Operating Theater: Ampeg SVT-200T

Ampeg rewrote the book on high power amplification in 1969 with the introduction of the SVT. That was the Super Valve Technology amp which pumped out, a then unheard of, massive 300 watts from six huge valves (or “tubes”). Marshall invented THE rock guitar amp and Ampeg followed it with THE rock bass amp. And then… through the ’70s and ’80s, they never topped the SVT. Sure, they had a few other good products, in-between changing ownership as numerously as Michael Jackson was changing his nose. So in the late eighties, they just started throwing the SVT name around like baby batter at a bukkake convention. And hence, the SVT-200T, produced from 1987-1994: featuring no valves at all.

Ampeg SVT 200T

I like to think I’m less dumb than I used to be. When I bought this SVT-200T solid-state amplifier, I thought I had an SVT. It was loud, the right shape, it said SVT… shit, I just played grind core, what did I know? It had that “Ampeg” tone they dial all their amps towards and it sounded awesome. Sounded. One night in 2005 it took a dump. Or maybe I took a dump. Did I have the wrong speaker set up? Was the club’s power screwy? Was it just old? It took me a lot of learning over seven years, but I finally got this tubeless, sad sack out of the closet and farting again.

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