Amplite: The Headlite
As a One-Knob Wonder
SWR’s new Amplite delivers the Headlite’s
power amp without all the additional controls
and features. It has just one knob on the
front that adjusts—you guessed it—the amp’s
volume level. The only other action on the
Amplite’s front panel is a set of power level
indicators that show when you’re getting all
the output the Amplite has to give. Poking
around the back of the Amplite, I found a pair
of Speakon connection jacks, a combo ¼"/XLR
input jack and a pass-though output jack for
sending the same signal to additional amps.
I tried an Aguilar Tone Hammer preamp
pedal straight into the Amplite and its
signal easily drove the Amplite. I also ran
the Preamp Out from the Headlite into the
Amplite, connected a 4-ohm speaker cab to
each unit, and used the Headlite’s Master
knob to adjust the volume of both devices.
Whether slaving with the Headlite or powering
a separate preamp, the Amplite is a
handy amp to keep around for an extra bit
The Final Mojo
The Headlite and Amplite came in one thickly
padded, divided bag with plenty of room
for speaker and power cables. I thought it
ironic that these two tiny amps ship with a 6',
12-gauge speaker cable and a long, heavy
power cord. Combined, they weigh nearly as much as the Amplite itself. For my own micro
amps, I carry a 2', 16-gauge speaker cable
that gets the job done just fine.
I do have a few quibbles. One is that the
knob indicator dots are nearly invisible.
Another is that these two amps have alwayson
fans. Although they’re not loud, they are
audible and might knock the Headlite out
of contention for recording studio or home
practice if you’re fussy. Neither of my tiny
amps with similar power specs has a fan, and
a buddy’s micro amp has a heat-sensitive fan
that only comes on when it’s needed. SWR
might consider changing the fan design to
boost the Headlite’s versatility. Finally, the
feet on these amps are made of a fairly hard
material. As a result, the amp may slide while
you’re making adjustments.
In all, the Headlite captures SWR’s signature
tone and packs a lot of features into an
incredibly small package. An optional footswitch
includes muting, effects-loop switching,
and a tuner to make the device even
more convenient. So if you’re after a tiny
amp that works well with electric bass, the
Headlite (and its Amplite sibling) might be
just the answer.
you need a versatile micro bass amp
and you can get the job done with
400 watts at 4 ohms.
you play loud, loud, loud—or soft
enough that you’d notice the internal
fan—or you’re rough on your gear.
|Street: Headlite $700, Amplite $550 - SWR Sound - swramps.com