Keyboard through an Ampeg SVT

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Dorian, May 25, 2008.

  1. Dorian

    Dorian Member

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    I figure I would post this here because the people who are knowledgeable about Bass amps would be here.

    Someone recently told me that an Ampeg SVT VR would be the BEST choice as an amp for my keyboard. To be specific, I have a Korg Triton Extreme.

    We are an all instrumental band that uses a lot of settings/effects, so we want all the lows, mids, and highs to be clear when needed.

    Is this amp a good choice? If so what changes or upgrades would I need? I imagine adding an external horn on top of the Ampeg 8x10, but I'm not sure how or what brand to look for.

    Thanks for any advice or opinions
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    that would indeed be a huge, warm keyboard sound, with considerable tube "coloration". are you covering the bass as well, or do you have an actual bass player? if you do, it might be overkill weight/size/expense-wise. a 4x10" cab with a horn underneath a nice 300+ watt solid-state bass amp (maybe one with a tube preamp) would still make for a ballsy keyboard sound.

    these kinds of rigs won't be as hi-fi clean as direct into the board or regular full-range keyboard amp setups, but the "fatter" sound can mix nicely with a band, especially when mic'ed instead of run direct into the p.a.

    if you are crazy (excuse me, i meant "dedicated") enough to want to drag an actual svt rig around, there are plenty of companies making 8x10 cabs with adjustable horns.
     
  3. Dorian

    Dorian Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Nope, no bass player. Just guitar, keys, and drums.

    We've been disappointed with every amp made for keyboards that we've tried so far.

    Any recommendations on a company that makes good quality 8x10 cabs with adjustable horns that would support the SVT?

    Thanks again
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    as a big fan of the secret machines who also saw jeff beck on his guitar shop tour with srv, i dig the guitar/drums/keys sound. (oh, yeah, rush and zeppelin can sometimes count too.)

    lots of folks make nice 8x10 + horn cabinets, and any one of them will handle an svt. all i can say is be sure to get one made of real plywood and avoid particleboard or "mdf", which will be both too heavy, too fragile, and will swell if it gets wet.

    as for the svt vr, those were only made in the usa for a short while and are being snapped up by bass players in the know; the newer far-east made ones are best avoided. an american-made svt classic will be much easier to find, and will likely do just as well for keyboards. for that matter, a boogie 400+ head is better-built than any of the recent svts.
     
  5. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

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    I think the solid state amp paired with a full range, high quality pa/monitor cabs is the way to go, honestly. You don't need the coloration that a tube preamp design for bass guitar will provide when you are trying to get a realistic acoustic piano sound (which I assume you use at least some time), you will need to worry about all those tubes remaining in good condition, and the weight of the SVT is a real negative. Years ago I had a keyboard rig that used two Hafler P500 solid state amps biamplifying two custom made full range cabs that each had 15", 12" and JBL bullet tweeter, and the rig sounded huge and completely clean. I sometimes ran it through my bass players SVT rig at rehearsal and it was not nearly as good. If you want tube "warmth" or character, use a separate tube preamp into the power amp.
     
  6. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Dragging around an SVT would still be better than that freeking Hammond B3
    in the old days!

    I tried this with my old Ensoniq through the SVT and it was stadium worthy :)
     
  7. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I used a SWR Redhead for keyboard duty in a pinch once and was actually quite surprised at the result. Plus, they're portable and cheap second hand.
     
  8. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

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    I have used that too, with the piezo tweeter turned down/off to cut harshness on the top end. The best SWR combo for keyboards that I've heard is the original Baby Blue monitor amps, but they are hard to find. The early Baby Blue units had Bag End speakers and were really smooth (no piezo tweeter but a more expensive and nicer paper tweeter instead).

    When the SWR California Blonde was in the prototype stage I tested that for a keyboard amp and it was not bad in a pinch, but I just don't like piezo tweeters for keyboards.
     
  9. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds like overkill.
     
  10. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I've been helping my keys player deal with similar issues. He recently upgraded his main keyboard to a Hammond XK-3, and the low end it puts out is too much for any amp that he had.

    I think a more modern, hi-fidelity bass amp (i.e. Mark Bass or Genz-Benz) would be better than an old Ampeg. And certainly more portable.

    But you do need headroom. Lots of it. Aim for a 500 or 600 watt amp.

    As far as speaker cabinets are concerned, one word: Schroeder. I just got the 212L (the L is for light-weight - only 42 lbs) and we tried it with the Hammond the other day - it sounds simply huge.
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    remember, the o.p. is his band's "bass player". just like playing bass through a typical keyboard amp will be disappointing, playing keyboard bass through one might be as well. i suspect he needs a real bass amp. (now, whether he needs to drag around an svt rig is a function of how dedicated or crazy he is, and how much he needs a "fat" sound as opposed to a "clean" one like modern high-power bass rigs can provide.)
     
  12. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    First, I completely agree with the orignal post that the vast majority of dedicated keyboard amps available are just terrible. I have had extensive experience as an engineer working with Barbetta, Roland, Peavey, Carvin, and Motion Sound and have yet to find something that is sonically acceptable besides a small stereo PA monitor system and a real Leslie cab.

    After reading the original post, it's hard to say whether the primary purpose of his rig is for keyboard bass or just the fact that his keyboard playing uses "many different settings" which would include the stuff that holds down the bottom. Bass rigs are great for keyboard bass, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that they make great keyboard amps. Plus, you couldn't pick a bulkier, heavier rig than the SVT head + 8x10 cab and it's still mono.

    Okay, if you're hell bent on a bass rig, I might suggest a stereo tube preamp (demeter or alembic), a sizeable stereo power amp (Crest CA6 or CA9), and a pair of bass cabs that are a little more linear in their frequency response (Accugroove Tri210 or Tri112, Euphonic Audio CXL112, Epifini UL112, Bergantino HT112). This will give you a reasonable stereo rig with tube warmth and better full range capability.

    Just a thought...
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    and it will definitely be more fun to load out at 2 in the morning.
     
  14. KevC

    KevC Member

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    Couldn't help but sign up after I saw all the help you guys give out on this forum.
    I'm the guy that actually owns and plays the keyboard in the o.p.'s band.

    Basically the situation comes down to


    -we're a three piece band , so I'm using supple amounts of lows, mids, & highs at the same time to cover everything and need an amp that can cut through and deliver loud, crisp, deep, full sound. Keeping in mind I need stereo, so I assume I need two of whatever I choose
    I wouldn't really say we need a bass rig, as much as we need one that can be a bass rig...so that if i'm using some high arp setting, if I decide to blast out some deep heavy-distorted synth - the high's don't disappear on me & will still shine through. And an amp that will be able to keep up with a 200-300 watt tube amp would be nice.

    It's actually pretty frustrating because when I walk into a music store , ALL the brands that testing1two said are the only things they have...and they know nothing about other brands of cabs or pa's. Which then results in me having no idea at all either.

    the svt seems a bit far-fetched for a keyboard player to be using. bit heavy & the frquency range is a little lacking for a keyboard.
    schroeder seems pretty interesting...thats one I will have to check up on in the meantime


    hope this information helps...what do you guys think?
     
  15. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I play guitar in a three-piece all instrumental band. We've worked with bass players in the past, but we've been gearing up so that we can do gigs entirely as a three-piece if needed. The keyboard amplifier issue has been major.

    My keyboard player got one of these: http://www.traynoramps.com/products.asp?type=9&cat=57&id=340 which seemed like a perfectly good item, and it handles his synth and his older keyboard (a vintage Yamaha) quite well. But when he got the Hammond XK-3 the Traynor just wasn't up to it. The Hammond's low end (think pedals) just requires more headroom than the poor little Traynor can offer.

    Bass amps or PA amps seem to be the way to go. Right now the keys rig is the Traynor as dedicated amp for synthesizer (it'll also be used for any random gizmos that I might bring along) and two bass amps run in stereo for the Hammond. I think the only thing better than the two bass amps rig would be a full dedicated PA for the keyboard player: with two full-range speaker cabinets and a subwoofer.

    The 600 watt Genz-Benz bass heads weigh less than 10 lbs each, and the light-weight versions of the Schroeder 2x12 (plus tweeter) speaker cabinets weigh less than 45 lbs. The Schroeder cabs: http://www.schroedercabinets.com/ really sound huge, they're just amazing. They have two speakers mounted at right angles to one another and they just put out no end of low end. They also have a tweeter attenuator, so you can dial back they highs if they're too piercing. Great, well-designed and well-made products. The model I have is the 1212L.
     
  16. poorboy

    poorboy Member

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    Back in the early 80's we opened for Muddy Waters and Pinetop Perkins asked to use my SVT to play through.
    He sounded great of course.
    For what it's worth.
     
  17. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    I'd start with a professional power amp, like the QSC PLX line, find a decent mixer or preamp and audition speaker cabinets from Aguilar, Bergantino, and Epifani.

    I also think it would sound great through an SVT, but unless you pay for cartage, go modern and reliable.
     

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