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What's a good class D alternative to the SWR Headlite

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Trombassix, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    I love the demos of the SWR Headlite, particularly the solid lows and articulate high-mids that are lively and open sounding. Is there an alternative to this amp in another brand?
  2. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

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    Almost any of the GK MB series heads will get you somewhat close. If you want a more solid, down the center kind of tone, the MB500/800 are the ticket. If you want more harmonic content and "sonic texture," but still the same overall tone profile, the MB Fusion and MB Fusion 800 are da bomb.
  3. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    That's great news! I will definitely look into GK gear. I played bass for 16 year, stopped for 7, then the technology changed and I need to aquaint myself with what's available these days.
  4. johnpbass

    johnpbass

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    There's never been a better time to be a bass player gear-wise! SO many lightweight options in amps, cabs, and even going the preamp/power amp route.
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    +1 For a 'substitute' for that particular head, the MB500 would be my call. Not quite the feature set, but at least somewhat similar zing and sparkle and 'bigness' down low.

    I would think the Puma500 would also make the OP happy, but at a much higher price.
  6. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk

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    I don't find the GK MB series to sound much like my SWR Headlite. There is common ground between both but the SWR can do soo much more. Depending on what tone you're specifically looking for may mean the GK MB series wont do what your looking for.

    I have to ask, why not grab one of the Headlites that are around for a song these days? They pop up here on TB from time to time and ebay usually has a few.

    It's still the smallest micro out there with a full feature set. Three different voicings plus, three band semi-parametric EQ, blendable FX loop, variable level tube DI. I keep one in my cable box as an ideal backup. My only gripe is it's power output sounds more like 235-250 Watts to me.
  7. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    Long ago (12 years), I emigrated to Australia with the original Bass Pod in my suit case and an old Status active 4 string bass. I eventually bought a Hartke head with the solid state preamp + valve preamp that you could add together. But what I really wanted to buy was a head made by an Aussie amp brand called Lab Systems. It was out of my price range back then but it had a lively full range sound, very sonically involving. I think they might be similar to the GK sound. So, I'm very much interested in GK, especially if they've retained their sonic signature and ported it successfully to class D technology.

    I've got a bulky Trace Elliot 1x15 (bought in a sale cheap) that sounds weak, and a home made 2x10 that I bought used. The 2x10 sounds great up until it reaches it's limit and then the sound suffers. I can't wait to get a portable system going with good fidelity and power.

    I will look into all of your suggestions though, thanks guys.
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    Yeah, no two heads sound exactly alike. IMO, the MB500 is the closest thing currently on the market to the inherent tone... wide, bright, sizzly, deep. And yes, the price per output of the headlight was unimpressive, which is one of the things that killed it in the market. I agree, nice front end on that one.

    The Genz Max 9.2 would probably be the most similar feature-wise, but is not quite so open down low. Amazing feature set on that one though.... three bands of semi-parametric for each of the two blendable channels... one tube, one FET, and three usable, variable voicing filters. The OP might consider one of those on the used market, since that amp (and I guess the entire Genz line-up) has been discontinued at this point. Still decent service and support by Fender. Not so sure about Fender support of SWR at this point.
  9. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    Hi MuthaFunk, I could buy a Headlite and run a converter for the American voltage. But as they are hard to come by and no longer manufactured and supported, I feel disinclined to buy one. My old technique involved fingerstyle played with straight fingers and this created lots of thick bottom end and a strong fundamental in the note. I couldn't seem to cut through very well in a live setting and guitars used to steel the detail from my lines. Long story short, I'm a bit paranoid about having clean power. I've changed my technique and use through strokes like a classical guitarist theses days along with some three finger technique for the Metal stuff. I've transitioned from playing funk/bebop/singer songwriter stuff to Prog/rock/metal so my technique is all about cutting through.
  10. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    Hi KJung, I caught on to the BassWhisperer YouTube channel and his demos of the Genz Benz 9.2. It had a nice attack on the note even into the low notes on a five string. Impressive! But it does have a vintage smear/harmonic complexity in the low mids that gives it an updated vintage amp vibe. It's better than the streamliner, which softens the attack the lower you go, a very vintage flavour though.
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    The Max 9.2 has a pretty darn clean FET channel. I agree with the Shuttle 9.2, which has that tube in the pre, and also the tube channel of the Max 9.2.

    It is a very articulate amp, with a unique variable hi pass filter that can take the low end from very tight to somewhat tight:p The GK (and the SWR) extend lower for sure, and have less midrange complexity built into their tone.

    If you want pure and open, and since I believe you are in the EU, take a look at both the Glockenklang Blue Soul (magnificently clean and treble extended.... very good EQ, and about the best build quality around), and also the Puma500, which is quite even and transparent, if not capabable of the extreme lows and highs of the Glock. Spendy stuff in the US, but maybe more reasonable closer to the source.
  12. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    I'm in Australia at the moment. I do still gig in the UK from time to time, and occasionally New Zealand. There are some amazing manufacturers in Germany and Scandanavia. Sometimes the language barrier stop those brands from becoming know worldwide and it's good to hear about them. I seriously dig Weehbo distortion pedals, which I think are German.
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    Ah. Well, if you get a chance to try those heads down under, you might dig them. Pricey though!
  14. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

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    Then you should check out the EBS Reidmar class D head as a possible replacement for the Headlite. It doesn't have ALL of the features - only the midrange tone control frequency is sweepable, for example - but it has most of them, and the EBS pre-amp designs are outstanding.
  15. Trombassix

    Trombassix

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    The guy who used to play bass in my band had an EBS compressor. It had two bands of compression I believe. Will investigate, thanks for the recommendation, Sid Fang.
  16. mancefine

    mancefine

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    The Orange Terror Bass 500 or 1000. Class D solid state power, tube preamp, light as hell (10 pounds) and easy to dial in. Really can't beat em.
  17. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk

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    Ahh, understood. Just an FYI, the Headlite much like the Genz products runs off of an ICE module which has a selectable voltage. 120 or 230V. What voltage do they use in Australia?

    Given your statement about being paranoid about clean power and If size isn't of concern, I'd tend to agree with KJung on the Genz Shuttle Max 9.2

    I recently bought one because of its amazing value on the used market as well as versatility and high power.
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

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    Ooh, good call on the Reidmar.
  19. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

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    That head would not be on my list for the OP.
  20. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, it's on mine. :cool:

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