SWR SM-400S

Made by SWR

Posted By ActiveBass
Directory Equipment: Amplifiers
Rate/Review This Resource
Overall Rating: 5.0 (of 5)
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Member Reviews


On 7/29/2002, Max Bass (2781) posted:
Overall Rating:
As i told before i tried other heads before this one, and lots i used in the past, but with my current basses, i think this is the ultimate head for me. I think im going to play Warwick for years to come, and i just cant see other amps better suited for them than my SM 400S. I undoubtely rebuy this head again, if anything should happen. Favorite aspect? The sound, very hi-fi with an excellent flat Worst aspect? Being used to the Trace Elliot dual compressor, i think that the onboard Limiter is the weakest point. SWR doesn produce this head anymore,and its quite common to find some used, if it happens to you TRY IT!!
Price: $1100.00 Euro
Where Obtained: private seller
Features:
Two separate inputs (passive and active/passive) you can plug two instruments together! Gain level; limiter level; aural enhancer; bass, high and tranparency level (+- 15 db each); 4 bands semiparametric Eq. (+-15 db); master volume; channel balancer; continuous crossover frequency selector; no stand by. The limiter level its a sort of compressor, nothing to deal with 2 way split compressor of my old Trace head. Aural Enhancer emphasizes low and high frequencies and cuts some mids, its very useful for fast sound adjustments without altering the Eq. Section. Bass and High controls are added to the EQ section together with a Transparency knob (non so useful, it brings out a few more than some hiss, maybe its for passive basses). I like very much the semiparametric 4 bands equalizer; its very sharp and flexible, and can affect your sound seriously. Two other useful knobs are the channel balancer and crossover frequency selector (when the 2 power amps are used in stereo mode). Rear panel includes DI send with his own level and line-direct selector (you can choose to feed the P.A: with just the sound of your bass driven through the preamplifier tube, or send a post eq signal); left/right/mono effects, bridge or right/left power output to speakers. Power handling Mono 500 Watts @ 4 ohm loads 400 Watts @ 8 ohms and 250 Watts @ 16 ohms Stereo 300 watts @ 2 ohms, 250 Watts @ 4 ohms and 150 Watts into 8 ohms each
Sound Quality:
This monster head is the device choosen for amplifying my two Warwick, a 1989 Thumb necktru and a 2001 Streamer LX. Each bass is bringed to life with the SM400S, it seems that at SWR they were thinking about Warwick basses when they made this head. I run my head in biamped mode, one channel drives a 4 ohm 4x10 (Marshall) , the other a 4 ohm 1x15 (EBS), each cab is full range (i dont use crossover option) , and i get a very pleasing sound, deep and punchy lows, growling mids and crystal highs, with a very little usage of bass and/or head eq. controls. Wheter im playing with my own hardcore band, or with a rocknroll cover band its always a pleasure to plug in at our reharsal room. Ive choosen this head replacing my old Trace Elliot and after trying some Eden, Ampeg, EBS, Marshall, Hartke, Warwick, GK, and still i will choose it again. The head is silent, even turning on gain and volume, of course you have to be careful boosting too high end. The inner fan is quite noisy and could eventually cause some problems in studio (unluckly i was in studio just a couple of months before recording!!). When turned on the head produced a pronunced shot, since theres no stand-by; turning off is indeed quiet. As i told before the sound is really hi-fi, but turning on the gain and reducing the limiter can produce a warm tube driven sound. Real tube distortion is another thing, but thats not what im looking for, i prefer solid state for bass, and when i want i get nasty picking hard.
Ease of Use:
The head is easy to use, expecially if you play almost flat like me. Semiparametric EQ is something you have to lern to manage, but its very useful for sharp intonation of your sound according to room, speakers, stage positioning etc. I prefer a flat tone when the bass and head allows me to do it, and thats my situation. However ive no problem tweaking, and i find what im looking for within a couple of minutes on every head, so maybe im not the right man to judge ease of use.