1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

SWR Spellbinder Blue

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by McGryff, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. SWR has come out with this new combo, though I don't know when it'll actually hit stores. It's small & has a tube preamp a la the Baby Blue. Stanley Clarke has something to do with it... probably testing the prototypes. It's wee, only 27 lbs. I bet it'll cost a ton too, but I can't find it for sale anywhere yet. Anybody else heard anything out this amp yet?

    SWR Spellbinder Blue combo
  2. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    No, but it looks very cool. It has built-in phantom power and XLR/1/4" combo inputs. Baby Blue pre, Neo ten, 160 watt switching power amp, :bassist: .
  3. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
  4. I just noticed that myself last night. I'll be looking forward to a review of it, whenever that happens. Given that I don't often have a grand sitting around, I think there'll be time to wait!
  5. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    A thousand bux. Man, that's quite a few casuals!

    But, it is a smart lookin' amp. I wonder if it has the girth to take on a medium volume gig...
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Mc Gryff,
    SWR has been attempting to build a small Double Bass amp since the designed the original Baby Blue 2X8. I had one. I loved the sound of the cabinet, but with my bass, the Underwood Pickup, and a Fishman Buffer Preamp that I was using, I was never able to get a decent EQ. Now lets fast forward to their new attempt the Natural Blonde. Considering all the bells and whistles it has, it should be an ideal choice for DB. So far there haven't been many takers on Talkbass. Perhaps that's because it's pretty new, I don't know. Now they have the Spellbinder blue. It certainly looks great. I love the combo jack on the input, but it still has the aural enhancer in the signal chain and for my bass and pickup combination it wasn't at all useful. Their EQ isn't useful for my particular setup either. Doesn't mean that it won't work for others though. I'd be sure to use it on a gig before I dropped 1K on a new amp.

  7. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    If you've got $1,000.00 to spend on this, you should really consider this...



    The AC101 has *way* more DB friendly features and sounds great for electric as well. It also has a very high quality attenuable tweeter, as opposed to the LeSon in the SWR.
  8. Ric,

    You make a fine point there. As intrigued as I am by the Spellbinder, I'm more likely to go for a GK MB150 or Markbass combo when I can. An MB150 would be more affordable, especially used, then the Markbass, although the Markbass combos have some more power. Some good things to think about while I wait to be able to pay for something! Meanwhile, my WM12 and SansAmp Para do a pretty decent job...
  9. pocketmaster


    May 17, 2007
    There are two of us gearheads in Vancouver BC who were lucky enough to score the last two Baby Baby Blue amps to be shipped to Canada. I have drooled over the BBB for a couple of years, having rented one for a small gig once.

    The new version of the Baby Baby Blue, The Spellbinder Blue, uses the same amp and speaker setup, but the internal impedance has been cut in half to obtain the 160-watt output from the head. In the BBB, which runs at 8 ohms internally, you connect an external 8-ohm cab to get the 160 watts.

    Another major difference is the weight. My recently discontinued BBB is 39 pounds, and the Spellbinder cuts it to 27 pounds. I see they advertise Italian Poplar as the cabinet material, same as my ultra-boutique Epifani 112's. The difference in weight may make up for the absence of one of the more important features of the Baby Baby Blue--the external speaker jack.

    By itself, the BBB has always struggled in a live music setting where there is a live drummer and a few guitars. I have used my BBB in small clubs and outdoor garden parties, and it more or less fills the bill. But as soon as you need more poop, the clipping lights start to flash--both input and output--and that is the end of the volume road. The situation changes dramatically if you add a small external cab, either 10, 12, or 15". This is no surprise as we know that volume mostly comes from the number of speakers more than the number of watts. Add an external speaker to the BBB and all of sudden you have everyone's attention.

    The new Spellbinder gives up the external speaker jack, and I think that is unfortunate. As for the weight change, I don't mind humping the extra 12 pounds knowing that if I need to boost my stage volume, I just add a single 12" cab. I think the Spellbinder is in tough with the competition from MarkBass and other small format bass combo's.
  10. belgiangiant


    Dec 27, 2008
    Although I have not yet tried the Spellbinder, I'm sure it sounds great like most other SWR amps. However, I'm glad I picked up a Baby Baby Blue right before they discontinued them for the soul reason of the external speaker output. 90% of the time, my BBB gets the job done for small/medium sized gigs. However, that other 10% of the time I thank my lucky stars for the extension output when I'm having to compete with a Twin Reverb across the stage.

    The loss of 12 lbs sounds nice, but it also makes me question the structural integrity of the cabinet, not to mention what impact it makes on the tone. I'd like to hear some responses from someone here that has played on a Spellbinder. I can't find anyone in San Diego that actually keeps SWR gear IN STOCK.
    mb94952 likes this.
  11. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    We're in the process of reviewing it for an upcoming issue. I don't have Tom Bowlus' experience with the older BB's but I really like the 'head' part of the combo so far.
  12. there are more and more options in the small/light/powerful db combo that will blow the swr out of the water, feature-wise and most likely sound-wise, including my beloved genz-benz 10t.

    i just think swr is playing catch up.

  13. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I've owned a couple of SWR combos and played through a lot of SWR stuff with both UB and BG. I have never gotten a sound I liked or enough volume relative to the weight and claimed power output.
  14. jimiwhite


    Jul 8, 2003
    The new Spellbinder is a class D, digital power amp, that is how the weight is saved. The cabinet is well made and braced internally. The speaker looks chintzy, stamped frame.

    I got one to replace my Genz-Benz 10T and now wondering if I acted too soon. I'll know after the first gig or two.

    What's really puzzeling is how to remove the head from the cabinet. Its hard wired internally to the speaker. Using a pair of surgical clamps, one can with difficulty, un hook the leads by going thru the vent on top of the cabinet. . Care must be taken. Which brings up my nest question. How does one replace the tube? I don't even see a tube in there, now I'm wondering if its "tube simulated or emulated". What may appear to be a tube, is covered totally in a metal sheeth and no glow is visable.

    Anyone else know about this little beauty?

  15. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Just a note, here the amp you are talking about is the second reincarnation of the Baby Blue with a 10" speaker. The original version had 2x8" Drivers and a horn. SWR also built an extension cabinet with two eights and a horn. The cabinet sounded great, unfortunately the head for my tastes had a EQ that didn't work well with my upright and pickup combination at all.

  16. sensei_steve

    sensei_steve Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2009
    Reisterstown, MD
    I have owned and played my Spellbinder Blue since Christmas 2009. I have played it at medium sized outside community parties and in small and medium size bars. It's an awesome amp, great sound, no problems, no volume issues at all! I play my BSX Allegro and Musicman Sterlings thru it. The Spellbinder Blue sounds natural with the Allegro and holds it own with my Sterlings punching thru loud guitarists and drummers. Also its weight of 27 pounds allows for a one trip load in and load out.

    My reference rig is an Ampeg SVP-Pro, DBX 160a, and World 2.1 thru an Eden 410T. To my ear, this rig has THE classic sound. The Spellbinder Blue sounds remarkably like my reference rig, except the reference rig has a little deeper low end.

    I hope this review helps anyone considering buying a Spellbinder Blue.

    ALSO - The BSX Allegro is awesome. I've owned it several months, played it out several times and I love it. Dino was great to work with. No issues. The bass is well made, sounds great, plays great and its just a great fun bass!
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I think your review might help bass guitar players, but not doublebassists. The behavior of amps is very different with the two instruments. I agree what someone else said about SWRs efforts over the years to make a DB amp. They just never seem to be able to find a niche or compete with solutions that seem better for us like, Acoustic Image, Markbass, EA, etc.

    On paper, for example, 27 lbs will seem light to an electric bassist, but we're really at sub-20 lbs now with our "one trip from the car amps". This amp is 160 watts, whereas, standard for light DB combos now is 300-500 watts, all for that same $1k, give or take a few hundred.

    Not saying it isn't a good amp, but if SWR is trying for us, they should probably be working with some of us and maybe reading these forums. I think that the familiar brand is comforting to players who are recent converts from EBG and they're good products, I wish they would make something for us.

    I had a friend years ago who used a California Blonde (old 12" version) and got a great sound, but it was heavy and I think double bass happiness was a fortunate accident for SWR on that one.
    darrenmt likes this.
  18. CrazyZeke


    Dec 29, 2009
    Eastern WV (DC suburbs)
    Endorsing Artist - Phil Jones Bass
    OK, I was in the same boat a few months back - looking for a DB lightweight amp/speaker rig for under $1K. After reading WAY too many reviews, hype sheets, and manufacturers' specs, I settled on the following:

    1) GK MB500 500W class D amp w/great EQ @ 3.4 lbs &
    2) EA Wizzy 10 double bass speaker 250 W max @ 18lbs

    Best of all, I tryed 'em before I plunked down the cash.

    I got both delivered to the casa in less than a week for under the $1K amount. I think that the tone is great and will offer much more options than the stand alone SWR unit. 27 lbs @ 160 Watts for $999?. I just don't see the value IMO....
  19. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Through all the SWR incarnations of DB amps, Baby Blue, Natural Blonde, and Spellbinder Blue they usually just miss the mark and are a little two expensive for what you get. What you have is a nice ultralite rig that has a nice sound, you could even insert a DB pre amp into the effects loop and have a two channel amp.

  20. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    One contender from SWR is the Headlite, which allows you to disengage the Aural Enhancer, giving it a much flatter EQ like the EA and AI amps.

    It's priced at about the same point as those amps. One downside is that it only goes down to 4 ohms, rather than 2 like EA and AI. It also has an always-on fan that's a little louder than I'd like. But it might be a contender for somebody who plays both electric and upright.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.