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Tell me about the SWR SM1500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by swspiers, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. I have a new bass cab, a fEARful 1212/6 that sounds great with my Genz Benz Shuttlemax 12.0. but it's just not optimal. I'll get by for a while, but I am researching heads and amps (with a pre) with more power.

    I don't see a lot of info on the SWR SM1500, at least not recently. Can anyone who has one or has previously owned one give me some feedback on it. It looks to be perfect, but ya never know...
  2. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    It's two Bass 750s. If you like their sound then go ahead. It seems you could do better for less weight. Some folks struggle with SWRs others don't. I love some of their stuff yet one used Aguilar 750 would be superior if & only if it meets your goals.

    What's not optimal about your current head?
    What are your tone goals?
    What are your volume goals?
    What kind or kinds of music do you play?
  3. Current head is Genz Benz Shuttlemax 12. Just a tad underpowered for this cab.

    Tone goals run the gammut. Clean, hi-fi for some songs to down and dirty with a BDDI for grit, to outright fuzzed-out distortion with a Super Collider Beast.

    Volume would be mid-sized club (100 to 250-ish) indoors, not run through the PA. One loud drummer and an unusually tasteful and reserved guitarist.

    The cover band plays everything from Adele to Iron Maiden with some Zeppelin and Jackson 5 thrown in. Versatility is a must, which is why I like the Genz so much. Very responsive to the BDDI, and any other pedal I use.

    A Shuttlemax 9.2 would probably be perfect. Just looking at options, and the SM1500 seems like an absolute beast with a lot of tone control.

    Thanks for the response!
  4. if it is the SWR sound you are after, maybe consider the Marcus Miller Preamp with one of the lightweight poweramps now available like the IPR or Crown XLS Drivecore
  5. :p Look at the size and weight spec of that 1500... one of the largest, heaviest amps out there, and has that anemic 750 power module (two of them, I guess, but still.... massive weight, huge size... makes little sense).

    As you say, the Max 12 is mismatched to that cab, since it will only put out its optimum performance with two 4ohm cabs (or four 8ohm cabs). So, you are basically running a Shuttle 6 into that relatively power hungry 8ohm cab (edit: misread as 12/6, but comments still valid).

    If you dig the tone and feature, as you suggest, the Max 9.2 is for you. The EQ works great with the 12/6 builds, and the power section is perfect for that cab. the '.2' Shuttles have a bit more 'fat' also in the low end.
  6. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    I believe the 1212/6 is 4 ohms...
  7. Thanks...misread that as a 12/6. My comments are still valid, since he is only using half of the Max 12 capability. The Max 9.2 would be perfect for that cab, assuming he likes the basic tone of the Max 12, but needs a more thumpin' low end and a bit more volume before hitting limiting.
  8. Yeah. I know it looks foolish to run this head with the 1212/6. But I originally had 2 Carvin BRX 10.2 Neos, which at 4 ohms each was perfect with this head.

    I got one of those 'deals of a lifetime' on the 1212 that I just couldn't pass up.

    Right now I'm just looking at options. Most likely I will add an external amp to the SM12 for budgetary reasons. But I want to take time and explore things.

    I know the SM1500 is outrageously heavy. But I am curious about it.
  9. The difference in cost between selling the Max 12 and getting a new Max 9.2 on deal would be less than you think. Lots of great deals on the Max 9.2 from those EBay music store deals, etc.

    The EQ on the Max heads works quite well with the 1212/6 and 15/6, etc. The upper mid semi-parametric combined with the treble control are great for flattening out that 2K and 4K peak in the 18Sound, and the variable LF control combined with the high shelving point of the bass control and the very nice high pass filtering on that head gives you LOTS of control on the low end. Combine that with the additional power and the new, heftier, fatter low end due to the new power management system in the '.2' heads, and it is pretty nice.

    If you REALLY want to thunder DEEP, and knock a wall down, the Mesa M9 is the real deal with these cabs... MASSIVE, open sub bass, and a super aggressive, bright grindy sound that is still warm enough to not sound 'clanky' through that particular mid driver. Two rack space and moderate weight.
  10. Ken- it's like you can read my mind!
  11. DustyBassplayer


    Mar 27, 2012
    Better off with a Marcus Miller preamp/power amp. Same tone probably of the SM1500 with more options

    If you like the 12.0, there is no reason not to go with the Max9.2
  12. Other than the weight, I can't fault the SM-1500 for anything. It IS heavy, but I have it in a rack case with wheels and pull out handle like todays suitcases. Works great!! I have had the amp for over 5 years now with no problems. Great tone, and pant leg blowing power through the Megoliath. I couldn't be more pleased. I used to love my SM-900......... until I got the 1500. It is SOOOOO nice having an amp that always has plenty of headroom.
  13. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    I had a SM500 and didnt like it. Way to clean for me.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You can crank the gain and dirty it up pretty good. Moot point now, I guess ;)
  15. Had an sm-900 for years. Sounded very good, thick and juicy hi fi sound. Was completely unreliable. Got incredibly hot. So hot that I melted the solder off capacitors multiple times. Had a hard time selling it, and an even harder time trading it in but finally got rid of it last week. 1500 might be a better design, but I will never buy an swr head again.
  16. Did you have it in a two space rack case? Sounds like you did. I found using a case with an extra space does the trick.
  17. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    No matter what I tried I couldnt get a tone I liked out of it. I guess I could have used a bass driver with it and it probably would have been fine but Im very happy with my 800Rb.

    I had a hell of a time selling mine also. The SM500 was over $1000 new, In the end I traded it plus cash on my end just to get rid of it.
  18. Used it without a rack case, and also in a 4 space with the amp cover removed and a high rpm external fan in the case. Amp failed on both instances. It was a serious pos.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'll give you that the GK sounds better dirty. I prefer Ampeg dirty ;) but the GK does a good job in a different way. Anyway, I ended up feeling the same way you did about the SWR stuff. Sounds great, but just wasn't quite hitting the mark for me.
  20. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    I liked the cabinet which was a Workingmans 410 it had a ton of punch, very snappy but 97lbs Id rather take my 212neo and save my back.