Jeff Genzler is one of bassdom’s most seasoned amplification gurus, having offered up a host of innovative designs over a three-decade-plus career.
THOUGH MANY MANUFACTURERS HAVE tried, there’s simply no way to perfectly duplicate the sound of an all-tube head using solid-state components. Those who dig the plush response, rich harmonic color, and sweet overdrive potential of tube circuits are thus forced to accept tube heads’ limitations, most painfully their much heavier weight compared to solidstate amps. But what makes tube amps so heavy? First, power amp tubes are physically large and require airspace to dissipate heat, so most tube heads are big. Second—and most important in terms of weight—tube amps have so far needed two heavy transformers to operate: An output transformer for impedance matching between the power amp and speakers, and a power supply transformer to step-down and distribute the power from a wall outlet. The revolutionary Peavey VB-3 all-buteliminates one of these transformers, and the weight savings are enormous. It accomplishes this feat with a switchmode power supply (SMPS). While the technology is incr
THE AMPEG SVT HEAD IS A STALWART. Paired with an SVT 8x10 cabinet, it occupies a singular space in the bass-rig hierarchy. Players who crave massive volume and projection into a room with unparalleled punchiness and tube-y texture know that the SVT is the automatic go-to—just look at the average pro-level backline: SVTs are everywhere. The SVT achieved this status thanks in part to remarkable longevity; it’s been in constant production in one form or another since 1969. One substantial change, though, was the shift away from U.S. production that accompanied Loud Technologies’ purchase of the brand from St. Louis Music several years ago. While Ampeg has touted the quality and reliability of its Asian-manufactured gear, the clamor for a return to U.S. manufacturing was loud enough to precipitate the Heritage Series, Ampeg’s new high-end line that’s exclusively made in the U.S.A. at Loud Technologies’ Woodinville, WA facility.