GK or SWR??? (Just Curious)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SindromeBace, Sep 19, 2001.

  1. I find both amps to be right up there as far as quality. Gallien-Krueger has more tone shaping and SWR is more distinct, thats my opinion. So what do you think?
  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    After owning gear of both brands, I'd say that GK ain't even in the same league as SWR in terms of reliability. GK stuff is so problematic it's disgusting. Never had any trouble with SWR.
  3. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    are you talking about their amps, cabs or both?
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Sorry..shoulda specified: GK amps have been dicey for me (and their customer service). I've never owned a GK cab, but have owned several SWR cabs and amps without a single issue.
  5. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I've also owned both (GK 400RB, 800RB, 115RBS, 410RBS, 210RBS - SWR Bass 750, Goliath Sr.) and I prefer SWR sound and customer service. GK makes good gear, however, and my amps/cabs, none of which I currently own except for an old 400RB I keep behind the seat for backup, never gave me a moment's trouble. But SWR are a cut above, IMO.
  6. I am gonna go with SWR on this one, and I would argue with the tone shaping statement, my SWR has 3 band EQ with mid sweep, aural enhancer, pull transparency on the treble (shifts the freq of treble cut/boost up to the crossover point with the tweeter (4kHz)) and pull turbo (widens band of bass cut/boost to 30Hz) for 5 strings). I know that on the SM 900 there is also bass sweep and treble sweep. And as for distinctive, I would say that SWR is a very distinctive sound, but when I tried GK I also found that it was very distinctive sounding. I guess you gotta figure out what YOU like. For me it is SWR.

  7. First of all, I am going to try to not sound too partial here. I own a SWR SM-900. The power is great but it is the preamp features which truly set it a level above most integrated amp systems (by the way I baught a demo unit before SWR revamped their line, and thats how I could afford it :D ) Although, I have had the opportunity to play GK. I didn't think the GK had the same level of options in the preamp. In the end, I fealt the SWR was a little better set up. However, I would shop around and pick up whichever one you can find a better deal on. Its all about bang for your dollar.

  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The SWR pro heads have way more tone shaping than any GK. SWR wins here.

    The GK heads are designed to be used outside of a rack (a good idea...why should you have to rack a small, light head making it big and heavy?). GK wins here.

    I've owned both, they sound great and are pro quality gear.

    As for GK reliability, all the reliability nightmares I've heard have been from users who bought the amps when they were first introduced. It's almost as if it takes a year of field returns for GK to bulletproof their designs. I still see plenty of 15 to 20 year old 400RBs and 800RBs blasting away night after night on stages.

    A second hand 400RB for $200-250 is still a great choice for players on a tight budget.
  9. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I absolutely agree. They make a great backup amp, too. I wouldn't go to a gig without my old eighties 400RB behind the seat.
  10. the SWR Workingman's 4004 has exelent tone-shaping stuff ( 5-band EQ + aural enhancer ), and has very nice tone.

    it's about $ 550 / 600 ( depends on where you buy it )
  11. pbassfreak


    May 2, 2001
    long beach
    after dumping 300.00 into my 800rb im still having problems with it..customer service and reliability
    imo is terrible..i went with ampeg and my troubles are over..i hear everyone say 800rb are work horses but mine was never worth a dime
  12. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Yeah, I'd say go w/Ampeg As well. ;):D:cool:
  13. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    GK = sterile
    SWR = clean, but fat

    I perfer sterile, enough said? :)
  14. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I agree.;)
  15. At one time I owned an SWR SM-400 and a GK RB-800.

    Side by side, alone in the practice space, the GK sounded better, but with the rest of the band or while in a recording studio, the SWR won hands down. Much more versatile and much more tone shaping (4 band semi-parametric eq). That's the one I still have.

    I see the SM-400's on ebay for $300-$400 often and they are super reliable....

    I do wish it didn't have to be racked though! :)
  16. tripwamsley


    Jan 31, 2002
    Sulphur La,
    Trip from GK here. Customer service is much better these days. I am constanly prowling talkbass for folks chatting about our gear. If you have any questions or quibbles, post something and I will be looking for it. Or post with my name on it so I will see it faster. We had some probs earlier this year but everything has been cleaned up. Bob and I are about to revamp the line again. What you like to see from us? We already know about the customer service things.
  17. gnome01


    Oct 30, 2001
    Bronx NY, USA
    I vote for GK. I had a 700RB and sold it only because I needed a little more power, and wasn't really into the high-fi sound, so I got an SWR SM400s. BAD CHOICE!! The amp itself sounded great, one of the best I ever heard actually, but it randomly cut out on me several times - and this was after a previous $100 repair. The 700RB just seemed like a more solid product - smooth, clean sound (if you're into that kinda thing), great high- end response, more headroom than SWR's bass 350, and it just didn't feel like it was always on the verge of exploding. It wasn't working as hard I guess, even if it was maxed out. All that aside, I settled for a Samson S700 power amp and an Alembic F2-B preamp. That preamp would make a crappy 80's stereo sound good:D
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    SWR ... because it's a kissin' cousin to Eden.
  19. tripwamsley


    Jan 31, 2002
    Sulphur La,
    Alembic preamp? I love those things. I have a superfilter and 3 Alembic basses. A fretless 5, fretted 4 and and 8 that was the featured custom for the month of April on the Alembic site. The Alembic preamp is a SUPERB choice. Power amps will come and go but that unit is built for a lifetime. Indeed. I used to own a SM-400s as well. When I got my 700rb it was just as loud at 380 watts as the SWR when in was bridged at 500 into 4. I was using BAG END speakers at the time as well. I did dig the SWR head though. Sounded good. Still like them OK.
  20. my personal choice would be GK. i've used both. i kind of find swr's wattage to be underrated. also, i blew up 2 swr heads in a week. i work in a music store, and i see far more GK stuff leaving than SWR. i have SWR stuff i can't give away, but i can't seem to keep the GK in stock. i do, however, dig the swr bass 350 head. especially the new one with the built in octave divider. it has some really cool tones. ultimately, i would say find what you like, what sounds best to you, and go with it. if you like the swr, but everyone tells you to buy gk, and you buy gk, you may hate that amp and wish you had that swr. always trust your ear.