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Swart Amp Porn
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author Swart Amp Porn
Muff Wiggler
edit - look through the thread, at least the first five pages - I got a second Swart, a head-and-cab setup, and I've taken both apart to take pics, loads of juicy pics if you read through the thread!


I was asked if I would take a couple photos of sweet #316 for the Swart website, so i I thought I would make some lower-res copies of the better ones to put up here at the forum. Will probably blog a couple of them as well. enjoy.

First up, a shot of the tube chart. I like this for a few reasons - Michael has been building these since '94 (i believe). Anyway, mine was built 2 weeks ago, and it's #316. Not sure why, but I love that. I just like handmade things a lot.

The other thing I like about this pic is the martini glass doodle. Apparently he puts this on the amp that is the best out of each test batch. He told me "they all sound great, but I can usually find the pick of the litter. congrats!" That's some sweet luck for me 8)

ooh, Muff is showing his sensitive side, LOOK FLOWERS mad

NOS GE USA 6087 (5Y3) Rectifier tube working away....

Now this was amazing..... this amp, with a bit of it's onboard reverb, sounds STUNNING with the theremin. I've never heard anything like it, so haunting. I think they were made for each other....

I needed to make this thread to balance out all the Fucking Fucker talk that's been going on around here razz I think this amp is the polar opposite of the Fucking Fucker lol
Chuck E. Jesus
the fucked fuckee?

looks sweet dude!
looks like a very serious little amp...

how much is one ? :shock:
Muff Wiggler
thanks! yes, it is INDEED a very serious little amp. I've never heard anything like it to be honest. My two friends who heard it both said it was the best sounding amp they have ever heard in their lives

They are $1700 USD new, I got a very good deal on this one though

all hand-made, point-to-point wired, etc. Really sweet amps

real nice

i want one

Re: the theremin sound...

Theremins must be made to be used with guitar amps, they just sound so amazing with them. I did some theremin fx on a friend's project a while back and he had borrowed a Mark IV Boogie and we had it cranked in the vocal booth; it sounded out of this world!
been thinking about either this swart amp, or an emery, or a siegmund for myself. trouble with the boutique tube amps is that it's impossible to try them out before you buy, but i guess at least you know you'll be getting quality, even if you don't know exactly how they sound!
Muff Wiggler
yeah, i hear ya there. luckily I got to spend some time with a Swart before making my decision. It was a *very* convincing experience.

If you look at Swart's dealer listing, if you live anywhere near any of those shops, you would be able to try the amps out there. There was one in Montreal, which is only an hour and a half from me, and a place I end up going to often anyway. I stopped by and got to play with the amp all I wanted 8)

definately very very scary to drop 'boutique amp prices' on something you've never had a chance to try. Actually that's something I couldn't bring myself to do.

I guess though, on the other hand, if (let's say) you KNEW you were looking for a Fender tweed-era clone, if you chose a Victoria or a Clark amp, you would have a very good idea what you would be getting, assuming you trust that their craftsmanship is what they claim it is.

In my case, I wasn't necessarily looking for a clone of anything in particular. The 'tone' I had in mind wasn't really specifically a Vox or a Fender or a Tweed or a British or a California sort of sound. (OK, well I knew is wan't a "California" sound I was after), I was looking for THICK WARM, FULL/SPATIAL tone, sort of 'make the hairs on your neck stand up' tone. I knew there would be amps in different styles that could provide this, so I couldn't say I was after a "EL84 amp" or a "6V6 amp" or a "Vox Clone".

Anyway, I also had a bunch of other criteria for the 'right' amp that I was looking for. I didn't know what amp would give me what I was after. I had lots of different 'top contenders' as well, all of which compromised in one way or another the complete 'wish list' of what I was after.

I knew the 'right amp' was out there, I knew that I wasn't aware of it, I knew what I wanted, and I knew that I would know it when I found it.

When I finally, (after *almost* pulling the trigger on so many amps that were AWESOME but also not quite 100%), finally discovered the Swart, it was like someone read my wish list, and then built an amp to cater to it. It was too good to be true, and too expensive to believe on blind faith.

So it sat at the very top of my 'contenders' list for about 4 months, while I continued to research amps to see if there was anything else out there that seemed to fit the bill. Going on raw specs and appearance, there were quite a few that were VERY CLOSE, but none that really matched it.

Finally, I got to play one, which more than confirmed what I was already thinking. All my concerns disappeared instantly, literally on hearing the first attack of the first note I played through the damn thing. It was so obvious, I could have switched it off after 1 second and said "sold".

The guys in the shop were grinning - apparently this amp has the same effect on everyone. They said everyone who tries one, buys one. They were cool though and let me keep playing as much as I wanted. I stayed about 45 minutes and everyone's ears were ringing when I was done.

Anyway, I couldn't be happier with this purchase. It's on the level of my decision to choose Blacet for the core of my modular synth. One of those "best decisions ever" sort of things, the kind of decision that makes you happier and happier the more you think about it. I'm not paying attention to any other amps whatsoever, I'm done. This is the amp.

OK, in fairness I won't ever stop thinking about The Fucking Fucker. But that's a totally different sort of deal. You couldn't replace that with a Swart, nor vise-verse (in my opinion anyway, having never experienced a Fucking Fucking in person.....)
Muff Wiggler
by the way, if you need an amp for any sort of hi-gain, nu-metal, scooped-mid crunch, metal drive, or hi-distortion applications, the Swart isn't for you.

It's incredible for blues, country, jazz, folk, soul, or any kind of 'old fashioned' rock n' roll. I think it's probably one of the finest amps ever made for any of these applications. However you won't be able to ape Linkin Park or NIN with this amp, not in any sense whatsoever.

Just a fair warning.
thanks for your in depth analysis muff!

a guitar amp isn't really on the top of my list, but of those three compnies i mentioned, i think perhaps swart might be the only one with shop distribution, i'll see if there's a dealer in japan wink perhaps i won't be able to resist...
Muff Wiggler
i think they only have north american dealers, at least from what i can tell oops
muff, one more question if you please:

the muddy buddy (1 watt and less) from siegmund and the microbaby (2 watts) from emery are both designed for great tube tone at bedroom/apartment levels, this is the main reason they are top of my list. i was wondering if the swart space tone (5 watts) can sound good at extremely low levels too. i would be using this amp 100% at home and for recording - no gigging/rehearsals studios etc.


yep, i am well aware of the zvex, but... call me retarded, but i'd rather spend more and get something that actually looks like an amp in a really nice wood finish! i really dislike the childish crayon look of the zvex stuff. plus, i need something with a speaker - a combo! i've also read a lot of mixed reviews about the tone of the zvex, whereas with the swart, siegmund and emery i've only seen praise.
Muff Wiggler
Babaluma wrote:
muff, one more question if you please:

the muddy buddy (1 watt and less) from siegmund and the microbaby (2 watts) from emery are both designed for great tube tone at bedroom/apartment levels, this is the main reason they are top of my list. i was wondering if the swart space tone (5 watts) can sound good at extremely low levels too. i would be using this amp 100% at home and for recording - no gigging/rehearsals studios etc.



hey gregg, i'll try to help

for one - I was looking at Emery amps when I was trying to pick my amp. Beautiful BEAUTIFUL designs (as I'm sure you know), right up my alley. In the end a couple of concens pushed me away - one was knowing I would need more than 1 watt at the odd time my amp comes to a club. I was hoping to get 'at home' tone AND club tone all at once. For two, while this will sound bizarre coming from a Metasonix fan, but the uncommon tube types in the Emery's conern me slightly. The real nail-in-the-coffin was the lack of onboard reverb. This was a deal-breaker for me - my amp had to have it.

About the Swart - I was orignally considering the little brother (the 5 watter you mention) to the amp I bought - which I had NOT played, but HAD played the Atomic Space Tone.

I gave Swart a call, Michael answered, and he graciously spoke to me for quite some time about what I was after. Basically I told him my amp would be 95% 'basement/bedroom use' and NEEDED to sound good at low volumes, which was pushing me to the smaller Swart.

He basically said I should get the bigger AST. He said it would perform just as well at very quiet levels as the 'little guy', it generally sounded better overall, had the verb and the trem, and had the ability to get REALLY loud if I needed it to.

Based on this, and the fact that I had totally fallen in LOVE with this amp when I tried it out previously, I went for the AST.

To answer your question -
i was wondering if the swart space tone (5 watts) can sound good at extremely low levels too. i would be using this amp 100% at home and for recording - no gigging/rehearsals studios etc.

Well, my experience is with the 20 watt (more like 18watt I believe) Atomic Space Tone, and not the 5w amp.

However, I would say that it is a resounding YES!!! With one slight caveat.

The 20-watter performs INCREDIBLY at very low volumes - I have a pregnant wife, a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy. I can play it low enough that none of them wake - and the tone is the sweetest, warmest, fullest I've ever heard. I'm not exaggerating, it's "mouth on the floor tone". Everyone who hears it feels this way. It's a great 'late night' amp, it fills the room with the warmest, friendliest vibes you've ever heard.

And this is with the volume set on '1'.

This amp will teach you to use the volume control and tone controls on your guitar. You can set this amp to 1 and do everything with it, just using the volume control on your guitar.

However - here's the caveat - YES you will be BLOWN AWAY at the performance at bedroom levels - but only if you are looking for cleans.

The amp breaks up so very very sweetly - it's a totally smooth breakup, transitioning from totally clean and pure to the fullest, never-ending, warmest ROAR you have ever heard.

BUT - if you want this breakup, you GOTTA make the amp LOUD. Waay too loud for bedroom use. There's a lot of clean headroom on this amp, and the sweetest breakup I've ever heard in my life - cleans can be had without waking the baby. Breakup CANNOT be had without waking the BLOCK!

I know that 5-watter will give you breakup at lower levels, for sure. How low? I cannot say...

I hope this helps....
thanks dude!

i thought it was the siedmund that used weird mini tubes (like the metasonix stuff), and that emery uses pretty standard stuff? (they have a tuibe kit for 200 bux so you can try out loads).

unfortunately i'm gonna need blistering jimi tone at bedroom levels as well...
Babaluma wrote:
unfortunately i'm gonna need blistering jimi tone at bedroom levels as well...

Metasonix TM-7 + Mixer and headphones/speakers. It's not necessarily a guitar amp, but it will make sounds like a guitar amp ready to explode! Play with a filter (bandpass, preferably separate LP/HP like the Frostwave Resonator) before the TM-7 to really get a variance of tones.
Muff Wiggler
had the Swart apart today and took a shot of the circuit, because it's so rarely seen. some really nice work in there, photo doesn't really do it justice...

Gorgeous. I just had a friend's recent-era low-end Fender amp apart yesterday to fix a jack. Let's just say that it looks... different... from this one.
super rad!
Muff Wiggler
oooh there's a 2x12 cab option now, UK-made Celestion Greenbacks

el clon
holy cow, Muff! eek!
that amp looks soooo rad.
i'm a guitar player and a tube-amp fan (i've got three low-wattage tube amps) and i've always admired that amp from afar, gazing at it in magazines and such. i don't have much to add, other than to say that yr amp is rad and i'm jealous.

a great thing about top-notch tube amps like that one is that they take pedals so well. pedals that sound just so-so thru cheaper amps seem to come alive... recordings??? hyper
Muff Wiggler
if I make recordings you'll all know how shit I am as a guitar player lol

i will - soon - for real. I'm actually not THAT bad, at least I don't think so. But I've never considered myself primarily a guitar player. Although in fairness I have friends that get mad at me when I say "i'm not really a guitar player" because they think I play better than they ever will. I don't know. I think I suck, but people say I'm pretty good. I'm really faking it to be honest.

One of the things I really like about this amp is that it is really sensitive to different tubes. You can really hear the difference. I've been picking up old tubes on ebay and from various dealers and having a BLAST trying them all out in the amp.

I'm excited about the external cab because I have some really nice 50's tubes that sound great, but rattle too much in the combo. I'm thinking they will be totally fine with the external cab.

Yeah, I admired this amp from afar for SO LONG. It's a good candidate for that soft of thing. But when I got to take one for a spin - wow, talk about living up to the hype. Still one of the most satisfying purchases I've ever made, this thing has become more important to me than my guitar, which is sorta hard to believe, but it's the truth.
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