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SWR 550 X Current Users?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jason Hollar, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I'm looking at an SWR 550 X -- anyone currently using one of these?

    I have an older SWR Bass 350. Great sounding head...just not a huge amount of power (200 some watts at 8 ohms). It's wonderful for jazz gigs on upright with my Goliath III Jr. 2x10 and for some medium volume blues/rock gigs on electric with my Goliath III 4x10 - especially with a 4 string.

    However, I just bought an active 5 string and the 350/G III combo lacks headroom -- especially when pumping the low B.

    Looking for something consistent with my current setup with more power when things heat up. Comments appreciated!

    Also how's the Octave feature -- is it decent???

  2. I own a 550x and played it in combination with my Goliath III 410, but I switched to all tube when I recognized that I was after a more warm sound and a head that sounds great when playing with distortion. For me it's a hi fi head, not a bad one, but the single preamp tube doesn't give any real tube feeling to the whole thing IMO. If you love uncoloured, clean tone, it may be the right thing for you. But for this purpose there a lot more 100% solid state heads out there, that are cheaper and more powerful.
    But once again, i've used it and liked it very long without problems, it's a good head, so if you like it go for it.
    For playing with a 5-string the goliath III 410 isn't the way to go IMO. I've tried it and it seems like it doesn't produce those deep frequencies that well.

    ah.. the octave feature: imo it's ok, sounds nice but the tracking isn't the best. never used it.

  3. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I appreciate your comments. Yes, there are many heads out there that produce a warmer tone -- especially considering tubes v.s. solid state.

    Actually, I am looking for a "cleaner, hifi" sound...but an affordable one at that! I realize there are many more expensive designer products on the market. I've just used SWR for such a long time and am comfortable with the setup with both upright and electric basses. I've also seen on other recent postings that these particular SWR products can go for pretty cheap if you can score the right deal...

    I saw in your profile you play some pretty aggressive, loud music. That helps me too -- because even though I'm not going to be playing overdriven metal with this rig, the rock and blues band I just joined can crank up the volume -- especially in larger or outdoor venues. The band also has a decent PA system, but I've learned that's always best to have a solid low end on stage first! This helps me to not overplay, yet still get a fuller tone to drive the groove.

    I might consider stacking my 2x10 and 4x10 together since I'm using a 5 string now -- that combination definitely adds beef to the low end...and brings the amp to 4 ohms as well.

    Anyway, just seeking opinions on the unit before I go try & buy...thanks again for your note.

  4. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    If you like SWR sound and features, considering picking up a used SM-400 or SM-400S. I have one of each and keep the SM-400 (no fan, no fan noise) in our rehearsal recording studio with a Goliath II.

    Bridged, the SM-400 puts 400 watts into the 8 ohm cab, which might be just the ticket. The amp uses one preamp tube like the other SWR Pro heads, has lots of EQ and options for bridged mono or dual mono (great for two 4 ohm cabs). I think the SM-400 cost me around $300 in decent shape.

    BTW, I just sold a GK-700RB to buy a Bass 350...I also decided I preferred the SWR sound and features. This is my smaller gig rig and will usually go into an Eden 210 or 15 cab. I also thought the 700RB didn't have enough power for the GII cab, but don't plan to use the Bass 350 with the GII.
  5. If you're thinking of adding a second cab later on to bring your amp to 4ohm, you should consider trying this with your bass 350 first. I used a bass 350 with a goliath 3 and son of bertha for a loud rock/punk band for a couple years and I never had any volume issues. If it works for you you'll save money, and I doubt you'll notice that much more volume from a 550x at 8ohm so you'll probably end up with another cab anyway.