Switching/"downgrading" to a power amp setup.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jnprather, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. Hi all,

    My current rig consists of an SWR SM-900 going into two Goliath III cabs. I've had this for over a year or so and love it, however, lately i've been contemplating the idea of "downgrading" so to speak to power amp with or without a basic pre-amp of some sort.

    The reason I say this is because the SM-900 is a very expensive piece of equipment and I don't know if i'm really using anywhere near all of it's features. I have a Warwick Thumb 5 which i've found works best when the SM-900 isn't coloring the tone. I rarely if ever run the EQ anywhere but flat, and haven't found much use for the dual EQ or the many many other features. Really, i've been using it almost solely like a power amp. In fact, as of *right now* I have almost no use for all of the power, though you never know when an opportunity or gig might come along and i'd need something.

    Part of me thinks this is a crazy idea, as I finally have a dream rig and now i'm thinking about going "backwards" on it. To be honest, the money is a large part of it. I could use the extra money i'd save by selling the SM-900.

    I'm looking for any comments or suggestions particularly from people who have made this kind of adjustment. I know it's possible to get a ton of wattage from a decent power amp for a very good price, in relation to something like the SM-900. Like I said, I use almost none of the EQ or tone-cloring features of the SM-900 but I wonder if maybe i'd be unhappy with the resulting tone from just a power amp with a basic pre-amp of some sort. At any rate it might allow me some flexibility in the future to mess around with some different pre-amp systems and such. I know alot of people swear by the preamp/power amp setup.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback,

  2. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    If you're happy I would suggest not changing. You're going to spend as much on a quality pre/power amp setup as you're going to get for your used SM900 not to mention you'll be carrying around a more bulky rig. Then what if you're not happy with it? You have to go through the aggrevation that many of us go through looking for that sound you want. If you want to know what playing through a power amp only sounds like plug into the effects return on your amp. If you like what you're playing through now, KEEP IT!!!
  3. kyo


    Jul 6, 2004
    yeah man, keep it. no good would come from selling IMO.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    you're not going to be happy if you sell it IMO
    the extra power you have with the 900 is valuable as headroom for transients or for that gig or 2 a yearwhere you may need it. For the size and weight, you're not going to find a good power amp for much less money once you take the hit on the devalued resale price. The crossover on the swr was included because biamping was big in the 80's. Even the guys at swr told me they prefer the sound of cabinets run full range with the unit, so don't feel bad about not using it. On to the EQ. The EQ is meant to be "just in case" for correcting for room anomalies, problem frequencies on a particular bass, or to get a certain sound if the song calls for it. If you like the sound of the amp flat thats a good thing. Most of the "amp-heads" here will tell you that that's one of the most important things to look for in an amp or preamp, being happy with the "flat" sound. Ditto for the aural enhancer. It sounds the most usefull anywhere from completely off to 12 o'clock. As for the limiter, it's great for catching transients. If you don't play all that loud, keeping the threshold down is no biggie.
    As for wanting to use different preamps in the future, i know plenty of guys who run preamps into the effects return of their sm-900s, essentially using the 900 as a poweramp only.

    Bottom line is, keep the freakin amp. :p :p :p