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SVT3 vs V4 tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Nomadic Herder, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. I like a grindey somewhat overdriven bass tone. I've been on the lookout for used Ampeg V4s for cheap lately. I haven't seen any used V4s period. (other than on ebay, which is forbidden) I know what one will do for my sound, and I like it. Would an SVT3 do the same thing, or something close?
  2. leper


    Jun 21, 2001
    i dont think youd get enough power out of a v4...100 watts isnt very much, even if they are tube watts. That said, v4s do sound amazing.

    and...no two amps sound the same.
  3. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    There is a used one on Bass NW web page right now for 3 bills. I'm guessing that it would have a line out on the back of the amp. If power is an issue you could always run the line out to a power amp of your choosing. But I've heard these amps are loud for 100 watts.
  4. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Here's my opinion:
    I have a (new) V4BH- It has unbelievable tone, the best! BUT- I bought it as a "dedicated" head for use as a 2nd track for recording.
    I've used it in smaller rooms w/ a 4x8; it's fine-
    I want to add a 1x15 and see just how much ballsier it can get! Certainly you can overdrive this head between gain/master, but IMO the head is not the best choice for what you may want.

    The SVT-3 has essentially the same pre-amp circuit, with more power, but it is Solid state power, and you just can't get the same resonance as an all-tube circuit- Close, but no cigar!
    So- TONE for months/lower headroom& volume= V4BH
    Tone for weeks, more volume headroom & grind=
    OR- get the best of both worlds- the expensive,
    heavy, but awesome SVTII.
    Have fun deciding.
  5. Does $300 = 3 bills?

    I feel really dumb asking that question. Of course it would be $300. And it is. I think I'm gonna go for it.
  6. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    cool glad I could help. Just to be on the safe side ask about the line out on that amp. I would be surprised if it didn't have one. Keep in mind if you use a solid state power amp to boost the power it might affect the tone some.
  7. leper


    Jun 21, 2001
    Yeah, they are, but an svt crushes it volume wise, and going even further, a fender 400ps crushes the svt
  8. Well, I have a V4b too. It has great tone and is loud enough for most situations. I use it in combination with Ampeg 2 x 10 and 1 x 15 cabs.
    Like LarryJ said, you can overdrive a V4b, but it's not the best amp to do the job. A V4b is actually a quite clean basshead with a (IMO) very smooth tone. I like my V4b, but I'm also looking for a second amp that can produce a more 'grindy' sound. Before my V4b, I had a SVT IIIpro. It too was difficult to overdrive, but maybe I didn't use it properly.
  9. I have an early 70's V4 and it does have a line out. The 100 watt rating is conservative, I've heard of techs measuring 130 watts at clipping through a stock setup, but I haven't had a chance to put mine on the scope (waiting to change the filter caps, that'll complete my cap job). Changing tubes to the 6550's will get more power. I'm going to go one step up to the KT88's though that will mean a cooling fan and possibly an additional filament transformer.
  10. I'm going to be in the market for an amp pretty soon, and I love the Ampeg sound.

    I am rather interested in the V4b. A little less grind than the SVT wouldn't be a bad thing, but what I would like is a sweeter, ringier midrange, with a little less grind, just more harmonic-ey stuff. Is the V4b the one for this sort of job, or do I need to step up to an old SVT-II with the EQ and mess around with it? I've gotten this "dream tone" from my Rick and a SVT-II hooked up to a Trace Elliot 4x10, but it was certainly more power than I'll need in the near future, and the price was ghastly!

  11. The V4 is very clean and what's really cool is there's a 3-position selector switch that lets you set the frequency the midrange controls. In other words, a very good midrange tone. At the time Ampeg did not want a distorted sound from a philosophical point of view (the founder apparently did not like distorted rock and roll).

    The (old) V4 and the V4B use the same poweramp and preamp with these differences: the V4 has reverb. The V4B does not have reverb. The V4B has an "ultra low" switch (just another EQ setting, basically). The V4 does not have the ultra low switch. (The V4 has an ultra high, I think the V4B has that too).

    One thing the old V4 series has that the new ones don't: the old V4's let you select 2, 4, or 8 ohms. And I'm not sure the new V4B has the internal shock mounting that the old series has. Also, I suspect the preamp circuit on the new series is considerably different.

    The V4's show up on Ebay in spurts it seems like. If you look for one, get one of the earlier ones IMHO--they will have toggle switches for power and standby rather than rocker switches. Don't get one with the master volume, IMHO. They are easy to troubleshoot, though the high voltages aren't for beginners (540 volts can kill ya...) The most common problem, as with any old amp, will be replacing all the electrolytic capacitors. Particularly the multi-section caps were hard to find, but now there is a replacement 40-40-40 available. Tubes aren't really an issue. :cool:
  12. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    Have you heard any of the Trace Elliot's all tube amp's? AWESOME!!!:D
  13. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    I did a rehearsal yesterday, brought my "personal"
    backline (G-K MB150S w/ Flite 1x 12)...
    Guy rolls in an SWR 500 w/ a Big Ben & Eden
    4x10- I figure "why the hell not...?
    This rig obviously sounded very good, very loud,
    very tight.
    BUT- when I got home & decompressed by plugging
    into my V4BH & SVT-48HE- fawgeddabout it!
    TUBES ARE THE SH*****!
    If you don't know, then....never mind, it's OK to live in a sterile, fet-mosfet, generic world!
    Do what you gotta do!
  14. I certainly have heard of them, but never tried one or heard one (at least, knowing that's what I was hearing).

    My dream tone is rather Spector-esque, but less sterile - glassier, smoother, punchier, with rich harmonic content, but still very tight - kind of like a great big Steinway 9 foot on the low keys, that sort of thing. Powerful!

    I often find myself boosting 800hz, 1300hz, 1700hz, and 2300hz when I have access to an EQ. Trouble is, with solid state it ends up sounding harsh, brash, and un-smooth. "Glassy" seems to be a good word to describe what I'm after.

    I would occasionally like a bit of grit, I'd much rather have a killer clean tone than decent clean and a decent dirty. My Rickenbacker is pretty good at creating its own dirt when I want it.

    I can play fingerstyle or pick happily all day, but I like to play lightly, so all this tone should come easy.

    Tubes sounds like the way to go. Power is no issue, as long as I've got 100 watts or so.

    Should I seek out some Trace Elliot gear?

  15. Old V4's and V4B's are the bomb. I ended up upgrading to an Eden for more headroom, but I sure miss the midrange bite and preamp grind I can get outta my V4.

    Pity the old suckers are so damn heavy!

    I used to run my V4 thru a 4-ohm SVT410HLN, but for some reason I could never get enough volume. Haven't tried it thru my 810 though, I have a feeling it would be probably loud enough, but i've had so many amp ***ups on stage I can't really risk things anymore...hence the Eden...
  16. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    I have a AH300SMX-12 and the all tube 220 watt RMS 440 peak watt Trace Elliot V4 head and I have been totally impressed with the Trace Elliot gear. I'm using a 4-10" w/t tweeter & a 300watt 15" bottom, all Trace Elliot. My main bass is a Rare 1 of 4 produced 1994 Stewart Spector Proto Type w/t upgraded active EMG's. The Spector sounds awesome through this rig, especially the V4.

    I was told the falure rate of Trace Elliot was high...
    But I have never had any problem with any of the Trace gear. I bought the AH300SMX-12, 5 yrs ago and just picked up the V4 a few months ago after trying it out at Pro Am music.

    lots of options out there but I would seriously check out a nice all tube head. Lots of tone here

    Good Luck & happy hunting for your new rig :D
  17. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    check out some reviews here from some people who use the Trace Elliot V4 in the Amp section of this forum in "Ok, tubes are cool after all....."
    CUL8R, let us know what you decide on
  18. Thanks for the insight guys, I'm looking to pull the trigger a little after Christmas, so for now I'm just scouting the scene.

    I'll see what the archives tell me about these TE tube heads...


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