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Tube Amp for Prog Metal? (Considering other options as well)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Challanger2, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. Challanger2


    Feb 13, 2015
    I tried a SVT CL at guitar center a while back and really liked the sound it put out. However, the weight of the amp was really off putting, and it would be a major pain to take to gigs on a regular basis. I've been looking at options such as the Traynor tube amps, the peavey VB-2, which are around 50lbs each, or possibly the ampeg vb4 or new pf50. The tone I'd like to get is the grindy metallic bass sound you get from cranking the preamp gain on the SVT. I figure that the pf50 or vb4 could possibly get close to this, but I'm not sure if they would be able to get that distorted of a sound. Most youtube videos only demo clean-ish sounds on them as well which makes it difficult to get information on. The one cool think about the peavey is that it has two channels, but I've heard the vb-2 can be prone to electrical issues so I'm not sure it is a good buy. I know almost nothing about Traynor amps, but I've seen everyone on the sub talking highly about them so I figured it might be worth looking into.

    Right now I have a sansamp into a carvin mb510 combo. The main issue is the drive sensitivity on the sansamp. With me using an active bass, it is near impossible to get a drive level I like on the sansamp due to the fact that a minor adjustment on the knob makes a huge difference in gain. Two other possibilities I am considering are getting a PA tube poweramp and running the sansamp into it, or getting a multi-tube bass preamp and running it into the carvin amps poweramp. The carvin head does have a single 12ax7 in it, but it only adds harmonic richness when dimed, it doesn't come close to distorting at all. I've tried using a bunch of different bass drive pedals like the big muff and boss pedal (My guitar center had a good selection of bass drive pedals on a random day so I sampled a bunch of them) but they all honestly sounded like ass).

    The main things I'm trying to balance is getting a killer tone without having to break my back at every single gig. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.
  2. Rather than getting distortion from your amp, consider widening your pedal search. Nerd Knuckle Effects sounds pretty metal to me.


    I have a V4-B and I love it for rock. In medium sized venues with a 1x15 there's just enough power amp grind at stage volume for a 3 piece, but I don't try to make it distort full-on. I have a Pigtronix Disnortion for that. Depending on the venue size you're used to and the volume of your band, 100w tube might be a bit weak. For metal, I hear more about 300w SVTs, and you won't like the weight of that at all!

    If you can try a V4-B in a live setting and it's a match, I can't say enough good about it. I'm not a huge dude, and luggin' gear is just part of the game.
  3. Challanger2


    Feb 13, 2015
    The main issues I've had with distortion pedals is that most of them are all fuzz and no grind. Even the sansamp turns into fuzz-like territory as i take the gain past 7. I'd really like to get a nice metallic grind for my tone without needing a 90lb amp head, if possible.
  4. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Darkglass B7K
    KimGT99 likes this.
  5. Sounds like you might want overdrive rather than distortion, or distortion with a dry blend...?
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    V4B would be your best bet, then. But re: pedals, you do realize you don't have to crank them past 7, right? :D
  7. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    I don't think your looking for a tube head.
    Really sounds like you want a tube preamp.
    You thought about an Ampeg SVT 7 pro?
    Another thought would be SVPCL or SVP-PRO.
    All three are Ampeg and have tube preamps very similar to the all tube SVT. Without anywhere near the weight.
  8. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    I use a mid seventies V4b in studio a lot, input driven with all sorts of pedals and pre amps, a good one is to use an old SVTIIP pre amp driven to distraction.
    or an old Mesa Boogie Studio Pre Amp if you want to switch clean to dirty.
    Old ibanez Tube screamers are also very useful for bringing the mid grind to the foreground.:)
  9. AltecGreen


    Oct 3, 2015

    I would agree with this.

    Check out this video and see if you like the tone of the various combinations.

    As an alternative, check out the Tech 21 dUg Ultra Bass 1000. The amp combines two amps. One does clean lows and other is essentially a guitar amp with drive. You can combine the two channels to dial in a grindy tone.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The SVP-CL is a clean preamp, it can be pushed a little but it's not going to get grindy/growly/distorted at all.
    The SVP-Pro on the other hand would be a great option! Pair that with a high powered/low weight poweramp and it would be awesome.
    The Ampeg V4B would be another good choice. Half the weight of an SVT and it gets the overdrive happening at a much more reasonable volume.

    With that said, lugging an SVT really isn't all that bad. Look for a rack mount version (SVT II or SVT 2-Pro) and they're a little smaller and lighter than the head versions. I gig an SVT II all the time and there is no replacement for it.

    I would also suggest going down the rabbit hole of dirt pedals. There are lots and lots and lots of options out there.
    mbelue likes this.

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