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!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

the SWR sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by morgancurrie, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. i recently purchased a workingman's 4004 online, and while i'm waiting for it to arrive i was wondering if anyone wants to enlighten me as to the 'SWR sound' i hear so much about it. i'm sure that my fingers / stacked single coils will be enough to make any gear sound like myself, but i'm still curious as to what tone colouring SWR is known for. anyone have any recordings that sound particularly SWR-ish? keep in mind i'll be running my warmoth tele-jazz-beast through it, which sounds (eq'd flat, di + my gigantic fingers) an awful lot like geddy's 'exit' tone.
  2. I have a recording I made using the line out of an sm400 straight through to the computer. if you have msn or something I can send it to you.

    edit: the eq was flat but it was with a pick and it was a pj bass with only the P pickup which was a seymor duncan quarter pound P.
  3. My SWR Interstellar Overdrive is very clean sounding. To the point of being labeled "sterile" by some folks. IMO, what goes in, is what you hear. It is not what I consider to be a colored preamp.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    no experience with the IOD here. i have played several of the origianl swr amps which to me all sounded the same. the WM series has no tube in the preamp. i've done limited playing thru those and the la series with the exception of the older WM12 and WM15 combos. to me, those two sounded very similar (but not identical) to the older swr heads with the tube in the preamp. the SWR sound? It's not THE most uncolored preamp out there, but it's definitely on that side of the fence. Those that dig it call it "transparent" those that don't tend to call it "chilly" and "sterile". To me it's one of those amps that sounds OK playing by yourself, but does very well in a full band setting, where it tends to cut thru. There seems to be a bit of a dip around 200 Hz, a peak somewhere in the 2k - 4K range, and a dropoff in the really high end of treble. It's not a warm amp by any means. A lot of times that works for me, when i need/want more "girth" or "warmth" i use a sans amp DI in front of it (or i use another preamp). go listen to the baby blue/electric blue and the grand prix clips on www.basstasters.com. compare them to clips with some of the other preamps. that should give you a bit of an idea. One thing i do like quite a bit about the SWR is that you can add "warmth' to it with something like a BDDI, or use the more "transparent" tone of the amp itself. in contrast, you can't "uncolor" a preamp that puts more of a signature stamp on your tone.
  5. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    You just hit all of the high points/reasons why I like SWR so much...excellent post. :D
  6. IMO the SWR sound is very clean and HiFi sounding. I have owned most of the Pro Cabinets (Goliath III, Goliath III Jr., Goliath Senior, Son Of Bertha) and The Bass750 & Bass350 heads, Baby Baby Blue, WM12 & LA8. (all pre-Fender) I have gigged with them all. Even the LA8 at church!

    Their sound is very well suited for slapping, one of the best for that actually. Very Similiar to Eden. Very deep lows and pristine highs that are never harsh. They have great reliability and a well earned reputation for quality. The soundmen always loved the signal that the XLR was sending out.

    I owned them for the last seven years. Played them in Rock, Blues, Country & Contemporary Worship Bands. I stopped using them because they were never did it for me. I switched a lot of cabs trying to get the sound I was after but realized finally that the hifi sound was not what I was looking for after all. I know, it took me a long time to admit this because I had such a large investment in them!

    I tried an Ampeg and that was it for me. The cloud parted. After years of hearing about SVTs I finally bought one, then two. That is the sound I was always looking for. Something substantial that doesn't get lost in the mix. Colored? Yes but in a good way, forget about transparency for me. Give me the punch!

    If the SWR sound has a fault it is that it sounds great soloed, but in a band context it tends to be very weak in the mids and gets lost in the mix, just a loud boom and sizzle but no growl, at least in my experience.

    I guess I am old school and like the warm tube thunder that I could never get with SWR, but get with my SVT. Slapping never was my forte and I am more comfortable with the sounds and overdriven tones I grew up on of Classic Rock.

    What is the SWR sound? Well it has a lot to do with the tube in the preamp but the workingman's series doesn't have those so you will only get an approximation of the sound with your 4004.

    Definitely not a Classic rock sound but great for GB and fusion and dance music if that is your bag.

    I don't mean to bash SWR at all, but seeing as you were looking for opinions on the sound, I figured I was at least qualified to give an opinion based on my experience. I figure, better me than someone who has only read about them and parrots what everyone else says.

    *disclaimer* I hadn't seen the two previous posts while I was composing this post, so my comments are not directed as responses to them in particular. No offense intended.
  7. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    As others have said, SWR is very hi-fi. Personally, I think the power ratings on their heads are a bit exxagerated. As for the cabs, the Workingman is just like the Pro series in low frequencies but there is definately a difference in high frequencies. If you like the sound, go for it. I actually liked their cabs paired with a Trace V4 and now own a Henry 8X8.
  8. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Clean, and I find the 4004 sterile. Depending on what you like, you might want something to warm it up..
  9. I'm playing a Traben and an Ibanez five string bass throgh a SWR 550x head and a Goliath III speaker. Yes, it's great for clean sounds and slapping, as others already mentioned and I like that, but I also like to play a lot of overdriven with my odb-3 or with some overdrive settings on my gt6-b ... but it doesn't matter how much and how i set all the knobs.. it never sounds good.
    so.. I'm looking forward to sell it to someone, who likes it more than me. and one day, if I have enough money I will test a lot of all-tube amps, because I heard, they're much better for overdriven stuff.
    greets ;)
  10. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    • The ODB-3 sounds like crap no matter what your plugged into.
    • Most OD/DIST settings on the GT6-B are crap.

    good luck
  11. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    If you like a bass tone with absolutely no warmth or liveliness, go with SWR. :p


    Then again, I don't really like either Ampeg OR SWR. One ain't clear enough while the other's TOO clear. That's why I like GK or my Sunn. :cool:
  12. coming from the guy who cant tell the difference in size between a 12'' speaker and a 10'' one. :meh: