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Your thoughts please: Ampeg SVPCL vs SVP Pro vs. Alembic F1-X

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassman10096, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    I've been playing an Alembic F1-X through a QSC PLX2402 and, though it has a great smooth sound, the F1-X is lacking in the mid-grind area. My guitar guy (who I trust implicitely with my electronics) says he can rearrange some caps and retube the Alembic preamp to produce a lot more mid. I'm sure he can, but am reluctant to mod a classic.
    I've been thinking about an Ampeg preamp. I've played both the CL and the Pro at different times and through different cabs (And I don't have an easy place to A-B them). My problem is I liked them both. I'd like to hear any thoughts from folks with experience with these alternatives. BTW - I'm not in desperate need of the multi-band EQ on the Pro, as I have both good graphic and parametric EQs to use.
    Also, I should say, I have a greater need for vintage vibe than a terribly modern sound.
  2. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Go with the SVP-CL. The Pro's EQ and gain structure gets a little annoying. I say clean and simple SVT preamp is the stuff.
  3. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    IMO either one of the Ampeg preamps would work for you . . .

    they BOTH have that "Ampeg sound" as oposed to the "1959 Fender Bassman sound" of the Alembic . . .

    I DO need the graphic EQ, that's why I use the SVP-PRO.
  4. The SVP-Pro is reputed to have a high amount of preamps noise. It also has the "ampeg grind" on all the time.

    Q: does the SVP-CL do this also? Or is the tone different?
  5. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    I don't find my SVP-PRO noisy, nor do I find it especially grindy, unless I adjust it to sound that way by adding some Drive. Compared to other preamps, I find that the SVP-PRO is a bit compressed and has more harmonic distortion. As far as the EQ goes, I would suggest to switch it out unless you need it. The signal chain is all tube otherwise, while the EQ goes through a bunch of op-amps.
  6. Thanks for the update. It was my understanding the SVP-Pro has "the ampeg sound" (highly colored) at all times, Drive not withstanding.
  7. I switched from an F1-X to a SVP-Pro about 5 yrs ago. With the drive control turned all the way off you can get pretty close to the F1-X and of course with it on you get that mid-range grind you're after. I had to send mine back to Ampeg out of the box as it was too noisy to use. Upon its' return it is as quiet as the F1-X
  8. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Well... one thing I have found with the SVP-PRO is that there isn't really any flat setting. That means that you just adjust the controls to where it sounds good. IMO, it sounds pretty clean and smooth with the Drive off and the gain fairly low, though there is still a bit of second harmonic distortion added (as measured with RMAA).
  9. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    Neither do I, on BOTH counts.

    And that's PRECISELY why I - and ANYONE ELSE, for that matter - chose to buy that preamp . . . for "the ampeg sound"!

  10. DJJazzV

    DJJazzV Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir... Supporting Member

    May 17, 2007
    New Jersey

    The SVP-CL is my preamp of choice. Best one I've ever had. You want vintage? Set it to #4 (Ultra Low Classic). The ONLY thing you may not like is that it does NOT have an effects loop.

    As far as tube differences, here you go:
    SVP-PRO: (4 x 12AX7, 1 x 12AU7)
    SVP-CL: (2 x 12AX7, 2 x 12AU7)
  11. Kinda does, you can put them between the pre out and the power amp in.
  12. Daytona955i


    Feb 17, 2005
    Albany, NY
    You can get the SVP pro to be very clean, with the drive all the way off you set the master 3/4 to full or so and set your volume with the gain. However it doesn't sound quite as good as the CL does clean. I like that the CL has a low position switch also, but you can't get any good grit out of it IME unless you really crank it, and even then it's nothing like what the Pro can do in that area.

    They both have that Ampeg tone to it, that I think, is what you want when you say mid grind, but it depends on how squeeky clean you want to be.
  13. andertone

    andertone Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Southwest USA
    I use an Alembic F2B through a PLX/2402 driving Epi
    T212 and/or T112 cabinets.

    Yes, the mid is always on full, I emphasize the low
    mids with my Sansamp Para BDDI box (sweepable mid control)
    and add a little drive as well.

    Works great (plus drives the PLX2402 to clipping with ease)!

    Phil Anderson
  14. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    I don't know about the Pro but I just got a CL pre -amp and it's killer.
    Has that nice vintage SVT midrange that I missed.
  15. Warr Tapper

    Warr Tapper Inactive

    Sep 17, 2006
    Can you still find any of these, other than ebay?
    I have an SVP-Pro and I love it. Not noisy at all.
  16. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Greybeard and I seem to be following each other around in more ways than one.

    On another thread he agreed with me about SWR's 750 Power amp. On this one I'm agreeing with him about Ampeg's SVP Pro. For me it gives an almost liquid tone with a Jazz Bass.

    P.S. Greybeard. I, too, have an Alembic F1-X.
  17. I've had my SVPCL for over a year now - and I can honestly say it was probably my best purchase.
    It's exactly what I wanted - a way large preamp sound - clean as a whistle when you want, with no noise/hum or static, even when crazy loud.

    I don't find the lack of effects a problem at all - I use cheap pedals myself (a vintage big muff, numerous boss and a wah) and have never had noise in the chain issues.

    The only thing the SVPCL won't do is give you a distorted tone like the SVP-PRO. If thats what you're after, I guess the choice is easy. But if you're like me - you use a pedal.

    But seriously - don't take our worlds for it - get out there in your car or bus etc - travel all day if need be, and A/B them yourself. Only way to know what you like.
    Good Luck.
  18. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    I currently own all three. My order of preference would be:

    1) SVP Pro
    2) SVP CL
    3) F1X

    I find the SVPCL EQ quite puzzling. I mean bass freq is @ 20Hz... the ultra-lo classic setting removes something like 20db of mid @ 660Hz. Excessive.

    The Alembic is just meh and the one I nearly sold, the SVP Pro sounds warmer and punchier than the others. It's my fav pre at the moment. Yes, it has that Ampeg sound but thats what I want.
  19. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Thanks guys. This is exactly the kind of feedback that will help me. I'm not prepared to make a move for another week or so, so any other thoughts & opinions would be very much appreciated. :p
  20. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    I am really really happy with my Ampeg SVP-CL.
    It gives a warm but really midrange present sound. Give it a try. Since you are coming from an Alembic (tried only one years ago) you can also consider the Fender TBP-1 which is also based on the Fender "'59 bassman" tone but adds really interesting and cleverly made options such like the overdrive and most of all the modern mid control.

    Both the Fender TBP-1 & and Ampeg SVP-CL are great units.
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