SS-180 review by SWR

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 3.7 (3 votes)
SWR: SS-180

Price paid: $ 457.5

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 8
I'm using this with a Peavey Millenium AC BXP bass 5 string. I normally play rock and metal. This suits those styles very well since it offers a lot of low end and there's a lot of definition and high end clarity to go with it. It's a pretty dynamic amp, which is why the Limiter function is good. The aural enhancer is like some sort of weird tone control that gives you really and defined mids up high. When it's at half it doesn't sound as good but it's louder, kind of like a boost. There is a switchable EQ on this amp but it's slightly pointless because the Bass and Treble controls which can't be switched have much more influence on the sound anyway so it's not like having 2 channels or anything for loud and quiet sections. It's a bit annoying trying to EQ this amp because there seems to be a bit of a gap between lows and low mids so if it's not quite set right on notes on the A string you'll find that you can hear the mids and the sub frequencies make a rumble but there is no low so it sounds and feels really weird. However with careful eqing on the amp and pickup selection on your bass, a really nice sound can be achieved, the low b on this thing is bone shaking and it doesn't seem like it's gonna run out of steam going even lower than G#. The high mids and highs are really quite loud as well, so much so that having the tweeter on just adds noise and hurts your ears, that's a problem with most modern speaker cabinets though and the goliath I was the first ever fitted with this annoyance! forturnately it was also the first with a tweeter control knob on the back so it can quickly be turned off.

Overall Impression — 8
I play rock and metal and this suits me perfectly. I've been playing for 2 1/2 years on bass. There isn't much I wish I'd asked before buying. I knew pretty much what I was getting just because of it's simplicity. I love the really bone shaking low notes you can get out of it. I hate the weight of the cab. My favourite feature is the sound, there isn't really much on this amp but it sounds good. I wish it had a more sophisticated EQ so I could tune in the frequencies more finely, and that the Switchable EQ actually worked as a volume boost function. If it were nicked I'd get something else, I'd probably never find one again and I just like to get something different.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing has been going for the last 22 years without a problem. It was designed to be simple but effective and because of that it has bulletproof reliability. The cab is rock solid, made out of massive really heavy plywood. Only trouble is the weight has taken it's toll on the handles which are all rusty at the part where the actual handle itself rests on brackets when you pick it up. Yes I would use it at a gig without a backup (also because I couldn't exactly bring a backup 'cos it's so big and heavy in the first place).

Features — 7
Yeah this isn't exactly laden with features but if I wanted FX then I'd buy a pedal. By modern standards it's pretty low on power but it gets the job done quite well. Can certainly hold it's own against a kit+ 2 loud guitars.

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