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Who is using a SWR SM-900 ??????

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ncognito, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned Commercial User

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hoffman Estates, Illinois
    Owner, Xsonics Bass Cabinets
    I've tried alot of SWR heads over the years and nothing has really grabbed me. This weekend I had an out of town gig, and the supplied backline amplifier was a SWR SM-900 into an Eden 410XLT. I must say I really liked this combination. Lots of EQ possibilities. A little light on power (I've used an Ampeg SVT-4 Pro with an Eden 410XLT for the last 7 years), but finally an SWR that I liked.

    I see lots of used SM-900's for sale everywhere. Is anybody using this head anymore? Is there a reason why so many are for sale? Any problems with the SM-900 I should know about?

    Can any current users or former users chime in about the SM-900 before I go out any buy one?

    Thanks for any input here!!!!
  2. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    I use an SM900 and like it very much, though truth be told I prefer the pre in my SM400. (If I could mate the 400 pre with the 900 power section in one chassis, I'd be set for life... or until the next GAS attack) I've never found power to be lacking, and I've been able to mimic the tones from a broad range of amps pretty convincingly when I had to. IMO, the amp sounds huge flat but that is purely subjective. It does run hot like all SWR's so you need an exrta rack space if you are going to rack it.

    I think there is a backlash against SWR gear right now for a couple of reasons; 1. The anti-Fender takeover/hate the man contingent who are spreading propaganda make the brand seem less attractive, 2. there is a trend towards more grind or "warmth" in bass tones which people don't associate with SWR (FWIW, while I think SWR heads can't do distortion for cr@p, they can be plenty warm when eq'd right) 3. there are a lot of options in the mid to hi level hi-fi bass amp market and the SM900, while a good design is a bit older and therefore not as chic. and 4, at 800W, the 900 is sort of sitting right on the fence in terms of power between the pre/power rack setup and the all inclusive head. A lot of people at that power range can put together a good pre power rig for the price of a 900. All this adds up to people dumping their 900's, methinks. Could be wrong.

    I got mine on e-bay for $800 mint condition. The only thing I'd trade it for is the mongrel I mentioned above. If you like the tone it's a great amp.
  3. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    I've heard the same complaint from several people. I use an SM 500 so I can't personally comment on that but it's the main reason why I've never bothered moving up to the 900.

  4. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    I use a SM-900 and love it. As a matter of fact it is the best most flexible bass head I have ever had besides the Mesa 400+. But they do tend to run a little hot sometimes? But I believe it is one of the most flexible in EQ section and the power amp section by far.
  5. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    I traded my SM 500 for the 900,and regretted it ! IMO the 500 had a fat,and sweeter sound than the 900 suffice to say that I didn't keep the 900 for very long. I went with the Aguilar DB 750.
  6. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I dig my SM-900, and I regularly get compliments on my tone from other bassists.
  7. finn74


    Nov 28, 2001
    Washington DC Area
    I use the SWR 900 every Sunday during praise and worship, I personally do not like this amp. The power is not what one would expect for 900 watts and yes it is being run bridged mono. The fan is loud and come on at the most annoying times. Tone? It just plain sucks. I have had to fiddle and tweek so many knobs that I've just given up. 2 cahnnels w/ 2 sets of EQ is just nuts. Save your money, buy the 500 or the 350 or 750 series. They are the better sounding amps and are much more user friendly. Just my 2 cents, YMMV.
  8. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    SWR chassis are designed to wick the heat away from the vital components so you feel the heat. They are not malfunctioning and "running hot". For straight unbridged power check out Bass 750. You get the preamp section of the Redhead with huge power. Used they are a deal as I prefer the pre X ones. As a poster said most SWRs sound great flat. So why pay for 3 distinct eq settings and having to bridge the beast? IMHO.
    And to you "anti this/pro that" people if you don't agree with me you're wrong.
    Just kidding, it's either to your liking or it isn't. If you don't buy what we tell you too and you sound like doggie doo....well we told you!
    Okay, just kidding again.
  9. TimothyGroovy

    TimothyGroovy Commercial User

    Aug 3, 2000
    Hong Kong
    Owner: Uni••Sound Endorsing Artist: La Bella Strings
    I've just got my SWR SM-900 for a month, It is really nice! :D I have no complains with it and all my bandmates are satisfy with the sound. It is clean and loud. but I haven't bring it to any gigs yet. I will check out the sound in live action! For my sound setting, I only set my SM-900 flat, and boost the bass and treble sometimes, but I already satify with the sound, because its can completely amplify the sound from my bass.
  10. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned Commercial User

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hoffman Estates, Illinois
    Owner, Xsonics Bass Cabinets
    The SM-900 seems to be able to get sounds that I've never could get from other SWR amplifiers.
  11. Flat Bass

    Flat Bass

    Dec 8, 2002
    The SM-900 sounds great set flat with the bass on 11 o'clock. Or you can go on to SWR website and they have a ton of cool settings suggestions for all the EQ knobs with pictures. It is a great solid state amp!
  12. I've had mine for around 3 years now. It's been in the shop 7 times, running hot and blowing fuses, improperly installed DI, fuse well installed wrong, bad LED/bad solder joint for LED, while well within it's operating parameters. By the way before someone comes running to SWR's rescue, there should be a distinction between "running hot" and "do not touch if you value the first 6 layers of your skin." In less than 3 years it was in the shop 7 times, and I only used it for shows, not for practices. It got less time than my beat-up 20 year old SS amps and still couldn't handle. By the way, the only reason I'm still using it is because I rigged a fan into the back of my rack to ventilate it.

    If you don't believe me, there are some similar stories on Harmony Central:

    I'll be adding my story re. the SM-900 and bASS 750 when I get around to it.

    While I know there are good and great ones out there, do yourself a favor, look somewhere else.
  13. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned Commercial User

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hoffman Estates, Illinois
    Owner, Xsonics Bass Cabinets
    Ouch!!!!! I gig about 3 days a week, and I can't afford to have an amp with a bad track record.

    Is the SM-900 that unreliable???? Anyone else with this type of horror story?

    Thanks in advance.
  14. If you checked out the Harmony Central reviews, remember, don't believe everything you read. All I know of SWR has been of my experience, and the bad reviews on HC are similar to my stories. I will say, I love my SWR cabs, the SWR heads, when they're working or not blowing up my beloved SWR cabs, can sound really great... after you spend a few months tweaking the EQ...
  15. i have an sm400 and its pretty cool, somethings wrong with it and it doesnt work in stereo but i say that doesnt matter much and its like 20 years old so im pretty sure swr is reliable.
  16. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned Commercial User

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hoffman Estates, Illinois
    Owner, Xsonics Bass Cabinets
    I've been to 3 music stores that carry SWR, and EVERY SM-900 had its fuses and fuse holders removed. I couldn't play any of the 3!!

    Does this amp blow fuses all the time?

    I'm afraid to own one of these SM-900's.

  17. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    The Grey Faced 900's manufactured by SWR Engineering are the best.

    No the fuses do not blow.

    However, idiot's do lose their fuse holder caps and then
    steal replacements from store floor models.
  18. So what's better - having a versatile tone stack with alleged choices, or a very limited stack with a single tone?
  19. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned Commercial User

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hoffman Estates, Illinois
    Owner, Xsonics Bass Cabinets
    When were the Grey Faced 900's manufactured by SWR Engineering?
  20. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Steve W. Rabe sold SWR Engineering in December of 1997.

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