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SWR 4004 Stack vs. Peavey NitroBass Stack

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dplante, Dec 18, 2002.

  1. dplante


    May 27, 2002
    My 5th-year bassist son wants a stack. He practices with a Peavey Basic 112, and gigs through a borrowed 4x10 hartke stack w/Gerlinger? head. This guy plays A LOT - high school classical, jazz and pit bands, even a church band. 6-10 hrs/wk + biweekly competitions and shows. Good ear, fast learner, appreciates subtle details. Also loves sailing and big motorboats, but that's another forum.

    His budget is "around" $1000, and limiting the choice between Peavey or SWR -- those are the most readily available for trying out within a reasonable drive from our house. I've suggested a SWR or Peavey 210 combo, plus a 1x15 ext cab, but he's concerned about the carrying wt and size.

    His finalist mfr rig options for new purchase:

    Peavey Nitrobass head, 210TVX, 1x15BVX
    Pros: "energizer bunny" tough, vinyl cover vs. carpet "lint machine", 5-yr warranty
    Cons: HEAVY 1x15 cab

    SWR 4004 head, 2x10T, 1x15T
    Pros: lighter weight, speaker off switch, headphone jack, higher wattage, presumably better resale value
    Cons: carpet covering, 1-yr warranty

    I play piano and can help him decide, but it's his hard-earned $$. We haven't compared the sound yet, but will this weekend and that may clinch his choice. Given his 14-member pit band & jazz band playing venues (with outrageous drummer, keyboards and brass players - several Berklee candidates), any thoughts or suggestions when comparing and trying the two rigs?

    Many thanks.
  2. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    I'll be honest with you -- I played through a SWR Workingman 4004 recently and was really underwhelmed.

    The problem is you're paying for the name -- SWR -- but in reality, you're buying their "budget" line.

    I'll also admit that I'm a little biased toward Peavey -- I've been playing their gear for about eight or nine years now and I'm really happy with it.
  3. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    IMO, the Peavey rig beats the SWR Workingman's rig in every way except for the weight issue.

    I've played an SWR 4004 with Workingman's cabs in music stores and in my home (but not on a gig).

    I have also played a Peavey NitroBass with Peavey TXF cabs (same as TVX, but with carpet covering) in stores, in my home, and on gigs (the NitroBass was borrowed for a gig).

    Compared to the Peavey stuff, IMO, the SWR Workingman's gear sounded weak and thin. Also, the Workingman's tweeters have a bit of a hiss, and they only have a three-way off, mid, high switch to control it.

    Also, if you go with two 4 ohm Peavey cabs, you can run the NitroBass at 450 watts into 2ohms with no problem, and I would bet that would blow away the SWR 4004 volume wise.

    Of coarse, everyone's ears are different, so YMMV. The best thing to do is try before you buy.
  4. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    If weight is an issue you may look at running 2 Peavey 210TVX cabs instead of running a 210TVX with a 15BVX. The 210TVX should handle the lows and sounds better than the 15BVX. Try a pair ran together from a dealer.
    The only reason I could see to run a 2x10 with a 1x15 would be to biamp (run highs into one cabinet and lows into the other). The Nitrobass does not have the ability to biamp.
    You could also look into buying used gear.
    There is a chain that specializes in used music equipment:
    They may even have some used Peavey 210s.
  5. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I haven't played either of these specific amps, but have owned both SWR budget-line and Peavey gear in the past.

    His ear should be the ultimate judge. Weight issues or exterior cover material are both things that are secondary to sound, and shouldn't be a major deciding factor, IMO.

    Since everyone seems to be posting in favor of Peavey, I thought I'd throw in a dissenting voice on that count. I'll be the first to agree that Peavey is well built and an excellent value, and is perhaps better sounding than the Peavey gear of old, but I would still be very much prejudiced in favor of the SWR setup. Here's why:

    1. I've used both, and I consider SWR to be far superior, in many objective and subjective ways.

    2. With the Peavey gear I've used, I've been able to get an acceptable sound with considerable tweaking. SWR amps tend to sound pretty darn good with the with the tone controls set flat - dial out a bit of midrange and it starts sounding really good.

    3. Regarding tweeter hiss - my old Basic Black would hiss with the treble turned all the way up, sure - but at 'real world' settings it was as quiet as my SWR pro gear is.

    4. Check out the roster of top musicians who actually use SWR gear - I don't know what Peavey's roster looks like, but I'd invite the comparison with confidence. And though gear snobbishness truly sucks, I'll bet you a dollar that if any of these Berklee-bound players, etc. he's rubbing shoulders with have any prejudices, they're against Peavey rather than SWR.

    5. Okay, to be a bit snobby: I was checking out some Peavey gear at a local music store - I have to admit that the newer gear looks more appealing than the older stuff. My attention was caught by a 2x10 combo amp with dimensions similar to my SWR Redhead amp. There were some presets that presumably modelled other well-known amps. One of them was a Redhead. Funny, my Redhead doesn't have a knob that allows it to emulate a Peavey! ;)

    6. Peavey deserves its bulletproof reputation, but there is nothing fragile, lightweight, or less-than durable about SWR, either. My Basic Black and 1x15t cab saw plenty of gigs where they were pushed harder than they should have been, they tumbled around in the back of my old pickup whenever my bungee cords went missing. I never had a single problem with it. The covers were fuzzy and frayed - but that was just character, as far as I was concerned. I sold the setup recently to a local studio engineer who has told me how much better it sounds than the old Peavey combo it replaced.

    Okay, enough Peavey bashing! ;) If he plays Peavey and likes Peavey, then he should buy Peavey. I just thought someone ought to speak out for the alternative ;)
  6. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I agree that in the end, your son's ears must make the choice. If it is possible where you live, ask the music store to "sign out" both rigs over a weekend. I've been doing that for years...actually, THEY suggested that I take their new rigs on gigs (this was in 1976...I did. Bought. and have been there ever since). This way, he can set up in a comfortable space and really experiment with sounds. For many folks, it's hard to cut loose in a music store and feel comfortable. It's his money, he ought to buy on his terms. I have an SWR Workingman's 12 that I bought in 1994. Don't use it much, but I still haven't found anything that suits my purposes better when I need a quick, grab and go combo. I love Peavey stuff. I had a Sessionbass and loved the preamp. Not enough power, though. The Nitrobass and Firebass have essentially the same preamp section with more power. The adjustable contour control is magical-play with it and you'll see what I mean. For the relatively small difference in street price, I'd recommend the Firebass over the Nitrobass...It will provide some room to grow and it sounds great. I would definitely recommend the 115BVX and 210 combination. The two 210 combo mentioned above DOES sound great. The 115 adds a different character to the sound...the two together sound better than either one alone. I was using two of their 410s and got a pair of the 115s to use in the studio...for yuks, I swapped out one of the 410s on my stage rig for the 115...and haven't been back since. The 115 is only about 75lbs. I wish my 410 was...

  7. What the hell does the contour do? What does it do to the tone as it is turned up?
  8. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Well...I have the exact rig SWR Workingman's Stack you're considering...and IHO, it sounds great! The music store that I work at doesn't carry the Peavey line, but we accept them on rare occasion on trade in...and I haven't been too impressed with what I've seen...a lot of heads are getting traded in in favour of Ampeg, Yorkville, Eden (yuk) and of course, SWR...

    ...but in the end, your son will have to play em all and take his pick...let us know what you choose!
  9. dplante


    May 27, 2002
    Great replies all of you - the stuff that make forums like this one successful. An interesting suggestion, too - the one about trying a rig out for a weekend. I might consider trying that, but it would be an inconvenience because of the travel distance and time. Maybe I'll have some leverage from having bought a decent Yamaha piano and a zone bass at the same store that sells the SWR stuff.

    Thanks again for your comments & suggestions; I'll give an update on the results of this adventure.
  10. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    Peavey's contour control boosts the lows and highs and scoops the mids...like a "smiley-face" graphic eq. It's easily adjustable and adds some very warm tone.

  11. dplante


    May 27, 2002

    Ended up ordering the SWR 4004 head, 2x10T, 1x15T from MF.

    The supply of bass equipment available for actually trying in local music stores is really thin. No one with 50 miles had the entire Peavey rig, in fact nobody had the Firebass amp at all.

    Only one store had the SWR head plus some speaker cabs - but not the 2x10 cab. Demo'd a 4004 head, 4x10T, 1x15T rig. That 4x10 is one heavy cabinet - 97lbs! Made an offer but the store just would not accept something close to the MF price (incl. shpg vs. local tax).

    Also tried a GK 400RB 210 combo and an Ampeg microsomething - 250W 2x10 on wheels. Neat concept - not what we need. Would have liked to try the 700RB 2x10, but, not available anywhere nearby.

    Most every other choice available ranged from 1x15 combo to pro-equipment with little in between. Not much opportunity to negotiate if there's no inventory! Anyway, Merry Christmas.

  12. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Hey D, you made the right choice...your son is going to love that rig! BTW, the Aural Enhancer in SWR amps do what the Contour control does in others...only better...let us know how things work out when you receive delivery, cheers!

  13. philwill1


    May 11, 2002
    Clinton, KY
    Hey how is that SWR 4004 stack doing. I'm thinking about buying one from mf myself. I'm having the same problems that you had. No place to try anything out. Stores are small and do not carrry much inventory.
  14. hi there, i have several rigs and recently purchased a 4004 head. i run it into two ampeg 15" cabs, i also have two sunn 200s heads which i run into the ampeg cabs, i prefer the sunn's for that vintage tone, but the swr give a very fat bottom and has plenty of power, i run the sunns on about 5-6 compared to 2-3 on the swr, of course the sunns put out about 50-60 watts (tube) and the swr is run at 4ohmns for 350 watts..i use fender basses, a 61 precision and a 65 jazz.....love my sunns !!!! i bring the swr for backup and practice at home since it has a headphone out.....
  15. RawBassist


    Sep 1, 2002
    hello, I know that this might not help any, considering you can actually try out an SWR or Peavey. But I have a Carvin 2x10 combo with a Horn and that has biamping capabilites. And 600 watts to back it up. Not many guitar shops like to sell their stuff, but they do sell online, and if you can play through one, do so. I reccomend them Highly, because if you can dish it out, they can take it. It has a graphic EQ, and tone shaping knobs, a tube/solid blending knob (yes it has a tube in it!) and more, which makes it one of the more versatile amps out there. The sound can be totally mastered by the player. Now the combo itself weighs about 70 lbs, and Carvin does sell extension cabs. You can go online and buy a whole stack with the Carvin R600 redeye (the horn is red so they call it "redeye") combo and a 1x15 Extension cab with casters. All together it costs about $1050. which is in his range. I would just check it out at the bottom of the page at this link


    The stacks are near the bottom, and the one they show is with a 1x18 extension, but they do sell cabs and casters and just the heads too. This is humble suggestion. Good Luck!

    Guess i'm a tad bit late on this one, might keep it in mind. ya always gotta have a back up, which might end up being the swr!
  16. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Not so. The 4004 head is 260W @ 8ohms and the full 400W @ 4 ohms.;)

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