SWR SM-400

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by joshsmog, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. [​IMG]

    Im getting an SWR SM-400 for christmas and I wanna know some stuff about it, I searched here but didn't find a whole lot of stuff.

    Can it get that clanky bass tone?
    Can it do growly tones?
    Is it clean or is it farty?

    anyone who has/had one did you like the tone? if you didn't, why?

    is it a good amp does it sound really good?

  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I'm really surpised that you haven't been able to find out much about this amp on TB. This one has been talkbassed to death.

    SWR SM400 on TB

    I've been using the same amp for over a year now (~1994 "S" model) and I love it immensely. It can clank, growl and fart as much as you want it to. Basic tone and parametric EQ controls allow you dial in a wide variety of tones. A solid workhorse amplifier that you won't be disappointed with.

    What kind of cabs are you planning to use with it?

  3. i got 2 yorkville 1x15's im planning to use it with, i play lots of metallica and rage against the machine. all those threads in the search just merely mention sm 400 or dont have the info im looking for.
  4. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    I love mine and would add the following:

    It's not a plug and play amp IMO. You have to be willing to spend some time tweaking it to get your tone.

    It does not distort well. I find that pushing the gain just makes it buzz in a ugly way. If you want distortion, I'd recommend a pedal.

    It can get clanky to phat but becasue it is just a single channel amp you may want to settle for a happy medium and adjust the tone from your bass if you want both.

    It's a workhorse of an amp.
  5. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Nicely engineered amp...solid construction...thick tone with lots of EQ control. Nice to use bridged with 8 ohm cabs...I run one into a Goliath II cab. Also good to run two 4 ohm cabs, one on each side of the amp. If your cabs are both 8 ohms, run them in bridge mode...you'll get another 120 watts out of the amp that way.
  6. thanks for the info i cant wait till i get it!
  7. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    I recently switched my rig from an SM400s to a pre/power set-up. The SWR is a solid workhorse and never gave me any trouble for almost 10 years. There's plenty of power in bridged mono. But I always felt the SWR lacked in the tone department. My current BBE/QSC rig has way more depth, versitility, and gut than I could ever coax out of my SWR.
  8. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Great amp! I've had one since 1989 (1 SM-400 & 2 Sm-400S). I upgraded from the 400 to the 400S to get the additional features and extra power. I eventually sold the 1st 400S to put together a Pre/power amp rig but eventually had to pick up another used 400S simply because I missed the SWR sound. They are extremely dependable and I've have only had a problem with one of the amps (and it was within the warranty). The only downside to the SM-400 is its lack of a cooling fan. But if you don't push it beyond it's limits that will never really be a problem. I never had my 400 shut down because of overheating and some players installed a fan defeat sw on the 400S to eleminate the fan noise.
  9. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    They are great amps. Very flexible as far as usage and good tone. Always start mine out running eq flat and go from there. Have had mine since 1988 and can't imagine selling it. Has issues with the aforementioned heat. Don't bridge it into 2 ohms unless you need to cook some eggs. Also, if it's rack mounted, support the back end with wooden blocks to keep the case from flexing. The case is aluminum so as to act as a heat sink and will flex if bounced around alot. A real workhorse.
  10. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    Don't bridge it into 2 ohms period. It is only rated to bridge into 4 ohms. You will fry more than just eggs if you do.
  11. dont worry, im not crazy about getting every last watt thats possible out of an amp. ill probly keep it in stereo running 8 ohms a side most of the time.
  12. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    if you keep it in stereo with 8 ohm cabs, you're only sending 150 watts per cab...that's not a lot these days. You'd get 100 watts more from the amp if you run it bridged with the two 8 ohm cabs.
  13. i don't really need alot of watts so far, guitarist is getting a 60 watt amp and my other guitarist has a 75 watt amp but leaves it turned down alot we dont have drummer or a singer yet so 150 out of each speakers good enough until then.

    how many watts is it with bridged mono and 2 8 ohm cabs? 400?
  14. also if i put it in a rack with no extra space for ventilation would overheating be a problem bridged mono into 2 8 ohm cabs? im planning on putting it in a 3 space rack with a korg tuner.
  15. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Hi there. 400 watts bridged. Go to SWR's site and there are pdfs of vintage owners manuals. Read carefully about ohms. This amp is supposed to get quite hot to the touch when in use. This wicks heat away from the internal components. It's designed this way. Leave a 1/2 space or more for air circulation. Try, tone wise leaving the eq. flat and getting your tone from your bass. Then if needed add a little or better yet cut a little. Merry Xmas nice present. A modern day classic.
  16. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    The Korg tuner is fairly shallow and stops before the vents on the top of the amp. That'll leave a whole rack space (plus a bit more) above the venting area. Be sure to put a couple of wooden shims under the bottom of the amp at the back...I used pieces of double-sticky foam tape to attack the shims to the amp bottom...nothing will stick to the rack's plastic for long.

    I agree about the amp being a modern classis...solid and understated in its looks but with tons of features and flexibility.
  17. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    Guitartists can do alot of damage with 60 and 75 watt amps unlike us bassplayers.
  18. Cantstandsya


    Jul 27, 2001
    Fontana, CA
    I wouldn't put the Korg right on top of it.Even though the vents wouldn't be covered,the SM400 needs airflow all around it.I would leave at least one space above it.I would also make sure you don't back it up too close to a wall either.This amp needs room to breathe.I speak from experience my 400S used to shut down on me all of the time.I had thing in and out of repair shops(including the SWR factory)several times and it still continued to let me down.It sounded grat when it was working though.If your doing low volume stuff and running it in stereo it should be fine.IME this amp struggles in bridged mode even at 4ohms:bassist:
  19. oh yeah the rack i have has a vent grill on top so i think there will be enough ventilation, just to be safe ill pick up a clip on fan from the dollar store.
  20. yeah i know but the lead guy with 75 watts leaves his turned down so much, what im worrying about is our rythm guitarist getting the 60 watt amp, he might crank it then the lead guitarist might crank it then it gets to crazy volume wars but hopefully that wont happen.