This is part of my Gear Reviews For Humans series.
If you didn’t read my temporary review of Ampeg SVX, let me summarize.
The Ampeg SVX is amazing. Just buy it!
Now for the real review.
I’ve been a bass DI fan for a long time. I got tired up micing up bass amps that weren’t doing anything interesting. For my style of working and my situation (The neighbors let me record drums so I try to give them a break with the 8×10 bass cabinets) there have been few instances where the bass amp was necessary.
With that said, bass DI is what it is. I’ve heard great bass DI sounds. I’ve heard not-so-great bass DI sounds. Regardless, there are times where it sure would be fun to screw that bass sound up a little bit (in a good way!). That’s where the Ampeg SVX steps in.
I want to start off by saying that I don’t think the concept of a bass DI is any way flawed. I think it’s an outstanding way of capturing X sound. The kind of bass players that just look at a bass amp as a louder version of their bass are usually quite content with X sound. It’s the bass players that have THEIR sound that require THEIR real amp and the special treatment. There are some bass DIs that sound bad and need all the help they can get.
The Ampeg SVX gives me the tonal control in the places I need it (just like an amp does) in ways that the usual recording toys such as parametric EQ simply can not. With a killer DI, some of the tones I’ve come up with using the Ampeg SVX have been outstanding. I love this plugin!
I’m not going to get too wound up about features. You can read all of those here. They’ve got a bunch of amps, some cool pedals, a bunch of cabinets, a bunch of mics and a couple different mic placements.
Much like Amplitube 2, its clearly an extremely well thought out product.
Ampeg SVX delivers killer-amp caliber sounds without fighting the room, ticking off the neighbors, or taking the time for mic selection, mic placement, preamp selection, etc. You plug in, twist a few knobs and you’ve got it.
If you want robo deep tones, you’ve got it. If you want mega midrange tones, you’ve got it. If you want distorted tones, this thing seems to do exactly what the Ampeg bass stuff I’ve used can do. If you want more “vintage” sounding bass sounds like from the Ampeg B15 just switch to the B15. If you want to use the modern Ampeg stuff with limiting, graphic EQ, etc just use it. It just sounds freaking good! I don’t know how else to describe it.
To hear the Ampeg SVX in action, I have numerous clips in Killer Home Recording: Bass.
I really like how the voicings of the amps compliment the tone. For example, that extra something that an Ampeg B15 can do to make a track “more there” in the low midrange is represented perfectly in the Ampeg SVX.
Downside To Ampeg SVX
The only downside to the Ampeg SVX is its CPU usage. It’s CPU usage is very reasonable for a relatively modern plugin, but I’m on my last leg with my Athlon 64 2800. I’d expect my next computer will be able to run more Ampeg SVX instances than I could ever stand. At the moment, I have to get the tone I like and freeze it (Cubase feature for printing tracks). This isn’t a huge deal, but it can slow down workflow. Even with a slower, older computer the workflow slow down are well worth the CPU price.
The Ampeg SVX has been extremely reliable. I’ve had problems with specific plugins (usually VST Instruments) having issues when pushing the CPU hard, but the Ampeg SVX has been rock solid.
If you want the ability to play around with your bass DI tracks and you don’t have the time, acoustical space, or massive bass amp collection this is a killer way to go. I couldn’t recommend this purchase more! The IK Multimedia dudes/chicks really have their stuff down. Great work!