BGRA: Ampeg SVT-7 Pro

Manufacturer Ampeg Model SVT-7 Pro
Reviewer Jeff Dine
Experience 30+ Item owned Less than 1 month
Review Date 2010-09-08 Price paid $799.00
Dimensions2 rack spaces
Weight15.5 lbs
Power600 @ 8 ohms, 1000 watts @ 4 ohms
OtherHeadphone out, RCA in, vaiable compressor, tube pre amp
I was able to compare the SVT-7 Pro to Markbass LMII, as well as the GK MB2 500 and 1001RB-II in a music store setting. All were run through my Bergantino HT-310 using Fender J-basses. All of these amps sound good. Different flavors for sure, but all good. All were capable of achieving a tone I would be content to gig with. I've used a GK with a variety of cabs almost exclusively since 1984, so I'm familiar with what they bring. Without the ability to A/B with the 7 Pro, I'm sure I could be happy with either of the GKs. But the Ampeg just had a sweeter, slightly creamier sound, possibly due to the JJ 12AX7 in the preamp. And the Ampeg mid freq. control can really change the entire personality of the 7 Pro, makeing the GKs seem kind of one dimensional. The LMII was my second favorite of the four. To my ear, the Mark Bass filters are superior to the GK contour knob. However, the LMII had a slightly less lively sound than the 7 Pro.

There are basically 3 things that caused me to go with the SVT-7 Pro over these others. 1) Features. The compressor is very useable, and a unique feature in this crowd. While the GKs are also fully featured, the Markbass unit was lacking. 2) Tone. The Mid freq control is a very powerful tool that almost makes this feel like a collection of different amps. It sounds like an Ampeg (for better or for worse, for better in my estimation). 3) Gobs of power! The 7 Pro was the punchiest at similar volume leves and EQ settings.

The 7 Pro seems to be a solid, well made unit. It's certainly not as tiny as many of the current offerings, but it is very light compared to, say, Ampeg's other Pro Series or tube offerings. The recessed control panel will make it difficult to see the knob labels on a dimly lit stage, but it is attractive (to me) and helps protect the knobs from damage. The 4 ohm minimum load is not a factor for me since I only ever use one 4 ohm cab at a time, but if you want to run 2 cabs, they'll need to be 8 ohms.

Great tone + tons of power + great features (many not reference here) equals a winner!!

construction (90%)
Seems very solid
clarity (90%)
versatility (95%)
Useable compressor, variable mid control
volume (100%)
Class leading power
value (98%)
Unmatched power and features for the price
overall (95%)
The BGRA is generously underwritten by David King of Bass Guitar Systems.
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