Sound — 10
I use it for rock and punk music, often very heavy. The amp works very well for these styles of music, producing a better sound than my Laney Richter head or Ashdown Mag, especially at high volumes, where (because of the S.V.T) the amp does not distort unless the pre-amp volume is turned up. This way you can keep a beefy, clean sound at gigging volumes. With the mid selectro switch, Graphic EQ and hi and lo cuts, there is a lot of variety in the sound you can make, so this amp is genuinely universal.
Overall Impression — 10
This is one of the best bass amps ever produced by Ampeg, and Ampeg are one of the best bass amp companies in the world -- ranking this amp amongst the world's highest. Lots of big bands are still using SVTs around the world even today, and I doubt that I will ever use an amp in it's place again, unless it dies on me, or I am looking for that vital tone that only my Laney can give me. It is ideal for both the practice room and the stadium gig, and is perfect for everyone. If it were stolen, I would hire a mecenary to get it back for me, if it were lost I would save up and probably buy and SVT-3 Pro! Everything about it is perfect, there is nothing else on this amp I would like to see (except maybe a standby switch)!
Reliability & Durability — 8
It is a very dependable and reliable amp, as it is one of the best amps Ampeg have ever produced. I do not use it at gigs without back-up though, becuase it is a tube amp and tubes are known for dying at the most important moment. For this reason I always keep my Mag 300 sitting on top of the rack just in case, or my Laney Richter amp if it is a bigger gig.It has never broken down, as I, and the previous owner, have always replaced the tubes on a strict once a year basis, and also had it electrically tested by professionals on a once a year basis for safety reasons.
Features — 9
The amp was made in the early '90s using Ampegs Super Valve Technology. It runs on 3x12AX7 valves (Hot Rods in mine) and these valves are enough to support any style of music, when teamed up with the amps graphic EQ and mid-range selector, allowing you as the bassist to choose where the amp's reference point is when adjusting the mids knob. It is only a single channel amplifier, but the Graphic EQ is footswitchable allowing you to boost EQ or completely change it, ie: during bass solos. It has an FX loop on the rear of the rear of the amp, and a wireless input also on the back. This is there so that when using a rackmount wireless reciever, the SVT-III (also rackmount) can be connected to it with the cables staying in the rear of the rack. This input, however, is still connected to all of the EQ etc. so that it works just like the input on the front. It has jack and XLR line outs on the back with a line out volume control on it, so that it can be connected to a PA / Recording Interface as a DI device. This DI feature also works when speakers are connected. There is no headphone connection, but if you disconnect the speaker jacks, headphones work in the line out socket. There are 3 speaker outputs on it, 2 are jack connections and one is for bannana connectors / speaker wire. The output per speaker is 200W at 8 Ohms or 350W at 4 Ohms. This is more than enough power, and works especially well through a 15 inch speaker. There is also an AC convenience outlet on US models, so that another IEC powered device can be connected to the SVT-III rather than straight into the mains. I have been using this socket to power my Peavey 1000 Watt power amp which I rackmount with the SVT-III to increase my power at bigger gigs. There are also low and hi cut features on the amp for better bass and top end sounds.