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The Ampeg V-4B – Hands On Demo

For years I have wanted to have an Ampeg tube amp so naturally when this opportunity came up I jumped at the chance.

The new Ampeg V-4b is a reissue of the old seventies one but with some modern updates. Make no mistake this thing still kicks major ass!

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I have been using it for many months now and have had more complements on my tone than ever before. Now I am also using the SVT212AV cabinets as well, sometimes one but most times two. I also have in the arsenal the SVT112AV cabinet as well, most of the time this gets used at rehearsals but it perfect for small gigs as well.

The people at Ampeg were nice enough to let me put this rig through its paces, and I have been making it scream. I have been working this amp on an average of four nights a week every week since I’ve gotten it. It’s performed great and hasn’t let me down.

Well let’s get a little info on this bad boy first before we go any further. This is a direct quote from the Ampeg web site.

“The Ampeg V-4B 100W All-Tube Bass Head embodies the legendary tone of the classic V-4B in a portable, modern design perfect for today’s players. From the unique chassis suspension system to the vintage rocker switches, the attention to detail is all there. Plus, with a careful selection of modern features like an integrated DI and a wide choice of speaker output options, we’ve ensured the flexibility and functionality you demand from a modern head. With the 100W V-4B, you get the sought-after tone of a fully-cranked Ampeg tube amp in a design that’s less than half the weight of an SVT.”
Here are some tech specs you’ll want to know about as well.

  • 100W of all-tube Ampeg bass tone
    o Preamp: Tube ( 2 x 12AX7)
    o Driver: Tube (1 x 12AX7, 1 x 12AU7)
    o Power amp: Tube (4 x 6L6GC)
    • Classic V-4B fit and finish
    o Ampeg “Black Line” cosmetics
    o Vintage rocker switch controls
    o Integrated chassis suspension system
    • 3-band EQ (bass, midrange, treble)
    • 3-position mid-range control
    • Ultra Hi/Lo boost
    • Speaker outputs: 1 x 8 ohm, 2 x 4 ohm, 2 x 2 ohm
    • Balanced direct out w/ ground lift
    • Power amp in / preamp out
    • -15 dB input
    • Slave output to connect additional amplifiers
    • Dimensions (W x H x D inches): 24 x 11 x 11
    • Handling weight: 41 lbs

Ok so the V-4b head is just what you would expect from Ampeg. It’s a big beefy warm sounding amp. It’s got that classic sound. It’s got power and punch. It’s an Ampeg!

It’s got the classic look just like it did in the seventies expect for a few small changes. There is a change on the input section, they have added an input for active basses with a -15db jack right next to the normal input jack.

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I like that I have the option of both inputs. I play a variety of different basses and this makes things a lot nicer and easier as I don’t have to keep changing my volume or tones all night long.

They have changed from aluminum knobs to plastic. Not sure why but the black plastic ones kind of tie in the look. I’m sure cost had something to do with it. Either way the knobs have no effect on the sound of the amp. I actually prefer the black ones, that’s just me though.

The on off section is a little different there is no polarity switch on the front panel. It’s on and off and a standby toggle switch as well.

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The tone controls seem like basic Bass mid and treble but they have rocker switches which give you a lot more sound shaping ability.

Each tone control has the ability to be shaped and rounded in almost any way you want and still maintain the great and classic Ampeg sound.

The back of the head is all new as well. They have included a balanced XLR output jack.  It has a ground lift switch for the XLR output on the back panel as well. So you can now get rid of your DI box.

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The speaker output section is all new as well. It includes 8, 4 and 2 ohm outputs.  The amp seems to have gotten a really nice makeover with some modern upgrades.

All in all the V4B head is a solid winner. By no means is this a cheap head with a MSRP of $1819.98 it’s not going to be for everyone but you can find it for almost $500.00 off of that price if you shop around.

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It’s going to be hard to give this one up. Look for the follow up article when we will be talking about the 1×12 and 2×12 AV cabinets

-Scott Woodward

 

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Scott Woodward

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