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Thinking about the SM-500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Nagrom, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    Hi. My wife's decided I need a new amp. We go in the store, she points to the SM-500 and states " That's your new amp. "

    I'm replacing my Studio 220 that powers an original Goliath cab.

    I've read the recent thread about the 750x vs the SM-500; my main issue with the 220, besides blowing it up three times, has alway been lack of power.

    Looking for some advice.
  2. I'm selling my SWR Bass 350 in favour of an EA iAMP 800. For about the same bucks, mucho clean power and more tone-shaping on-board. I liked the 350, wanted a bit more power and less coloring of the sound.

    Of course, your wife probably knows best.... :meh: ;) :D
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, my experience has been, that it's hard to fight the wife. (And why would you want to?) :)

    If she's decided that's the one you need, my advice would be "go for it".

    As I recall, the preamp section of the SM-500 is very similar to the one in the 220 (I used to have a Studio 220 for many years, it was one of my favorite pieces of gear, except for, as you say, lack of power for live situations).

    The main difference is the bigger power amp, which sounds like what you're looking for. The SM-500 should power an original Goliath very nicely. It should give you some of that nice clean bottom end at high volumes. I've played small outdoor venues with that configuration (actually an SM-400, which is very similar to the 500), it works fine. It should give you a very similar sound to what you're currently getting out of your 220. That's IMO of course (and IME).
  4. Nagrom,
    Are you going to be recording with this amp? If so, you need to consider that the fans in the SM 500s are very noisy. FWIW, I used mine for quite a while, and it was an awsome amp, but at low volumes the fan noise was annoying. I used it at church sometimes and, when we were not playng, I could hear the fan running loudly during the sermon. The other thing to consider is that, unless you are buying it used, there are many newer amps, like the previously mentioned EA iAMP, that give you a lot more bang for your buck. If you want an SM500, I definitely would not shell out 1,200 bucks for a new one, I'd go to ebay where you can get a nice used one for about $600.

    P.S. Where can I find a wife like that? :D :D
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Doesn't the SM-500 have a DI? You didn't use that for recording?
  6. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I have an SM-400S for gigs...the fan's no problem with all the crowd noise. In the studio, I bought an SM-400...the one without the fan...either amp is an exceptional value used...mine were around $300 each...and great sound with lots of power. The new SM-500 will, of course, be new and have Speakon connector for bridged mode...that you'll probably be using most of the time...instead of the SM-400's banana jack. I've had just one repair on one amp over a few years...the fan sensor failed, but that was fairly inexpensive to get repaired. These amps are built very, very solidly! But new...you'd have to open up to some of the newer bands and models, too.
  7. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    All very good advice, thanks. To clarify...
    The wife is a '68. They don't make them anymore, but there are new models available...
    I hate noisy gear. The SM-500 has a fan switch (I believe), but if it needs to run....
    The EA is a new product for me, and I must say it looks intriguing, but I've never seen any out here in western Canada, and TO is a long way from here.
    I'm in Toronto for about an hour on Saturday, then a few days in Cleveland. Anybody tell me where to go try the EA's?
  8. I'm running a SM500 and it is a really nice amp. Enough power for most/all of my live work, a nice preamp and EQ section, and it weighs about 20 lbs. I don't know where you would be recording, but most/all studios that I have worked in don't bat an eyelash at fan noise. It goes into another room, or it gets its own baffle setup. Who mics the freakin amp head anyhow? In the case that you are recording live to a stereo mic, you would again baffle it off or run a longer cable to get it out of the soundfield.


  9. In Toronto, go to Club Bass. Phone Dave Freeman first and tell him your story. He is a great guy, and the only EA dealer in Canada. Has lots of customers as far west as Vancouver.. link to website:

    Club Bass - For Discriminating Bassists

    If you are only there for ~ an hour you won't really have time to visit. However if you have one free hour close to downtown, you might be able to arrange something. Dave might also let you know where you can hear EA gear in Cleveland, or even put you in touch with some of his customers out west.
  10. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    Here's a question for you, Bob...
    Did you try out the i800 combo? Looks light & powerful, and might work well with my 410 Goliath?
  11. I guess I should not reply to forums at 2:00 am .:D

    Well the recording thing was not a great argument, and I realize studios can get around these problems. I am just a little picky about things, and the fan noise at lower volumes was really annoying to me. I was also very concious of it when I would be sitting in the congregation and I could hear my amps fan kick on loudly while just idling on standby. I just started turning it off, but I didn't like the idea of multiple powerups in a short time period with a tube amp.

    That in itself was not the reason I sold mine. i was looking for a bigger fatter sound, and so I went with Ashdown. These I find have very little fan noise, because they use dual fans running at a constant slower speed instead of a single thermostat controlled high speed fan. Just a personal preference thats all. Sorry if I offended any hardcore SM 500 users. :cool:
  12. I've tried it out - yes it might be good with the Goliath. Is it a 4 or 8 ohm model? I find the mids in the Goliath a bit lighter than I like, but the shaping possibilities of the iAMP 800 can deal with that.

    Because I'm down-sizing, I'm selling my 8 ohm Goliath III - but I might have a chance to try the two together tomorrow night. I'll let you know .

    However, I can't believe the sound through the new NL 210 - at 44 lbs it handles 500Watts, and easily fits in and out of the smallest car trunk! :hyper: :bassist:
  13. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    Well, just went & looked at the Goliath. "Manufactured exclusively for SWR by Eden Electronics", Bandana Plugs & 1/4" through, Serial Number in the 525** range, no sign of wattage or ohmic value. So, how do I tell for sure?

    I'm frankly torn between head & cab's or a combo. I'm liking the look of the i800 combo so fill me in on your experience later.

    I just picked up my 220 from the shop again today, they can't make it squauk like I can, typical half-way through Set 3.

    I guess I'll give it another chance tonight... but I'm bringing my MX-601 as a back-up.
  14. See my review of the EA iAMP 800 and NL210 from tonight's practice here

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