Opinions needed SWR bass750 vs. SWR SM-500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KB, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I just recently (yesterday) got a SWR Bass750 from Gard at BC and I am not 100% sure I am sold on it. My cabinets are two Aguilar GS112s (each 8ohms and each rated at 300W). The things I am not sure about on the SWR Bass750 is the smaller EQ section and the fan noise. That is why I am considering the SM500 because of the more EQ options (and lighter weight). I would probably run the SM500 in bridge mode (if I can figure out hooking up the 2 cabinets to it as the SM500 only has 1 speakon out on bridge so I would have to go with that followed by linking the cabinets together with 1/4". Please give me thoughts and opinions ASAP as I have until Friday afternoon to decide if I want to return the Bass750 in favor of the SM500.

    Here are my initial thoughts:
    pluses: a little cheaper, simpler, 750W @ 4ohms
    Minuses: smaller EQ, larger, heavier, loud fan

    pluses: Larger EQ, more features, lighter, smaller, ability to run stereo in futureif desired
    Minuses: less power (500W @4ohms), have to verify speaker hookup, unsure on fan volume.


  2. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    You could run the speakon into the input of one cab, then run a quarter inch speaker jack from the input of that speaker to the input of the other. This is how you run cabs in parallel, if your amp doesn't have multiple output jacks.
  3. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    The 750 has a better tone, IMO, and is a little simpler to run. I love that amp, BTW, and would take it any day over a 500. I also dig the way it looks. It should absolutely kill driving your cabs but you'll probably need to fiddle with the settings a bit. The amp does not sound its best flat, IME.
  4. Interesting... i've always thought that the SM-500 and SM-900 models are a bit stronger in tone than the Bass 750/350 series... If I were you, I would take a hard look at both of them and check out the difference in tone (if you notice any). They're both very good heads... Honestly, I think that the SM-500 is a slightly better model. The difference between 500 and 750 watts is probably less than you think... Unless you're going to be really pushing your amp, and the extra headroom of the 750 will allow you get better tone at volume, it's not going to make a huge difference. Again, check both of them out and see which one gives you some better tones, and go with it.
  5. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    I've always wondered what caused them to sound so different... since the bass 350 and 750 are a little more "low end" in price than the stereo heads, you'd assume that they'd be equipped with a lower-quality preamp, but some people prefer them to the SM's.
  6. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    The 750 is nice tonewise. and i like the simplicity. I am just curious about the EQ on the SM500. The only other thing I notice is the 750 seems to make my G&L l2000's buzz (a typical problem with L2000's) a lot more until i touch the strings (I guess this is a grounding thing in the bass as i have heard of others with the same bass having similar problems. my carvin amp had the buzz too, just not as much).
    Still thinking and still want opinions. Overall I bet there probably isn't that much difference between them, but I just want to make sure.

    Can anyone describe any difference in sound from the SM500 and Bass750?

  7. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    Actually there is no difference in tone when the amps are set flat because the basic circuitry of the SWR professional line preamps are basically the same. The only difference is the eq section (SM500 has the 4 band paragraphic, the 750 has more traditional controls) centered on, I believe, different frequencies, and the 500 has 2 power amps vs. 1 in the 750.

    With the 750 you get more wattage, a swankier look and more basic controls.

    With the 500 you get more flexibility: you can make a 500 sound like a 750 but not always the other way around; should you decide to really go nuts, the 500 will drive 8 8ohm cabs.

    Tone wise it's a tossup IMO.
  8. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I think Dave Siff uses a SM900 with his aguilars. Ask him how he like it. I would think it sounds the same as the SM500.
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I cannot personally comment on the difference, but an acquaintance who owns a 750 recently borrowed my SM400S (Same as SM-500) while his 750 was being repaired. When he brought it back, he told me he liked mine much better than his....now he's trying to sell his 750.
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Actually, you can't run 8 8ohm cabinets with the 500. That would be a 1 ohm load. If it can handle a 2ohm load, you could run four 8 ohm cabs.
  11. stevekim


    Feb 11, 2000
    los angeles, ca
    in stereo mode, the sm 500 can handle a 2 ohm load on *both* sides. so, in theory you can hook up four 8ohm cabs to one side and four 8ohm cabs to the other.

    for what it's worth, i love my sm 400s. these amps seem to have something of a cult following. every sm 400s, or sm 400, owner i have met raves about his/her amp. recently put a telefunken 12ax7 in it and now the tone is just amazing.

  12. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Okay, not to press the point, but I went ahead and called SWR. The response I got about the possibility of running 8 8ohm cabs off the SM-500 was laughter. He said the HEAD can handle a 2ohm load, and he would not recommend running any more than 2 8ohm cabs per side in stereo mode.

    SWR heads run hot enough as it is. I'd hate to see one trying to run at a combined impedence of 1ohm.

    That being said, I think the main difference in tone you will run across between the SM-500 and the SM-750 is the parametric EQ.

    My suggestion is to do what I did--buy an Aguilar DB750. :D
  13. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Well I made the decision to make the switch. i am going to go with the SM-500. The biggest reason is that it is a more versatile head. The bass750 is nice and has a great tone, but I wanted a little more EQ flexibilty.
    I see how it sounds when it arrives next week from Gard.

    I just can't afford the Aguilar DB750:(

  14. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Well, here are the official specs for the 500, from the website.
    Bridge/Mono Mode
    500 Watts @ 4 Ohms
    400 Watts @ 8 Ohms
    250 Watts @ 16 Ohms
    (minimum load = 4 Ohms)

    Stereo Mode (per side)
    300 watts @ 2 Ohms
    250 watts @ 4 Ohms
    150 watts @ 8 Ohms
    (minimum load = 2 Ohms)

    As you see, the head is explicitly rated to drive a 2 ohm load on each side. So either the specs are lying or the tech is wrong.

    BTW, 2 ohms per side does not add up to a "combined load" of 1 ohm, because the two sides are not paralleled in stereo mode, they're independent. ("Per side" only means anything in a stereo context.) When you bridge a stereo amp, you're essentially putting the two sides in series; thus bridging into 4 ohms is about like running 2 ohms a side. This is why you can hardly ever find an amp that can be bridged into 2 ohms: it would be like running 1 ohm a side.