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Mini Mo?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Plain Old Me, Dec 15, 2004.


  1. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I recently visited a guitar/bass shop which sells SWR products. I was looking into a new preamp because my old one has just broken (never let your friends borrow your gear). Anyhew, the owner told me that they were getting a new preamp from SWR called the Mini Mo... Anyone heard of it or played through one? Heres a link to the page on the SWR website: http://www.swrsound.com/products/proseries/minimo.html
     
  2. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    This has been around for a little while. Its previous incarnation was as a preamp/amp called the Mo'Bass, which came out in 2000. I thought it was pretty cool but some of the controls seemed a bit flimsy.
     
  3. troll

    troll

    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    It'd be nice if it were 1, or even 2 rack spaces, but isn't it 3? A little big for a 'preamp'.

    Troll
     
  4. hippiesandwich

    hippiesandwich

    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    It is big because all of the effects are real analog, and they sound great.
     
  5. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    msquared is correct in that the Mini Mo' has been out for about two years now, but it's hard to find at both physical retailers as well as online shops due to it's fairly unique nature. I had to special order mine through Musician's Friend, which took about four weeks due to a changeover in how SWR and Fender were processing SO's. To be fair, the original estimate was six weeks, so they did better than originally promised, as well as pricematching and free shipping. For all the grief MF gets, they pulled through big time for me on this.

    As for the construction and gain issues with the original Mo'Bass, quite literally they've all been fixed in the redesign into the Mini Mo'. Bass Player reviewed it in their September 2003 issue and took note at the revised and positive construction, gain, and power issues.

    I've written a fairly comprehensive review of here and it's clear I'm a huge fan of it (I based the "rebuilding" of my amplification rig and effects around it) but I'm not blind to it's purpose and usefulness. The first and most important factor would be if you're a fan of the classic SWR "clean and punchy" sound. Although you can do a damned good Ampeg impression with the Overdrive/Distortion effect, it's better to like the sound at the base of the preamp (like any preamp, to be fair)

    I think I cover all the effects pretty well in my review, but what can't be understated is the ease of it all. Having all the effects in one unit, a top-notch pedalboard and the ability for presets, and the massive amount of different ways to run your signal to an amp (mono, bridged mono, stereo, "dual mode"), speakers, and a mixer is unparalleled IMO.

    As for the size, Yes - 3 spaces is big, no doubt. But as stated all five effects are analog, the OD/Dist. is tube-based, and frankly - you have to fit all of those controls somewhere! Especially when 3 more were added to the Mo'Bass' original 23. :help: It's big, but not "heavy" (10 lbs.) so a 5-space rack of that and a two-space power amp is certainly managable.

    Feel free to ask any questions public or private if there's anything I've missed or left out. :D
     
  6. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Thanks, I was just wondering how good it was because I've never seen anything like it.
     
  7. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    You're very welcome, as I'm always happy to "talk it up". :D You are also quite right about "never seen anything like it" - that's why SWR took a chance in developing the original Mo'Bass by fusing Mo West's (the "Mo") idea and analog effects with the classic SWR preamp. To the best of my knowledge there's never been a bass preamp like this (I don't count digital units like the ADA MB-1 and the ART SGX Nightbass in the same category.)

    One think I will add is that due to the complexity of the unit in both getting "good" sounds from each effect as well as unity gain issues, it's not a great "plug 'n play" preamp. If you do end up trying it, you might want to print out some of SWR's suggested settings to use as a starting point. Hell, I think SWR sound provide some type of "flip card" of these for floor models. It would certainly help the prospective buyer no be so overwhelmed by the sheer number of controls.
     
  8. troll

    troll

    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    I guess my point was, my racks already full, and thats WITHOUT effects. 3 spaces for a 'preamp' just seems like a waste I guess... I know why it is big, just don't like it. I guess it'd almost be better to just get the whole head and save two rack spaces. Too bad they couldn't put all the tweaking in the pedalboard and leave the basic preamp controls in a single rack space or something. You could even have the tubes in a single space, yes :Q I dunno. When I first saw the mobass, I thought wow, that'd be neat as a pre, and when I saw the pre, I changed my mind :)

    Guess I'll stick to stomp boxes.

    Troll
     
  9. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I love the idea of the actual electronics being in a rack and controlled by an indestructable foot pedal. Three spaces is a bit much but I think it's justifiable if it sounds good. It's not like the thing weighs 50lbs. :)

    If I were doing this I think I'd get another QSC PLX and put it in a 2U case, then put this and a Furman with lights into a 4U case for portability's sake.
     
  10. troll

    troll

    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    If thats all you have in a rack, thats great. But I also have a tuner, wireless, compressor mounted, as well as my preamp, amp, and power unit... WOuld be a bit crowded with the mobass :( I guess I was just dissapointed. When I heard of a pre only version, I thought single, or MAYBE double space. I like the head a lot the bit I've messed with one.

    Troll
     
  11. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    That was exactly my thinking about the Mini Mo', and I spent a good two years trying different pre's. I've always been a big effects user, and after loosing tone running through non-"true bypass" as well as the all-or-nothing nature of pedals unless you're going to run a biamped/dual dirty and clean amp setup, I found the Mo the best preamp to suit my needs. I told Bryan Beller @ SWR that after six months of comparing the 750X + outboard efx vs. a Mini Mo' that "Dual Mode sold me, and it's as if you designed this around what I personally desired and needed.". I'm also glad someone else gives the footpedal it's due - the "Mo' Control 2" is built like a tank, it's got every feature you would want at your feet at your feet, and it's a non-proprietary cable. Something happens to the stock, you simply hit a "Best Buy" and pick up a monitor cable.

    I may seem to "push it" here, but that's only because I don't think it's got the recognition it deserves, especially after the negative press regarding the original Mo'Bass (which was deserved in some areas, undeserved in others).

    I think msquared hit on this very well, that big doesn't equal heavy. Yes, 3 spaces is big, but 10 lbs. isn't, especially if you consider that it's replacing the weight of 5 effects that would have to be carried on a pedalboard of their own. Yes, the Mo'Control 2 is 10 lbs. itself, but that seems to be far lighter than an unloaded pro-quality pedalboard. I like to consider the complete weight of my rack as opposed to units individually. As someone who has a bad back and needed to greatly take note of weight, my Mini Mo', QSC PLX 1604, and the rack itself top out at 45 lbs... and as it's a Roll-X, I can spend a good deal of time pulling or pushing it as opposed to lifting.

    As for moving some of the controls to the pedalboard, I think that would defeat the purpose of building it so solidly only to have much more delicate analog circuitry, pots, and other controls on a surface much more likely to take abuse. Shrinking the size of the pre to 2 spaces simply can't be done without removing features, especially when SWR added several controls to the Mini Mo' for "maximum tweakability". :D

    No sarcasm here - it if works for you, great. I'm just glad a different option came along, along with the ability to discuss it in a civilized manner. :D
     
  12. chadds

    chadds

    Mar 18, 2000
    Pre? SWR Grandprix. 1 rack space, tone for days no effects though! Great price used.
     
  13. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Im finally back... Thanks for all the info. I tried and bought the Mini Mo yesterday and it is awesome! As for all the rackspace issues, in my rack theres 2 Crown power supplies (1 for a 810 and 1 for a 118), a tuner, a wireless system, and now the Mini Mo. It all fits in a 8-space rack, which is kind of big but, in my opinion, worth it.