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Walter Woods amp alternatives?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DanL, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. DanL

    DanL Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    I have read about Walter Woods amplifiers for years.

    Looking at the prices that these amps are going for, they must be quite amazing.


    For the rest of us, is there an alternative that comes close in quality and transparency for double bass work?

    Thanks to all in advance!
  2. Low Class

    Low Class

    Jul 4, 2005
    The EA Doubler or Acoustic Image Clarus SL.
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    There are many amps that will do what the Walter Woods amps do and more. Spend a little time searching on this forum and you will see many options.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    WW amps were very innovative for their time. Their prices reflect that early innovation.
    Other amp makers have caught up or even passed WW.
    IMO, of course.
  5. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    There's no telling where Walter may have ended up at had he continued developing amps and technology.
    Jeff Scott, nbsipics and Marty Forrer like this.
  6. Acoustic Image Clarus series4 plus. I owned a WW back in the late 80s, and I'm sure my AI is at least as good and probably better.
    Tommyc likes this.
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Have you played any WW? Every one I've gotten to play through has sounded very good.
    Good enough to pay 2 to 3 times what a comparable modern solid state head costs?
    Good enough put up with the lack of schematics and tech info to make local repair easy?

    Having just been through the major PITA of selling and refunding an expensive rare-ish amp to someone who didn't really understand what he was buying I'd advise against a WW unless you can play through some and know 100% for sure it's what you want.
    Jim Carr, alzabass, ELG60 and 3 others like this.
  8. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I owned one of the two channel 100 watt Woods amps years ago. I liked it fine but eventually wanted more power. A local player gave up on the high power Woods amps because of reliability problems.

    I went to Genz Benz Shuttle and Shuttlemax amps and have been delighted with them. Recently I added Tone Hammer 500 and AG 700 amps from Aguilar to my bass amp collection and am very happy indeed.

    There are so many great sounding and reliable amps available at reasonable prices that I do not think it makes good sense to buy a Woods amp. YMMV
    pjbassist and agedhorse like this.
  9. You need a preamp that does what you need it to do with your pickup. The choices are many, either go with a separate preamp plus power amp or integrated bass head.
  10. WW's were unicorns in their day, the first then of what now has become the new normal, i.e., high-powered amps in cigar-box-sized chassis at a very light weight. Amazing amps, and while still repairable by the qualified with proper schematics, the wow factor they once enjoyed is now matched and passed by any number of contemporary products with far-wider support networks.

    I agree with Andy that it would have been very interesting to see where these would have gone had WW continued to develop and market them. In their day, they were a whispered-about amp for those in the know, widely talked about but rarely seen.
    DanL, mindwell and Jim Carr like this.
  11. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I’ve owned five or six Walter Woods amps over the years and have been playing a stereo Electracoustic for about 15 years with superb performance and zero problems. I’ve also owned and played a wide variety of more modern amplifiers touted to be as good or better than the WW.

    None of them have come close to the Walter Woods in terms of sound and reliability. I will play mine until it gives up the ghost and then I’ll have it repaired in Berlin.

    Tech specs on paper notwithstanding, I am extremely skeptical of comparisons between the WW and other amplifiers by users without real-world experience playing a Walter Woods.
  12. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Are they sold in Europe somewhere?
  13. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I believe this place in Berlin occasionally has some for sale. Aside from that they sometimes pop up on various gear sites.
    Audio Repair Berlin - Walter Woods Repair
  14. Transparency is no longer a boutique amp exclusivity. I jumped on the PJB bandwagon a few years ago (which also comes at a premium, though not as heavy as WW I presume) and it did sound great for upright, but lacked power. There are more budget-conscious options that will get you there as well.

    Me, I switched to a Quilter Bass Block coupled with a 1x12 cab and it is just as transparent as my previous rig. All I had to do was put a para EQ in front to tame my pickup's mids. This new combination gives me more than twice the power (and an actually better tone) for significantly less than what I initially paid for the boutique rig.
    Agosix and Marty Forrer like this.
  15. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    i am very please with my stable of acoustic image amps. great customer service is available for those amps as well.
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Although I've used WW for two decades, I wouldn't buy one today. When I bought my WW I needed two channels for gigs where I was playing both DB and BG. Noone else was making two channel amps any more at that time. Then Acoustic Image came out with some two channel heads as did EA and both were designed with DB in mind. If I needed only one channel, though, I'd probably go with a GK, actually. Maybe a Quilter.

    Last time I checked, Walter only sells his 1200 watt amps (with the blue pilot lights) and they are over $2000 and used ones aren't much cheaper. You can buy used AI and EA heads for $500 if you look around.

    I've talked to a few doublers who switched from their WW to AI Clarus heads and surprisingly they all said that the WW sounded better :meh: but they wanted something with more direct support for repairs and appreciated the extra features of AI like a HPF, XLR out, mute switch, Speakons.

    P.S. despite the low weight, a WW is not a class D amp. Which is really where Walter's genius shows through.
    interp likes this.
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Interp speaks the truth. I moved on to
    other solutions because of the rising cost of reparing the Walter Woods not because I found something comparable in newer amps. My MI-400-8 had been in service for 25 years without any issues when I sold it last year.
    interp likes this.
  18. Low Class

    Low Class

    Jul 4, 2005
    I played Walter's amps for many years and have owned more than I remember. I sold my last one several years ago when other light weight amps started become available and Walter has become much older. I figured the used market value of his amps would drop and they would become harder and more expensive to get repaired, so I got out. Since then I have been through just about every amp that has hit the market and have yet to find something that sounded as good as Walter's amps. I'm not gigging as much as I used to so it's hard to justify the cost of another one, but I may have to anyway.
    interp likes this.
  19. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I can’t argue with that. You present some compelling reasons why there are now better choices for doublers. And your comment about the lack of HPF, XLR, mute switch and Speakons is certainly valid. But, as you imply, the core quality of Walter’s amps has yet to be surpassed.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  20. Joshua Pickenpaugh

    Joshua Pickenpaugh

    Apr 16, 2001
    A GK MB200 gives a great respectable / comparable tone a WW. Easier to use, too.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 26, 2021

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