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Anyone else dislike SWR?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jazzkuma, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    I play in several brands of amps because my college has different brands in their ensemble/practice rooms. I have recently found out that I am not able to get a nice tone out of an swr (blackbeauty mostly). Im not saying its a bad tone but the range of tones is way too small. Compared to the GK, ampeg, tc and even fender amps I can't play on SWR anymore. I thought it was just me or my bass but after spending a lot of time tweaking with it trying to find the tone I like I gave up on that brand.

    Is it me? or do SWR have a specific signature sound to it... to me it sounds waaaay too crunchy, too much treble (even with it down a lot). I can't get a darker mellow tone out of it.
    Im not flaming SWR, I know they are great amps because people like them a lot, I want to figure out if this is an SWR thing or is it something else?
  2. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    i had a couple in years past, not at all impressed with them.....no SWR for me.
  3. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I've never cared much for their amps, but have liked most of their cabs.... Ironically, it's the opposite with G-K and me...

    - georgestrings
  4. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)

    I miss my 1001RB-II, want an 800RB, and liked my Henry 8x8 and use a Goliath III. :smug: Unless I'm cranking the low mids on my folk band's 4004, I don't much care for it.
  5. bobcruz


    Mar 10, 2004
    SWR does have a signature tone due to a nondefeatable 6 dB cut at around 220 Hz (going from memory here). There is a thread about modding SWR amps to eliminate that cut, which brings perceived volume way up and makes EQ adjustments more intuitive. I've used and still have some SWR amps and haven't done the mod, because there are some situations I play where that SWR 220 Hz cut is just what's needed (for example, in my boomy tall-ceiling church that sounds almost as bad as a gymnasium). Some people who did the mod made it reversible, I think, so you could have either flavor. It's also possible to plug into the effects return of an SWR amp to bypass the baked in 220 Hz cut.
  6. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    Nope, you are the ONLY one!

    Dan K.
  7. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    One of the amps I miss the most was my SWR Workingmans 15. Great tone
  8. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    Hmm yeah that sounds like it might be it. Im not an amp expert but I just can't tweak it to my preferable tone. Well I'm glad its not just me, there was something else. I have no problems with other amps though (almost all other), even my small gk mb150 gets me better results.
  9. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    I had a Goliath Jr. 2X10 cab.
    My Peavey 1X15 sounded MUCH better.

    Glad to be rid of the SWR!
  10. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Banned

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    I dislike SWR. I think they have always had a great look, but it is just NOT my kind of sound.
    I also dislike Ampeg, Markbass, Fender, and several other brands that are oh-so loved on TB.com.
    I dunno - to each his own! I have a lot of respect for the talented folks that play through whatever brand(s) work for them.
  11. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Every party needs a pooper......:)
    Because to each his own is so so true.
  12. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I could talk you through your issues. Yet the challenge in your life will be to get a good sound.:)

    ( if there's a tweeter control turn it to just barely on.)
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Used to have an SM-500 and played a lot of rented SWR rigs in the early 2000's. Liked them, didn't love them. My initial impression was more favorable than any subsequent impressions. I could get a good sound out of them, but their EQ's were too involved, and as I gravitated to darker tones, I felt like they weren't hitting the mark for me. That said, I think they are WAY better than folks on TB make them out to be...they just ended up not being my thing.
  14. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    I have a GK 1001RB-II pushing an SWR Workingman's Tower. Sounds AWESOME! I can get any tone out of my rig.
  15. mozilla314


    Dec 19, 2011
    I just hate the parametric EQ on SWRs
    with the four sliders on it. It can take
    hours to dial in a good sound. I like GKs
    with bass, lo-mid, mid, and treble. That's
    all I need, thank you.
  16. Deedubs


    Mar 5, 2012
    i like my late 90's swr 750 head. simple controls. lots of power. tube pre. sounds pretty good through my boogie 215rr cab.
  17. bobcruz


    Mar 10, 2004
    In most bands, you need that 220 Hz region to hear yourself and help with volume and cutting through other instruments that share that frequency. The other oddity about SWR tone is that Steve Rabe was against other forms of frequency tampering, even super-helpful forms like cutting the subsonic frequencies (generally below 30 Hz but usually the cut starts a little higher). So SWR amps waste a lot of wattage trying to reproduce frequencies that you can't hear but can easily damage your speaker! That contributes to their perceived lack of volume.

    As an experiment, you could try plugging your bass directly into the effects return of the Black Beauty, crank the master volume all the way up (because your bass output is way less than it needs to be to drive the internal power amp) and see how you like the difference. In some situations that may be all the volume you need and the tone may be what you're used to in the other amps.
  18. will33


    May 22, 2006
    The baked in low mid cut is there. Can set a sweep to about 250 and sort of un-do it.

    I think something is probably wrong with that particular amp though. Amp problems or a bad speaker. He says it's always "crunchy". That doesn't describe most any SWR I've played. They're known for being more clean, "hi-fi"--ish.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Crunchy could mean trebly. The cabs are for sure.
  20. I played an SM-900 with a Goliath III today for the first time as a backline at casino job and I gotta say, It sounded really good.It was dialed in to the room perfectly.I never even touched the volume.Big bottom,tight middle and a sparkly top.The only thing I didn't like was how hot it got..It wasn't in a rack and the heat was very noticeable.

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