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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by theroan, Oct 1, 2008.
I'm thinking of changing my SM-400 to the Mesa M-Pulse 360.
It depends. What kind of tone do you want?
Well, I need versatility. I play mod rock, metal, funk/RnB, PnW whatever. I play a Warwick Thumb 5 and an Ibanez SRX 300. I guess the amp that can be transparent for the Warwick but add more color for the Ibanez
i never liked any SWR i ever tried..
mesa on the other hand, if i was a tube guy, would be my first choice.
I love SWR, if you switch I would love to have your SM-400.
It's nice to never have to worry about your amp failing, year after year, after year. No amp is failure-proof and 100% dependable, but the good SWR stuff is as close as I've been able to get.
I know alot of guys that wish they'd have kept their SWR stuff. Seems alot of guys end up kicking themselves later after their "new" "better" amps take a crap on them.
I would keep the SM-400, AND get the other amp if you need the tube fix.
Well the SM-400 has one tube.
If you've tried the Mesa at a gig and you know you dig it, then make the switch. But I voted to keep the SWR because I can't imagine that not being versatile enough.
Yes Go with the Mesa if you have the means - by all means...
Here comes the cold water. Will the new amp add measurable value compared to the old one? Will anyone off stage (and I mean non-musicians) be able to tell the difference to the extent that he is more or less likely to show up for your next performance? You can break the bank trying to get "that last two percent" but in the process wind up bringing all kinds of new unwanted junk into the equation that you never had before.
I had an old Z-28 that I'd gotten running really good but I was worried about whether 2 degrees more distributor advance was helping or hurting. Was trying to decide which was better. Spent days on it. Then I asked some old experienced guy who used to build dirt-track motors, and he gave me one of those Clint Eastwood what-the-heck looks and said, "Why don't you just drive the effing thing?" He was right.
I'm not saying the replacement wouldn't help your sound or your band's, just urging you to step back a few feet and do as objective an assessment as possible.
I think I replied this way because you didn't even hint that you're unhappy with what you already have.
1) I need to like my tone before anyone else does
2) This switch isn't that large financially
3) This will allow for a more simple rig for me. The SM-400 does not have a fan or a compressor. So I get one amp that free's 2-3U's of space. I just want to make the sound will be good too.
The pre fender SWR stuff is great. I am never going to part with my pre fender Intersteller overdrive preamp. The post fender stuff is not as good.
Is there a specific reason you want to ditch the SWR?
I'm an exception to that... I had SWR and it just didn't work at all for me. In my band situations, the bass sound just came across as sterile. It works great in some genres, but not in all. I've gone to mesa, and you couldn't pay me to switch back to SWR.
I think the most important thing is for the OP to try it before he buys it.
The Mesa stuff can stay clean or get dirty, you just have to put the time into learning the stuff. How you set your gain will have a huge impact on your sound. Lower gain plus higher master can get you a crystal clean sound. Turn up the gain, and you'll have warm and fluffy.
I just want more simplicity ie no fan , no comp.
The 360 will be as loud as your Sm400 if you run it at 4ohms (actually probably louder, since it doesn't have all that sub 30hz stuff going on like the SM400). The compressor on the 360/600 is VERY good. I don't think they sold many 360's, so you might have a hard time finding one. If you really like the functionality of that head, I'd save up and find a used 600. They come up quite often. Same pre, just more power.
The MPulse360/600 has a very different sound from the SM400. The SM400 has more of a 'hint' of tube in the preamp, and was voiced very deep in the lows, and had the ability to get very sparkly and hi fi up top. The MPulse360/600 is meant to emulate a full tube amp, so VERY warm, very fat, a bit wooly in the mids, and more of a lower treble brightenss than a high treble hi fi thing. Very, very different sounding.
As long as you want to move your sound to a little more 'warm, fat' tubey' the 600 should be great. Again, it's the same pre, same size, about the same weight, but much bigger sounding than the 360. I would strongly recommend considering it (and you probably won't find a 360 anyway).
If you don't need a compressor, the Markbass LMII is a big hit with many ex SWR players (like myself). Its still quite fat in the lows and has that upper treble sizzle capability, but is louder, and has a nicer mid range punch to it. It's $600 and about 5 pounds (and has a fan and runs cool). No compressor though, if that's really important to you.
I have no experience with the SWR so I can not comment on it. I do however have the M-pulse 600 and it is awesome for any style of music. The M-pulse can achieve extreme tonal variations with it's Eq and compressor. I know nothing about the SWR except brand quality, they have always had a very good rep.
Just a comment to the OP. When you demo the M-pulse, the bass and treble knobs on the gain stage preamp are of the active type and are capable of cut and boost while the mid knob is passive like a tone control on a passive bass. It is only capable of cutting the mids. So if you set it at 12:00 you are cutting the mids in half so to speak. For full mids turn the knob all the way up. The Eq stage is completely active and can cut and boost anywhere you set the dial.
That mid knob is very confusing on the Mesa MPulse line. While it is passive in a way, it actually cuts and boosts like an active control (I believe it 'passively' controls an active mid boost circuit.... or something complicated like that!). It's way over my head, but there was a long thread on this a while back.
Most consider the 'flat' setting (or at least the starting point) for the 360/600 to be bass and treble at noon, and the mid control at around 10 o'clock or so.
+1 thought that there is a LOT of sound in that mid control, and it does behave differently than the mid control on most amps.
Another thing that is surprising about the MPulse heads is how low the shelving start of the 'treble' control is. I think it's all the way down at 700 hz or something like that. It's more of an upper mid grind knob, not the 'sparkle' sort of thing that most teble knobs provide.
Is the 360 even in production?
I suggest the Walkabout if you don't want the big daddy 600.
He's looking for a used one. They were in production for a relatively short time. It seems he is interested in an on-board compressor, so the Walkabout would probably not work for him.