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SWR workingman's 15 or 12?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ruffroka321, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. ruffroka321


    Sep 13, 2004
    My birthday (as of this day) is in about 2 months. I am positive I'm getting an amp for it. I need to know what you guys think I should get. the WM 12 would be a lot easier to afford, but if the 15 is a big difrence let me know. Also, if you use and amp that you think is really great and better than these for and okay price, tell me about them.
  2. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I used to own the WM12 and I've played through the WM15. Personally I preferred the sound and portability of the 12--it has a very clear tone and weighs about 45#. On the other hand, it was just barely loud enough to be heard over a drummer and guitar amps without an extension speaker. If you're playing loud rock, the 15 has more oomph on its own but was a bit cumbersome for my tastes. If you look in the "for sale" classifieds here on TB, Lyle Caldwell is selling a used WM12 for $250, I believe--a very good deal.

    If you think your needs might change within the next few years it could make more sense to get a separate head and speakers. You can pick up reliable, good-sounding heads like the GK 400RB and 800RB, the Hartke 3500, and the SWR Workingman's 4004 for under $400 on the used market. New Avatar cabs start at around $200, and you can find some very good deals on used pro-level cabs (I just sold an SWR Goliath III Jr 2x10 cab for $300). All this for about the price of a new WM15 ($700), and considerably more versatility and power--it's worth a thought.
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004

    Thanks for the nod, Winston, but I want to say that I'm not commenting in order to sell my amp. Someone will buy it regardless.

    But I did want to say that I went to the store originally intending to get the WM15, and then I listened to both. I preferred the WM12 to the WM15 in that it had a tighter low end and less of a "hollowness" to the mids. Not an EQ "scoop", but just like there was something not there.

    The WM15 is just marginally louder than the WM12, btw. You can't hear a 20W difference or whatever the difference is.

    But first ask if either amp will suit your needs. Neither one is a good choice for a really loud rock band, but either one will be a good choice for moderate volume styles of music. Either one can keep up with a drummer, but neither can keep up with a drummer and two guys playing through Marshall stacks.

    That said, either one would be a great first real amp, that will hold its resale value if you buy used (not a plug for my amp, just how the world works). So I wouldn't buy one new if you can help it. Eventually, you will want to get a louder amp, unless you can afford to keep the WM as a home amp and buy a louder one for gigs.
  4. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    The WM 12 is a great amp. I use mine at low volume rehearsals and small gigs. As said before, a loud drummer or guitar player will bury you. I doubt even an extension cabinet would compete with a loud drummer.

    I really like to use my SansAmp Bass Driver with the WM 12.
  5. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    i have t odisagree with the comment that the WM15 is only marginally louder than the WM12. I've gigged a lot with both, and the WM12 (yes the 120 watt newer pre-fender version) did not get loud enough to be heard over a drummer in a room for about 100 people with high ceilings, where I usually used my WM15 (160 watt newer pre-fender version) with no problem. I couldn't even hear myself. So if you need the extra power and volume, the WM15 is a lot louder.
  6. Another consideration...with the WM15 you can add an extension cabinet and squeeze 200W instead of 160W. I'm not sure if the WM12 supports an extension speaker but it's worth consideration.