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Talk me back from the V-4B ledge (or not)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gitfiddl, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. The GAS is strong with this one. There's what seems to be a really good deal here locally on a mid-70's Ampeg V-4B, recently serviced and fully re-tubed with documentation thereof. I don't need another amp, but the only all-tube amp I have now is my Fender 400PS and I've never owned any Ampeg gear to speak of, which sounds a true travesty having been a bassist since 1980 or so...

    So Ampeg fans, please tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly about the V-4B. Are its conservative 100 watts really enough to drive a non-hornloaded 2x15" cab sufficiently in a classic rock/blues bar-band without running through the PA? Fill me in, please.
  2. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    My singer/guitarist uses one. 1974, plays it through a randall 4x12 with V30 speakers. Just runs a boss ds1 into it... sounds mean as all hell.
    Raw N Low likes this.
  3. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows

  4. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    This is Talkbass. We don’t talk people out of buying things. OK, once in a while, but it’s rare.

    Let me be one of the first in a chorus singing buy it.

    My first bass head was a 100 watt Yamaha solid state head. Through a reasonably efficient pair of 15’s, it was loud enough for a college band playing in bars without PA assistance.You probably don’t play as loud as we did, and if you do, you shouldn’t. I say as long as your kids can still eat ramen noodles after you buy it, buy it.
    smtp4me, Wisebass and mikewalker like this.
  5. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I have a ‘74 so don’t ask me to dissuade you.

    Since it’s a good deal, it might be worth a shot. The only disadvantage is that it uses a couple of odd-ball tubes. It’s a loud 100W.
    jumbodbassman, SirMjac28 and mrb327 like this.
  6. Thru efficient 2x15s it should get pretty darn loud..... of course, loud is subjective. One man's loud is different from another man's loud.
    But, I'll use mine into 2 Fender Pro Neo 115s and it's LOUD. plenty for most things.
    That said, it'll probly have a little distortion involved, if going loud.
    If you DON'T want any distortion in your sound, and you play loud, a 300w SVT or Super Bassman would be the ticket.
    The V4B is a very good amp tho, and sounds fantastic.
    jastacey and five7 like this.
  7. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I have a 72?ish Magnavox era V-4. It is a beautiful and super well built amp. It is kinda collectible with GE 7027As and I don't play out with it any more, 60+ lbs . Lots of power.
    early 1970's Ampeg V4's
  8. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Me too. I used my ‘76 head for loud blues gigs thru a 215. Never needed help.
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I’m an Ampeg enthusiast from way back. I’ve owned a B-15N(C) since I was a undergraduate at music school in 1973-74. That amp is clear, warm, and articulate, but it isn’t loud. Around that time, I did a stage show using a complete V4B rig. It was nearly impossible to hear anything on stage with clarity, driving the 2x15 reverse folded horn. Sounded good out in the house, but not SVT good, or even small lounge B-15N good. I attribute that to two things, mostly the V4’s reflex horn cabinet. That said, I also felt the V4’s 100 watts, was inadequate to drive the cab. One thing that’s important to remember, is that the V4 was originally designed a a guitar amp. Some bassists used the amp, with the 4x12 cabinets, but it wasn’t sutable (powerful) for bass. Ampeg removed the V4’s reverb and vibrato circuitry, and designed the cabinet, so the whole V4B system is in some ways, a retrofitted guitar amp. not that’s it’s necessarily bad, but the SVT and B-15N’s are perhaps better designs. With all that said, there are far better cabinets avaliable nowdays. Just my take, answers will vary.
    nomaj and b/o 402 like this.
  10. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Well ... I'll add this, I did have a V4-B rig, and yes, the folded horn cab, was somewhat of an aquired taste, but then, 100 watts was all you could get at a reasonable cost, now knowing what i know now, you really have to be honest with your expectations, the older amps start to break up at around 10-10:30 on the volume knob, the only way you'll get decent clean volume, it with an 810 cab, the newer reissue will give you a little more clean volume with a 810 cab, this is assuming your playing with a guitarist who somewhat respects, stage volume a bit, if you have never experienced playing a tube amp, by all means take the plunge, but be prepared to step up to a 300 tube amp ... IMHO
  11. Bulltrout

    Bulltrout Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta
    I've owned 5 or 6 V4/V4B's from the 70's. Everyone has been great, especially the ones that were properly serviced. If you like the Ampeg sound, I think you'd like it - I find them more usable than my SVT's and prefer the tone (not to take anything away from SVT's).
  12. CRich0205


    Feb 17, 2013
    I had a 75 I believe. It sounded great and the only reason I got rid of mine was to buy an SVT. Tonally it wasn’t the same thing as an svt but I was always happy with the tone. If you’re doing blues or rock that little bit of compressed breakup may be just the ticket for a great sound.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I used to have a 73 V4B I'd run in an 810 and I got asked to turn down a lot more than up. I have one of the newer reissues that I've been running with one or two 210's and same. So yeah, in a typical blues band playing bars, it should be plenty unless you're so crazy loud that you regularly get fired :D
  14. Giorgetto

    Giorgetto Fingers on 4 Flatwounds

    Dec 29, 2008
    Near Tinseltown
    Artist Relationship: Wilkins-Ampeg-La Bella
    The current re-issue V4-B is one of my all time favorite amps...Superb tone and plenty of power for most situations, mine sounded especially nice through 2 SVT-112 AV's.
  15. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    You need it! I used to play one through the 6-10, but through a decent 2-15 it should be quite sufficient if yer not playing "1000-seater" bars
  16. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Buy it.
  17. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Hah, you won't get a no from me mister.

    Ampeg is the poopie!!
    V4B belongs straight into the core of Ampeg cult along with the CL and other amps. 100W is plenty enough to drive your 2x15 as long as you don't really own the least sensitive speakers out there.

    It depends how much clean headroom you want though. You will absolutely enjoy the distorted output if you are searching for that. Otherwise you might do better with an SVT CL. Both sound amazing though, especially the CL is abnormally loud and has a reaaally nice spot in the low end, making the sound really wide but still fairly tight with no trash low end frequencies (meaning sub 30ish). Plug in and play baby.
    mikewalker likes this.
  18. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Last time I played an 810 with a CL it was on a really big stage (it could accomodate some 10-15k people but this number is not as relevant since it was an open stage). Anyways, couldn't get it past 11 o'clock both gain and master wise. Bandmates didn't even need the bass in their monitors and this was a reggae gig on top of all.

    Amazing gear really. Ever since I got my SVT3Pro (which I can say it actually does nail the CL tone amazingly well) I have never been so amazed by an amp before and I owned plenty. I got the EBS Fafner, thought it was great for a week, then my amazing factor went down. Bought an Aguilar AG500DC, same. Had a GK RB1001, Genz Benz STR900, EBS Reidmar, GK MB800, Hartke H5500, Epifani amps, and bla bla bla... Always the same thing.

    I now own my SVT3 for cca. half a year now and I still get amazed at the sound of this thing just as I did the first day I've tried it. Amazing.

    I am definitely in the market for the CL even if I only buy it to keep it in my rehearsal room I really don't care. And the 810 classic. It just sounds that great. Hard to describe with words really.

    Also, I am very amazed ot how well Ampeg sounds with Aguilar DB line. Kind of sounds like an all Ampeg stack but with steroids = warmer, clearer.
    mikewalker likes this.
  19. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi gitfiddl :)


    A V4B you must buy!

    may the bass be with you

    CTBassGuy, mikewalker and Mastermold like this.
  20. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Last night there was only one stabbing in my town, and that kid took it well enough to choose to not cooperate with authorities. Get the v4. Get three more 215 cabs. V4s work best on an 815 rig.

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