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Trading solid state for tubes (SWR)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by brock29609, Apr 17, 2004.


  1. brock29609

    brock29609 4 strings, 2 wheels

    May 11, 2003
    Greenville, SC
    Just picked up a SWR 550X, despite the fact that I love my SWR Workingmans 4004. What difference/improvements can I expect when it gets here in about 2 weeks? I'm going from a 5-band eq to a 3-band, from solid state to tubes, and from 400W to 550W. I think I'll miss having more control over the mids with the 5-band.
     
  2. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    AFAIK, SWR doesn't make an all-tube head, though they make hybrids (which i believe the 550X is.) I'm pretty sure you have a solidstate poweramp with a tube preamp. Many people consider that to be best of both worlds. Tube preamps are known to generally have more warmth in the tone than SS preamps. Much of the sound is dependent on what tube (or tubes) you put into the preamp. A tube preamp with a cheap $10 chinese tube isn't going to sound like one with a Mullard.
     
  3. brock29609

    brock29609 4 strings, 2 wheels

    May 11, 2003
    Greenville, SC
    I would assume the tube I'm getting in this used head are stock. Are stock tubes typically upgraded, much like pickups in a bass?
     
  4. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    It's not so much that the tube...there's just one...is upgraded, but rather than it's changed for different shades of sound...brighter, fuller, rounder, whatever.

    About EQ...despite having bass, treble, presence, and 4 variable-center EQ sliders, I don't end up using much EQ on my SWR SM-400S.
     
  5. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    In my little experience with tube preamps, I'd say that they are more like strings, except they last a helluva lot longer.
     
  6. corinpills

    corinpills

    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    There's certainly a ton of opinion on this subject available by searching, but a hybrid amp is not a tube amp. The idea that a 12AX7 in the preamp is going to give you "new ultra tube- like vitality" is pure hype. The sound of a tube amp is a combination of many things- formeostly a tube power section. Most people who play all tube bass amps find hybrid amps pretty anemic sounding (though that statement should be read in relation to the fact that all bass sounds pretty darn good. I've never heard a bass sound bad through any amp in the grand scheme of things).

    To answer your question, though, you really shouldn't notice any huge difference in tone between the two. You might have more tone shaping options with a tube pre and I bet you won't miss your 5 band EQ too much- you'll get used to it. There actually shouldn't even be very much difference in volume betwene those wattage ratings. You'll probably never push those extra 150 watts.
     
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    "The idea that a 12AX7 in the preamp is going to give you "new ultra tube- like vitality" is pure hype. The sound of a tube amp is a combination of many things- formeostly a tube power section."

    Well said. I couldn't have said it better myself.

    One of the interesting things about the 550x is the sub-wave, that should be an interesting toy. Other than that, the extra power might help, and as you say you might notice the missing EQ (but you'll get used to it).

    Now you'll have to get a new cab to handle all that juicy low end. :)
     
  8. brock29609

    brock29609 4 strings, 2 wheels

    May 11, 2003
    Greenville, SC
    I'm set in the cab department. If I don't notice a significant difference it tone for the better, I'll just sell the 550x and keep the WM 4004. The 400W it gives me has been plenty. The difference in power was not why I upgraded.