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I was stupid for not buying an Ampeg SVT classic bass amp sooner because it’s turned out to be the best amp I’ve owned.

I put off buying an Ampeg SVT classic bass amp for 30 years because I was afraid of the weight and reliability. This year I finally broke down and bought one and I can’t believe I waited this long. The SVT classic provides the fastest way to a good solid bass sound I’ve ever come across. The only thing close to it was an older 1½-rack space Demeter VTBP-201S bass preamp I had.

The Ampeg SVTCL is heavy but not nearly as bad as I thought. Hell, I’ve been dragging around an amp rack with a bass preamp, power amp and compressor that actually weighed more and was very awkward to carry. I don’t know what I was thinking. Anyway, the SVT is not hard to carry. The handles work well. Most of the time I carefully cart it in on a dolly on top of a 2x10 bass cabinet or by itself. I’m careful with it but from looking at the construction it appears to be very solid. The tubes, which I feared would jar loose, are strapped into their sockets by little springs. They aren’t going anywhere. I haven’t had any problems with this Ampeg bass amplifier and it’s been out on roughly 175 gigs this year.

This amp has a big rich warm tone. It is a not a “hi-fi” sounding amp like my SWR-400 was. I hated that amp. It didn’t support well or cut the mix well either in my opinion. Bass amplifiers like SWR and Eden tend to be lots of lows and crisp highs. However, I find in live situations these amps just don’t support the band well. It always made it harder for me to play with that type of tone and sound. And when I would turn up the mids, it just sounded “honky.” Not the sound I was looking for.

I prefer bass amps that don’t have a lot of knobs and equalizers. That stuff just makes things too hard. I feel it’s best just to get one good bass sound and leave it at that. What I love about the Ampeg SVT is that I can just turn a few knobs a little and I get a good big bass sound fast. I run the amp mainly on the number 4-frequency selector because I’m mainly playing rock, disco and dance material. That setting seems to cut well and be gritty enough.

When I arrive at a gig I gauge if it’s a lively room first. If there is a lot of glass and concrete I tend to shoot for a cleaner sound. I’ll run the gain knob on the Ampeg SVT bass amp up to about 9 or 10 o’clock. I then run the volume to taste and as to what the soundman says I can get away with stage volume wise. The bass tone knob on the amp I run at between 10 and 12 o’clock. The mid-range I ran about 9 to 10 o’clock. The treble I run about 2 or 3 o’clock and I leave the Ultra Hi and Ultra Low switches off. I feel they tend to be a bit much. My current main bass is a Fender Roscoe Beck 5 string that I run full up on tone and volume. I do the same with a Music Man Sterling bass I sometimes use. The amp produces a great full rich fat bass sound everyone in the band seems to like.

The bass amp is rated at 300 watts at 4 ohms. I wasn’t sure this was going to be enough because in the past I’ve always had at least 500 to 1000 watts of solid-state power on hand. But there appears to be a difference in tube power versus solid state. A guitar player friend of mine who used to work at Demeter told me that 300 watts of tube power is equal to about 700 or 800 watts of solid-state power. I now believe him because the SVT classic has plenty of tube power. Depending on how big the room is I’m playing in, I run it with a Carvin 2x10 cabinet that I put Eminence Delta 10A speakers into or I run it with an Ampeg 610 cabinet. I like both those bass cabinets very much.

So if you’ve struggled with getting a good bass sound or have worried about the weight of the SVT, don’t give it another thought. Go pick one up and you’ll be very happy you did. It will simplify your life.




Music Gear Reviews

People at weddings, parties and corporate events often ask us questions about the guitars we play, drums we use and ask questions about other equipment live musicians for hire use. There is so much equipment to talk about we decided to tell anyone who wants to know about it here on our website.

If you are a player or just curious, you can save time, money and maybe save yourself from getting the wrong piece of gear by learning from our experience.

Read the music gear reviews and get our opinions on the equipment we use now plus what we've worked with before. We’ll also tell you where you can find it online at good prices.

Bass Gear Reviews



Piano and Musical Keyboard Reviews

PA and Vocal Mics

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