So I try my best to do music for a living. I guess it’s cool, no wait I take that back, it’s great. I mean usually. I do what I love and then do odd jobs to pay bills if I don’t make enough money off of music. You know what I mean, I’m the quintessential starving artist. It kinda sucks actually. The worst part is seeing new gear and knowing it’ll take forever to save up and buy it! Well I’m primarily an engineer. What that entails is making other people sound good, well at least I try to. You can only do so much when the artists come in with sub par gear and expect you to make them sound like Metallica! I swear I have seen drummers come in with heads that are so bad I ask them why they didn’t get new heads and their response is “You can change those?!”. I want to slap them sometimes. So because of this what you do when you run a studio is have a studio set, a few guitars, basses, pedals and amps. Well going back to being the “quintessential starving artist” that I am my collection is kinda sparse.
4 separate modules: tuner, configurable pedal board, Amp heads, Cabinets and Mic locker
8 Stomp effects
4 signature Ampeg bass amps
6 signature Ampeg cabinets
All this for $229.99? Really?
“Well sure it sounds impressive but I bet it sucks…” – Same stupid drummer…
Let me break this down a bit more before I give my opinion on the sound. As to the way it is set up, there are 4 “modules” or screens, think of these as tabs in Firefox. You can switch back and forth to whatever section of the recording chain you have set up. The first is the Tuner. It is really precise and very good for bass. I use Reaper and when I try to tune my bass in Reatune I always lose the bottom E and sometimes the A, it just never seems to pick up those low notes. With this tuner it picks up the low B string on my 5 string Ibanez! On another note, just like with a real tuner, you can turn it on or off and mute the output. This is an awesome feature, especially if you use one of IK Multimedia’s interfaces made for the Amplitube series, the Stomp IO and the Stealth Pedal.
Next up is the pedal board. Now this is where I can start to scratch the surface of the tone that this plug in is capable of! It comes with a 6 space pedal board with 8 different stomp boxes. Each one of these are specifically tuned and designed for bass. None of that re branded slap the word bass in it guitar effects here! You can tell every part of this was thought out and carefully replicated just like the gear they are modeled after. There are some classic Ampeg effects like the SPC-OT Octaver and the SCP-OD Overdrive as well as an analog Compressor, Chorus, Delay, Envelope Filter, Bass, Wah, and a Volume pedal! All of it sounds great too! In just about every chain I have built I include the compressor, it just sounds amazing! I hardly have to do much outside of this plug in for Bass tones! Sometimes, every great once in a while, I’ll throw ReaComp for limiting or gentle compression but the Ampeg Compressor is always on!
Last but not least we get to the actual amps. There are 4 Ampeg heads in Ampeg SVX. These are some of the best of the best when it comes to bass amps! The SVT-Classic, B-15R Portaflex “Flip Top”, BA-500 and the SVT-4PRO. Each has its own place is musical history. With this you can mix and match each head with one of 6 bass cabinets, the B-15R, BA-500, BXT-410H, SVT-410H, SVT-810H and the PB-212H. My personal favorite is the BA500 and the PB-212H with the compressor on the pedal board. Ahh sweetness, oh but wait we have to mic it up right? Well there are 6 mic models to choose from too. Now this is where I fall head over heels for this. If you know me I am a BIG mic guy. I collect them like a nerdy 5th grader collects stamps from countries nobody ever sends mail too. The mics modeled are the Electro-Voice RE-20 (Dynamic 20), Shure SM57 (Dynamic 57), Sennheiser MD-421U (Dynamic 421), AKG D-20 (Vintage Dynamic 20), Neumann U-87 (Condenser 87), and the AKG C-414 (Condenser 414). Now truthfully a lot of us, especially those of us with modest budgets, may never have all these mics in out lockers so it is great to have these already built in to even further fine tune your Bass tone!
Now its pretty obvious I’m kind of a IK Multimedia fan with a few of their plug ins. This is the plug in that started it all! This is why I love IK Multimedia! They took my bass and made it sound like a bass should sound on a record! Before this I was using colored compressors, EQ and bass cab impulses, boy have I gone a long way since those days! My tone has gotten better by leaps and bounds and there is a reason why this is the industry standard in Bass amp plug ins!