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Which Amp Should I Keep? SVT II vs. QuatraValve

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by korngold, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. korngold

    korngold Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    I just purchased an SVT II and a QuatraValve. Neither have arrived yet, and my main amp has been a TwinValve for the past 9 months. I LOVE my TwinValve, it just didn't get loud enough. At about 2:30PM on the master, you will get some power tube grind with a TwinValve, and it does have a pre-amp tube or 2.

    I looked for a reasonably-priced Quatra/Hexa valve for almost 6 months, but the only ones I saw were on e-bay and too pricey. So, I ended up getting an SVT II, which was more easily available. And, after reading up on these, it sounded like what I was after...mostly.

    Fast forward a bit...had a gig last weekend and the band before us had an SVT-CL set up with an 8x10 Ampeg Fridge. He insisted I use his head/cab, so I tried it for one set. Now, I admit 1) the head was the CL which is very different from the SVT II, from what I've heard, 2) I didn't mess with the settings much because I didn't want to throw his settings out of whack, and 3) it was loud.

    The SVT-CL was very "farty" sounding with my active 5-string (my main bass). I backed off the volume, backed off the lows on the bass, and I still couldn't get a decent sound. After the first set, I set up my TwinValve and my 2 12" Genz cabs (into the mic the sound guy originally had on the Ampeg), and I realized how much I like that TwinValve sound. It's crisp, but I still get the tubey grind I love.

    Here's my dilemma: the SVT II is at the shop and needs some repairs and I spent my whole "gear fund" on the SVT II and I had to charge the Quatra Valve. Not my preferred way of doing things, but they are hard to come by.

    What should I do at this point?

    1) Sell the SVT-II. That would leave me the QuatraValve as my main amp, and the Twin as a back-up or for smaller gigs/venues. That would mean less tweaking if I go between amps.
    2) Sell the QuatraValve. I haven't heard it yet and I know that I like my TwinValve. That would leave me the TwinValve for small gigs and the SVTII for larger ones.
    3) Sell the TwinValve & keep the other two (higher-powered) amps, which will give me more tonal options. Who knows, I may end up loving the SVT-II sound.

    I play in a 90's band right now, but have done a fair number of musicals and recitals (for which the Quatra and the SVT II would both be overkill). I do some slap & pop stuff and like a lot more high-mids/highs in my sound than most rock players that I listen to. My other bass is a 4 string MusicMan Sub4 Active, which did sound pretty good into the SVT-CL last weekend. But, I only play that bass for about 4 songs, and rarely use it for non-rock gigs.

    Additionally, I stopped using my 4x10 and 1x15 cabs because they're so d@mn heavy. I already lug around all the PA gear for my band, and didn't want any other heavy gear. I'm only 165 and 5'8", so the idea of lugging the SVT II around is another reason I jumped on that QuatraValve.
  2. Rumblefisher


    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    Sell the SVT II and keep the Quatra IMO.

    I feel like Ampeg stuff is fairly easy to come by. Before Ampeg people jump on that sentence, let me say that Ampeg is easy to come by because it's preferred by many people. It's pretty much a rock standard.

    I like the sound of Trace Elliot gear. Seems like you do as well. It's never good to be in debt, and it appears like the SVT ii has problems from the get go.
  3. Just to state, that the ease of coming by both heads depends drastically on where you are. I see the TEs pretty often, the SVT-IIs, not so much.

    One thing I will point out. you werent so keen on the SVT-CL & 810. I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the CL but I do love my SVT-II. But, what I think you should really consider is the difference between a pair of ported 12's and a sealed 810. I think the difference in cabinets is probably having a bigger impact on the sound than the amp in this case.

    Also, regarding the slap tone, I've been able to get a pretty good slap tone out of my SVT-II, I've also not had any issues with any of my amps farting out (with 4, 5 or 6 string basses).

    The weight issue isnt a problem for me, so I really don't know how badly it affects other people, tho I'm 8 inchs taller and over 80lbs heavier than you :p

    For what it's worth, on the UK ebay, there was a Trace Elliot preamp just the other day, it's the stand alone preamp which is the same as the one in the quatra valve I think (looked similar at least).
  4. korngold

    korngold Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    Both amps are pretty hard to come by here in Iowa, so I jumped at the chance to get each (which may have been a hasty decision). I had the SVT II shipped directly to British Audio Service (authorized Ampeg service center), so I know that amp will be in tip-top shape when I get it. I read a lot about the SVT II prior to buying it, so I'm hoping that it will turn out okay with that amp.

    I know that the SVT II is a different animal than the SVT-Classic I tried last weekend, and it may turn out that I sell the TwinValve. At present, it is just barely able to keep up with my current band, and the QuatraValve should fill its shoes nicely.

    As for the cab situation, in addition to my Trace stack and GB 1x12 cabs, I also have a pair of bottom ported 1x15 cabs (much like the 90's Carvin 15" bass cabs), each with 600w (RMS) Eminence drivers that I usually use as low-end for my PA. I may try the SVT II with those when we have PA support provided. I've heard that the SVT II loves 15s, and these cabs are straight-forward with no horns.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    if it were me, i'd wait till they arrive, then i'd decide after playing them ;)
  6. Peppacone


    Jul 24, 2008
    Seems like the obvious plan of action.
  7. korngold

    korngold Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Unfortunately, I can't test them out together for quite some time (and additional cost). The QuatraValve isn't here yet, and I had the SVT II shipped directly to British Audio because it wasn't working at 100%. I'm just waiting back to hear what the repair cost will be and if it's worth putting more money into at this point.
  8. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    +1... They're paid for, so you might as well wait and A/B'em. And that's really the only way to tell for yourself.
  9. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    is maybe a hexavalve or the mighty V8 thingy. One of the best bass sounds I ever heard was coming out of a hexavalve into 2x410's...killer rock rig. Or funk...or jazz...or...


  10. korngold

    korngold Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    It seems as though my decision was made for me. The QuatraValve arrived with some shipping damage and I will likely return it and keep the TwinValve & SVT II.

    In addition, Shane at British Audio said the issues with the SVT II were minor. Bad/cold bias (previous owner probably changed tubes & didn't rebias), and the power amp input jack was having some issues--the amp basically needed a rebias and a good cleaning. He charged me very little, spent a good deal of time on the phone with me, and tested the amp for a full day to make sure all is running well. He even worked with me to find the cheapest way to ship the amp back to me. So, 3 cheers for Shane at British Audio, and I'll be trying out the SVT II next week.
  11. Just curious, did you keep or return the Quatra. if you still have it and would like to sell it, please let me know. Cool gear no matter which way you decide to go. Dave
  12. +1 !

    I sure appreciate it when players get back & describe what they did & why.... in these sorta scenarios
  13. OK then.................
  14. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    I figured I could chime in, hope korngold doesn't mind.

    korngold sold the SVT-II to me for financial reasons. It was in great condition and still is.

    It's the one that's mounted in the case in the appreciation thread. He didn't get a chance to play it after getting it back from British Audio Services, and everything was still wrapped very well in bubble wrap. I must say, I'm glad he didn't play it, otherwise, he probably would've kept it!

    As an aside, British Audio Services did a great job, and the amp sounds great!
  15. +1
  16. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Wait until you've had a chance to play them both, then decide for yourself.
  17. korngold

    korngold Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Hi Rod,

    I took a bit of a hiatus (playing mostly guitar instead of bass) for a few months after I sold the SVT. I actually liquidated both amps--sold the SVT to Alex, as he mentioned, and returned the QuatraValve to GuitarCenter. Other than the fact that I was playing more guitar, I had some home repairs to tend to, and an 85 pound amp was a little ridiculous for an occasional practice, which was all that was going on in my bass world for a while.

    Somewhat ironically, after I got into my most recent band as bassist, another QuatraValve came up for sale. Since the Twin has been my main head for over a year, I jumped on it. I feel at home on the QuatraValve. It's a great sounding amp, and if you bypass the mid-boost and EQ sections, it does have a very "tubey" type tone to it. Engage the EQ and/or mid-boost, and it has a great pop sound, but still with a lot of (power) tube warmth. And, with my new band, I only need to use the QV on about 2 with a 4x10 cab and I am easily heard.

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