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SWR Mo Bass

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sam is cool, Feb 17, 2005.


  1. I was thinking about getting a SWR Mo Bass head and was wondering if anyone has ever used one and what they thought about it. Also I was wondering why they arent on sale at musiciansfriend.com or americanmusical.com. Thanks for the help
     
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    The general conscensus is that they are terribly underpowered for their stated rating. I wasn't aware that they are still being made. SWR now makes the Mini-Mo, which is a preamp version that's a bit more versatile and permits you to add a power amp of your choosing to get the power you need.
     
  3. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    You can't buy a new Mo'Bass any longer because SWR quit making them about a year or 2 ago. They now have the MiniMo which is basically a preamp and effects only version of the full blown MoBass (which had internal poweramp in there, too)., but with a few added bells and whistles.
    I own and extensively use an older MoBass, and I absolutely love it. It's not a plug-in-and-play head, as you'll want to read the whole owners manual, and take in some time to dial in your sound(s). I speculate this is one reason why a lot of people who fiddled around with one in their local music shop say it sucks. You just can't play around with it for 10 or 15 minutes and expect to get the tone of your dreams. Especially without the owners manual. Expect a handful of nay-sayers to chime in any minute now as the MoBass isn't for everyone.
    One complaint is that its poweramp isn't as powerful as the numbers would lead you to believe, since its basically the same specs as an SWR SM900. In a nutshell, SWR made the MoBass gain structure quite a bit weaker than the SM900 to compensate for the internal effects and keeping levels at unity gain. Basically, when ran clean and without any of the effects on its really not as loud as an SM900. But let me put it to you this way: when playing out live, I run mine thru an Ampeg 810 cabinet, and the MoBass has plenty of balls to push the cabinet and still leaves lots of headroom. At big outdoor gigs I even add my Ampeg 2x15 cab and run it stereo. Still no problems whatsoever. IMO, power isn't a problem from the MoBass. (For what its worth, I run 2 Trace Elliot 4x10's in stereo at rehearsals with, again, no problems).
    Another complaint about the MoBass is the knobs feel flimsy. I'll admit they do feel wimpy, but I've not had any of the knobs or buttons on my MoBass break or malfunction. I have had knobs come off into my hands on my old Ampeg, Trace Elliot, Sunn and Peavy amps. It's possible someone will come in and mention how they saw a MoBass at their Guitar Center with a broken knob. Every time I go to my local GC, there are several of new amps with missing/broken knobs laying around, all from every brand.
    Also, when the 1st MoBasses were shipped to dealers, there were some bugs that needed ironed out, and a lot of them literally broke while on display at the dealer/retail store. I suspect most of the duds have been weeded out by now. If you find a MoBass in good working order, chances are it's probably gonna last a while.
    If your truly interested in a MoBass do a little searching and go play a used one in person if at all possible. And spend some time with it before making a decision, not just 10 or 15 minutes fiddeling with the knobs. If you don't plan on using much effects in your band, it seriously might not be worth it to you. After all, its really the internal effects that make the MoBass so different from anything else out there. Plus, the effects are all analog and the distortion/overdrive is truely tube. No just some 'digitaly modeled' copy. Some people don't hear much of a difference stuff thats been 'digitally modeled' to sound like analog effects. My ears can tell a difference, though. Yours might not.
     
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    hmmmmmmmm

    well i've never been a fan of amps with built in effects and i've heard negative reviews from others. However, NCorder's review has been the most informative one from a positive standpoint that i've seen. almost made me want to go try one again. :cool:
     
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    How can you possibly gig with an amp that you can't quickly tweak for stage acoustics on the fly? That's why I can't see using a POD live, too cumbersome to navigate through menus when you're tweaking while playing the first few tunes to filter out the room's gremlins, and you can never really tell what those gremlins are at soundcheck, you have to wait until the room is full and the full band is playing at volume, IME.
     
  6. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    Well, I have the MoControl, which is the foot pedalboard for the MoBass so you can turn each effect on and off on the fly. Pretty much makes it like a bunch of stompboxes that way. Mine also has an expression pedal for the Synth filter envelope. However, I agree Eric that without the MoControl it would be hard to change effects on the fly.
    Too bad this thread wasnt started last week, Eric. My band just played at Little Brothers (used to be Staches) in Columbus on Saturday. You could have seen/heard the MoBass in person. Aw well.
    IvanMike, I say if your serious about what the MoBass can do, go give one another try. Sit with it for a while. You'll find that the controls are really touchy, so even a little nudge can change your sound a lot more than you'd expect (1 reason why I'd never take a review seriously from someone who hasn't spent some serious time with it). Also, go to SWR's website and print out the whole owners manual and read it 1st. It's in laymans terms, so its easy to understand.
    Although I love my MoBass, I'd never say everyone should own one. It's seriously not for everyone. Is any amp though?
     
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    have you posted a review of the mobass in TB's gear review section? (hint hint) :D
     
  8. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    I never really thought about putting a review in the Gear Review section. I'm just used to searching for what I'm looking for.
    Do you think I could just copy my above review of the MoBass and paste it in the Review section? I guess I wasn't really trying to write a review of the MoBass, just what my experience/opinion of it is for a fellow TB'er.
     
  9. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    I've tried about 6 Mo' in various stores from
    CA to IL and 4 out of the 6 where broke.
     
  10. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    How do you mean Broke? As in "won't turn on", or "it's fried"? You wouldn't buy an amp in that condition anyways, would ya?
    I know this sounds like a stupid question, but did you wait 30 seconds or more after you switch the power on to get output? MoBasses don't put out signal to the speakers immediately after power-up. Like Many amps, you have to wait a short bit to 'let it warm up'. You'd be surprised how many people give up after only 10 seconds, assuming it was 'broke'. Especially if you go in expecting it to be broke.
    Also, if you have the output switched to Bridged/Mono, and you have 1 cabinet plugged in to one of the 2 stereo outs and NOT the Mono Output (which has 1 Speakon out ONLY, not 1/4" jack) you get no sound, possibly leading a normal customer to think its 'broke'. My point here is the MoBass is more complicated than your average amp.
    Why would a store keep a broken item out for display? Shouldn't they just send it back to SWR for repair? Years ago I learned not to buy an item thats already broken. Unless its used/out of warranty and dirt cheap, and I think I can fix 'er up easily. But if thats the case, why wouldn't the store its sitting in just do the cheap/easy repair? Chances are the repair guy at the store knows more than I do about amps, and if he can't fix it, I probably can't either.
    Anyhow, I played 3 MoBass amps before buying one from a fellow TB'er. All 3 (4 counting the one I bought) worked perfectly.
     
  11. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Let me know the next time you're in town, I'd love hear your band and check out your rig. I play pretty much every Friday and Saturday, but I occassionaly get one off every now and then. What's the name of the band?
     
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    yes you can. and to be honest, posting in the reviw forum woudl be helpful. it takes a few minutes to go thru the process, but pasting your initial post here into the narrative portion of the review will be a snap. i encourage you to take the time to do it as this thread will eventually get "buried" but the review will be available forever. :)
     
  13. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    Eric, PM sent.
    IvanMike, your absolutely right! I'll paste it in Gear Review ASAP.
     
  14. Fred312b

    Fred312b What if I want to play jazz precisely? Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    broken amps in a music store? i've never seen that before ... ESPECIALLY not at a GC ;)
     
  15. Thanks for the input...I have 1 more question...since no one sells the mo bass new anymore, what would be a reasonable price to pay for a used one?
     
  16. Fred312b

    Fred312b What if I want to play jazz precisely? Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    look on evil bay- you're in luck in that used swr stuff's value is in the toilet thanks to the fender buyout - i will not voice my opinion on this myself. :bag:
     
  17. Yeah but how much would be too much to bid
     
  18. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I had one for a week. Thought it sounded good, and liked the effects, it would have made a great bedroom practice amp, if your bedroom is very small. Really, it seemed more like 30 watts than 900. I've had 100 watt Peaveys that were much louder. Not useable in a rock context. IF it was dirt cheap, like $400, it could be good if you ran the preamp out into a power amp.
     
  19. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    When I bought my MoBass I noticed evilbay auctions were fetching $800 to $1,000.
    Try searching in the Classifieds Items for Sale threads. If your efforts turn fruitless there, put your own ad in the Wanted section. I was lucky enough to get a reply from a guy loooking to sell his MoBass and downgrading to a smaller rig. FWIW, I paid $800 (I think) for mine, which came with the MoControl footboard and the cables to connect it to the head, the original bypass switch and even a heavy speakon speaker cable so that I could use the Bridged/Mono output.
    Good luck!
     
  20. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    I use mine in a rock context, and on stages larger than almost anyones bedroom. I don't have any problems hearing myself over 2 marshall halfstacks and drums. Its pushing an 8x10 and a 2x15 cab at the same time (both cabs are 4 ohms) and it has plenty of power. I'm sure you already read that in my initial post though. If you have one 8 ohm cabinet, and plug in on one side stereo, you'll only get 250 watts max output, but since I'm sure you read the owners manual, you already knew that, right?
    Since you brought it up, what model was that 100 watt Peavey you had that was so much louder? I'd love to hear it!