Ampeg SVT 300 Bluelines... opinions?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Daryl, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Daryl

    Daryl Member

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    So I've been on the hunt for an Ampeg SVT 300 head, and I wanted some opinions on a few of the models. First of all, I have heard great things about the American made SVT-VRs and that they are apparently very true to the early 70's models, even to the point where vintage snobs give it the thumbs up. I'm looking for opinions on these three versions:

    - the early 70's blueline SVTs with 6550 power tubes
    - the 1969 to early 70's SVTs with 6164 power tubes (I've been seeing these pop up alot lately)
    - the made in USA SVT-VRs

    Of the first two that I mentioned, which one is more sought after?

    Also, should I stick it out and try to get my hands on an early 70's 8x10 Ampeg cabinet, or are the recent ones still pretty cool?
     
  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I had a '73 and it held up very well to heavy touring.
    They had very few minor issues with a diode that would go from time to time
    but overall, a great sounding amp.

    I just missed a clean vintage Blue Line at the local shop for $900.00
    was kicking myself for not jumping on it.
     
  3. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    I would avoid the 6146 amps. They make a little more power, but there's a reason they switched.

    6146s were designed to be used in applications with active cooling. The envelope shape and size doesn't permit them to effectively convect heat away when oriented and enclosed like they are in the SVT.

    Maybe if you run a fan on it all the time, it'd be fine. But then there's the issue of tube supplies...6550s should be available in some shape or form for quite a while, can't say that about 6146s.
     
  4. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Good point and appreciated.
     
  5. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    it's funny that this thread is at the top here right now...

    i stopped by my local used gear shop today and he had an SVT blueline in there, head and 8x10 cab. maybe not so unusual, but both pieces were cosmetically as close to perfect as can be for being almost 40 years old. i mean, not a tear in the tolex, the panels were clean, everything. his amp tech went over it and had to replace two tubes and a few of the caps, that's it.

    apparently it sat in a church forever. i've seen very few ampeg cabs that weren't beat to within an inch of their lives, let alone looking almost brand new!
     
  6. Daryl

    Daryl Member

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    That was just the kind of advice I was looking for, because I was weary about the idea of 6146s for that exact reason: availability of those kind of tubes.

    Thanks for the advice! So I think I will just hunt for a vintage 6550 or an american made SVT-VR.
     
  7. Daryl

    Daryl Member

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    OK, another question: Should I stick it out and wait until i find a blueline model? I keep seeing a ton of the non-blueline versions from the early 70's... what exactly makes the blueline versions so special anyways? What sets them apart from the non-bluelines?
     
  8. booker

    booker Member

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    Just to throw my hat into the ring..
    I owned a 71 SVT (not blueline) and bought an SVT-VR because I trusted it on the road. Even though it's not an american vr, I would recommend it to anyone! Its a great sounding head and I've got nothing but compliments from other musicians, recording engineers, etc.
     
  9. phatster

    phatster Member

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    Not to stray....I will hold up my Traynor yba-3a to any Ampeg head for bass.Just check em out and see!
     
  10. Ulysses

    Ulysses Member

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    ooh, I wish I could say the same for the one we had years ago. I helped my bass player get a loan for his rig when my first band was heading out "on tour" back in 1973. We opted for the big Traynor YBA-3A with two YC-810 cabs because of the price and it looked like it would be about the same. There was a local music store that took on the Traynor line and had a hard time moving them. They gave us a huge discount so we just couldn't resist. About 9 months later, after hearing the Traynor's ass getting soundly kicked by several SVT's in other bands, we took a loss and got the real deal. No comparison, at least when they were new.
     
  11. thesnowyforest

    thesnowyforest Member

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    Are the blue line and black line 70's SVT reliable?

    For touring..lugging around etc?

    and whats the difference between the two..?
     
  12. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    My '73 was pretty reliable except for that problem with one diode that crapped out.

    They take a lot of abuse and each time you set up it's hard not to avoid
    a thud placing the amp on top of the cab since it weighs 85 pounds.

    It's a real good idea to have some sort of voltage control from the
    wall to protect any high powered amp and that will help to
    enhance reliability.

    I'm still deciding if I want to restore a vintage head or try to
    find something new that can do what the SVT does best and more.

    So far Reeves, Reinhardt, Sadowsky and Eden are the only
    builders that come close.
     
  13. AricN

    AricN Member

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    I have a later 70s, Magnavox-era SVT that I have used on the road for the past 2 years. It has been perfectly reliable and sounds absolutely incredible. Several years ago I had a early 70s blue line with 6550s. It also sounded wonderful. To me there was not a noticeable difference in tone between the 2.

    I use a Radial BassBone or sometimes a SansAmp to go to the FOH as there is no XLR out on the old amps.
     
  14. poorboy

    poorboy Member

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    I don't understand your statement about the SVT being enclosed.
    The front is open the entire back is open and it has a fan that runs all the time.
    Actually the 6146's readilyavailable and cost less than the 6550's.
    I've never had a cooling issue with mine.
    The cooling fan runs when ever you power on a SVT. Running without it isn't an option.As for the 6146 being underpowered, most SVT's with HEALTHY 6146 will exceed 300 watts RMS.
    True ,the 6146's give the SVT an effective output of 330 watts.
    Then also on the 6146's you had that exposed anode lead going to the top of the tube. It was a safety concern for sure.
    Most with HEALTHY 6550 will only get to 275 or so with a tail-wind. The 6550 has more attack, but the 6146 is smooth and round.

    The reason Ampeg switched from the 6146's to the 6550's early on was the 6146's WERE hard to get due to the fact they were being used up by radio manufactures. At the time 6550's were cheaper and more available.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008

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