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Which one? Ampeg SVT Heritage or Fender Super Bassman?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by porkdog324, Oct 27, 2013.


  1. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Thread Resurrection. I'm looking into a few different all tube bass heads. I'm a big fan of the cleaner tone of the mid 70's Ampeg SVT.

    Can any Super Bassman owners tell me how does it compare tone wise to today's Ampeg SVT's CL, VR, and Heritage, and how does it compare tone wise to the SVT's of yesteryear.

    Can the Super Bassman's Overdrive Channel be ran clean, and can you pump up the low mids to approximate the SVT tone?
     
  2. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I'm just starting to try out tube amps myself, but...
    I tried out the VR, CL, and the Fender yesterday.
    I felt they all sounded great, but through their own cabs in different rooms the Fender sounded more open and warm than the CL, but the VR had the best sound set flat, very rich and defined.
    The Fender is probably the most versatile of the three. The Distortion channel has a blend, so yes, you can run it 100% clean, which is how I would use it. The mids have a sweepable frequency, so you can choose where to bump them. As to how well it can approximate the SVT tone, I'm not sure. The VR and CL sound very different to me (I much prefer the VR), so I don't know if there is just one SVT tone. I plan to go back and try all three heads through the same cabinet in the same room for comparison. I'll try to match tones then.
     
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  3. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Thanks, Smeet!
    I'll definitely be waiting to read your impressions once you're able to try the bunch out through the same cabinet.

    If I decide on the Super Bassman, I'm leaning towards the Fender Neo 6-10".

    I sometimes wonder if I should just bite the bullet and buy a restored 70's SVT's, but I don't know of any competent Tube Amp Techs in my area, so I'm going with a new head. From poking around here, the Super Bassman is starting to get my nod. The Customer Support, overall weight, and price point seem to be the best fit for me.
     
  4. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Arthur, what cabinet would you be using? I'm planning (at least for now) to use whatever head I get through my fEARful 15/6/1 and 12/6/1 cube. I'll try all three heads through some 610 and 810 cabs too for comparison.
    Talk about information overload...

    EDIT:
    I see you'll be buying a cabinet to go with the head. I won't, so I'm taking my cabinet it to test, since that makes such a big difference.
     
  5. The OD channel can be run TOTALLY CLEAN or VERY dirty. Depending on how u set it up.. Lots of variation in that channel.
    As Tim1 and I've stated before, we both can get a virtually IDENTICAL tone to the SVT-VR using the VINTAGE channel. Can't remember the exact settings but a search in the Super Bassman thread should find it.
    It is pretty simple tho. Something like
    Bass 4. MIDS 10. TREBLE 3. It sounds SO LUSH I was sold on it from the 1st cuppla notes.
    Also. ..FWIW. ..... I'VE never really been a fan of the trad Fender tone stack. But find that the VINTAGE channel is just SO GOOD on this I only hit the active or OD channel ifi wanna dial in some drive or wanna bump up some mids or have a particularly difficult room where the sweepable mids can really help.
    I used mine with my NV412 last weekend and was simply FLOORED by how great it sounded. This was vintage channel set pretty much asi mentioned above.
    But I Also set the active channel up fora good amount of drive. And again I totally floored by its sheer ballsiness.... It ain't just a buzzy drive. Adjust the BLEND/gain/channel volume and there's SO MUCH variation of great sound in there.
    20141202_104322_zpseygfksjx.
     
    Fingertone and Arthur U. Poon like this.

  6. Where I am, the Mesa Prodigy 4:88 is twice the price of the Super Bassman. Unless the Mesa gives you three wishes when you rub it, that's all I need to know.
     
    RaggaDruida likes this.
  7. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    In the US, the Prodigy and the Super Bassman are exactly the same price. But I tried the Prodigy and didn't care for it.
     
  8. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    Just curious, what did you not dig about the Prodigy? I haven't tried it (nor the Strategy), but those two are part of my tube amp search along with the Super Bassman and the Ampegs.

    From my online research, the Strategy and the Super Bassman are pretty close in terms of feature sets and tone-shaping. The Mesa has the graphic EQ and the half- and quarter-power settings, while the Fender has that full second channel (the Mesa only has a "solo" boost). The Mesa is smaller and lighter, but of course it's $600 more. The Ampegs are obviously the heaviest and have the fewest features, but the tone may of course win the day.

    I'm enjoying the discussion here. Hoping I can do my own comparison of the three in the new year.
     
  9. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Don't get me wrong, the Prodigy and Strategy don't sound bad, in fact they sound very good. Just not what I'm looking for in a tube amp. The Prodigy in particular sounds quite mid-scooped to me. The "flat" voicing has decent mids, but you can't boost them (cut-only mid control). And all the other voicings on the the amp are different flavors of mid cuts. The voicing that Mesa says sounds just like an SVT sounds NOTHING like an SVT to me. The classic SVT tone has a bit of a scoop, but also lots of impact and weight in the low mids, plus a singing quality in the high mids. The Prodigy/Strategy have HUGE bass extension and glassy, clear highs. They also sound very clean. In my personal opinion, they sound like higher-quality versions of the Mesa Carbine series. None of that tube "give" that makes tubes sound like tubes to me. And overdriving the preamp in the Prodigy/Strategy sounded like fuzzy transistor distortion (again, that's obviously just my personal impression). Now all of this stuff is less true of the Strategy. It's warmer and fuller sounding with a bit more mids, plus it has the graphic eq so you can boost mids there if you want. But, it still doesn't have that classic tube feel, and it's expensive.

    So basically although they may have similar features, the basic sound of the Fender and the Mesa is VERY different. Now, if I had the money for the Strategy, I might have gone that way. But I'm a real fan of mids and without the graphic eq I didn't care for the sound.
    Also, a weird thing about the Strategy. It weighs 49 pounds, but because it's so small you don't expect it to weigh so much, so it feels much heavier.

    From my brief testing, the SVT VR (at least the one I tried, through its matching 8x10 cabinet) had the voice of god tone. Just incredible, warm/aggressive/bright/pretty/powerful/sweet. But, 85 pounds. And possibly not as versatile as the other amps.

    I'm 90% sure that all things considered my choice is going to be the Fender. But if the Strategy was cheaper, or the Ampeg was lighter, or, or, or...
     
    GregC likes this.
  10. I love the styling of the Super Bassman and the Neo cab, they look phenomenal. They sound great too but A/B'ed against the SVT. They just don't compete.

    Asthetically, it's probably my favorite rig.

    Of course, some players will prefer them and I am sure you can get amazing sounds out of it but I just don't feel they have the breakup of a SVT which we all love. I feel the same about the Orange AD200.

    I have a 100T Bassman which I love to use, but I also have a V4B which blows it away.

    As far as tube tone goes, the Bassman will make you think, "Damn, that sounds good"

    However for me, when I use an SVT-VR or V4B it sounds like I always wanted my bass to sound like in my head.
     
    TC.65 likes this.
  11. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Do you have a feeling about how the clean tone of the Super Bassman and the SVT compare?
     
  12. In Australia, it's the price that leaves Mesa's behind. It's insane.

    Mesa Boogie Prodigy - $3495
    Mesa Boogie Strategy - $4495
    Ampeg SVT-VR - $2999
    Fender Super Bassman - $2499
    Ampeg V4B - $2199

    Just standard prices at regular stores.
     
  13. Hey Smeet,

    I meant to say I prefer the cleaner tube tone of the Bassman but as soon as you want some drive, it leaves a lot to be desired compared the to SVT.
     
  14. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    Thanks for the thoughts/reviews, gents, great stuff. Smeet, this is kind of what I suspected about the Prod/Strat voicing, it might be a little too tight-sounding and low-mid-shy for my taste. Have to see if the graphic on the Strategy can get me where I need to go. The Fender is very appealing. The Ampeg weight may be a deal-breaker for me.
     
  15. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    I've heard Mesa's prices were high down there, but that's crazy!
     
    rodl2005 likes this.
  16. It is nuts. The Mesa gear is fantastic. I previously owned an M6 Carbine which I loved but I lowballed a guy desperate for cash and picked it up for $1200 AUS.

    New they were $2999 at the time.

    I have seen M3 Carbines for $2199.
     
  17. It is effin NUTS. Mesa process here have been crazy forever. Heme me buying my Walkabout 2nd hand. .... Still about the same price as a brand one in the US. Madness.

    I also don't agree re the overdrive of the Super Bassman. Crank that vintage channel and it'sa glorious creamy crunch. Even the active channel can be adjusted to sound gnarly. It CAN sound a bit buzzy but with some experimenting you can get a huge thick OD that's heavy as a cop at yr door.
     
  18. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    I would go with the ampeg hands down. The 410hlf is simply thunderous, I've got one. Trying to get rid of it and try out some other high end stuff though. ;)
     
  19. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Killer Rig! I bet it generates some Pant Leg Flap!
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
    rodl2005 likes this.
  20. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Thanks, Rod! The next time I get off the road, I'm going to track down an SB300 to play through!

    Take Care!
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
    rodl2005 likes this.

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