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Ampeg SVT 7 Pro


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I picked up this head yesterday after finally getting the money together. I'd discovered it originally by trying out an Ampeg PF 500. I loved the tone and portabilty of the PF 500 but I was a little concerned about the headroom for larger venues (I don't have PA support, and prefer to hear the tone that the audience are hearing. As much as possible anyway). Then I spotted the SVT 7 Pro sitting on top of some Hartke cabs, so had a play with that instead. After 30 seconds of playing I was convinced. So I decided to put my money away and get what isn't too far away from being the big brother to the PF 500.

The features I like - onboard compressor, FX blend, headphone out, D-class power stage (lightweight and doesn't HAVE to have a load connected), 5-way midrange selector, ultra hi and ultra low switches, weighs 7 kg(!), 1000 w @ 4 ohms, 600 w @ 8 ohms, and nothing superfluous that confuses me!

I've had the all-singing, all-dancing type of head before where the EQ is very effective, and there are limitless options to colour the sound. But I don't want that. I wanted an amp that would sound good 'flat' - and with all dials at 12 o'clock I love the sound of this amp!

At rehearsal last night I gave my new baby it's first test run. I paired it with a Markbass 106 HF cab (6 x 10) and played a Fender Jazz with full neck pup, and a third bridge pup to add a little growl.

With the compressor at 3 o'clock, gain at 1 o'clock, mid selector @ 450 hz and boosted slightly, master volume at 10 o'clock, and all other setting flat, we kicked off with some Sabbath and Purple to warm up.

First impressions were surprisingly good. I couldn't believe how clear and defined every single note was. I was playing finger-style. The lows held the mix together, while the highs leapt out aggressively and demanded to be heard. This is one of the problems that's blighted me in the past - uneveness across the strings and low/high register.

We moved through the set, playing everything from Metallica and Iron Maiden, through to Santana's 'She's not there' and RHCP's 'Higher ground' and I didn't have to tweak anything. The only things I did play with were the 'ultra low' switch - which is great for adding extra low-end presence and punch (this also scoops the mids slightly). And the mid-selector - I switched it to 800 hz for some pick-played songs. This added more percussiveness to the tone with a bit of bite. As I said, I didn't HAVE to tweak but wanted to find out what this amp could do and what would suit different songs.

The mid-selector is a great feature. It alters the character of the sound but without the hassle of having to adjust inputs and volume like you would if adjusting a conventional EQ mid-gig. The gain can be cranked right up to get the full potential of the slightly over-driven Ampeg tone (when using a sensible compression setting).

I did have reservations as to whether this particular model could nail the Ampeg tone, as it only has one 12AX7 valve in the preamp. I needn't have worried! This amp does warm, grindy, clean, punchy, the lot!

I'll add to this review once I've gigged with the amp. But so far I have nothing bad to say about it. And I'm much happier with its performance than I thought I'd be.

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Nice one, I`d been considering one of those myself, but in the end decided as I`m more than happy with the PF500 for the Ampeg sound, I`d get something with different voicing, so went "crisp" Gallien Krueger. May still upgrade the PF to one of these in the future though, look forward to the gig review.

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Gig update:

I used the same combination and settings at a gig last night. We played a venue where I've never really liked the acoustics - it's quite small, wooden floor, no windows, and the crowd always stands well back (apart from a few resident dancers).

For the first time ever I could hear every note I played without being drowned out by double kick drums or a screaming mesa. And the evenness across the strings was again impressive. In fact, our guitarist commented that he could ride on my basslines during his solos and it made his job easier.

Because of the variety of songs we play, the dynamics within the band change drastically. I often get asked whether I've turned up, or to back off the low end, during certain songs. But this was never in danger of happening last night.

I guess this should be a joint review because the cab deserves at least half the credit!

More updates to follow - next gig is at a much larger venue, so I'll report back then.

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  • 1 month later...

Another update.

After a dozen or so gigs with the SVT7 I couldn't be happier.

On Friday we played a gig in a large pub. About 300 people in there, carpeted floor, high stage, high ceiling, plenty of room to move away from the cab and find the sweet spot - tonal heaven!

Saturday was slightly different. 100 people in a large room - well back from the performance area. No stage, tiled floor throughout, lots of mirrors and windows. After the first couple of songs I found myself digging into the strings too much while lacking low end punch. I turned to the amp and moved the bass knob from 12 o'clock to 1 o'clock - problem solved! I had all the warmth and punch that the room acoustics were robbing me of, and left the amp alone for the rest of the three hour set!

It now puzzles me that my old rig would've needed constant tweaking throughout the night, yet this one does exactly what it's supposed to. The SVT7 works with me, and never against me.

Right, I'm off to buy me a Fender P to go with it...

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  • 2 months later...
  • 8 months later...
  • 3 months later...

friend of mine has got the pf 500.......broke down mid gig(sounded good up till then)
heard of other reliability issues........pity,i liked the look of svt 7.
been out a while now so gremlins may have been ironed out!!

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  • 4 months later...

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