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Which Ampeg SVT ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by el murdoque, Feb 9, 2016.


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  1. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    I made the 'mistake' of buying a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18 head to play Guitar at home.
    I figured with the so called XXL capacitors it could be able to produce a usable bass tone as well,
    so i hooked it up to my barefaced one10 and tried it with bass. Damn, that sound.

    So let's suppose i was in the market for an all tube head that goes loud.

    Furthermore, suppose i want to buy a used one.

    That leaves me more or less in Ampeg SVT and Fender Super Bassman territory.
    I've seen them pop up between €950 and €1300 here in Germany.
    The Fender Bassman is not my cup of tea. I just don't like the look of that thing.

    Could someone enlighten me on the differences of all those SVT's ?
    I've played two gigs where i could not bring an amp and they had a SVT with fridge provided,
    both times i was more than happy with my bass sound. But i could not remember what models
    they were if my life depended on it.
    Are they basically all the same and as long as it says 'SVT' on the front, i'll be a happy guy with a serious back-ache or are there some models to avoid and others to seek out?
    I mostly play Rock/Metal and Reggae, My current cabs are Aguilar GS212s, but i'm thinking of changing them in favor of a barefaced six10.
    On my Pedalboard you'll find dirt, more dirt, a Fuzzrocious BDPG, Compression and a LPF Pedal.

    @JimmyM - isn't this just the post you were looking for?
     
  2. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    The original SVT is just that - the "SVT". 300W, all tube. Then there was the rackmount version, the "SVT II".

    The SVT VR is a reissue of the original SVT.

    The SVT-CL is an updated version that is a little different internally, and has a Master Volume and a Gain, where the original SVT only had a Volume (really, input gain) and no Master Volume. The SVT-CL Heritage is the same but with Made in American quality and better tubes.

    The SVT II Pro and SVT 2 Pro are later iterations of the SVT II. The 2 Pro is different internally and is the only all-tube Ampeg that has a Drive control.

    Those are all 300W, all tube. Most people seem to agree that if you max the Master Volume on the models that have that, and then use the input gain to control volume, they all sound about (ABOUT, I said!) the same - given equivalent tubes, anyway.

    All other SVT models (e.g. SVT 3, SVT 7, SVT 450, etc..) are not all-tube.

    I think I've got that pretty much correct.
     
  3. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Yup, nailed it.

    If it's an all tube SVT you'll be pretty happy. The originals and the SVT II (non pro) seem to get the most love.

    You'll probably see more SVT-CLs out there because they're very readily available.

    I've owned a bunch of CLs, a bunch of 2-Pros, and currently have an SVT II. I'd be happy with any of them but I do prefer the rack format because it's a little smaller.
     
  4. meatwad

    meatwad

    Apr 9, 2008
    Smallville, USA
    Yup, all that's already been said here is true, IMO. As a long time SVT user myself, I think what tubes you have matters more than which particular SVT you may own.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Murdoque, I think that any SVT is a good SVT. I honestly don't have any particular preference except the Heritage, and that is only because of its cosmetics.
     
  6. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    Thanks a lot for this valuable piece of info.
    One more question: The CL is not made in America ?
     
  7. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    hmmmm, that makes shopping that much easier ;)
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The Heritage is assembled in Washington state. The black CL is China.
     
  9. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    Didn't the CL used to be made in America? So, it would be possible to find a good, used one that was MIA?

    I KNOW the SVT 2 Pro used to be MIA as mine says so right on the back. :D
     
    sharkbait130 likes this.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Oh come on now, not even you can think the solid state SVTs are good SVTs. The tone from an all tube SVT is fantastic while the tone from a solid state SVT is depressing.

    I think we have all been there, you think "oh great an SVT stack, decent backline" and then you get closer, "oh no, is that a parametric EQ?? An SVT-1000??? NOOOOOOOOO"

    ;) :D

    @StuartV SVT's were made in St.Louis until mid-2006.
     
  11. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    All been there? Heck, I am looking forward to the day I have a provided backline and it even looks decent from a distance! :)
     
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  12. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I thought it was something like that. But, when JimmyM says
    it makes me question myself.

    If the OP is only considering brand new gear, then the whole rundown of SVT tube amps included a LOT of stuff that doesn't matter.
     

  13. SVT's from 2006 and earlier were all american made.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nope. Japan from 80-86.

    Diabolous, obviously I was referring to the tube SVT amps, although I do like the 3, 4 and 7 Pro and have a 7 Pro.
     
    DiabolusInMusic and sharkbait130 like this.
  15. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    I can easily spot the difference between the 'real' SVT's and the SS-ones and i understand perfectly well that the statement 'Any SVT is a good one' excludes all the models that are not the 80lbs 300W block of tubey bliss.

    Let's say i'm just starting my GAS. I'm absolutely not considering spending $2400+ on my next head, But if a decent used one crops up for a good price, i'll get weak.
    I've seen a CL close by that was bought as a backup for a tour and never used, still in the original, unopened box, for 1500. That got me wondering if the chinese CL SVTs are to be avoided.
     
  16. Just my opinion but if you can find a 70's SVT get it, built like a tank and to my ears sound more punchy and are louder than the new ones.
     
  17. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    That's not just a difference in the tubes? Couldn't you put good tubes in a new one and get just as much punch and volume?
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've compared my 69 and my Heritage directly many times and I can't hear a difference at all. That said, my Heritage has a Heyboer output transformer. Now I haven't got to compare it with a regular CL, but I've played them many times on gigs where I rent them and they all sound quite good to me. So my opinion is that any SVT is a good SVT.
     
  19. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    There are some dark sounding 'fridges out there. Maybe Jimmy can elaborate on year and country of manufacture on those.
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, the 810e's from 2000-06 are darker than the rest.
     

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