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Thanks to all who talked me into the vintage Ampeg V4...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mikeyvr6, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. mikeyvr6

    mikeyvr6 Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2002
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
    ...over here in this thread. And of course big props to Ralphdaddy for locating it for me. I owe you a beer my friend!

    I picked it up today and I'm thrilled. I've spent about an hour with it so far and am thinking of relegating my current rack setup to practice duty. Seriously. I've only been able to run it through my Avatar 2x12 but I can tell you anyone who thinks that these are not loud enough to gig with is on crack. This thing is stupid loud and I can only imagine what it'll be able to do through my 8x10. (I'll find out next Thursday at practice.) Of course the tone is to die for--pure 70's Ampeg tube. Incredible.

    Condition wise it looks like it was a basement queen. No nicks on the tolex, no stains on the grill, no worn off lettering on the control panel, no surface rust on anything. New Sovtek 5881WXT power tubes, biased, and general checkup in November 2004 according to the documentation I got with it. Preamp tubes look all original. All pots and switches are dead quiet. No extraneous hiss or noise while in operation. Reverb works as it should.

    So, thanks again to all ya'll for talking me into this purchase!

    Obligatory pics:
  2. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN

    How much did you get it for?
  3. At least one cap has been replaced, which is good. The blue cap in the rear view is not original. :D

    Hope you enjoy it. Mine's identical except I don't have the big Ampeg logo on the left front.
  4. mikeyvr6

    mikeyvr6 Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2002
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
    $175 after trading my mid-90s Ampeg B3 combo. Also picked up a Boss TU-2 pedal tuner for when I gig with it.
  5. mikeyvr6

    mikeyvr6 Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2002
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
    That's good to know. The cap behind it is identical as well.
  6. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    good deal. I'm looking into getting one, and wanted to check prices. Thanks.
  7. Beautiful !!!!! I see it has a new cap in it so it prolly had a complete cap job. It looks like a Magnavox manufacture. 1973ish. If you ever get antsy about new tubes, the 5881WXT are a lower output tube that that amp can handle. It will take 6L6GC, KT66, and 6550 tubes for around 20% more power. But if you are happy with the power, just wait till you retube in 2 to 30 years.
  8. That is beautiful! How much does it weigh? I bet it will definately rock with the 810. I want a tube amp. I'm putting together a Sansamp/QSC setup together, but I know it will never be tubes. If I'm not really happy with that, I'll sell the pre, and save up and try some different preamps, like an SVP-CL or Eden Navigator, and if its still not doin it for me, go to a tube amp or a contained amp.

    Anyways, Is that essentially the same as a V-22?
  9. Very nice! Good find.
  10. I'm currently lookinf for a V-4B, but as an amateur bassist, I feel like settling for a more recent model, ie the V-4BH to make sure I have no tube issues, etc. The V-4 is so much like an SVT, only smaller... perfect for what I'm looking for. Enjoy it! Hopefully, I'll join the club shortly.
  11. it looks great!
    my friend uses his V4B with an SWR610 and it´s LOUD! i use mine with a 412 and have no problems whatsoever with volume. it´s a great amp, good luck with it.
  12. mikeyvr6

    mikeyvr6 Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2002
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
    It weighs 65 lbs. It's heavier than a mother, but to me it's worth it. As you can see by my sig, heavy gear doesn't bother me. :p IME my SVP-CL/QSC comes somewhat close to the sound of this amp, but its tone is more refined and lacks the meaty growl that only a tube amp can give you. The VT-22 is the 2x12 combo version of the V4.

    You have good eyes! I too determined it to be 1973-ish, due to the control panel graphics and the plastic Ampeg logo. Thanks for the tube info. Good to know there are other options. Where do the 7027A's fit into there power wise? Also what the heck are those two white plastic clips for that are attached to the inside rear bottom? Any idea?
  13. The plastic clips are for storing the optional footswitch. I've never seen one of these footswitches, from the schematic it looks like it turns the reverb on or off.

    For jenderfazz: These old amps can be just as reliable, if not more reliable, than a new amp. Due to the age of their electrolytic cacitors, they generally could stand a cap job, but once that's take care of, no other service is usually needed. All of the tubes are readily available now, and they (the tubes) can last for 30+ years. Tube reliability or amp reliability is not an issue. If a problem does occur--mine had a dying coupling cap when I bought it--servicing is incredibly easy, thanks to its design...and the incredibly handy schematic affixed to the chassis lid.

    The advantages over the new model: the old V4 or V4B has a selector switch between 2, 4, or 8 ohms. IIRC the new model only does 2 or 4, or maybe 4 and 8, but its only two choices now.

    The old model I think is built with more heavy-duty components. It'd be interesting to compare the power transformer betwen the old versus new, I bet the old one is much bigger and heavier.

    And the old V4 is much more versatile than its V4B or V4BH descendant. Want to play guitar, turn up the reverb and maybe flip the midrange selector switch to a different setting. Go back to bass, merely turn the reverb down and put the mid on 300.

    I put Sovtek 7027's in mine, and measured 100+ watts output before the sine wave started visibly clipping on the scope.

    Note for all: I have a hi-res scan of the schematic from the lid on mine. It's a fairly big file, so I can't post it here, and it'd take a couple minutes or so to download at 56k. But if anybody wants a copy of this scan, PM me with your email address.
  14. mikeyvr6

    mikeyvr6 Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2002
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
    The new V4BH's only do 4 or 8 ohms. They also weigh only 40lbs, vs. 65lbs for the vintage V4s.

    It sounds great running it with the tone controls flat. Actually, I had to back the bass off to about 10 o'clock cause it was just too much! I surely won't miss the Ultra Low switch of the V4B.

    Another thing to remember is that these old V4s are 26" wide, which matches up great with the current Ampeg classic cabs but might hang over the edges of other cabs as evidenced by the pictures I posted.
  15. It has been said to death that a 6L6GC is THE SAME TUBE as a 7027A concerning Ampegs. The difference is that the 7027 can be used in other applications because of the pins. But 6L6GC (The GC matters), is a drop in. The amp must be rebiased any time a set of tubes are replaced.
  16. Good to hear. Frankly, if a used, 70s V-4 was to come in to my local shop, I'd pick it up in a second! It really depends on what comes in first, since I don't want to buy new. I'd imagine the V-4 is easily serviceable, since it's a very popular model (like the SVT... no problem finding a tech that can repair one of those). And the shop owner is a very honest guy who gets the amps serviced before selling them, etc, so I know it wouldn't really be much of a problem. This thread just makes me want one more!

    Actually, this summer, right before I started working and had very little money, a 79 V-4 came in with its 2 matching 8x10s. 600 CDN for the head (which is like 460 $ American) with cabs going 1000 CDN each. Granted, I don't need an 8x10 (nor do I have room for it!), but the head was amazing. It sold the first day it went on sale, the day after it got inspected by the amp tech. If only I had the money then... Now, I have a bunch saved up, dedicated to the V-4 with my name on it!
  17. Not true, IMHO.

    Checked, but not necessarily rebiased. There's a degree of latitude and as long as the replacement tubes are in the same range, they'll work fine. The check can be as quick as looking at the tube to make sure they look OK, or looking at the output signal on the scope. Now somebody may prefer the tube to be operating at exactly "x" % of dissipation, but there's NOT an exact number to set the bias at.

    In my V4, I put in 4 matched Sovteks. Looked at the sine wave at full output, no crossover distortion notch. Put in 4 completely mismatched tubes. Same output, no crossover distortion notch.

    Tube biasing can be a highly contentious subject. Everybody has their opinion on when/how/at what number to bias. This is mine. If you disagree, fine. However, there's an awful lot of V4's still out there in operation with the fixed bias as it came from the factory.
  18. Robert Sjea

    Robert Sjea

    Mar 19, 2008
    St. Louis
    Good Lord! I just got one last weekend and I almost had tears in my eyes when I cranked it today - it screams! I don't even have a decent cab - I'm also thinking Avatar 212 (affordable, good reviews). I'd love to hear what cabs and effects (if any) people are using. I got mine for $650 and it's in beautiful condition.
  19. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Congrats and good luck!

    I have a V4, i was told it was a 72 when i bought it, it lacks the face plate and the clips for the footswitch are black.

    I LOVE this head. I picked it up for $550 from a kid on the craigslist. I've been using mine with a 70s ampeg b40 cab which is a 4x10 cab that went with the b40 SS head, but i loaded the cab with eminence legends for a little better response.

    as far as effects, my effects chain is a modded TU2 > whammy IV > micro pog > bass balls > bumbox bust > greedtone od > line 6 DL4.
  20. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Loved mine, but sold it on ebay last week...for $830! Dude said it was the best bass head he had ever heard, and he has several big tube heads. I miss it already. Anyway, the value of these may be going up. Grab one now!