Classic SVT tone settings

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Classic SVT tone settings

Postby ken woodward » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:23 am

This might be better suited for the Tone area, but here goes. I have a 2007 SVT Classic all tube head, and am using the 810 cab with it. For You guys that are playing Classic rock with this set-up, what are your setting mostly at with this rig, amp wise. I can't seem to get much of a change on this rig, no matter where I set the knobs at. Sure there is some differences, but nothing to write home about. Just wondering if I'm alone on this topic. I'm using my Sterling 4 string HS with it and it sounds great, but not much change with the amp settings. I appreciate all your answers. Ken
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby Psycho Bass Guy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:25 am

The major problem is the cabinet. Modern (post 1986) SVT 8x10's are VERY different monsters than their ancestors. They don't go as low, get as loud, or be as articulate. An accurate metaphor for their inhnerent tone would be a muffled fart. It doesn't matter how much change you dial into your amp's preamp, the cab isn't going to sound significantly different. The SVT CL preamp is not quite as versatile as the original's, but it's not at fault. Try your amp on a different cab sometime and see what I mean.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby ken woodward » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:23 pm

Hey Psycho, what's the difference between the old SVT cab and the new? I wasn't aware that they made any changes to the cab configuration or speakers. Ken
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby Psycho Bass Guy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:14 pm

There are two types of the first SVT cabs. The oldest is the "coffin," a shallow cab with three strap handles, no tiltbar, a square back and a bottom attachment for a B15-style dolly board. These gave way later to the more familiar "fridge" which introduced tiltback wheels and a towel bar. Both of these could have been loaded with either CTS alnico-magnet speakers or Eminence ceramic magnet speakers as their production overlapped. Eminence equipped models will be about 50lbs heavier due to the weaker magnet material, but Ampeg weight specs for the period are all based on CTS equipped cabs. Ampeg phased out the "coffin" in the mid 70's and made the "fridge" exclusively thereafter.

Both designs are sealed, stacked 2x10's, and the biggest difference in sound is that the smaller coffin cabs actually have more low frequency response since the fundamental of the note is below the cab tuning, but the cab is sealed and the speaker will respond lower than tuning, and you can boost true bass and get an actual change in low end output. This is exactly the same way Bag End subwoofers work. The caveat is, of course, to not exceed the driver's power rating, which was somewhere around 75 watts each. No true rating was ever published and the oft-quoted 30 watt driver rating of the old cabs is a myth that even Ampeg itself helped perpetuate to sell cabs.

70's and early 80's fridges don't sound bad; they're just not as tight. That all changed after SLM bought Ampeg from MTI in 1985. MTI was very lax in keeping any documentation over their Ampeg IP and the driver specs for the SVT 8x10 were lost before SLM aquired them. This forced SLM to re-spec a new driver for the cab. As it was the 80's and larger than previously possible s/s power amps and rack systems were all the rage, SLM decided to go with a speaker that had a higher resonance and power rating. This created the sound the cab now is known for: high power handling with a lot of low mids and not much else. Every other Ampeg version since then has followed suit.

It speaks to the superiority of the old cab's sound that Bergantino's NV610 was modelled after the 70's fridge and that cab has been extremely successful.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby nolabass » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:29 pm

Interesting. I was a little caught off guard with the original post as I didn't consider my '74 SVT subtle at all. The DIP switches made a huge difference as well as knob adjustment. Makes sense as new Ampeg cabs just don't do it for me. I love the idea of the 4x10HLF but struggled to get a familiar Ampeg tone. Familiar to my 70s Ampeg tuned ears that is.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby felig » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:30 pm

Sooo, PBG--what you are really saying about the modern SVT cab, is that I simply have to try harder to talk Harleyyy out of his old coffin cab?
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby harleyyy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:40 pm

felig wrote:Sooo, PBG--what you are really saying about the modern SVT cab, is that I simply have to try harder to talk Harleyyy out of his old coffin cab?



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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby Psycho Bass Guy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:26 pm

One of the things that really sucks is that Ted Weber spent the last years of his life trying to make a CTS SVT 10" copy and he died before finishing. When I last spoke with his company a couple of months ago, they said that they are far too backed up with orders for guitar speakers and won't be able to invest any time in R'n'D until they can get their production up to speed. Ted hadn't made production speakers in years, but around the time of his death they had some employee trouble and got seriously backed up on orders. To make matters worse, recently they fell vicitim to some counterfeit capacitors (they haven't filled a cap order I placed in December), so unless someone else clones the old speakers, you couldn't even build your own old Ampeg cab copy right now.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby ken woodward » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:24 pm

So Psycho, are you saying that with all the multitudes of speakers now on the market including Neo's, that there is nothing close to sounding as the original? If so, it sounds like I now have a new quest to work on. I find it very hard to believe that there is nothing out there that can closely imitate the ceramic speaker of that time. Ken
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby harleyyy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:45 pm

The Shuttle 6.0 and Berg AE410 atop an Auralex, gets pretty damn close to my ears, with everything pretty much flat on the eq, but it "feels" different, and we all know why. I still believe my old square back is the best sounding cab I've ever played through.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby 57RIP » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:36 am

I'm not a big fan of the Classic but I've heard one on a Berg NV610 and other than the size & weight, I could easily live with that for rock gigs.

Not that I pay much attention to them these days but most of the Ampeg stuff I have heard in recent memory has not been very impressive at all. Exceptions woud be the B15R. The cab's in particular have not been a strong point at least for me.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby Psycho Bass Guy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:14 am

ken woodward wrote:So Psycho, are you saying that with all the multitudes of speakers now on the market including Neo's, that there is nothing close to sounding as the original? If so, it sounds like I now have a new quest to work on. I find it very hard to believe that there is nothing out there that can closely imitate the ceramic speaker of that time. Ken


The first speaker, the one Weber was trying to clone, was alnico, not ceramic. Both were designed by the same person, Bob Gault, with ceramic being substitued as alnico became rare and expensive. Eminence was the company he started after CTS went under and to save money, he redesigned the driver to use less expensive magnets. They sound about the same, but since ceramic magnets are weaker than alnico, old ceramic magnet SVT speakers were 5-6 lbs heavier than their alnico counterparts to get the same amount of field strength.

There are other cabs out there that sound similar to the old SVT 8x10 coffin, but they all have their tradeoffs, whether power handling or volume or even weight when compared to it. There is nothing out there even remotely similar on an individual driver basis. Modern 10" speakers are designed around port tunings and are not made to be used in sealed cabs. Since audio power is cheaper than drivers now, speaker designers make them to have steep rolloff below resonance and high power handling. Ironically, cheap guitar speakers come the closest, as they are designed for maximum output overall, not just tuned efficiency. A friend of mine who built a coffin clone used Jensen Mod speakers, which are available in 32 ohms, another must for the cab's tone.
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby ken woodward » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:25 pm

So, all the speaker info being said, The question I have is "what settings do you use on the modern SVT classics to get a usable classic rock sound? There must be a combination of tonal changes on the amp to get something usable. I'm just really surprised that there doesn't seem to be much change in tone when I've triedit at venues, (large and small). What's everyone's sweet spot on this amp? Thanks, Ken
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby Psycho Bass Guy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:52 pm

...the answer is in what you've already said yourself. Until you try your CL with a different cab, you're not going to hear any major tonal difference no matter how you set it. Think about it: your Sterling has active EQ, as does your SVT's midrange. Those are two extremely powerful tone-shaping options and they've not made much of a difference so far.

I didn't mean to imply that an old SVT cab was your only option; I just answered your question as to differences in SVT cabs. Do you have any other cabinet options?
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Re: Classic SVT tone settings

Postby ken woodward » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:16 am

Thanks for your opinions. Right now my only other options are the 410 front ported Mark bass cab I use with the 210P and the 800RD amp. These speakers are of course Neo's. both cabs are 8 ohms. Ken
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