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The Combo SWR Should Have Made...

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by MuthaFunk, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk

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    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 have made.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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?
  2. Daniel Piper

    Daniel Piper

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    I think that is awesome! Do you use alongside that scout cab underneath?
  3. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

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    Nice job! SWR isn't dead yet...maybe they will take you up on it?
  4. mbelue

    mbelue Supporting Member

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    That looks great, couldn't tell it wasn't stock till I opened up the pix for larger view.
    Good job man!
  5. tigerfire

    tigerfire

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    I like it. I'd buy one. It would be perfect for church/coffeehouse/practice type things, with the right amount of power and still good tone.
  6. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk

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    Well the Mesa Radiator 12 cab underneath it is 4 ohm which is the Headlites minimum impedance so I haven't ran both at the same time. I have connected it to the Headlite while mounted in the combo and simply flicked the speaker off switch located on the back of the cab. It isolates the 8 ohm internal speaker from the output allowing the Headlite to power just the Radiator 12 without having to pull the 1/4" cable out of the side of the head.

    [​IMG]

    The Radiator 12 is a real thick sounding cab and pretty efficient too. It can totally be used with a medium level drummer on its own. The Headlite 10" combo I've assembled has kept up with a couple of different volume controlled drummers. It's quite a bit louder than a stock BBBII amp loaded with a single 10" PAS driver and Piezo Tweet.
  7. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk

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    One more BIG bonus to having the Headlite mounted like this:

    [​IMG]

    The Knobs are very easy to access. With the Headlites small stock feet and super small form factor, many complained about the ergonomics of the knobs. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed it being a bit tight as well. The added clearance below the head has made tweaking the three band semi-parametric EQ infinitely easier. If anyone reading this thread has a Headlite, you may want to try larger feet on it.
  8. synterx

    synterx Supporting Member

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    I just got a used headlite, and man, that fan is WAY too loud for my liking.

    Enough so that I'll return it in a heartbeat unless I can quiet it down.

    Where did you get that fan, and did it really make the thing quieter?
  9. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk

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    I bought the Noiseblocker on eBay. It made a difference but there was still some wind noise from the general venting layout on the chassis. I think more of the noise is from the design of the chassis holes than the actual fan motor or it's blades. It's not fun having to cut the existing vent holes bigger or smoothen the sharp edges over wth a file or Dremel to get the wind noise down but I did and it's very quiet now, almost silent.

    Probably not the answer you want to hear but if your picky about wind noise, this is the truth. I'm always battling wind noise from all the amp manufacturers with the exception of Markbass. Markbass has really nice ramping systems that only seem audible when your really cranking it and at that point, you won't notice it.

    Actually, come to think of it, my new Genz ShuttleMax has a similar fan ramping system and it's pretty quiet too. Not quite as quiet as the Markbass heads I've owned but very good indeed.

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