It seemed to me that the latest amps from SWR always missed the mark on few key things that made them loose their competitive edge in the modern market. The Headlite was an rather nice amp but it's somewhat limited power left it behind in comparison to other manufacturers. The Spellbinder was a nice attempt at a small pro combo but having owned the SWR Baby Baby Blue 110, I thought the Spellbinder was missing some much needed upgrades on the BBBII and even eliminated the very useful Extension Cab Out.
I've been slowly upgrading my BBBII over the years, much of it is documented here: BBBII Upgrades w pics
Since I made that thread I've been able to complete my upgrades and it's not really an upgraded BBBII anymore, it's a whole new combo that I believe SWR should
It's not just the SWR Headlite mounted inside the combo but much more...
One of the complaints about the Headlite was the noisy fan. I installed one of these German made ultra silent fans in to reduce the noise to that of my Markbass F500. It's nearly silent now making this combo much nicer for bedroom practice and even Mic'd studio use.
I had to upgrade the cabs stock 1/4" plug because the SWR one wasn't a standard size. I also installed an extra 1/4" power out on the side of the amp to connect the cab and upgraded the original Speakon only to a genuine Speakon / 1/4" combo output making this amp extension speaker capable.
I just had a local metal shop bend up a piece of aluminum checker plate and then used longer screws between the aluminum plate and the feet to the amp. It's mounted rock solid. Could easily take bouncing down a flight of stairs.
I also upgraded the cab a while ago with an Eminence Deltalite II and recently found a nice horn that would fit in the small space. It's the Monacor HT-30. The sound transformation of both pieces really made a stark improvement to the sound IMO. The Piezo Tweeters in many of the SWR (and Markbass) combos dont come close to the sound of a nice horn. The Eminence Deltalite II also modeled really well in this box with WinISD and sounds much deeper and authorative.
The Headlite and Speaker are much lighter than stock saving weight but the Tweeter is heavier and I also had to ad weight with the mounting bracket. Overall the weight ended up at 31lbs.
The Headlite had quite a bit more features over the BBII. The on-board compressor works quite well and sounds very smooth. It already has the AE Bypass feature plus the new Marcus Miller AE which IMO is an improvement over the stock SWR AE. Effect loop blend, tube preamp, 3 band semi-parametric EQ. All useful features. The power output of the Headlite is exceptional when it's paired with a combo like this. It's much louder and deeper sounding over the stock BBII and I think it would outperform the Spellbinder as well. With it's extension capability and 400W rating, It seems impressive when mounted in a small combo.
I feel SWR should have marketed the Headlite for their small combos and released an genuine 800 WRMS version of the Headlite for their weekend warrior and pro level musicians. As it is now, this Headlite transformes this little combo into a real dynamo. The features are much more extensive over the offerings from manufacturers like Genz Benz or even Markbass who ruled the small portable combo market for years. It's too bad SWR didn't in-vision something like this with a 12" and 15" version back in 2006 or sooner. It may have kept them in business.
What do you guys think?