I'm NOT happy with my SM400s

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by slinginsix, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. slinginsix


    Jan 11, 2005
    upstate ny
    I have really tried, but cannot seem to get a sound I like from my amp. I knew before I bought it it wasn't going to sound like my old Eden WT 300, but figured it would be good enough. Now I have decided the SWR just isn't my bag of tea. I'm playing it through a single 12 Boogie cab loaded with a EV SRO. I don't like all the tweaking involved with the SWR. :(
  2. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    What kind of bass do you have and what kind of music do you play?
    What is the ohms of the cab? If it's 8 get a banana cord and bridge the 400. Otherwise you are putting about 175 watts into the cab at 8 ohms from one side of that head. That's not enough for punch or headroom.
    Run all eq. flat, crank the pre to between 11:00 and 2:00 and crank the master to suit your volume needs. Turn off the compressor/limiter and bring the aural enhancer up to 10:00 tops.
    Try these and let us know.
  3. Special_Ed


    Oct 3, 2004
    Man I tried and didn't like SWR heads. I would take the Eden WT 300 over your SWR any day.

    Maybe you should sell your SWR and stick with your eden.
  4. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I tried had an SWR head right before I got my new Kustom Groove Bass 1200. The SWR just didn't have "that" tone I was looking for. The new Kustom fits the bill well (warmer, grittier than the SWR). To each their own...
  5. Wah! :bawl:

    I love my SWR...I pretty much increase the bass (heaps) and a tad of treble while leaving everything else flat. I also turn the Enchance control somewhere between 1 & 2 o'clock.

    I bridge (550 Watts into 4 ohms) and get a very clean, crisp sound with enough bass to disembowel you at 50 yards. :D

    Never-the-less, we're all different... :hyper:
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I used to have a SM-400.
    FWIW, the SM-400 Owner's Manual had some sample EQs(the suggested "Jazz" seemd to work best for what I wanted).
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    different strokes.............
    having used an electric blue and an eden for a long time i can tell ya they're different. like i've posted a gazillion times, if i want more "warmth" from my swr i use a sans amp bass di in front of it. it gets it much closer to the eden tone. FWIW, i would really suggest checking out a thunderfunk head. the interface is similar to both swr and eden (common ancestry for all in a convoluted way) and from what i've heard i like it better than either. advocates say its a bit louder than either as well.
  8. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> Remove the stock preamp tube and install something
    good like a GE, Sylvania, Mullard...I put a Sylvania in my
    SM-500 and the difference was huge..It leveled out the bottom, and took the harsh edge of the mids and highs.
    The preamp tubes SWR puts in their heads are garbage.
    You could also try bypassing the preamp section entirely
    with a SansAmp, Aggie box or something like that...

  9. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Exactly correct.
    Sylvania tube in my SM400-S made a difference.

    SWR tube DI is one of the best in the business.

    I like SWR because it's "Hi-Fi."
    Any and all FX processors sound great through an SWR.
    Need warmth and grit?
    A pedal or rack FX.
    SWR with Modulation FX in the Loop can induce goose-bumps.
    Superb with Stereo Rigs.

    I think amps that are 'warm and gritty' to begin with
    kinda leave you stuck, incapable of 'Hi-Fi'

    SWR's extended Low Frequency circuit (10Hz) can rob headroom.
    When people Bump the Aural Enhancer (Bass Boost)
    then bump up the Bass (Bass Boost)
    then set a Mid Freq. below 200Hz and bump that up (Bass Boost)
    And then wonder where all the headroom is and declare that SWR
    power ratings seem underestimated.

    Suggestion re: 4 String Bass & Studio 220, SM 400, SM 400-S, SM 500.

    Let the A.E. dial in the Low End.

    Leave the Bass at 12:00.
    Cut -6 to -8 db specifically at 35-40Hz (increases headroom)
    Aural Enhancer at 1:30 (The SWR "L.A. Tone" curve).

    Dial in your tone with the remaining 3 Mid Parametrics & Treble/Transparency.

    Because of the 'Open Design' a compressor in the effects loop
    can provide way more headroom and much more apparent volume.
  10. hmm. yes, I also had experienced that I would be more common with my 550x, but that isn't the case.. I really LOVE playing distorted with odb-3 or Metal Zone or Big muff on my Gt6b.
    But I can't get a quite good overdriven sound with the swr. :scowl:
  11. CrackBass


    Aug 10, 2004
    i've got an ev sro 12. i'm not so sure that that's the best bass speaker for you. (it sounds really sweet for guitar though) try the head out with a different cab before you decide it's not for you.
    that said i'm not the biggest fan of the swr sound but i think your speaker is not giving you a realistic view of what the amp can do.

    p.s. definately not insulting your intelligence but are you sure that your cab isn't a guitar cab?
  12. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    There are three things to know about SM-400s:

    1) they are underpowered if you run them in stereo.
    2) they are really really really clean.
    3) it takes time to learn to use the EQ effectively.

    I've found that they are very sensitive to both bass and cabinet changes, and only sound good with certain combinations! The best I've heard is bridged into a SWR Goliath 2 4x10 and a Fender style bass. The worst is my modulus 5 in stereo through SWR 2x10 and 1x18 ...

    Try different cabs, different basses, and try using less of the aural enhancer.

    Good luck!
  13. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    are there others out there that agree with this? i plan on getting an sm-400 to use in stereo with a pair of 4 ohm 2x8 cabs...
  14. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I meant in the context of playing rock with drums and guitars ...
  15. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    do you think it will be enough power for my 2x8 cabs? (they handle 300 watts each)
  16. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The question is "to do what?" ... if you want to play with a drummer, play rock/funk/R&B ... probably not. If you're playing jazz or acompanying acoustic guitars (etc) then it might sound great.

    I've never seen a 2x8 cab ... who made them?
  17. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    they are custom made by ralf patterson (patterson audio systems)...if you are familiar with low down sown (lds) custom speakers, ralf does the crossovers for those and don from lds builds the cab boxes for ralf. they work together on design...
  18. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    Bridged mono really brings out the huevos in the 400s. I used to run a GB 410/210 rig that was danger-loud. The stereo set up was always a bit whimpy for most louder situations.
  19. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000

    Thanks for posting that quote from Rabe. Very interesting! And based on my experience with SWR amps, you comments are right on the money, too.