Spunky Little Amp
Feb 13, 2002 (Updated Apr 10, 2002)
Review by jnewcomer
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Light weight, compact, packs a great sound.
Cons:Only 80 Watts.
The Bottom Line: A perfect amp for the mature bass player.
Good things do come in small packages, and the SWR Workingman's 10 fits that phrase perfectly. I recently bought this amp used through Ebay and am already pleased with the results. I have already accomplished quite a lot in the 4 years that I have been playing the bass and most recently have started up a jazz ensemble. Since this amp weighs in at only 32lbs, it is a welcome relief to my aging back. The small size (16"W x 14"H x 14"D) is also perfect for the rehearsals and intimate gigs where my larger 4x10 cabinet would be too overwhelming or imposing (or simply too heavy to carry).
Recommend this product?
The sound is unbeatable for both the price and the size. This amp can get surprisingly loud for only 80 Watts, but at 80 Watts I wouldn't recommend it for a loud, live show unless you can patch into a PA system using the XLR Balanced D.I. output jack on the back of the amp. The passive radiator is located in the front on the bottom, which allows for the sound to remain independent of surrounding walls. The rest of the features and specs on this amp can be found at www.swrsound.com, along with an owner's manual in PDF format.
What is particularly unique about his amp that is not mentioned anywhere on the SWR website or in the manuals is the availability and use of 1/4-inch rubber plugs to seal up unused jacks on the back of the amp. If you didn't know about these rubber plugs ahead of time, you wouldn't know to ask for them. So, why would you need them? I'll try to explain it here. At 80 Watts of bass power, you have a 10" speaker moving a lot of air inside a very small cabinet, which forces the air to find any opening to pass through (not just the passive radiator). These openings include any unused 1/4-inch jack on the back of the amp (tuner out, effects out, effects in, headphones, and external speaker). The result is a high-pitched "chirping" noise as the air oscillates and whistles through the jacks when you turn the volume up. Inserting a rubber plug into each unused jack will seal off the jack and eliminate the chirping.
A couple more notes about the rubber plugs: first of all, rubber has a tendency to expand out to the sides when pushed and contract inward when pulled, which makes the rubber plugs extremely difficult to insert and very easy to pull out (and, therefore, easier to lose). A simple wetting of the plugs with your tongue will make it much easier to insert them, allowing you to insert them all the way in, reducing the risk of their being knocked out and lost. Secondly, even if you buy this amp new at a store, the rubber plugs probably will be absent. If they are missing, you can call or email SWR Customer Support and ask for the plugs. As they did for me, they will send some to you free of charge (ask for at least 6 in case you need an extra).
As for the rest of the sound, there is a hiss that the amp produces through the speakers, luckily which isn't noticeable while you are playing. This amp does not come with built-in chorus, but since I don't need chorus, I don't miss it.
Addendum on April 10, 2002
I had a recent mishap with ths amp. The fuse cap popped out and disappeared while I was transporting it one day. SWR uses a very deep fuse socket assembly, which unfortunately made me realize the hard way that any replacements I tried to find at a Radio Shack or other consumer electronics parts and supplies store would not fit at all, rendering the amp useless. Luckily for me, the fuse caps in my SWR SM-400 are identical to the one lost from the Workingman's 10, enabling me to borrow one for the evening. I called SWR the very next day about this. They responded immediately and sent me not one but two replacement fuse caps (in case I lose another one) for no charge. No amp is perfect. No company is perfect either. But I do like how SWR's Customer Support will stand behind their products and help you out.
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