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SWR Mo' Bass Head Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Quadzilla, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I've read a lot of conflicting reviews on this head (not the Mini Mo pre-amp, the head with an amp in it also). Seems to be no middle ground. Some LOVE it and others HATE it. I found these reviews on Harmony Central and Bass Gear Review and one here in the TB review section, but doing a search here in the Amps forum comes up with nothing (tried Mo', Mo and Mo`). So come on and chime in... Thanks!
  2. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I have come to the conclusion that these amps sound fine, but like all SWR gear I've encountered, the wattage rating seems a tad inflated... If you get one, be prepared to get a separate power amp as well.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    There's a reason why they don't make it any more.
  4. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    But there is a reason that it has been made into a preamp and why SWR is working on getting a new version of it out as well...
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    A new version? What was wrong with the old one?
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i wasnt really enamoured with the one i tried at Sam Ash.

    the buttons and faceplate felt like cheap flimsey plastic. didnt feel roadworthy at all. and while the effects were nice, to be honest, they felt like they were more in the way of the amp's inherent tone than a part of it. like they were tacked on, tho SWR tries to give the message that this was an all in one solution.

    IMHO, if you're an SWR fan, the SM900 is a much better bet. better EQ section, plenty of power, fits in a smaller 2 rack space, and a steel faceplate will always be better than the ol' plastique.
  7. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I have the Mini Mo' preamp-only version, and would without a doubt say that it's such a large amount of what constitutes "my sound" that it's the one piece of gear I couldn't play without.

    I'd certainly recommend it over the Mo'Bass - while a great idea, I got the feeling that what made it to production was perhaps 80% of what the ideal was. The construction issues, the power issues, and added controls to give you even more flexibility over the effects have been corrected in the Mini Mo'. I'll freely admit that it's a niche product, but it absolutely filled mine as a bassist who loves to use effects but doesn't want to lose his "base" bass tone, as well as one who loves the standard SWR sound.

    Try running a search with my username limited to the amp forum and the terms "SWR" and "Mini" if you're interested in more of my blatherings about the Mini Mo'. ;)
  8. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Ha! That's too funny Munji. I like the Mini Mo pre...I think it has it's ups and downs. It's very creative, but hard to dial in great sounds and fairly complex too.
  9. Mo' bass

    Mo' bass

    May 4, 2000
    I like my Mo' bass. I like the clean sound, the effects and the looks of it. Also it's the only SWR amp that can take phantom power to the DI! (Probably the mini mo too). For me it's plenty loud. I use the effects sparingly, like 2 songs on a 30 song gig. I agree that the improvements in the Mini Mo are very usefull. The standard SWR aural enhancer gives me more mud than usefull enhancement, so I have that very low.

    If YOU like the way it sounds, it is a great and fun head.
  10. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Nonsense. My SWR Baby Blue II has been taking phantom power from the PA board at wedding-type gigs for more than two years now without a problem . . .
  11. Mo' bass

    Mo' bass

    May 4, 2000
    So it's not nonsense... :rolleyes: but I'm happy for you that your Baby Blue is still OK!
  12. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Hate. Bad. It's a preamp pretending to be an amp. It does need a power amp to push a cab for anything louder than a coffee shop gig, and even then if there are acoustic guitars you might be in trouble. If it's dirt cheap, go for it, it sounds good if you can hear it. Needs a power amp. I'd get the Mini.
  13. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Man, I find this very hard to believe. SWR claims:

    Bridge/Mono Mode:
    900 watts @ 4 ohms
    650 watts @ 8 ohms
    440 watts @ 16 ohms

    Stereo Mode (per side):
    600 watts @ 2 ohms
    400 watts @ 4 ohms
    250 watts @ 8 ohms
    150 watts @ 16 ohms

    Even if the above was a bit over exagerated, it certainly would blow the doors off of any coffee house gig. So either you are joking or there is something VERY wrong with the design of this head (I mean seriously, all jokes aside). It has the same power amps as the SWR 900, which I thought was said to be very gig worthy power wise. Anybody ever really gig with one of these Mo' Bass heads, or just played them in a music store and are guessing? I plan on gigging with it so I need to know. Thanks again!
  14. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I owned and gigged one for a very short period of time and I did find it to be under rated in the power department. I found that the effects were decent but I just didn't use them enough to justify owning it and I ended up getting burried by a couple of guitar players more than once. Unfortunately, it had to find a new owner.
  15. I used it before, still use it as a practice amp. I got it when my Navigator went on the blink.

    You have to crank the volumes up most of the way, but it puts out the power. Its in the ballpark of my normal 1500W amp volume wise. Its short of gain more than power, people think you're not "supposed" to turn up the master volume "too far" and can't get volume out of it. Also, the input flashes red to indicate clipping input, the light flashing green just means signal present. Until you notice that, you tend to have the input gain "rather low".... :D

    I don't need the effects, the EQ is ok, I was happy to get my Eden Navigator back from the shop. But its a decent sounding amp.

  16. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I got one DIRT CHEAP, and NEW. Here's my thoughts:

    Been gigging and churching it for a couple years now, fairly regularly, but not consistantly as it was purchased more as a utility and not as a primary(couldn't pass the deal up!).
    No failures to speak of, but a couple of the front screws have worked their way loose. It's been a reliable source of clean power, I don't really doubt its rating but some companies do rate wattage more conservatively than SWR. The preamp is very limp, I think this is due to it's effect on the SythBass. Between the Preamp and main EQ I can manage to sound good every time, but I use good cabs and I like the sound of my bass. The only effects I use regularly are the SubBass(octaver) and the SynthBass. I am not really an "effects guy" but I sometimes find myself in situations where a Keyboard Bass sound is desirable. I do not have the footpedal controller. The SynthBass effect is very sensative and difficult to control, but effective once you find the "sweet spot". It is also capable of tight synth sounds as well as the Bootilylicious 70's stuff. I have heard some say that the SubBass effect is useless and too slow, I think it is fine.
  17. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Thanks. Me too. When I first started reading about the "SWR = no phantom power else damage" stuff here on Talkbass, I was incredibly worried. I approached our usual soundman the very next night and inquired, and though I was stressed when he first informed me that he had been using phantom power universal for the past year or so, and I had used the Baby Blue at least a dozen times during that period, my stress turned into relief. It had handled it just fine. Lucky me, kudos to SWR . . .
  18. Mo' bass

    Mo' bass

    May 4, 2000
    If found this on the Bryan Beller webiste. Bryan is an SWR employee, bassist and a nice guy (we exchanged a couple of emails when I had some Mo' Bass questions.)

    Maybe this explains why the amp is perceived as not being loud enough. (This and the standard SWR overrating :cool:)
  19. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    So this head could be used alone for gigging small to medium gigs (I could split the signal and also use my AMP-BH420 to one of my cabs on a big gig)? I have two pretty good cabs that have great sensitivity ratings. My cabs are:

    Aguilar GS212 (2x12) 4 ohms
    Aguilar GS112 (1x12) 8 ohms

    The plan is the run the head in stereo. This would feed 400 watts to the GS212 and 250 watts to the GS112. Seems to me that 400 watts to a 2x12 and 250 watts to a 1x12 both with great sensitivity ratings (GS112 = 102 db @ 1W 1M and GS212 = 103 db @ 1W 1M), should be just fine, but please feel free to correct me... Thanks again all!!!! :D
  20. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    Just to make a factual correction, Bryan resigned as Vice-President of SWR Sound last spring to return to the world of music full-time. Good for him - he's a very good businessperson, but an astounding bassist and musician. :D

    (He's also a good friend of mine, and I'm very glad he's returned to playing full-time, which has apparently worked out with major two-off orchestral-based shows with guitarist Steve Vai - the last of which was taped for posible release, another leg of Taylor acoustic clinic shows (which resulted in a recent Mike Keneally/Bryan Beller acoustic studio recording that should be released next year), and the first full Mike Keneally Band tour since 2001 which was taped for both CD and DVD release - certainly gigs I wouldn't pass up if not for my lacking his l33t ba$$ skillz :help: )

    As for his comments on the preamp of the Mo' Bass, it is a factor to consider, but not a deal-breaker IMO as the issue of "unity gain" (i.e. each effect as a "gain stage", cascading one after another) is an issue with any string of effects. This was yet another "fix" in the development of the Mini Mo' - additional headroom and dynamic range have been increased in the preamp and EQ stages.