What's wrong with the Warwick LWA 500?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Albino RyNo, May 4, 2018.


  1. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    I see used Warwick LWA 500's for sale at really great prices quite often, yet I never see people gush about them like they do the Aguilar Tonehammer or Markbass stuff. I've owned a few low end Rockbasses from Warwick but I've never played through a Warwick amp. Is there something wrong with the LWA 500? On paper it seems like exactly what I'm looking for but there's just not a lot of opinions out there about it and that worries me a bit. Is there a reason people are selling them used all the time? Are there just not that many owners on talkbass? I'd love to hear from anybody who's played through one as I haven't found a music store yet that carries one so that I can try it.

    For those interested, I'm trying to find a class D amp that is fairly neutral or "transparent" sounding as I opt for using preamp pedals to shape and color my tone and I'm also running into a DSM Noisemaker Omnicab Sim for cabinet simulation. My point is that my amp's purpose will mainly be for me to monitor my sound and any coloration or character from the amp would only benefit my ears, not the recording or the audience since they would be hearing the Direct Out from the Omnicabsim before it ever hits my amp. The cab I would be using with this Class D head is a 4ohm 500w Eden 2x10 xst.

    I never really considered a Warwick amp when I started my Class D hunt but I came across some cheaper used ones, did some research, and on paper at least it looks like what I need. The review in Bass Player made it seem like it was really neutral sounding and this official blurb, that could just be marketing BS, caught my attention:

    "The advancement in power supply technology and error correction circuitry in the Class D power amp used allows for tighter and stronger bass response than previously possible in this type of amplifier making it comparable in sound to much heavier Class A/B amps."

    Is this BS? Are these amps awesome? Any input would be super helpful.
     
  2. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    If you run your preamp and modeler/cab sim into the power amp input (bypassing the amp's tone shaping), they are all pretty neutral.

    You want to be sure your output can drive line level though. Most real preamps can do this, but some can not. Since your OmniCab can take instrument level and output line level, you should have no problem.
     
  3. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    That's a great point! I didn't think about going into the power amp input. If anything, the only reason I'd still want to run into the font end would be to adjust the preamp eq to accommodate for specific rooms. So, if I were to bypass the preamp and go straight into the power amp the only concern I would have is how that specific Class D amp handled the low end. I tried out the Fender Rumble 500 and thought the low fequencies felt a bit mushy. I've heard people describe Markbass Class D amps as having bass frequencies that "bloom" instead of being super punchy. I guess that's why the quote from Warwick about the power module in the LWA 500 allowing for tighter and stronger bass response caught my attention.
     
  4. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    You need to try the Rumble into the power amp in because the preamp contains some significant voicing elements that could be the reason for your feeling about the amp.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  5. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    I'll definitely give that a try. Lots of people swear by the rumble.
     
  6. PastorZ

    PastorZ

    Jan 17, 2018
    St. Marys, Ga
    I own the LWA500 and am very happy with it. The marketing about being "tighter stronger bass" has proven to be true for me. The amp is very transparent, punchy and it's almost completely silent (fan rarely comes on and is very quiet when it is running). I have it paired with two Hartke HD112 cabs and have fallen in love with this setup.
    For reference, my main bass is German Warwick Streamer LX.
    Full Stack.jpg
     
  7. Albino RyNo

    Albino RyNo

    Jan 20, 2016
    Dang! That's a heck of a setup you've got there. The fan being silent is great info. I got to try a Peavey Minimax in a store recently and all the compliants about the fan in that unit are absolutely true. You could hear it running in a loud music store with several people playing. It sounds like the Warwick LWA 500 might be the amp for me. Have you had the chance to use both active and passive basses with it? Do you use any effects pedals?
     
  8. PastorZ

    PastorZ

    Jan 17, 2018
    St. Marys, Ga
    No, I haven't used this amp with a passive bass so I cannot speak to how well it would perform with one. Also, I don't use any effects just my bass, my fingers and my amp - I'm a keep it simple kinda guy.
     
  9. Viikate

    Viikate

    Nov 19, 2018
    Hi,
    is it possible to plug preamp straight into a power amp of LWA500? Usually this is done by plugging preamp to the fx return, but there is only a single combined fx return and send.
     
  10. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    A special cable is necessary.
     
  11. Ronnie Milsap's bass player has been using Warwick amps and cabs for many years. Sounds fine live, but most of what I'm hearing of his bass is thru the FOH, so I can't really judge how it sounds up close. I sit in the cheap seats so FOH is probably all I'm getting.
     
    Coloradotwanger and matante like this.
  12. bassically_eli

    bassically_eli Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Mebane, NC
    Regarding the TRS fx loop, any idea if the 'fx receive' is tip or ring? I'm thinking that if it's the tip, than a normal 1/4" cable should work for by-passing the preamp.
     
  13. I liked the. WA series of Warwick amps, if they're anything to go by.
    Haven't tried the LWA tho.
     
  14. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    If this is the case, then yes. It was done both ways on pro audio consoles, where this insert concept was most popular, so it's important to look at the manual to determine the configuration of the insert.
     
    BassmanPaul likes this.
  15. bassically_eli

    bassically_eli Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Mebane, NC
    Unfortunately, the manual doesn't seem to specify.
     
  16. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    You have got to be kidding???

    I just looked and apparently they want you to guess... note that it's a parallel loop so if you use it you should understand how parallel loops work and why they might be used.
     
  17. bassically_eli

    bassically_eli Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Mebane, NC
    So I actually bought an LWA500 on the cheap a few weeks ago, and I'm pretty impressed. Here are a few of my observations:
    • The EQ sounds completely flat with the knobs at noon. To many people, this will actually sound somewhat mid-forward since we are so accustomed to hearing a mid-scooped tone, but it sounds as flat to me as my EA Iamp 500.
    • The EQ points, while perhaps misnamed (800 Hz is by now means "low-mid") are actually really musical and work great with both EBG and DB. They really should have called them Low, Mid, High, and Brilliance (or Treble. I think Fishman has used similar labeling, among others. I am really surprised how useful having the high-mid control at 3kHz and the High at 10kHz is. The 3kHz does a nice job of adding to the attack and string noise (this good for slapping the electric as well as piz on the upright), and the 10kHz does a great job of just adding air and space up top. Also, the 800Hz mid control actually does a good job of scooping the tone when cut, as well as providing the Jaco-ish tone when boosted. I think there may be more going on with the EQ than meets the eye.
    • The effects loop: the Send is the tip, and the ring is the Return. If it was the other way around, perhaps you could just use a standard mono plug to bi-pass the pre-amp? As is, you need an adapter to do this. I got one for ~$6, but that's one more thing to keep track of
    • Weight and size: according to my kitchen scale, it weighs 2.85 lbs., but what I really like is the size. It's less than 9" square, which means it fits nicely on top my MAS26 in it's vertical position. This gives me me a stage footprint of about 8.75" x 13.5". Very convenient on tight stages. Also, the LWA's case extends past all the knobs and jacks, so there are not unprotected protrusions.
    • The compressor on mine is a little finicky, but I think I have a power chord with a bad ground. I switched out the power chord today, and the compressor is working perfectly. I'm not sure why this would be; it might just be a coincidence. That said, when the compressor works, it's actually really nice. I think I like it better than my Budda Chakra pedal. It interacts very strongly with the gain knob, so I think of it as a two-knob, rather than one-knob, compressor. My one complaint about it is that when at the min position (7 o'clock), it's supposed to act like a limiter, but it cuts so much gain that it's damn near impossible to get enough volume out of the amp. Perhaps I'll figure this out with a little experimenting. I rarely use compression, though, as I'm only playing upright lately.
    • Features: It has almost everything you could want, including a speakon-combo jack. I really like have all the features at my finger tips. I don't have to worry about headphone adapters, or ground lift adapters, or speaker cable adapters...okay, there is the effects loop. Plus, I don't think there is a smaller, lighter amp with this much power (the Acoustic Image Clarus is pretty close).
    • Impedance: The impedance is too low for my Realist pickup. The manual doesn't list the input impedance, but I saw a magazine that listed it as 1 M-Ohm. I'm sure it's well under 1 M-Ohm, though. The manual/marketing materials make a big deal about the low Z preamp. This is okay for me, as I always use my Fdeck, even if only for volume control at my bass.
    As you can tell, I'm awfully happy with it so far. I bought it expecting a light weight power amp, as I really didn't know what to expect from the preamp. Turns out it's really good. Hope this helps!
     
  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Actually, it's input impedance 1.1M regardless of your speculation.
     
  19. bassically_eli

    bassically_eli Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Mebane, NC
    How do you figure that? I hope you're right, but the manual doesn't list a spec, and my Realist works fine with every other device that's rated at 1M. Going straight into the LWA500 gives me really, really low output with a tiny, thin sound. I'm not saying there isn't another explanation, just that I don't have one, unless my unit is flawed. I'll try it out again being extra careful to check all the settings and connections.
     
  20. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    I have my ways
     
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