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SWR Red Face 350

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by funky_bass_guy, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. funky_bass_guy

    funky_bass_guy Guest

    Jul 30, 2004
    Hey guys,

    I have been offered an SWR Red Face 350 for £300 second hand. The amp is in perfect condition and was made in 1996 (pre fender) I cant find any information on this anywhere. Should I buy the amp? I play a jazz bass and do a lot of slap and funk playing but am in a rock band. If you have any info on the amp could you post that too?

    Many Thanks
  2. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    A nice little head. Just make sure it has enough power for you - if your band gets loud you'll need a pretty efficient cab to keep up.

  3. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    Paid $350 USD for mine.

    Great head! I don't play in a super loud band, but have no trouble keeping up with the SWR and a 4-ohm Avatar 1-12. Drummer is pretty loud, though. I've added an 8-ohm Avatar 1-12 as well for a mini-stack, and works like a champ. Punch like nobody's business.

    As far as sound goes, I like it as much as anything I've ever owned, including my current Kern/Stewart rig. Actually like it better than both the SWR SM-400S and Eden WT-800 I used to have.

    Don't know what they go for new or used over there.

    Hope this helps!

  4. funky_bass_guy

    funky_bass_guy Guest

    Jul 30, 2004
    Ok thanks guys, hmm loudness wise how would it compare to an Ashdown MAG, is it 'louder'?

    Also would I be better of with this or a Hartke Ha3500? I am guessing the SWR..

  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Here's the manual:


    Loudness-wise, it comes down to three things - the tone you like (the more midrange and less bass, the louder you'll be for a given power/efficiency combination), the output power of your head into your chosen cab (you won't notice much difference until you double or halve the power output = 3dB), and the sensitivity (also known as efficiency) of your cab.

    Use a relatively efficient 4x10", 2x12" or similar configuration and understand how to best EQ your sound to cut and the Bass 350 should do a fine job.

    And compared to either the Ashdown MAG series or Hartke heads, it's in the next league up IMO. And if the specs are the same as the chrome face model it's 350W into 4 ohms, 450W into 2 ohms. So slightly more powerful but as I said above, it takes a big change in power for you to hear it.

    I've been using an SWR Grand Prix of similar vintage for the last 5 years and it's an excellent sounding and well featured preamp. I just leave the EQ completely flat and it sounds fat, clear, tight and warm. And when I push it really hard its subtle natural overdrive enhances the growl of my bass, perfect in an all-out rock (but with groove) moment.

  6. funky_bass_guy

    funky_bass_guy Guest

    Jul 30, 2004
    Thanks for that and the manual, I am hopefully going to try it at the weekend with my bass and cabinet. It looks damm good though :)
  7. Scooperman


    May 28, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have one and they sound very good, it definitely has the "SWR sound". It's very similar to the head part of the Redhead combo, except that it has a bit more power.

    One caveat: The Redhead (which I've also owned) would get very hot, particularly when I would load it down to 4 ohms by adding a 2nd cab. The Redface 350 can be loaded down to 2 ohms (although they don't recommend doing that for too long because it will shorten the life between repairs) and also gets quite hot but there is a fan to combat that. The fan can get quite noisy, however, and actually would call attention to itself in a ballad situation. There is a switch that you can use to defeat the fan for quiet moments but that can't be that good for the amp as it will get very hot.

    I bought a used one about 3 years ago and it sounded great (except for the fan), and plenty loud, easily comparable to a GK 800RB. Then it died about a year later. I have no idea whether the death was heat/impedance related since I haven't bothered to repair it yet.

    I believe that people have successfully replaced the noisy stock fan with a quieter one (I think they're 12 volt fans - don't quote me on that though!). I'm thinking of having the amp repaired and while the guy is in there, having him replace the fan with a quiet one. It really is a nice sounding amp, and very easy to work with.

    Unless of course you don't like the SWR sound, then you'll hate it because it has it in spades! :D

    I bought mine on Ebay for US$300.00.

    300 GBP is a decent price to pay if it's in excellent shape, otherwise it might be slightly high, although, from what I've heard, SWRs cost a bit more in the UK.

    But see if you can audition it first to make sure that the fan noise isn't objectionable - other than that, it's a pretty tasty amp!