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SWR SM-900 - to keep or not to keep

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Denimhorn, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. Denimhorn


    Nov 25, 2002
    I own an SM-900 and am running a single 8 ohm goliath III cab in bridge/mono mode. Lately I have been complaining that its not loud enough for me when playing live onstage where there is a lot more air around me. I can never "feel" or hear my bass like i can when im in our crammed studio.

    I am considering picking up a Ampeg SVT-CL and 8x10 cab....played it at Guitar Center and its MEATY. Plus im being lured by the SVTs simplistic controls and pure tube sound.

    I can get what i think is a great deal for the SVT-CL and 810 cab ($2060 for both), but am also not sure about dumping the SWR amp.

    I could add a second 8 ohm goliath III and chain them together for 900 watts at 4ohms and i would assume that would give me LOTS more sound.

    I guess i feel like almost at the point of moving on from the SWR gear...but maybe havent fully explored all its options (like having a second cab)

    Also I dont know if my pedulla rapture J25 is a good match for the Ampeg SVT-CL.

    Anyone have any comments to add? Would be much appreciated.

    Maybe i should keep the SWR and also but the Ampeg? :) No interest or no payments for 15 months!!
  2. I was SWR fan for a long time and I know one thing: SM900 is a keeper. Maybe you should try getting another 4x10, or sell the one you have now and get the 6x10. I now own an Ashdown MK500 head, which is hi-fi like the SWR, only kinda meaty like Ampeg etc. Personally I would never go to Ampeg (I used to own SVTIII) and/or fridge sized cabs.
  3. A couple of comments:

    - The SVT sealed cab/all tube tone is about as far away from the very modern 900/GIII tone as you can get. So, it sounds like the 'sound in your head' has changed regarding what you are looking for in bass tone. If that's the case, adding an extra GIII to your rig won't get you where you want to go.

    - The 900, as has been posted many times before, runs very hot, and runs VERY hot when pushed running bridged into 4ohms. While these heads are designed to run 'hot' (given that the case is the heatsink, etc.), it seems to be a design issue that results in more than the normal number of posts reporting 900 failures over time. So, I wouldn't do it personally.

    If you are looking for that warm, aggressive, mid thump of the classic SVT, but don't want to break your back with the huge classic SVT with 8x10, you might want to look at some of the Mesa stuff... the BB750 comes to mind... growly, punchy, rock grindy, and under 30 pounds. The Eden800 is also another good one... warmer and punchier than the 900, but with more a more 'modern' vibe than an SVT. There are also a number of smaller cabs that still put out the 'rock wump' (the discontinued Sadowsky SA410..which you can still find at some dealers), and from what I hear, the new Bergantino HS410, or the NV610.. which is a smaller, lighter, but much higher quality sealed multi10 box in the spirit of the old Ampeg fridge.
  4. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    That bass of yours tends towards coming across as boom and click in a live situation, and so does your amp if you use the aural enhancer and any bass/treble boost. I'm sure that effect is adding up for you. You could probably get close to the sound you're looking for by working with the EQ. It sounds to me like your sound is over-scooped and you need to add some mids, especially lower mids and upper bass, while cutting the deepest lows.

    But if you've got 2 grand burning a hole in your pocket, that is exactly what the SVT will give you.

    You could also consider getting an SVP-Pro and using the power section of the SM-900. I used a similar rig but with an Eden power amp for years and it was great.
  5. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Comparing the output of a 410 to that of an 810, under any circumstance, is silly.

    If you are ready to move on, then certainly move on, but to get a fair sense of what the 900 is capable of, relative to the CL rig you checked out, plug it into the same 810.

    Regarding the heat issue that KJung brought up, yes the head runs hot but in my experience with SWR gear (a 400 with no fan and a 900) I have not had either one fail after running them consistently for hours in to 4 ohm loads, over a period of years. One reason for the failures, IMO, is that people don't check the bias of the amps over time, and don't give a space in the rack for cooling to take place. This is not to say that there aren't lemons in the bunch, but I have seen enough SWR heads in the field over the years to intuit that their failure rates are generally no higher than other major brands.
  6. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    And actually SWR heads do sound great with ampeg 810Es.
  7. Paulitics


    Apr 12, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah i wouldn't get rid of it. I always find that with anything not just bass amps, you will try something new and really like it just because it is different and doesn't have the same short comings of what you have. But after a little while you will find the new thing has its own short comings and the old thing was great in its own way.
  8. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    i'd say the SM-900 is a keeper. i would look into another cabinet to 1) get the max power at 4 ohms and 2) get the speakers closer to your ears.

    if you like your Goliath, how about adding another 210 on top of it - you will hear yourself much better. or just get a 610 or 810.

    it may be cool to pair that amp with a more midrange, vintage voiced cab such as a Berg NV of the Aguilar DB series to get a nice balance and not so scooped tone.

    also look into 12's - a lot of them have the great midrange mojo.

  9. bugbass


    Apr 8, 2004
    As KJung stated the SWR and Ampeg rigs you refer to sounds quite different. I was never a fan of the Ampeg stuff, but if its the Ampeg sound you are after, then go for it.

    Or you can check out the new Classic line of Mark Bass gear.

    BTW I have run my SM900 bridged to 4 ohms for twelve years, never had any problems. I like the SM900 very much, and if you added another Goliath cab, you will be very loud. But again, very different sound than the Ampeg-stuff
  10. Denimhorn


    Nov 25, 2002
    hey guys. thanks for the replies. I for sure am aware of the sound differences between the two (its like comparing a muscle car and a sports car). A growing part of me has started to want to go down the classic sound road vs the newer hi-fi sound, but i appreciate both sounds. So it sounds like the ideal would be to have both (if i could afford it).

    Pickles...i think you hit the nail on the head with the boom/click sound. I had read about the AE issue and will for sure mess with that as well as tweak my EQ again.

    I think i will try to find a used Goliath III cab to stack. That way I can have portability options of only using 1 cab or 2. That 810 pretty much puts me in a situation where i would never be able to haul my own gear without having someone give me a hand lifting it out of the car.
  11. bugbass


    Apr 8, 2004
    The Mark Bass cabs 610 or 810 weighs about the same a one Goliath..
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