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What's wrong with Ampeg?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mud Flaps, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    For some reason I am sensing a that this board's general feeling about Ampeg has taken a turn for the worse. I don't quite understand why, I don't think by any stretch of the imagination that their equipment is the best on the market, but I do believe that Ampeg is just as good as SWR (in fact, similarly priced and sized SWR and Ampeg rigs to me sound to be virtually the same), and is probably tied for the best manufacturer of readily available bass amplification on the market (i.e. manufacturers who's equipment can usually be found at your local GC).

    I have an Ampeg in my room, it's the Classic Series 4x10. I have it hooked up to my Music Man HD-500. I think my rig sounds fantastic. You'd be offering me Aguilar or EBS before I'd even consider trading it.

    My school's Ampeg B100R is the best sounding combo amp I have ever played by a long shot. I believe it's been around since the beginning of the jazz ensemble program a little over a decade ago. Even with two bassists plugged in at once through both the 0 and -15 jack for the past 12 or 13 years, this amp still sounds great and functions perfectly.

    Many times, if I have a performence in DC and I am unable to lug my rig back home, I will leave it at my school. When this happens, my brother will share his Ampeg BA110 with me until I am able to fit the amp into the back of the Explorer and bring it home. I think the BA110 is pretty cool for a little combo amp, it's really punchy.

    I've only owned two pieces of amp that are not Ampeg in my whole life: my Music Man head which I mentioned earlier, and a Gallien-Krueger Backline 250 head which I owned before my current head. I've found that Ampeg's equipment is extremely reliable, and is soundwise just as good as anything else unless you are willing to dish out a lot of money.
  2. I just picked up a V-4BH head and 410HE cab today. I've been looking at them for a long time and finally went for it. I couldn't be much happier at this point... it's exactly what I want.

    I don't think Ampegs are viewed badly around here, it's just the same as for Fender; they stick to an old formula that is considered by some to be obsolete, and charge quite high prices for the quality they offer. At least that's the general consensus.

    I love Ampeg since it gives me what I want: pure tube tone with solid construction, ease of repair and maintenance, and high availability on the used market. Of course by the 1980s people began to find tube amps obsolete, saying solid state amps were the best. And nowadays, most serious bassists looking for a tube tone go for a hybrid amp like an Eden or Aguilar. Ampegs are "old news" basically. 8x10s are big for nothing, SVTs are too heavy.

    I still think they're a good amp to go to. Sure, they aren't the most versatile or best built, and they can be expensive. But the same can be said about the P bass... and it's still the most recognised bass around.

    Just for the record, I also play Fender basses! :D I guess I just like the style... simple, classic tone.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i dunno, ampeg still has die hard fans. some of their stuff is great. a few things to consider. the original ampeg stuff like the svt, b-15, etc is pretty much universally loved. the newer svt models are made differently due to cost and availability of components (an svt made today like an svt made in 1970 would cost about 5k retail) :eek: the new svt sounds good, but not the same. also, like any company that has been bought out, many feel that ampegs quality went south after being aquired by st loius music. again, similar to many buyout stories, popular opinion is that quaility suffered and then improved based upon customer feedback. my own experience with dealers in the 90's was that many loved the ampeg sound, but were frustrated by product failure/customer returns, and many dropped ampeg as a line as a result. ampeg also make a whole bunch of different products, some seem to be great, some don't. lots of cats (myself included) like the sound of the svt 3 pro, but find it to be underpowered for its nominal wattage rating. anecdotally, freaky fender's ampeg combo (which i forget the model of) sounds killer. :D IME, most recently the HLF series of cabs (particularly the 410) has been under fire as of late due to it's apparent mid-shy nature (again, this is subjective) it sounds impressive and deep in the store, but doesnt cut thru as well as the sealed ampeg 410 and more classic 810 cabs. YMMV. would i refuse to play thru a brand new svt classic and an 8x10? hell no. :D
  4. Ampegs can sound reeaally muddy and a lot of people including myself don't like that sound. It depends on what I'm playing too. If its rock or some jazz I like Ampeg tones, but if its solo or metal where Im playing something really fast, then i cant hear any definition in the sound. Like Ivanmike I'd still play through an Ampeg 8x10 anyday, those just sound sweet.
  5. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Sheesh, you think Ampeg's rep has taken a dive? Check out the recent vibe regarding SWR and Ampeg will come out smelling Aguilar.

    Besides, who cares what the overall vibe is on the board. I mean, just because the TB crew starts slagging Ampeg gear doesn't mean it stops doing the job for the people who love it. Take everything with a grain of salt (except for electrical safety warnings).
  6. ampegs are known for there tone, but the amps they make now are just way to damn expensive, i mean almost 600 bucks for a 350 watt amp(b2-r) that is rediculous! i compared the b2-r to a gallien-krueger 400rb-II which is 280watts, the b2-r was on top of a ampeg 6x10hlf and the gk was on top of a backline 4x10, the gk rig was so much louder and so much more defined than the ampeg rig, the ampeg rig would have probably cost about 700 dollars more than the gk rig, and i would have hated it, ampegs are just to expensive for what you get. get gallien-krueger!
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    hey, no one asked about SWR. I'm a big fan, and i miss the good old days...........i'll vouch for the recent swr vibe, and hey, dont get me started on a certian bass company started by a guy who looks like santa that was bought by a guitar company that's famous for their single cutaway electric guitar.........now that's a product that took a nose dive...............and then there's this company that was in the energy buisiness.............
  8. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Ampeg reminds me a lot of Fender. There low end stuff offers good bang for the buck and is very competitive. I've heard a lot of good about the Porta Bass series too! And the High end stuff SVTCL and the Pre-amps have a real good rep. But Like SWR there stuff in the great unwashed middle (where most consumers shop) is kind of uninspireing at best and unreleable at worst. The B2's/B1's have had more then there share of problems and some of there cabs seem to be less then steller values. I think all in all they make great stuff and I'd never tell anybody not to check it out. I do think the GK's and Edens in that 500-1000 are better values.
  9. And so this post is going????????
  10. Special_Ed


    Oct 3, 2004
    IMO ampegs are relaible because they are "nerfed" They have a 450 watt svt pro 3, they make it run at 375 watts max without the customer knowing, so it breaks less often.

    This is a pretty good reason as to why their amps are so quiet sounding? :smug:
  11. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I've been through a good amount of brand new Ampeg gear in the past three or four years.

    Recently, I bought a little BA-112 for the bedroom. It was the first piece of Ampeg gear that I've bought and examined closely that hadn't been intentionally damaged by the line assemblers. The most heavily, outrageously vandalized piece was a V-50H head I've written about at length on another site. It was just incredible. I've worked on amps for thirty-five years and I haven't seen anything like it.

    I corresponded with an Ampeg repair tech in Colorado who confirmed that what I was seeing was common - at least at that time. He hated working on Ampeg gear because all the chassis screws would be intentionally stripped so badly that they had to be drilled out to remove the PCBs, foreign matter stuffed in the chassis, etc. Just bad-attitude worker petty sabotage. The amp would pass final inspection, but have trouble later, or be difficult to work on if it had to be serviced.

    I do hope SLM has their labor relations problems ironed out by now, but I'm a bit hesitant to pay Ampeg prices for stuff until I know this nonsense is behind them.
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Where Ampeg fails, by and large, is that when you start getting low, i.e. 5 strings, the cabinets being tuned to 52hz doesn't do them a lot of justice, especially with more and more people using 5s. Fortunately the Nu-metal thing where tuning to Q was the hip thing to do sorta faded, but it remains that Ampeg's B string response isn't so hot.

    Their heads are just a matter of preference.

    As for SWR...Fender bought them, everyone assumed they'd go to crap, and so people started assuming they were crap. Meanwhile, a "pre-fender" SWR is the same damn thing. I don't think they even changed facilities, just picked up a big-ass distributor.
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I like Ampeg heads. I'm not too hot on the cabs. The heads I've played through have universally sounded great, none of the cabs has sounded better than average yet you still have to pay top shelf prices for them because they are Ampeg. Personally I'd rather team them with something like the Hartke XL series but I just like that sound. Still, that's what you get when you deal with any "classic" brand. Take a look at Gibson: a thousand bucks for a basic Les Paul and they can't even put decent pickups, hardware, or strings on the thing. And if I'm paying a grand for an instrument I want something better than rosewood on the fingerboard too. You look at what a thousand bucks gets you from many less famous guitar companies and you're talking about active pickups, onboard pre-amps and EQs, figured/flamed tops, and ebony fretboards (personal pet peeve of mine, I can't stand rosewood). But it doesn't say Gibson on it it so....

    Ampeg is the same way. Like it or not you are paying for the name. The name may be attached to some really good sounding hardware, but its still a name. I think Ampegs have been blown up to such mythical proportions that a lot of people are simply going to be disappointed. They're buying this amp that supposedly has godlike power and tone and what actually comes home with them isn't too much different from products from other companies. This probably accounts for at least a portion of the decline in reputation you are talking about.
  14. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    The sound just isn't for me. Sure it's got a great classic rock tone, but that's all i like. I don't like the sound of their non-classic lines really at all either. It's all personal pref.
  15. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    Gotta chime in here, kinda OT, but...
    I have an older III Pro. Bought it new in '94. Yeah, it seemed 'quieter' than I expected 450 watts to sound-but I never needed more. I told myself that if I needed anymore power for a gig, I would be having PA support anyway...which has proven to be true, ever since. Since new, my amp had an annoying (to me) distortion that occured on strong signals. No one else in the band(s) could hear it, but to me it sounded like a blown diaphragm in my horn. Cross-checking with other amps found this not to be the case. It was my SVT III Pro. I sent it back to the factory early on, but they did not find anything out of spec. In a live music context, it sounded great and whatever the 'distortion' was could not be heard...only when playing by myself (maybe the amp was lonely for others? :D ) Over the years I simply got used to this behavior. When it came time to retire my SVT III Pro from my live rig and relegate it to the studio, I became re-acquainted with 'the anomaly'. I called Ampeg and Jay and Dave said to ship it to them. When I got it back in two weeks, the parts list was amazing...a two-page computer printout! My problem, present from day one with the amp, was gone! It sounded (still does) better than ever before. The charge for 'rebuilding' my amp: Zero! Even though it was some seven -plus years out of warranty.
    Ampeg is a class act!

  16. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Hmmmm........ maybe someone is not quite knowing what they are talking about here?

    I like to refer to Ampeg as "Cratepeg", so maybe that shows an opinion or two...about changes in tone, construction, etc.

    BUT, one thing about it, is I find they DO make power. I can't hold that against them.

    I don't know where the deal about 375 vs 450 watts comes from, but THAT part isnt true in my experience fixing units.

    As to why the unit sounds "quiet"? I have no idea, but it isn't lack of available power. Must be a tonality thing.

    BTW, its a "3PRO" not a "pro 3", so maybe he hasn't ever seen one..........
  17. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Speaking as a long time B15N owner, and the new and very satisfied owner of a B100R, I think Ampeg is doing a very good job of resurrecting the old brand. Don't forget, the original Ampeg was innovative and expensive...and is now long-gone defunct. Kudos to the current Ampeg for making decent gear once again. I'm not in the market for an SVT, nor for the bottom of the line. The B100R suits me just fine, and looks and sounds enough like the old B15N that nobody seems to notice that I've changed amps!
  18. Just to clarify...the production of the Workingman's series was moved from California to Mexico.

  19. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Yes, at Fender's Ensenada plant. The Pro Series stuff is now made at Fender's site at Corona, California. The LA Series is made in Indonesia.

    The new Pro Series gear that I've examined was still made of very high-quality components and the PCBs were still pre-Fender stock. AFAIK, there's been no material change in that line, though the Workingman's line is being dumped for a new "Working Pro" series.
  20. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    When I got my new SVT-AV Classic it had a couple of funny cosmetic quirks. The metal screen on the back didn't fit in the opening in the amp case so someone at the factory apparently bashed it in with a mallet, bending the screen and digging into the tolex all along the bottom edge. On the top, someone installed the tolex over the top of a cigarette butt. Then it looked like they smashed it down with a hammer to try and hide it. I never opened it up to see what the inside looked like, I was afraid to. And this is their top of the line. What kind of workmanship goes into a B2R?? :eyebrow: :eyebrow: :eyebrow: