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SWR Rig Tips and Help...please

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by just4since84, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. just4since84


    Feb 26, 2016
    My current rig is a SWR WorkingPro 2x10C 400W with a SWR WorkingPro 1x15 cab. I purchased this used via Craigslist a couple years ago (from 2 different sellers). It was a good price so I did not hesitate. My issue is that I can never seem to get a sound that I really like. I play Fender Am.Std. Jass bass and a Nate Mendel P bass. I also have a SansAmp Programmable DI and the VT DI. So some good tone shaping to work with. I have been able to live with playing with my DI’s through my effects return bypassing my amp’s EQ. But when I play with the band it has always sounded sort of spacey. Big and bassy because of the 15” cab but no punch. I like the old style bass tone and feel from 60s and 70s but always feel that I am only on the cusp of my sound even being bearable (to myself). I have only tried a couple times using my DI through my amps input and adding SWR eq to my VT or old orig. DI. I’m just curious what other SWR users may have to offer for advice/comments or anyone with experience for that matter. I like my tone a lot better at practice when I’m just using my little Yorkville XM200T or Ampeg Micro VR. I split my Yorkville combo amp into a head cab by adding some 1/4” jacks to separate amp/speakers (so I could also use the Micro VR). I get sweet tone all over the place with these options but little power. I need help with the larger rig that I play out with.
  2. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Just a couple of thoughts right off the top...

    1) Mixing cabinets with different sized speakers doesn't always work out for the better. Have you tried the 2x10 combo alone without the 15? Does the "spaceyness" improve? You may be getting some phase cancellation between your two cabinets.

    2) The SWR "Aural Enhancer" circuit is essentially a giant mid scoop. Play with that and see if you can dial it out as much as possible. I had the AE circuit on my Interstellar Overdrive completely bypassed and it was a massive improvement resulting in a much "rounder" tone.

    3) Sansamps also have a giant baked-in mid scoop that is hard to dial out. The VT Bass should be "better" in this respect than the Programmable BDDI. Running them into the effects return on the SWR is the way to go to bypass the "problem" in point 2.
    Sartori likes this.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I had the same issues with an SWR WM15 + goliath jr. 210 III rig. For me, the WM15 alone had tone problems. I could never dial in anything that worked. I added the 210 hoping to get more punch and volume.

    They didn't sound good, ever. Finally, I realized the two cabs needed entirely different EQ. I bought a silverface SWR 350 pro head and an SWR son-of-berths 115 to add to the goliath jr. 210. It was much better. It was also the last time I owned a combo. Moving out of that trap is painful financially, IME.
  4. just4since84


    Feb 26, 2016
    Thanks I will probably try your point 1 at our next gig. Part of the problem is competition with 2 guitars each with his own 2x12 amp and a keyboard player with 2 powered speakers. Our sound check usually results in me being told too much bass so I cut my lows and labor my way through the set sounding tinny AND spacey. It can be a lot of labor especially as I am trying to be the glue holding things together.
  5. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    How do you have the "Bass intensifier" controls set on your combo? That could be adding a lot of woof without any definition when you're running through the normal instrument input of the amplifier.

    I have had good luck using my VT-DI as a preamp through my Super Redhead's effect return. Might be worth a try for you? I believe that the speakers and cabinet are voiced pretty similarly between the two.
  6. just4since84


    Feb 26, 2016
    I have been doing the same as you...VT-DI through the effects return. It's okay but I don't love it. Sometimes barely bearable depending on the room we play in.

    Honestly, I have never liked the "bass intensifier" feature. When engaged it has always seemed way too big and the sound was too outside of everything. So I've never used it. I'll stick with effects return like you unless someone who plays a J or P with a similar rig and has it in a configuration that gives them a good clean tone that cuts through.
  7. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Yikes... no fun trying to compete with a pair of heavy guitars.

    I really like a smooth tone when I'm practicing alone (I get that with my Jazz), but in recent years I've found that the guys I play with really like my sound when it's a little more "obnoxious" than what I use at home. This usually boils down to including more of the "low mids" in my sound, perhaps in the range of 300-500 Hz. While they don't necessarily need to be boosted, they also shouldn't be cut or my sound can get lost.

    The big revelation happened when I picked up a custom P/J bass with active EMG's. When I solo'ed the P pickup, I got a much more aggressive tone than with my passive Jazz. A little harsh to my ears, but the gang really liked it for the material we were doing; general catalog of covers, nothing heavy.

    So maybe try your P and make sure that your amp isn't scooping out the mids that should help your sound really cut through. Leave the big lower frequencies to a more powerful PA. Your rig may need to be putting out a little more "bark" than "boom" to help you hold your own. Even if some more mids sounds not so great to you, see what the others think when you play with them. You may be surprised.
  8. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    What sounds good at home at bedroom levels is rarely what sounds best in a live mix. And vice versa.
  9. The Regulator

    The Regulator

    Aug 10, 2005
    A couple of months ago a saw a band where the bassist was using an SWR WorkingPro 400 head with a SansAmp BDDI and it sounded real good. He was using the pedal straight into the instrument jack, not into the effects loop or bypassing the pre-amp. I sometimes use an SWR 750X with a SansAmp VT Bass DI straight into the instrument jack and can get great sounds out of it. For me the key is knowing how to tweak the mids and aural enhancer.
  10. just4since84


    Feb 26, 2016
    Since you go into amp input do you use any EQ after the VT other than mids and aural enhancer? Do you keep your low and hi freq flat?
  11. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    The workingman stuff can be tough to get a good tone out of it (and it's NOT due to mixed drivers) . The biggest issue i had was the tiny little horn/tweeter. Shut them right off. I normally like a horn in the cabs, but not this one. You are not going to get killer lows out of them (so don't push them to hard, it'll sound like a wet fart), so try to compensate with your mids until you smooth the sound out. If you can get a used sonic maximizer (BBE) that will help too.
  12. The Regulator

    The Regulator

    Aug 10, 2005
    I boost the lows to 2 o' clock and the highs to 1 o'clock.
  13. I like the resonance of the Aural Enhancer, but it really scoops at 200HZ.
    The BDDI into my SWR Super Redhead & Spellbinder Blue gets a great 'bedroom' tone but, IME, in order to sit well in a mix you'll want to push around 200HZ.
    And as stated above, you might dial back the tweeter.
  14. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I was never a fan of the workingmans stuff. It never had that tone that the goliath line had. Id suggest if you want swr go with the goliath cabs. I have stopped using swr when i got my v4b and 810 av though...
  15. just4since84


    Feb 26, 2016
    As will I when I can afford to make the plunge. For now I'll keep picking brains and trying new things and work with what God has provided. v4b would be a dream!
  16. Mrlja Mrljoness

    Mrlja Mrljoness

    Feb 27, 2016
    I have play once a gig on a swr working pro 350head and a goliat 410 cab and i like it! Enough power and punch. Surely sond different of your rig.
    spaz21387 likes this.
  17. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    IME, SWR's entire product line tended to have fairly scooped mids. It made for a great studio tone, but tended to be hard to hear in a mix.

    Your first line of defense is to boost your mids. Boosting low mids is ideal, but boosting any mids will help.

    Your second line of defense is to NOT boost your lows. I know: it's counterintuitive. We play bass, right? We're supposed to boost our lows, right? Sadly, life's not usually that blissful. It usually just results in mud.

    If you try boosting mids and cutting lows, it's free and it may be all you need to solve your problem. As an added bonus, running a Sansamp with more mids can really sound nice; very aggressive and punchy.
  18. The Regulator

    The Regulator

    Aug 10, 2005
    The OP is referring to the WorkingPro line which is their middle tier gear.
  19. The Regulator

    The Regulator

    Aug 10, 2005
  20. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I just took a closer look at your amps controls.
    For a starting point, I'd try running the transparency low and the aural enhancer off. Then I'd set bass flat or cut about 3dB. I'd leave treble flat and then I'd boost mids a bit and then sweep the frequency between 200 and 500Hz until I found the spot that sounded best.
    I'd do all of this without the Sansamp in the circuit.

    Once I got a sound that was working, I'd add the Sansamp before the amp - not in the effects loop - and use it to hit the front of the amp a little. That will add a little grit to the sound.

    Good luck!

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