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Ampeg SVT Classic or VR Reissue?
Old 4th April 2008
Ampeg SVT Classic or VR Reissue?

Looking for a a good solid all around bass amp for the studio.
I'd like to have an Ampeg...although I'm open.
Any major differences between the Ampeg SVT Classic head and the VR reissue?
Old 5th April 2008
Lives for gear
84K's Avatar
All the new ampegs are now made in Vietnam since LOUD (Mackie) bought Ampeg. They are absolute ****. The worst amps ever made. It is a new factory and they still have no clue what they are doing. If you want a new Ampeg, get one 3 years old that was made in China, not these Vietnam ones. They are all problems. I got a vintage SVT about 6 months ago and had a new fan put in and new tubes, and it was the same price as a new one. Much better. Definitely stay away from 2006 and after.
Old 5th April 2008
Gear Guru
FFTT's Avatar

I've heard the same and the only safe bet is the 1st issue SVT VR USA.
Played an early Classic and that was no SVT.

The word on these new Asian SVT's is pretty much poison.

Find an old original and have it refurbished.
The original flat back cabs loaded with CTS AlNiCo's or EV's
aren't too hard to find.

The only new amp I've seen lately that even comes close is the new Reeves 225
Bass, all hand wired made in USA.

Divided By 13 makes a bass 200, no clue how it sounds.

There's also a new Sadowsky SA200 bass amp that might be worth checking out. Looks VERY cool! Also takes EL34, 6L6, 6550, KT66 and KT88s to dial in your favorite sound! $2800.00 for the head. Bet it would also make a blistering guitar head.

The Eden VT300B looks interesting, all tube 300 watts, but price shown is over $3000.00

Reinhardt also offers a new Bass Amp. $2550.00

There's always the Mesa 400+ but man the re-tubing cost steers me in another direction.

So there's quite a gauntlet of choices out there and most over $2000.00
for the good stuff.

Another $1000.00 or so for any good bass cab.
Old 6th April 2008
Gear Nut
projectMalamute's Avatar

If this is for studio use you don't need an SVT. If you are hoping to crank it up and get some of that good tube overdrive you probably don't even want an SVT. The volume at which those things start to break up is pretty goddamn loud. I'd recommend an old V4b, like 70's old. Their are a billion of them out there, can be had in the 500-1000 dollar range and they sound great. 100 watts instead of 300, still pretty friggin loud actually.
Old 6th April 2008
Gear Guru
FFTT's Avatar

I toured mine heavily and never needed to set the volume above 5 and most times
it was on 4 in a 5 piece hard rock band.

That was also with passive '64 Jazz Bass Pick-ups and my '"66 Hofner.
If the bass player is using active or hotter pick-ups 4 is plenty loud.

I understand a studio is kind of expected to have an SVT available, so
if you are going that route an original early 70's is worth the restoration costs.

The head weighs 85 lbs and the 8X10 cab with original CTS AlNiCos
weighs 135 lbs.

The 16" extra deep chambered design of the SVT cabs is their secret.
If you want to drive the amp harder, look for a 4X10 with EV's
Old 6th April 2008
Thanks for the replies.
Perhaps 4x10 and really thinking a 2x10 might be enough. I can certainly see the depth of the cab as an advantage. Ampeg does make a nice 4x10 cab. I've heard it and liked it. It was a new one. Not sure where it was made but it sounded tight and solid. I don't believe Ampeg makes a deep 2x10 cab.
I seem to remember every bass that used the SVT head had broken knobs and pushed in buttons. Now they're vintage and very expensive.
Old 6th April 2008
Gear Guru
FFTT's Avatar

I missed two Vintage SVT heads just last year, one for $900.00 ( restorable) and the
other working Blue line for $1200.00

Never had a single knob or switch break on mine.

It did however lose some diode in the circuit twice as it was getting older, most likely
due to line current fluctuations in certain clubs.

Since my father was a tech, that was no problem.

The originals were actually manufactured when Ampeg was a division of Magnavox.

My father also had a pet name calling them Maggotbox, because generally their other
consumer electronics products were full of bugs.

To get as close to the power and overall sound of the SVT, you'll need to find something built on 6X 6550's for the 70's series or 6146's for the early Blue Lines.
but the 6146's require active cooling.

I noticed that all of the newer amps from Reeves, Sadowsky and Eden are considerably lighter than the SVT heads.
While this may be favorable for hauling, it's hard to tell what you may miss without
that extra Amish Iron the SVT was famous for.

I've never tried a big power amp with 4X KT88's so I'm really not qualified to
guess how they make the amp sound overall in comparison to 6550's

I know Reeves builds rugged roadworthy all hand wired amps, but
I'm really having trouble ignoring the coolness of the Sadowsky's
cathode biased versatility.

Unfortunately they do not give you a breakdown of the possible power ratings
for each of the 6X power tube configurations.

Based on specifications alone, I'd have to say the Sadowsky leads the pack
for it's versatility.
Old 12th April 2008
Gear Head

The major difference is the sound! See if you can find a VR to play and see for yourself. The one I played sounded great compared to the CL right next to it. Don't know anything about the build quality. I own a CL and an original '69. there's no comparison which one sounds better. The '69 kills it. The CL is the heavier one too. One thing to consider is the originals and VRs don't have master volume, so as stated earlier, you can't really dial in the amount of distortion you want without it getting super loud. If you don't want overdrive type sounds I can't see any reason to go for a CL. The biggest issue I had with the VR was the price. I got my '69 for $1300. That's $700 off a new VR.
Old 15th April 2008
Gear Addict
nbarts's Avatar

I've played earlier Ampeg SVT Cl re with 8x10 & to be fair it sounded pretty good. Maybe not the best tone I'd imagine myself, but good tone could be had with it. It definitely killed all the new stuff I've tried from ampeg or bunch of other manufacturers that I'd classify as garbage.
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