Definitely diggin' the IOD

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dr. PhunkyPants, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    So it's been a bad month amp wise (DB750gate with Fedex, a used DB659 didn't work out), but things are looking up for sure. Last week I bought a factory-refurbed SWR IOD from Low Down Sound for $375 including footswitch AND warranty. Bob confided that it used to be Bill Dickens' unit.

    I'm running it with an Aguilar GS410 cab, a Crest CA-6 power amp, and my EBMM Sterling. True, SWR is more famous for clear highs than woody lows, but it's proven a nice match for my low-endy Sterling. I've had experiences in the past where the Sterling can over-bass Ampeg rigs. The SWR is, I think, a nice complement to a MM with the treble just a slight bit down and the bass a slight bit up.

    I've owned SWRs before--Studio 220, Bass 350, SM-400, and SM-500--to be precise. None of them had a tone I like as much as this one. Without a para EQ, the IOD is most like the Bass 350, functionally. But the present of the push-pull warmth from the tubes puts it in a whole other universe tonally.

    Other preamps regularly get love on these forums that is withheld from the IOD. But this is one of those times when I have to say, you gotta look at the WHOLE signal chain and add stuff that makes sense. The IOD has been a great choice for my sound and at half the price of my next choice, it's a sound deal.
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    One of these days I'm going to try one for myself.

    How do you run yours? Seems common for players (e.g. Roscoe Beck) to use them to achieve fairly heavy overdrive, but I'm sure they're not a one-trick pony.

    Anyway: you definitely got a killer deal, congrats.
  3. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Hey neighbor!

    Using the unit as a preamp, all the way. I think the overdrive functionality was maybe overhyped--bassists don't live and breath distortion effects like guitarists do. Let's just say that the overdrive part amounts to having a gain knob that goes to where 15 would be on any other preamp. The breakup is there if you want to reach for it. But if you don't want it, you don't have it.

    If I were SWR, I would have marketed the unit for what it is--a unique product on the bass market that offers the nice sound of an all tube preamp PLUS a healthy dose of the goodness that comes from the interaction between preamp and power tubes.
  4. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    Great quote!!
    This is missed a lot here in the amp forum. Just an example Dr. PhunkyPants sold his svp-cl and mentioned above that his mm bass was a bit too much for the ampeg and "his" tone. In my case the svp-cl is a killer match for my modulus bass and "my" tone. In fact, at the moment I prefer the svp-cl over my aguilar db680.
    Again, great point!
  5. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    hey fuzz, IMHO the IOD is definitely not a one trick pony. there are as many good clean tones in my IOD as there are good OD tones. Without overdriving the tubes at all, you have a pretty unique option of messing around with the phases of the direct (SS) and line (12ax7 tube) channel to get some different tones, that i find i've been using a lot more now that i've finally feel like i have a good feel for the settings i need and like. i didn't even bother with it for the first 8 months i've owned this thing, because i was satisfied with the IOD without this feature.

    i especially like setting it to the point where the tone is warm and tuby but not gritty with a normal touch but dirt gets subtley added into the sound with harder plucks. the only tricky part is that even after the warm-up of the tube, the sweet-spot sort of wanders for teh next 10-ish minutes so i have to tweak the drive knob after the first 2 songs.

    not to mention i use the 5 watt feature as a practice amp and it sounds even more killer that way.

    now if only the mid knob was sweepable, and the effects loop had a blend knob/engage switch it'd be ideal.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Excellent point about the marketing, neighbor! Thanks to you and thejohnkim for all the comments. I'm definitely going to try one of those suckas next time I get the chance... they often turn up used at Atomic Music in College Park.
  7. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I need to go there sometime. I've heard they have lots of used gear at good prices.