this second, I still have the 200T to play around with. I'll see how it sounds when I add a new 4x10.

    We also tried a BR6 (I think it was) and I didn't like it at all. Noisy electronics and you can hear the cooling fan. Sounded like a vacuum cleaner.

    Also tried a Mesa Boogie head and 4x10 that was on display. It sounded phenominal, probably had a lot to do with the 4x10. The 2 were probably engineered for each other. It may not have sounded so good with another cabinet. But for a price of $1599 (head only), it wasn't THAT great. Not sure if it was on the fritz before we got there, but 10 minutes into playing, it started crackling and spitting...We didn't do anything harsh, just adjusting the Midrange when it farted. Maybe that's why it weasn't plugged in, we had to steal a 110V cable from another amp.
  2. 8mmOD


    Mar 20, 2005
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    the 3 & 4 pro are totally different amps. as you know, the 4 has WAYYYYYY more wattage than the 3, so you can a/b the two without really knowing the "best" way to dial in either amp & the 4 will of course be louder.

    but I personally am able bury a loud drummer with a 3 pro and full stack (while maintaining a killer tone) because I owned one for years & know how to get the most out of the amp. The 3 takes a little finesse to find the sweet spots, the 4 does it with sheer wattage. But i have always preferred the tone of the 3 over the 4.

    It sounds like the 4 is probably right for your situation, but I bet that if "I" was the one there with you dialing in the 3, you'd probably have a different opinion of it.

    Also the 6 pro is essentially a much higher wattage version of the 3, if by chance you prefered the 3 pro's tone.

    FYI, The crack and pop from the 4 pro buttons was most likely just a dirty switch on a well used floor model.
  3. +1 try the SVT6-Pro too.
  4. lowfreq1


    Mar 26, 2006
    Stockholm Sweden
    I have owned both the 4pro and the 6pro. IMO, the 6pro sounds way better, no doubt.
  5. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    looking at the Ampeg site, I believe it was the 6-pro that I tried and wasn't THAT impressed with it:
    being that there is no BR6 that I mentioned before. I just rememberd there was a "6" in the model name.
    Maybe it was that it was hooked up to a lone 4x10 on top of another cabinet that was not hooked up and the bass frequencies just weren't there due to its setup.
    But getting back to the SVT 3, at the studio we rehearse at, the house stack is an Ashdown 500 with 4x10 and 1x15. At times, I struggle to be heard...and when I really start cranking it, I start overdriving the amp and everything starts distorting. Not the sound I like.
    Hopefully once I do get around to the SVT4, I will definitely utilize it's Bi-amp mode and run my 1x15 from the low-pass amp output, and the full-range output for the 4x10.
  6. 8mmOD


    Mar 20, 2005
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    To each his own, but keep in mind that a music store is never a good place to pass final judgement on a piece of gear.

    Make sure the impedence of your cabs match the 4 pro. If you are bi-amping and they are 8 ohm cabs, the amp will not be putting out as much wattage as - say- bridged-mono @ 4 ohms. You are looking at only 300 watts per side with 8 ohm speakers. thats not much louder than a 3 pro @ 4 ohms.

    If you run the 4 pro bridged mono, make sure your speakers can handle the wattage. The 4 pro has a buttload of power and will smoke your cabs if you turn up too loud or push too much low end into cabs not suited for the job.
  7. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    I know.

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