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SWR Baby Baby Blue

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by TroyK, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    The archives are pretty devoid of double bass reviews of this combo. I see some EBG reviews, but I'm surprised that doublebassist haven't road tested and reviewed this little combo. I'm talking about the current 1x10 version, rather than the older 2x8 version.

    Does anyone have anything to say about it other than "You should get a Wizzy" or "I've never liked SWR stuff."?

    It looks like it should compete with GK MB150, Contras and other small jazz rigs. They can be had new for $700, so while I'm sure that there better combos in the +$1,000 range, I'm curious about how it performs in its own price range.

    If anyone has any experiences to post, I'd love to hear about them.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I saw those, the only person who had anything to say about the BBB 1x10 combo was a EBGist. The double bassists were commenting on either the 2x8 combo or the electric blue head with different speaker cabinets.

    I'm currently using a GK MB150 and have been for a few years. I'm usually happy with it, at times not. I am interested in alternatives in the small, clean, gig worthy combo category in the $700-800 range.

    I'm undecided about Contras. I'm going to have a chance to play one in a few weeks at a jam session and listen to other people on it as well. The owner of it has stopped short of giving it a full endorsement. I know there is a new version coming out, but not in this price range.

    So again, if anyone has gigged with their double bass and the BBB 1x10 I'd like to know your impressions. Maybe no one has, but I thought I would ask.

  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    IMHO the reason that you don't hear many kudos for the SWR
    Baby Blue, is that their pre amp isn't very DB friendly. I had the
    2X8 version and I loved that cabinet. It was the first of the
    2X8's that I recall, and it sounded very nice.
    The head was a different story all togeather. It sounded really
    nice with Electric Bass, but even with a Fishman Buffer Preamp you could not get rid of that midrange honk. I liked the cab so much that I actually bought one of the few 2X8 extension cabinets that SWR Made and changed out the original 16 0hm Bag End Speakers for a pair of Celestion 8 Ohms. It worked great with my Walter Woods MI 100. That said, it couldn't hurt to check one out,
    even thought SWR hasn't changed the head, it's virtually the same amp on a different speaker cabinet.

    Ric Vice

    PS: I remember that most of the players involved in the
    design phase of this amp were EB players. Jimmy Haslip,
    Niel Stubbenhaus ect. I'm not certian if any Double Bass players
    were involved or not.
  4. mister_k


    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles

    I gigged with one of those.
    it was a pickup gig out of town, and it was the only available amp.

    here's the short of it.

    for the situation it worked great. I had a direct out to the house, and really only relied on the speaker for stage volume. it was midrangey but it cut well through the band so it was all i needed. The sound at the front was a little on the electric side for me, (using a very nice sounding old european plywood and a realist) but good and thumpy. But i attribute that more to the soundman than to the amp. I would agree that the pre is NOT designed with a doublebass in mind.

    my 2 bits.

    K .
  5. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I, too am curious about this small-mid sized combo. I did however use one at an outdoor venue with my antiquated Clevenger and it proved to be one of the best matches for that axe I've come across(the 2x8). I would like to see how it does with the real upright myself as an alternative to my MB200.

  6. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I've also looked in to the Baby Baby Blue. Looks like a nice, compact rig. I currently use about double this -- SWR Bass 350 head (200 watts?) and a Goliath III 2x10 cab. This rig fits the bill on any medium to small jazz gig with DB.

    I've also been reading good things about the Eden 1x10 combo. Anyone try these two amps side by side?
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I agree with Ric Vice.

    I own the 2-8 version and the preamp IS midrangey with most piezos...the input impedance is only 800K ohms which is too low. I used to always use a buffer preamp which helped but I was still fussing with the mid EQ to deal with honk. Now I always use a mag pickup (String Charger) with the amp and get a much better tone!

    What don't you like about your GK? I can tell you the SWR won't be any louder and it's both larger and heavier.
  8. I'm gonna have to stick by the ol' SWR California Blonde. It just works great for me. Actually, I'm using the Strawberry Blonde for the smaller gigs and practices and then putting the Blonde Extension on for the bigger gigs. So far it works great for me. Sorry I can't comment on the BB but if you were in the market for something else I figured I would throw it out there.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Wait for it...
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    "what don't you like about your GK?"

    Nothing really. It's uber portable, which I love. There are times and places where I love the sound, can't imagine any better and there are times when I can't seem to dial a decent sound in. That's probably a problem with all amps. One of the groups I play with can get a little loud and I have trouble hearing on stage. Based on seeing other people gig with these things, I suspect I'm being heard out in the seats, but I'm losing myself in the mix.

    "I'm sticking with my California Blonde"
    It's a nice bass amp. I really like um. Doesn't really meet my portability requirements, unfortunately. But a fine amp.

    Eden CX110-
    Haven't tried that. I didn't think they were in that price range. I'll see if I can check one out some time.

    Thanks everybody for their input.

  12. BassNorthWest gave me a great deal on a CXC-110+CX-110(beat all the mail-order houses)- nevermind the fact UPS lost, then half-destroyed it, then decided to drop it on my doorstep anyway & now they're back-ordered for hopefully only another week(total of 4 or 5- I've lost track). Talk to Aaron, or anyone in there, really & tell him Steve HIGHLY recommended them.
    Edit: Even if you don't like the Eden rig, I would suggest checking these guys out- they have treated me very well.
  13. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Great shop. I have done several deals there. It's kind of a hassle to get my Db down there and play it in their very constrained room over the dudes slapping thier 9 string active electric monstrosities into 2 4x10's, but Aaron, Gabe and the others are great to deal with, they are fair with trades and consignment and agressive with their pricing.

    I'll stick with my GK until I play something that I think is clearly worth making the switch for.

  14. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I recently played a series II GK 150 combo (w/o FX) and thought it sounded quite punchy. In fact, I was impressed by the loudness and bottom end in such a shallow, portable box.

    I use a Barbera pickup which seems to have more volume and better clarity (high end) than most piezo wedge type pickups. AB'ing the Barbera with my Full Circle through the amp proved very interesting indeed.

    I wish the GK combo had a tweeter -- that would go a long way in balancing out the "clacky" midrange that a 12" speaker loves to give -- hence my interest in this particular post. I'm curious to find out how a BBB or Eden 1x10 might compare.

    However, I could definitley see using this GK rig on smaller, drummerless casuals. Even without a preamp, I got a completely decent tone and ample volume from this amp. The EQ section was cool, I was able to fool around with cutting the midrange and boosting the bass & treble a bit to get a good sound. I have an Aguilar db924 pre and a trusty Boss Bass EQ pedal for boosting volume and signal contour.

    I noticed that GK recently improved their design releasing a series III in the combo. I got a quote online for around $600 for this new amp including shipping. The handy gig bag was another $60.

    Anyone try one of these newer models -- is it that much of an improvement over the older ones?
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    As far as dialing in a good DB sound, I have the same problem...some rooms just resist all the EQ capabilities of your amp.

    I can tell you I have at times thought about replacing my Baby Blue with a GK (because of the smaller package) but found I couldn't dial in a sound that was any better so I'd assume you'd feel the same going in the other direction.

    I'd suggest raising the amp closer to ear level (GK makes a bracket to mount it on a mike stand) on louder gigs. If you think you need more overall volume or low end heft, bring along a second speaker cabinet.
  16. Just to throw another log on the fire, I picked up an Electric Blue head a couple of months ago, and tried it under a number of scenarios - with an Aguilar 112 for electric, and with an Ampeg Portabass 1x12 for URB. It didnt work well for me in either scenario. With the URB, I experienced the same thing most others had commented on: tons of midrange honk, and not enough bottom. I just sold it this week.

    As a caveat, I've really given SWR a chance, having owned three different heads over the last ten years or so, and always found the same thing: they sound great alone, but as soon as you play it in a band, the sound just disappears. There's no THERE there. So I guess I fall into the "I don't dig SWR" category.
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    It is a good amp. I would argue the standard for db jazz amplification for a generation. I think certainly with Wizzy and AI and the Pub stuff we're on the edge of a new standard, thus my interest. But I do feel like we're on the cusp and that cusp is expensive. So, I was kicking tires of similar, but newer options in the same price range. This thread brought me back to the conclusion I've been at before; not that portable, in that price range, not yet anyway.

    I have the same issue with pickups. I use a realist and don't love it, but like it much better than anything else I've seen in that price range and practical-range. No bleed from other instruments, no blenders or pre-amps with batteries and chords to fail on a gig. I think there has to be a better pickup, but I don't think there is. Arguably you can chase that sound and I'm sure improve on it by throwing tons of money at the problem, but not at that price range....for my ears, of course.

    Thanks to all.

  18. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i have the baby blue head going through the 2X10 cabinet. it's my second choice to my walter woods, but i do on occasion bring it out and i can get a great sound out of it. i do however have to crank the lows all the way up... but once they're up they sound fine... i dont , hovever, plug directly into the amp. i go first into a raven labs if i'm using 2 pickups, or into a para driver DI if i'm using one. the para driver is a great preamp btw...in this combination it sounds just fine.
  19. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    My Baby Blue combo with 2-8"s was my main rig for a couple of years. The mid-rangy thing depended on the pick-up for me. At the time I used an Underwood, then a Pierre Josephs String Charger, then a Realist. The Realist sounded best through that amp. (I use a Revolution Solo now).

    My $.02 is that the Baby Blue combo was absolutely perfect...until you needed any reasonable volume. I think 8"s are the way to go for DB, but the Baby Blue farts out at pretty low volumes. The sound was punchy & never too muddy. I liked it a lot, but usually drove it too hard because of the lack of headroom.

    I pulled the head out and built a case for it, and sold the 2-8"s. I keep it as a back-up or as a pre-amp when I can just plug into the P.A.. Now I use a SWR SM900 with one or two Bergantino cabs. I like SWR heads; they sound warm and full to me. I miss the 8" sound, though. I'm waiting for EA or Bergantino to come out with a new one.