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SWR SM400-S vs. Demeter VTBP-201s

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DLM, Jan 14, 2005.


  1. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    I have an early model SWR SM400-S from the mid-90s (pre-CBS I assume) that I've been pleased with and I do not consider the tone "shrill" or "sterile" as some have described (I do admit that I don't try a lot of gear so maybe I'm just used to the tone). Lately, however, I've been considering going to a modular setup with a new model Demeter VTBP-201s as the preamp.

    So, in determining whether or not it's worth the extra cash outlay, are there any owners of both amps who can describe the tonal differences I can expect between the two? Night and day? Slight variations? I may not have a chance to A/B them so any help would be appreciated.

    I play active and passive basses listed below...

    Thanks!
     
  2. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    I have both, and the one thing that you might have to get used to is the purity of the Demeter's tone. The Demeter is a different animal than the SWR, you will hear what your basses really sound like!
     
  3. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    So, are you saying it really depends on the quality/tone of the basses being used? Does the SWR "cover up" the bass tone that much?
     
  4. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I have a 210s and it's very hi-fi. In other words, what goes into it is what comes out of it.
     
  5. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Wow, sounds like a preamp for me! Is Demeter about as clear as you can get? What are the Aggy's like? I had an RBI, but just couldn't fall in love with it.
     
  6. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    At one time I owned both the Demeter and the older SM400. Took both out to a gig to A/B them and was blown away at how much better sounding the SM400 was than the Demeter, I mean WAY better! Tighter, punchier, fatter, more articulate. I never liked the SM400S as much as the older model and I always found the Demeter to be an awesome recording piece but not as good live.
     
  7. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    I've owned both and loved them both. They are quite different in tone though. The SWR is a tried and true work horse of an amp. I've owned at least a version of the SM-400 since 1990 (SM400, SM400S, SM500) and reguardless of what comes out on the market, IMO that amp remains one of the best live gig amps. The Demeter pre's have a great warm sound. Much warmer than the SWR. As Jerry stated, with a Demeter you really hear the sound of your bass. The EQ of a Demeter is fairly flat and you really don't have a lot of EQ flexability on the 201S. You might like the HBP-1 better as it has the additonal semi-parametric EQ. IMO it's more versatile than the 201S. Obviously, the overall sound of the Demeter will be greatly determined by your selection of power amp and cabinets.
    I sold my Demeter pre in favor of the Alembic F1-X and that was mistake. As great as the F1-X sounds solo, IMO it's a terrible live pre. Just not enough mids to cut through a mix (at least in the style music I currently play).
    I know this is off topic but............since you're currently considering making an amp change, you really ought to check out the Thunderfunk TF-420. I've been giging with one for about 6 months and it's the best sounding live amp I've ever played through! ;)
     
  8. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    the Dem's much clearer, while the aggies are a bit more furry. the RBI does have that furriness about it. i think the Demeter would be more suited for you.

    btw, basstasters is your friend. :)
     
  9. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    I agree with Joker about the Aggie's furriness, but it's a nice furriness ;) I also have a Thunderfunk that I can't say enough great things about.........if you don't need the power of a pre/poweramp combo, I'd highly recommend the Thunderfunk!!
     
  10. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Yeah I need to get on that site again and just check out a few things... I like a pretty much ultra-clean sound, which is why even if I don't get a Spector, I'll probably pick up a Quantum or something. I just want something that's not outrageously expensive, and I know the Demeter's can be pricey, but not out of this world... The Aggy stuff is a little higher, but I know it's all worth it. Also, I had a QSC PLX amp and it sounded great, but don't know how much difference one power amp makes from the next... If I go to this modular setup, which I guess I'm gonna have to go back to by getting a Schroeder, how much difference will a Stewart or Crown amp make? I know BP mag uses a Demeter/Crest (or Crown? one of the two) setup for their test rig, through various cabs, so that sounds pretty good to me... I'll just need something that'll push about 1000/per channel into 4 ohms. Ugh, I just wish I could fix all this crap now!! Anyways, off to bed to dream about yet another rig...
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    i think a used Dem preamp would serve you well. power amp wise, dont matter, they're all great.

    also, like jerry mentioned a simple Thunderfunk might be just what the doctor ordered, not to mention my fav, the iAMP-800. both can be found for good used prices on the forum, not to mention our ol' classifieds.
     
  12. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Awesome. But does the T-funk and also the iAMP go down to 2 ohms? Only reason I ask is because I'll probably be adding another Schroeder at some point or another, and want to be set ahead as far as amps go and have one that'll handle that low load setting...
     
  13. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    My Demeter 201 (the older 1.5 space one) is still one of my favorites and not hardly one that I would consider being without.

    (sorry to high-jack the thread a bit) Joker, I haven't been checking the ads as much as I use to but the only iAmp800 I've seen come up on the used market lately has been Gil's. I have just just been not seeing these coming up for sale? Have I been missing them?
     
  14. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    t funk wont do 2 ohms but guys say it's louder than the 400.
    i have an old demeter 201 and an swr electric blue head. like others have said the dem is "warmer and thicker" sounding than the swr. i like em both. my other fave is the alembic. i found plenty of mids in it but you have to know how to use the eq.