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Link an MB500 with SWR SM-400 (to use SWR as amp only)?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TL23NC, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. TL23NC


    May 22, 2015
    Raleigh NC
    I play occasionally in a blues/R&B group. It's not very loud and we have a good PA. I normally don't need my rig to put out a lot of volume but every now and then we play an outdoors gig where it might be needed. I could use a bit of help in figuring out how to make the best use of my amps and cabs, since I've been changing out most of it. I will have available the following gear:

    GK MB500 amp (on backorder from MF)
    SWR SM-400, which has two amplifiers @ 200 watts each into 4 oms.
    Carvin BRX 10.2 NEO cab (4 oms; 600 watt power handling)
    Altec 1x15 from the early 70's (8 ohms, I have no idea of the power handling)

    I should be able to use the MB500 with the Carvin cab for most gigs. To get more volume I'm wanting to use the SWR SM-400, which has two amplifiers @ 200 watts each into 4 oms, as a slave amp running the Altec cab. The MB500 has a Headphone/Line out/Chain out jack and the SWR has an effects loop with a "Return Mono" jack. Can I simply run a cable between the amps or is there something I'm missing?

    If this works at all I assume this will only be able to use one of the SWR's two amps. Are there any options to add another cab to the MB500 (when I already have a 4 ohm load on it)? I bought the Altec speaker over 40 years ago so really don't want to get rid of it.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  2. The MB500 is maxed out at 4 Ohms, (see manual) so use your Carvin but don't add anything to it with the Carvin connected.

    Your 8 Ohm cab will work on one side of the SWR, but you should be able to bridge it for 400 watts into 8 Ohms. See manual.

    Use the send Jack on your MB to the effects loop IN (return) on your SWR.

    Don't use the chain out to slave the amps. GK's chain system is balanced audio meant to feed one of their powered cabs. It could also be used to feed a balanced line level input on a mixer. Normally send/return/effect loops are unbalanced audio. You don't want to hook bal. to unbal.

    Google the manuals if you don't have them and read up on this before trying it. There were a couple of different versions if the SWR, so make sure you find the right manual to see if there are differences that will affect any of this adversely.
    TL23NC likes this.
  3. TL23NC


    May 22, 2015
    Raleigh NC
    Thanks for the detailed reply. I believe I have the correct SWR manual (for the original SM-400 version). The TBer who sold the amp to me last year was nice to include the banana plugs needed for bridging, so I could try that. However, I'm not sure that old Altec cab could handle 400 watts so I might play if safe with that one.
  4. One of the versions of the SWR has a switch with stereo/bridge positions.
  5. TL23NC


    May 22, 2015
    Raleigh NC
    Yes, mine has this switch. Nice amp but my back told me to get something lighter...
  6. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Be careful with that older cab and a bridged SM - I have an SM-400S and those heads put out serious low bass and seem to really come alive power-wise when run bridged. Many SM owners will tell you it's like a whole different amp when you run in bridge mode.
  7. TL23NC


    May 22, 2015
    Raleigh NC
    Will do! That cab has been through a lot and I wouldn't want to fry it.
    Al Kraft likes this.

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