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la bam

How much of the Ampeg sound is the amp and how much the cab?

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Hi all,

Just wondering to get that classic Ampeg sound - whenever I hear it it's always the amp and cab.

Never an ampeg head and another cab.

When I have heard the heads separately, they just seem to miss something.

Could it be the cabs have more magic ingredients in them for that classic sound?

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This could turn into a fascinating thread!

From what I've read and graphs I've seen, the SVT is in fact quite flat in its response before clipping, with the EQ dials centred and all the filters off. A sealed cab with low excursion drivers would be very coloured, so that itself points to a greater influence of the cab over the core classic SVT tone. Of course the filters, especially the Ultra Lo, are very distinctive, as is the overdrive sound, so those would come into play from the amp, too.

Of course the B15 is the other benchmark; I've not seen anyone hook the amp up to a 'scope, but I would assume that it is similar to the SVT, as it is the precursor. I think the cabs went through different iterations of sealed, ported, and double-baffle.

I suppose the concensus will have to end up as 'it's a combination' but I'll be interested to see how it all pans out!

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Great question. If the classic Ampeg sound you're referring to is the SVT on a fridge, then arguably, both head and cab sound like Ampeg individually, and more so if you use them together. But there's more than one Ampeg classic sound as per the above, the B-15 and SVT/Fridge are both classics but both different. 

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34 minutes ago, la bam said:

When I have heard the heads separately, they just seem to miss something.

Most Ampeg heads would not fall into that category unless paired with the wrong cab or the tone simply wasn't to your taste. My rig set up to play in a band doesn't sound good soloed by any means, very middy and lo-fi. Comes alive once the drummist and guitarer get started though. 

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Just to throw another angle into the mix but the Tech 21 VT Bass pedal manages to do a decent proximity without either the head or the cab for recording purposes!

I always paired my Ampeg heads and cabs but on the couple of occasions I mixed (Orange Terror into a 4x10 or 1978 Fender Bassman into a 1x15) I always liked the tone.

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4 minutes ago, Cat Burrito said:

...a decent proximity

But that's all it is. I defy even the most ardent Tech 21 fan to state that put next to an SVT and fridge in full flight - the classic Ampeg tone I guess - the Tech 21 can do the same thing. Unless it's going through an Ampeg rig of course :)

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I have a PF50T, which seems fairly typically "Ampeg" in voicing, but obviously a small amp. I've run it into Ampeg 8x10 cabs a couple of times, and while it's a solid, classic sound, I think I like the voicing of my pair of DIY ported 1x12"s better. I'd probably need four of the 12"s to get the efficiency on a level playing field, but there's a thick, dark quality to the 8x10"s that has me reaching for the amp EQ. I've never had the chance to use an original B15n, but I do wonder if, out of the classic Ampeg rigs, that might be the one that's most up my street.

Edited by Beer of the Bass
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11 minutes ago, Beer of the Bass said:

I have a PF50T, which seems fairly typically "Ampeg" in voicing, but obviously a small amp. I've run it into Ampeg 8x10 cabs a couple of times, and while it's a solid, classic sound, I think I like the voicing of my pair of DIY ported 1x12"s better. I'd probably need four of the 12"s to get the efficiency on a level playing field, but there's a thick, dark quality to the 8x10"s that has me reaching for the amp EQ. I've never had the chance to use an original B15n, but I do wonder if, out of the classic Ampeg rigs, that might be the one that's most up my street.

I'm not sure the 50 would be able to really open up a fridge?

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Interesting here....

Dino explaining how ampeg classic cabs have stamped framed baskets which move with the speaker giving a much warmer sound, rather than a more defined sound.

 

 

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I think that a lot of the 'magic' is the 8x10 sealed cabinet. Very warm sounding, kinda defined but not clinically clean and works very well with overdrive. Also, despite the huge size, I think that the 8x10s work really well at low/medium volume. 

One of my favourite rehearsal room/supplied backline was an Ampeg 8x10 with an Ashdown ABM head. Really good match.  

I like the 4x10 and 6x10 hlfs, but they don't have the same voicing due to the porting. 

 

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I ran an 410hlf and a t coloured the sound immensely - a real hump at about 200Hz. 
Sometimes it was great, other times not.

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1 hour ago, la bam said:

Interesting here....

Dino explaining how ampeg classic cabs have stamped framed baskets which move with the speaker giving a much warmer sound, rather than a more defined sound.

 

 

Hogwash. Stamped frames aren't unique to Ampeg, and the frames don't move. As to the OP question, it's mainly the amp. Ampeg uses Eminence drivers in simple cabinet designs. That's not exactly unique to Ampeg. The drivers aren't unique either. As is the case with the vast majority of OEM drivers they're quite close to off the shelf retail drivers.

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29 minutes ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

Hogwash. 

Bill, don't hold back mate, tell us what you really think :) 

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There must be something in the cab or combination of head and cab though.

I've used a rehersal room 8x10 and it really was great. Rubbish on it's own, but great in the mix. Sounded great with the svt3 they had. Yet the svt3 through another cab was nowhere near as impressive.

The only way I can describe the cab was kind of dull but punchy. Kind of punched through, when it didnt sound like it would be able to.

Theres no way I want to move one around though.

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56 minutes ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

Hogwash. Stamped frames aren't unique to Ampeg, and the frames don't move. As to the OP question, it's mainly the amp. Ampeg uses Eminence drivers in simple cabinet designs. That's not exactly unique to Ampeg. The drivers aren't unique either. As is the case with the vast majority of OEM drivers they're quite close to off the shelf retail drivers.

Yep, Eminence drivers are used quite a bit, think Barefaced use them and their cabs aren’t particularly Ampeggy. 

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FWIW, I played an Ashdown ABM through an Ampeg SVT 4x10 during a recording session some years ago. The tone was pure Ampeg. I'd be inclined to say the cabinets are the source of the 'sound' on this basis. 

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The drivers Ampeg uses for the most part are inexpensive, more or less the equivalent of the Eminence Alpha series, those Barefaced uses are high end, more or less the equivalent of the Eminence Kappalite series. For that reason alone they won't sound alike. Barefaced also uses pretty much cutting edge technology, Ampeg hasn't made a significant change since the 1990s. Both approaches are valid, depending on what you're after.

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I've always thought that Ampeg cabs are a bit boxy sounding, which is probably why I don't own one. Once again, we all perceive different qualities when we listen to the same thing, which is no doubt a function of all of those variables that we can't reasonably take into account when we're doing the listening.

Either way, if you fancy losing a day or two out of your life you could read a few threads about the qualities of various models/versions/production runs of Ampeg cabs and realise that - if they folks there are right - there's really no such thing as the Ampeg cab sound anyway :)

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True. The current version of the SVT bears no resemblance to the 1969 version, which was loaded with guitar drivers. And who can say anything good about the St. Louis Music version that was made of chip board?  😫

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5 minutes ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

True. The current version of the SVT bears no resemblance to the 1969 version, which was loaded with guitar drivers. And who can say anything good about the St. Louis Music version that was made of chip board?  😫

It was a couple of lost days on TB that put me off every buying another Ampeg cab to be honest :(

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Dunno what model/version it was but I used one 810 at a gig and it was sooooo bassy, just a wamph of low end. Had to back lows off virtually all the way, and had to boost hi mids & highs virtually all the way. Only Ampeg cab I’ve ever used that sounded like that,

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I use some 8x10 classics at the rehearsal rooms, with either my Ashdown ABM or my Laney Nexus Tube head. Like Lozz196 says, they are so bass heavy it's crazy. Have to roll almost all low frequency eq off or its really "swampy". Especially off axis. 

I reckon the Ampeg "warmth" everyone mentions about is down to the cabs based on my experience with them.

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1 hour ago, jimmy23cricket said:

I use some 8x10 classics at the rehearsal rooms, with either my Ashdown ABM or my Laney Nexus Tube head. Like Lozz196 says, they are so bass heavy it's crazy. Have to roll almost all low frequency eq off or its really "swampy". Especially off axis. 

I reckon the Ampeg "warmth" everyone mentions about is down to the cabs based on my experience with them.

That's also what I've found with the ones I've used at a local rehearsal studio complex. They've been like that in both the black and silver grill versions (VR and CL lines, I think?), and with a variety of heads including an SVT CL. I can get a sound that I enjoy, but it involves backing off the bass EQ on the amp further than I'm used to and boosting upper mids.

That's in moderately sized rooms, so all I can think is that perhaps it all makes sense on a big hall or festival stage.

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At the end of the 90's I bought an SVT 3 PRO and Ampeg 210, 115 and 410 cabs. The 210 was my favourite of the 3 but I couldn't get away from a woolliness and lack of clarity that I didn't like. I put the amp through my Mesa Boogie RR 210EV and 115EV and it was like some one had taken several duvets off the rig, the sound/tone was great. Clear as a bell and full at all frequencies.

It's not a scientific test but IME Ampeg cabs are OK if you want that sound but not much good if you don't.

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