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Is an SWR 350X loud enough?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by strummer21, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. I am considering getting one of these, but I'm afraid it won't be loud enough. I play alternative rock with 2 guitars and full drum set at small bars, maybe small-medium size. I will probably be using cabs (1x15 and 2x10) at 4 ohms which would be 350 watts (not 2 ohms). I don't have the opportunity to try this before I buy, and I'm limited on budget. Also, whats your opinion on getting a used GK 700RB or a new SWR 350X if you had the choice. Thanks for any and all opinions.
  2. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Get the GK over the SWR. 480 watts out of this head will crush the SWR. Definitely use two cabs and get the full output. Regardless, the Aural Enhancer and Contour knobs do the same thing tonally - cut your midrange while boosting highs and lows. If you want to be heard amongst your bandmates, make sure you turn both of those knobs all the way to the left - off! Is the rig for a stage monitor or for your audience?


    I don't know how SWR stays around the market these days. The tone out of almost every head I have tried has been weak and boring. They may have beautiful clean highs and what not, but unless you are in a quiet band or a soloist, these amps should be chucked into the trash. This opinion comes from a rock guy, so to all of you SWR people that love these things - I am sorry! Please keep rocking them. But honestly, you can get growl out of the GK head along with plenty of midrange punch coupled with solid low end - you will be heard in your band. Last time I saw a SWR rig (in nearly the same situation as you are in, but without PA support) he was blasting a 550X, 210 and 15, with that Aural Enhancer at noon. I could not hear a damn thing he did unless he was soloed.
  3. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    The difference between 480 and 350 watts doesn't make a "crushing" difference.

    Having two cabs makes more of a difference than the wattage.

    As for whether an amp is "loud enough," you're going to have to try it in your situation. If you can't try it out, then toss a coin.

    If you're in a bedroom practice situation, anything is fine. If you're playing behind a 747 taking off, then no.
  4. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    True about two cabs. I meant the GK would crush the SWR head based on their "voicing" overall. The GK just has more character in the midrange while I feel the SWR has no oomph in the midrange and even less in the low mids. You can boost the frequencies and get some of it back, but why deal with that?

    That's part of the reason why GK heads seem to put out more volume than most heads can even get close to.
  5. Wow, Gearhead17, that's not good to hear that even the SWR 550X wasn't loud enough. The GK 700RB II may still be out of my price range. How about a Carvin Pro Bass 500, how does that stack up? Trying to stay under $300 (used is fine) for the head because I will need to buy a second cab.
  6. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    If you do, don't pay over $300 for one. They've been dropped and they're going cheap. I just bought one Sunday for $285 delivered -- a sealed factory unit from an authorized dealer (550Xs are going for $399 shipped).

    I didn't need it, but in view of the $1200 MSRP, I thought I'd complete my X collection with my 550X and the 750X.

    Objectively, the SWR Professional Series are top-grade amps in terms of their design and having superb components. Suddenly they're no longer in vogue so much as they were a few years ago, so there's a lot of idle yammering about them (see above). Bass players here are ridiculously fickle in their gear choices, running from one thing to another, seeking novelty. :rolleyes:

    I pretty much dismiss this. There's nothing wrong with these SWR Pro amps, and plenty of experienced pros get plenty of sound and plenty of range out of them -- but they know to use their equipment and would get equally satisfactory results from any other comparable-quality amp.

    Right now, at these closeout prices SWR is THE deal.
  7. brianmharrison


    Oct 11, 2007
    That's what eq is for. Personally, I don't turn the a.e. knob up past a quarter, boost the lows to about 1 oclock and boost the mids at 800hz to about 2 and have no trouble cutting though.
  8. Every SWR head I have played has fit me well. I have played through 350x, 750x, and own a bass 750. They all are voiced well for rock, it took me no time at all to get the sound I wanted out of it, and have had no problems hearing myself.

    That is my 2 cents though. That being said, I have never played GK, and will not say one way or the other.
  9. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Add some extra midrange at 250Hz makes SWR heads sound much louder and a fatter - the SWR sound from having that region quite seriously scooped out but it does cost you in apparent loudness per watt. But with the semi-parametric you can bring as much low midrange back in as you need to thump/punch through the mix.

  10. Martizmo


    Mar 26, 2009
    Metro Detroit
    The 350 is loud but it depends on your guitar and drummer. Great amp for medium and small venues but I would go for a little more power.
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    My personal experience with SWR heads has been that they underperform their wattage in terms of volume. In other words a 350-watt head by a lot of other companies might be loud enough, but if it's an SWR I'm not so sure.
  12. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    If you boost the low mids, that issue goes away. I've never had any problem getting a nice sound out of SWR heads, and at 400 bucks for a 550 watt head with a warranty and quality components, etc., it is hard to go wrong. Pretty much the best deal to be had on new gear right now.

    If I didn't already have two heads I'd be buying one. Still thinking about getting a 550x as a backup and ditching my Neopak (tough decision there). :)
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I used a 350 with a 4x10 in a loud band and it was fine. One of my better rigs, actually.
  14. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Nice to see some people who have good experiences with the SWR heads! I can't deny that I am quite fickle with gear choices and I don't like a lot of what is out there.

    Honestly, two really good cabs are necessary to get what you really need volume wise. The cabs have to be efficient - does not matter which head you go to.

    The 700RB brand new from this site should be plenty cheap. Give them a call.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I would agree with the importance of cabinets thing... except for the horn band gig I remember playing with my SWR WorkingPro 400 (which I no longer own), running into a Hartke 410 and an Ampeg 410 cab stacked. The drummer asked me a couple times to turn up and imagine my surprise when I realized the second time that my master volume was wide open. Seriously.

    Same band, I had my Hartke 3500 Tranisent Attack head (350 watts) going through the same two cabs with master volume at only 2.5 and was so loud I could barely stand it.

    Just my experience and YMMV.
  16. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I had a 350x w/ a 2x10 and 1x15 @ 4 ohms. Great head - very reliable for 5 years playing almost everyday, then it burned out. I sold it broken to my tech friend for $50.

    It was loud enough for my band until it stopped working - but my MB R500 CRUSHES it...

    If it's not loud enough ur band needs to turn down - i played agains a guitar with a Vox AC30 and a keyboard/synth playe with a roland 500watt combo.
  17. WingKL


    May 12, 2007
    I'd go with any GK over the SWR 350X. I auditioned a 350X and some other amps with an accugroove Tri110L and the 350X sounded very strained when turned up. I suspect the 350Xs are current limited or have an optimistic power rating.
  18. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    It's been said a few times and I've found it to be fairly accurate, that SWRs "flat" are relatively scooped, which makes them sound a bit quieter. You'll get more apparent volume by turning up the mids/low mids.

    Even the workingman 4004 I found to be pretty darned loud with some added mids.
  19. Thanks for everyone's input. I decided to get the GK 700RB II and picked it up tonight. For the short term I will be running a single 1x15 Carvin Cab (PS15 speaker) 400 watts at 8 ohms. In the future i hope to add maybe a 2x10 or trade the 1x15 for a 4x10, but for now hopefully this is loud enough.
  20. ToddGia


    Aug 24, 2008
    The GK heads are nice and loud but i think the high end is to harsh .I;ve had a 1001 rbII and now have 800rb. I have a SWR550x coming that i got for 379 shipped .I will be testing it against a 800rb and genz 600 gbe . The cab will be a GB neox 212 .The GK 800 rb and GBE 600 sound alot alike to me.

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