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IK Multimedia Amplitube 4 Ampeg SVX 2 Bass Amplifier Collection – Review

An in-depth look at IK Multimedia's Ampeg SVX 2 collection.  Tested reviewed by Howard Worf, for us here at Guitarist Guild.


The bottom line (somehow strangely appearing at the top, and first . . )

This SVX2 bundle is highly recommended – with no other bass amplification emulators in your Amplitube warehouse you will not find any tone you are looking for missing. I really like these a lot. And if you cannot run to the whole package use Custom Shop to buy the SVT-VR and 8x10 cabinet as individual pieces of gear – you will not be disappointed.

New from IK Multiimedia is this gear package emulating a further clutch of classic Ampeg bass amplification. The new SVX 2 collection of reimagined and re-released amplification from Ampeg comprises the SVT-VR, the V-4B, and the Heritage B-15N heads and the SVT-810 AV, the SVT-212 AV, and the B-15N 115 cabinets – the cabinets being the matched units for the amplifiers in the same order – the B-15N Heritage is in any event a combo with the ‘sewing machine’ flip top head, released in limited edition in 2011 and currently very expensive to acquire, used only. So these then are the models of the re-released Ampegs, available as a collection for €99.99 or as an upgrade to the original Ampeg collection for €49.99 or as a bundle of the two for €149.99. If you need Amplitube 4 too then the price for the complete package is €199.99 (all plus VAT and at the time of writing). To give an idea of value for money UAD’s emulators retail for $149 for each individual amplifier module. And, of course, the real things are substantially more costly. Don’t forget, also, that Amplitube and therefore these modules can be used in live performance.

So what is being emulated here? The SVT-VR is the re-released version of the 1970’s Blue Line SVT 300w head, currently retailing for around £1900 or $2200, the V-4B is another 1970’s re- release, this time of the 1971 100w all valve head, around the £1000 mark, and the final model is the very popular 1960s 1x15 combo that has a home in many pro studios and according to Ampeg is the most recorded bass amplifier ever. Quite possibly.

To my way of thinking it is the SVT heads that create that distinctive Ampeg growl, but let’s give them a listen. My comparisons are from memory, so how the models give me the impression of the Ampeg sounds rather than a direct comparison as I do not have any physical Ampeg equipment to measure against. Indeed I have never seen nor heard either an original or Heritage B-15N, so rare are such beasts. My own personal amplification comprises Trace Elliot and Behringer heads with 1x15 home built cabs for live performance and Hartke A100 and Harley Benton HB300B (Thomann’s own brand) combos for practice. I don’t like the Hartke much; I usually let my wife use it for her keyboard and it’s better at that. Although I have been playing for more than 4 decades I have generally avoided valve amplifiers. In my early days I like everyone else owned Marshall and sometimes borrowed Orange valve amps, but I never liked the flat slightly distorted sounds and to be brutally honest they were hopelessly unreliable.

For this review I have used my Ibanez SR375 and Hohner B Bass 5 strings and a Hohner B Bass 4 string. All of these have large amounts of maple in their construction giving them a tone which is bright rather than neutral. I am not using any effects between the guitars and the software. My interface is a Saffire Pro 14. The DAW I am using is Cubase 9 Artist (although, of course Amplitube 4 does have a stand alone mode), my monitors are a pair of Behringer Truth B2031As and my headphones AKG K240.

After such a long preamble the actual ‘how do they sound’ bit is going to be quite short.

Let’s do them in reverse order.

1)The Heritage B-15N. Arguably a better amplifier than the originals, as it has both 1964 and 1966 channels and voicing, the latter year’s implementation being somewhat brighter. The tones are smooth, clear and very much full range. Some bass amplifiers are either too bass or too treble orientated with flat tone controls, but not this. It doesn’t really growl until the bass control is almost all the way up on either channel, so an excellent model for a clean uncoloured bass sound. The tone controls are simple in design but beautifully effective in operation giving a really useful range of tonal values. I like it.


   


2)But not as much as the V-4B, paired with the 2x12 cabinet. Although the tone controls are a little more complicated in that we now have a three band midrange parametric and bass and treble cut/boost switches as well as gain, what we do have here is the appearance of that Ampeg growl in a more controllable package. So again, very good.


   


3)And then there’s the cream of the crop, the SVT -VR paired with the 8x10 cab emulation. It sounds to my tired old bass player ears the best of the bunch. A wonderful easily controlled growl and huge tonal range. Now we have much more useable flexibility: channel selection, channel one normal bright switch, ultra-hi boost, 3 band bass cut off, ultra-lo boost, bass, treble and mid cut/boost pots, with ultra-lo, ultra-hi with bass and treble pots on channel two. It just sounds very good – how subjective is that? But it does.


   


As I have had no Ampeg hardware with which to make comparisons what I am telling you is how subjectively they sound to me. I am guessing that these emulations are as accurate as they can be – if not then IK Multimedia have nevertheless created three first rate bass amplifier models which I can thoroughly recommend. And because they are software and not powered by real valves they won’t break down or wear out. Which is nice.

Having never really appreciated Ampegs in the real world (and I would still be leery of buying anything with a valve driven power stage) these models will be my go to place for recording in the future for the smooth even tones of the Heritage B15N and V-4B, and the lovely controllable understated growl and penetrating mid range of the SVT.

So the conclusion of this review is that the SVX2 bundle is highly recommended – with no other bass amplification emulators in your Amplitube warehouse you will not find anything you are looking for missing. I really like these a lot. And if you cannot run to the whole package use Custom Shop to buy the SVT-VR and 8x10 cabinet as individual pieces of gear – you will not be disappointed.

2nd October 2017




Features
•Officially licensed by Ampeg®
•3 new amps (SVT-VR, V-4B, HERITAGE B-15N)
•3 new matched cabinets (SVT-810 AV, SVT-212 AV, B-15N 115)
•Exact recreations of the originals thanks to IK’s 20 plus years of modeling experience
•Based on our breakthrough Dynamic Interaction Modeling™ technology
•Available à la carte inside the Custom Shop or as a whole collection
•Available as part of the SVX Power Duo Bundle (including AmpliTube 4, SVX and SVX 2)
•Perfect companion for MODO BASS for Mac/PC
•Runs inside any version of AmpliTube 4.3 or later (free or paid version)
•Expandable with more gear models via AmpliTube Custom Shop

More info can be found here, http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/ampegsvx2/


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