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TUBE Ampeg flavor within $$/space constraints?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by focusbob, Feb 11, 2019.


  1. SVP-Pro

    9 vote(s)
    20.5%
  2. SVP-cl

    4 vote(s)
    9.1%
  3. B25

    2 vote(s)
    4.5%
  4. Svt-iip (do they exist?)

    1 vote(s)
    2.3%
  5. Other (please explain)

    28 vote(s)
    63.6%
  1. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    Hi Forum! (Long post alert!)

    I'm a guitarist who has been venturing over to electric bass. I have accumulated 4-5 bass guitars (mostly old USA Peaveys, which I love), a Fender Rumble v3 2x10+1x15 extension, and incidentally some bass friendly guitar amps (or vice versa!, e.g., Traynor YBA-1). I also have a 2x6l6 Fryette Power Station (power amp), which will become relevant in a moment, and catalinbread svt and behringer bddi pedals. Now, I would like to add more authentic tube Ampeg flavor to my arsenal but have limited space and budget (say 500$ used). Given that I am not really a bassist, I have a hard time evaluating my options. I need your help!

    I'm looking for "that signature Ampeg tone," which I'm not well versed it, but I believe involves forward mids and "grind/growl" (musical breakup when you dig in). I'm also looking for tube warmth (and am generally a tube amp fanatic, so I'm hoping whatever I choose will contain tubes running at high voltage). I have listened to videos on YT and the classics, b15 and SVT, sound great to me! Within my budget, I've narrowed options down to an SVT rack preamp (svt-iip, svp-pro, svp-cl), which I could run through my Rumble class D power section and/or my tube Fryette Power Station, OR a vintage b25 head (I would likely never buy an all tube SVT variant due to size, weight, and cost)

    The b25 sounds great in videos, and provides a nice breakup when pushed, although it is of the "foggy," "loose" variety common to the oldest vintage tube amps (nice, but not exactly what I'd ideally choose, as I generally gravitate towards "classic hard rock" guitar tones). The b25 clean tone is awesome. Of the preamps, it seems like the svt-iip is a unicorn, the svp-cl will never breakup (no "grind"), and the svp-pro is often panned for being noisey, (I know new tubes and the gray faced version mitigate this some) and not sounding like the great classic Ampegs. I understand that most of the signature Ampeg grind does not come from the preamp, but I'd like to capture some of it within the constraints of my current setup (the Fryette is very neutral and high headroom by design).

    So, if I'm looking for a classic Ampeg warm, midsy, grinding tone (not tons of distortion, just musical breakup when you dig in), what is my best option (given what I already have and my space/financial constraints)? Feel free to tell me that I'm wasting my time/money given the amps and pedals I already have :) If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading my looooong message :D
     
  2. johnpbass

    johnpbass

    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    If you're looking used in the range of $500 - $1K, I'd suggest checking out the V4B reissue. If you're not looking for a lot of power, either the 20T or 50T would probably do it. IIRC, 20T is $599 new and the 50T is $899 new.
     
  3. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks, I will check those out! Any opinions on the SVP pro or b25 etc?
     
    NKBassman likes this.
  4. johnpbass

    johnpbass

    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    Ampeg pre's are a good option also, given that you can just run into your Rumble power section - although that's not going to give you the full tube experience since you're not going to have tubes in the power section. You do have a tube power amp though so that would probably be a good combination. B25s sound great but may be hard to find and may vary in what shape they're in. I'd go 50T instead of the B25 but I'm sure others will weigh in here.
    EDIT: Also, IMO, Ampeg cabs add a lot to the "Ampeg sound" as well.
     
    JC Nelson, JulienP. and focusbob like this.
  5. jbd5015

    jbd5015

    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    Sweetwater has a deal on the PF50T for $150 off new units last i checked...
     
    Zbysek, NoSlapForYou, BassGH and 3 others like this.
  6. JulienP.

    JulienP.

    Jan 28, 2016
    Netherlands
    Extremely happy with my Ampeg PF-50T i got last year, especially with recording at home DI.
    Sometimes I only wish I had a Reddi to compare it with...

    I have a SVTII-P but it always sounded too noisy to make any good recording from it. But through an amp as a preamp it sounded quite good. I'm not sure if you get the full Ampeg sound (only preamp stage from SVT-II, missing tubes stage).
    So, unless you've electronic knowledge, I would personally stay away from vintage.

    For your budget I would look at the Verellen Preamp Meatsmoke or Ampeg-PF50T. Might add the A Designs Reddi as well.

    Good luck!
     
    BassGH, focusbob and johnpbass like this.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm gonna throw you a curveball.

    Try to find an SVT 6 Pro head. 1,000W MOSFET power section.

    I have owned or played through every single tube and hybrid SVT ever made (except the SVT-100).

    The closest you will ever get to the old school SVT sound without a real 300W all-tube SVT is the 6 Pro. They usually pop up in your budget range. It's a fantastic head and one of the few peices of gear I ever regret selling.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  8. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks! To my understanding, which may not be 100% accurate, the preamp section of the SVT 6 PRO (along with various other SVT PRO models) is essentially the same as the SVP PRO rack preamp. As such, I'm wondering whether you would recommend the SVP PRO, and if not, why not?
     
  9. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks! Were you able to get any tube breakup, when digging in, from the svt-iip? Not distortion or overdrive per say, just some dynamic edge/grind? Do you get this (to a more/less extent) from the pf-50t?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  10. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I would venture down the road of a Classic Preamp, Scrambler DI or Tech21 VT anything. These get the essence of Ampeg without all the weight and expense of the amps.
     
  11. JulienP.

    JulienP.

    Jan 28, 2016
    Netherlands
    The SVTII-P is cleaning than I originally expected, as you don't have the tubes from the power amp section of the SVT-II. Also, maybe not the same transformer...
    So if you think 90's style Alice in Chains SVT-II Dirt forget it it's not it.
    I had more success with my PF-50T.

    I would follow also the advise from @two fingers SVT-6 Pro.
    Did you check the Verellen Meatsmoke preamp on You Tube (the clean channel)?
     
  12. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    Not yet but I will (I'm a little gun shy going in though, since the cheapest used one is 600$)! What are your thoughts on the svp pro, given that it contains (essentially) the same preamp as the SVT 6 pro and a ss power section?
     
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    No, the 6 Pro preamp is a totally different beast. No graphic EQ. Tube Voltage control (which is the secret sauce of the amp... that and MOSFET power). Para mids. Compressor. Nothing at all like the SVP Pro. Closer in tone (and way more versatile than) the SVP-CL. But with a sealed tens cab it can dial in a respectable SVT-CL tone. adg315725516-Ampeg-SVT6-Pro,-panel-delantero-big.
     
    focusbob, JulienP. and NKBassman like this.
  14. I've got some vintage, open back guitar tube amps and when I connect them up to a proper bass cabinet they work great as a bass amp. Not ideal to drag to a gig but for home and recording it gives me everything I'd want from a tube bass rig. I always thought bass amps needed special EQ different from guitar amps but the fender bassman and ampeg V4B have the same EQ stack (unless I'm full of crap) as the guitar versions. If you have a decent tube amp for guitar you might just try it out with a bass cabinet and see if you like it.
     
  15. Greyvagabond

    Greyvagabond Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    The SVT-100 sounds like a Marshall Superbass, so if you're into Ampeg, you're aren't missing much!
     
    NoSlapForYou and focusbob like this.
  16. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I can relate to this concept... My FAVORITE studio bass amp of all time is a Mesa Boogie MkIIB 100W head running into a 4-12 guitar cabinet. Huge, beautiful "clean power" reminiscent of an old Kustom tube rig (back in the days when you didn't need a "thousand watt" bass head to gig with...) :)
     
    johnpbass and focusbob like this.
  17. extreme

    extreme Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    The Broughton P15 is basically the preamp guts of an Ampeg B15-N and nails the sound. They're hard to come by as he just makes them as he's able. Other cheaper options would be to piece together some sort of pedal combination. You might get close enough with simply using one of these or combining them:

    Barber Linden EQ

    Sonic Silver Peg
     
    NKBassman likes this.
  18. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks, that's super helpful info!
     
    JulienP. and two fingers like this.
  19. focusbob

    focusbob

    Jan 28, 2019
    AndyPanda, which vintage guitar tube amps have you found to sound best for bass?
     
  20. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    That Barber Linden EQ has been on my list for a LONG time! I really should get around to trying that some day.

    The Catalinbread SFT directly feeding into a tube power amp sounds pretty good, too.
    May not be quite as versatile as the OP would like, though. Mostly sits on the "dirtier" side of Ampeggy bass tones. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019

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