1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

SWR Interstellar Overdrive

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by secretdonkey, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Anyone have much experience using one with an SWR amp?

    I'm currently using an SWR Redhead + Goliath rig, and it has the sound I want. It would be great, however, to be able to get just a little bit of grind out of it when playing some of the 'jam rock' stuff I've been doing lately (20 minute version of 'Whipping Post' anybody?) - like an old Ampeg at full song. One day I'll probably pick up an Ampeg rig, but it would be nice to be able to get a wee bit of raunch out of the current rig, while being able to get back to that beautiful SWR clean tone that I am so fond of at the flick of a footswitch.

    My questions/concerns are:

    1. I want the opinion of an SWR user as to whether the 'Stella' will give me something acceptably close to an Ampeg (classic rock) sound. I know what Ampeg fans will say, so please, no heckling from the peanut gallery, okay? ;)

    2. SWR's own literature recommends that you dial out the tweeter when using the Stella for a lot of distortion. I am definitely NOT looking for a hyper-distorted sound, just that 'edge' - and I'm hoping to be able to footswitch it in and out conveniently - not to have to reach behind my rig to adjust tweeter settings each time I switch. I'm just wondering how feasible it is to get two great tones out the amp with the simple stomp of a footswitch.

    Thoughts, anyone?

  2. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I was deciding on an SVP-pro and the SWR IOD when i was considering preamps awhile back.. i was looking at a few others.. but since these are the two in question i'll just talk about them.

    THe svp-pro is a good preamp, pretty versitile and what not, you won't be able to get the ampeg sound out of the SWR. However, I love the tone i get from the IOD, I don't use any distortion, but a small amount of gain gives you some excellent bite..

    In the end. I went with the IOD..
  3. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    Allow me to hijack this topic, if I may :D

    I was also considering buying an Interstellar Overdrive, but it seems I could save a massive amount of money by going for a used one (probably the old, bluish-gray version.) Is there any difference between that version and the current black/chrome one other than cosmetics?

    Also, I AM sort of looking for a hyper-distorted tone More specifically, I want the ability to choose between a nice clean tone, a somewhat warmer, grittier one, and all-out guitar-stompbox-style distortion. I'm sure it can handle the first two tones I listed, but is the overdrive too soft to handle the third without me throwing in an extra distortion pedal?
  4. erikwhitton

    erikwhitton Guest

    Sep 20, 2002
    Portland, ME USA
    how's about a sans amp from tech 21 nyc?
  5. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    The sansamp sounds like a good option for secretdonkey, but not for me. Specifically, I want something with a tube in it that has a master volume control and can drive any poweramp by itself. The volume pedal wouldn't hurt either, since I'd be able to control the degree of distortion rather than just switching it on and off.

    EDIT: I've been thinking over the "distortion/tweeter" dilemma for a while, and the way I see it the only feasible option would be to bi-amp. I plan to run one fullrange cab with no effects or distortion, and one cab distorted with the tweeter off.
  6. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi

    When I bought my IOD; I purchased an older grey/blue version. I opened mine up to check the bias and make sure everything was cool (glad I did because the speaker load resistor had a broken lead). Anyway, the parts are of good quality and I believe the trannies were made by Mercury Magnetics which has a very good rep. I'm kinda partial to the older units when Steve Rabe was still with the company; may not make a bit of difference though.

  7. The only downside to the IOD is the weak output voltage. It puts out a maximum of 0.7 volts at 100 Hz, from a 140mV (passive pickup) input. If you have active basses, outboard preamps (East, Aguilar, etc), also not a problem.

    I played with the IOD grind (drive) for awhile, and don't have much use for it right now, due to the music I play (blues and smooth stuff). The interaction between the Drive and Volume controls is pretty touchy on my unit. This could be a bias issue, or just the way it is... I dunno.

    I run mine flat except for the bass tone pot which I have to turn down in some clubs because my subs get over hot in the bottom otherwise. The tone is nice and clean. My basses sound like... my basses. There is no Ampeg coloration (or hiss).

    In short, I like the IOD just fine. I also appreaciate having two XLR (balanced) outs. One I use for my bi-amp signal chain, the other can be used for DI into a house PA. In practice, every house soundman uses a Countryman or other type DI box at the input, so I've never used my 2nd XLR connector.
  8. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    So, just to make sure...
    the older blue/grey version has the exact same stock tubes, signal path, number of inputs and outputs, etc. as the current version? If not, what's different?
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I was looking into this myself recently, found a discussion on the subject.

    TB Thread

    If you go the link below, you can see the history of the unit:

    SWR Vintage Page

    From all this, the upshot appears to be that the only differences are cosmetic, and that the newer units are smaller in depth (8.75" now as opposed to 13.75" in older units).

Share This Page