Yet another Ampeg amp comparison thread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by baTassi, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. PF-20t

    23 vote(s)
  2. PF-350

    4 vote(s)
  3. Micro-VR

    4 vote(s)
  4. Other/Carrots (please comment)

    8 vote(s)
  1. Sorry if there is some old thread about this, I been looking to quite a few but I haven't found anything that answer my questions, if there is, please send me the link and I'll be happy to get this one deleted.
    That being say, let's go there.

    I'm absolutely happy with my current sound (I love GK) but I want to add some different more vintage flavor so I want to get a small Ampeg for studio recording (maybe rehearsal with a drummer, but not really important)
    I been looking at 3 options, I'm OK with the price, features and power of each of them but, since I might not have the change to test them as thoroughly as I want nor even all them side by side, I rely on your wisdom.

    I'm looking for that vintage Ampeg sound, not for the better amp, or most versatile, I want to get closer to that classic tone as possible (and yes I know that is highly subjective but I think you can get what I mean).
    I have no prejudices here for brands or technology. Yes, my first thought was a tube amp, but if the solid states is better suited for what I want, so be it.
    Also, I'm only listing Ampeg options, but if you think that something like a Tech21 product will do it better, please say it, but again, please remember I don't want the better price-quality relationship nor the most versatile, I want that sound (I must add, I don't care about OD)

    So, these are the contenders and I'm pretty sure (for what I been reading on TB) that I won't be disappointed with neither of these 3 but, although I'm OK with spending the money on this, I still want to make the most of it

    PF-20t: Tubes, that is what I usually associate with the Ampeg sound, and this one has it. I'm ok, with expending extra money but what I don't want is to pay almost double the price if that doesn't reflect on the sound
    PF-350: Probably the smartest choice, but as I said before, I associate Ampeg with Tubes so, although it looks like a great option, maybe is not what I'm looking for
    Micro-VR: It looks damn nice, but it's about the same price of the PF-350 and something tells me is not the best option of the 3
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    PF350 and Micro VR are the same preamp with different power amps so they sound a lot more similar than different. Personally I think they sound pretty much the same. I have not played the PF-20T but I have a 50T and it's wonderful. I think either way you go, you'll get something quite representative of the sounds of Ampeg amps, but I'm a tube snob. I only wish I could give you a more educated opinion on the 20T.
  3. The 20T is also a great amp. Crank the gain, cut back on treble a bit, and volume to taste and it's great. If you've got the money to spend and tone is the only thing you want, make no mistake sonny Jim this is your amp. Granted, you wouldn't go wrong with the other two - can't say you'd sound bad with solid state but some really just want that tube sound/feel that they say can't or hasn't yet been replicated in solid state. Don't get me wrong - I've got a pf-500 and have heard plenty of pf-350s, and they're also great amps. For less money you get objectively more volume into the same speakers - but you said yourself you want that tone and volume isn't the most important, or at least that's my take.

    Edit: the use of sonny Jim is intended more as an expression that I've heard than a reference to the username including Jim.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
    Wisebass, baTassi and JimmyM like this.
  4. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    Where did you get that info from??? I would've never guessed and that's one of those geeky details I LOOOOVE to know!!

    Gimme more info, if you have it!

    baTassi likes this.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Not much more to say about them :D I got that info from Ampeg back when they came out.
    diegom, Wisebass and baTassi like this.
  6. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    For recording and home fiddling

    PF-20t seems like the choice

    Then again always wanted the 200 watt micro. Rather get a used one though
    baTassi likes this.
  7. Thanks guys for the input, really appreciated! What all of you are saying confirms my thoughts so, that's good

    I thought about the PT-50t but since i don't want it to play live and rather for lower volume my concern is that I won't be pushing the tubes enough. Besides, I like the idea of saving some money :p

    You got it just right, that's exactly it!

    Tha micro looks soooooo cool, my only concern getting any of the other is that I might end up buying the Micro in the future just becuase of that LOL
    Wisebass and JimmyM like this.
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Well you can get some nice grind with the solid state PF heads for sure. Just crank the gain. Won't be quite as dramatic as tube grind, but it's still pretty darn good.
    Wisebass likes this.
  9. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi baTassi :)

    I think you can get some very decent "ampegish" sounds out of these three amps.

    But when I play an Ampeg, I want to have what all of them don't have…

    No not volume! :D (okay, sometimes volume too :hyper::laugh:)

    They don 't have that mid freq selection, that the bigger heads have.

    Just bass, mids and highs, don 't do the job for me (that is subjective, like you said)

    The PF50 t would get my vote! Because it has the mid freq selection and tubes! :hyper:

    Don' t worry about the volume. Play with the gain and you can have a good sound even at the lowest volume!

    The PF tube amps have their balanced D.I. out, after the poweramp tubes!!!!

    And you can use them without a cab! (zero volume :D)

    Just connect them to your recording unit, use headphones and enjoy!

    I can 't say anything about prices in Argentina. :(

    In Europe Ampeg prices have gone down ( a lot!!!), since Yamaha bought Ampeg.

    When your GASing for the PF50t, it ' s probabely the right moment to get one. (check prices on eBay!)

    may the bass be with you

    baTassi likes this.
  10. blastoff


    Sep 5, 2007
    way out west
    seek out a vintage b15 and you will have THAT tone. i have a pf20 and its super fun but it gets me about 20% of the tonal nirvana that my 66 b15 gives me. its hard to explain. it just feels like its there in the room with me.
    edit: i see you’re in Argentina !
    a b15 might be hard to find. pf20t is a wonderful amp with very handy modern features!
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  11. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    4th option ..... Tech 21 VT bass 500 head.:cool:
    Jayhawk, Operation Ivy and baTassi like this.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I actually like the sound of the B100R combo quite a bit. Not the loudest amp although it can get pretty loud. But it does have a very versatile 4-band EQ plus low, mid, and high boost switches that’ll let you dial in just about anything. And it’s an old school 1x15. So it definitely sounds vintage.

    Great little amp that absolutely has that Ampeg thing going for it. Not quite the B-15 sound (I have one of those to compare it to) although I immediately think of a B-15 whenever hear myself playing through it.

    Go figure.
    Jayhawk, copacetic and baTassi like this.
  13. Not one of the options listed but I'm a big fan of the V4B reissue. The guitarist used to prefer doing the bass DI when recording but insists on micing my V4B. Says the tone is perfect. I like to use the micro stacks when trying new basses since most shops seem to always carry them, and I find the tone close enough to what I'm used to with the V4B. Don't know anything about the other two. Their BA amps look nice as well, I'm interested in those as smaller practice amps, like the BA110 or 108.
    baTassi likes this.
  14. I went through this recently. A couple of observations that may help you:

    The PF-20T and PF-50T are voiced differently. The PF-20T doesn't get grind like the 50. But it does do clean really nicely. As much as I wanted the PF-50T, it is very spendy for something that in my case was best described as a researched impulse purchase. The closest voicing I found (while maintaining a reasonable price) to what in my head constitutes the "classic Ampeg" sound was a PF-350.

    Further considerations:
    I almost went for a Vox MV-50 AC. It goes from clean to a nice grind.
    I'm quite interested in trying the new Orange Bass Terror. I like the sound of the Terror amps, but they don't go down to 4 Ohms.
    I thought about Marshall (because Lemmy) but again, doesn't go down to 4 Ohms.
    baTassi likes this.
  15. Thanks! And I'll see how things go regarding the 50t. Prices here are never going down, quite the opposite. I don't want to bore anyone with much detail but since January to this day our money depreciated more than a %100 against the US dollar (and of course salaries hans't riased that much, not even close)
    So yeah, I have my budget and I can't go too crazy.

    Yeah, I though about an original BA-15, but impossible to find one and even if I do I think the price would be beyond imagination

    Yeah the V4B looks really nice but it's out of range for me, especially since it won't be my main amp. But I'll keep my eyes open to the second hand market!

    Interesting, I'll take those things into account
    Wisebass likes this.
  16. If you play any of your listed choices through an Ampeg cab it's going to sound a lot more Ampeg anyway, and can help you potentially get closer to the sound you are going for. I play an SVT through a Carvin BRX 10.4 which has no* baked in sound to it, so while it is still very clearly an SVT that you can't mistake, it's not the overall classic Ampeg stack sound. So you're going to have an 'Ampeg through GK' sound and it might not be exactly what you're expecting.

    But like Wise pointed out, without the mid selector you might not be able to achieve the sound you want or thought you could get going into this. Maybe a decent alternative might be one of the Pro series, that does include the mid selector?

    * if there is a baked in sound either I don't notice it or it's very subtle. It's essentially as 'clear' as a PA would be which is why I like it, I hear the sounds I dial on the head rather than have to eq against or away from what the cab already sounds like.
    baTassi likes this.
  17. Yes, my idea is to get an Ampeg cab as well, if not now, in the near future and in the meantime I would use the GK cab that I have, but not forever. Anyway, I'm also intered on the DI sound.
  18. I’ve played the ‘big boy’ SVT and it was truly glorious. My amp of choice for gigging is the V4B. It is also extremely glorious. I was thinking about this very subject last night at 1:00a.m. You all know that time in the gig, towards the end when everyone is dancing, the tubes are nice and hot and the volume is optimal. Yeah, in that beautiful moment, I looked over at the V4B appreciatively. That my friends, is the Ampeg sound to me. EBBCF67F-C4A2-48A5-A12B-976F4FAD611B.jpeg
  19. MrCash


    Jan 16, 2016
    I have a pf20t it's very very nice. It's been a while since I used something all valve and the difference in the harmonics, warmth and sustain while sometimes subtle is certainly there.
    Nice easy to use eq, has a lot of tones in there but always has that Ampeg thing going on. Which some may dislike but if your looking for that then this amp is for you.
    Surprisingly loud, but really is a home or studio/recording amp. Although with a efficient cab you could do some lower volume, small stage/venue gigs.
    Its very quiet in operation too, no hum and very little floor noise.
    Mines a latest board revision one and I think they might have changed the input gain as well as fixing the hum issues some reported in both earlier models.
    Because it's hard to get it into breaking up, even with a sr 2 band eq, unless the amp is fairly cranked! And I've seen older vids where both models were driven into creamy distortion with a stingray at much lower gain and volumes.
    The pf20t some said did suffer from being overdriven early on by active or powerful basses, so I wonder if they padded the input somewhat.
    I'm delighted with mine.
    baTassi likes this.
  20. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    a question for all you Ampeg guys.
    I am pretty familiar with the B15 sound ( prefer the sound of the 60's B15N double baffle combos) and am wondering which of the current Ampeg offerings would sound the closest to that. PF20T, PF50T, ????? .. please don't say Heritage B15, I am just not willing to drop that kind of $$ at this time.

    FWIW, I do have a PF500/115HE cab rig that cops the old school Ampeg tone pretty well, but I feel like its not really all the way there ... and as JimmyM points out ... no tubes ;) and I'm kind of a tube guy at heart.

    Aside from stand alone use, I have been considering tube preamps in the fliptop style (Noble, Bourhgton P15, Arkham Zephyr), so the ability to get something like a PF20T and use its post everything signal (including power section) seems pretty cool.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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