Workingman's 2004 Review

manufacturer: SWR date: 01/20/2006 category: Bass Amplifiers
SWR: Workingman's 2004
The upgraded version of the Workingman's 160, this 200 watt monster comes ready to rock, mounted in its own carpeted rack (which includes an open rack space for the effects unit of your choice).
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Features: 9
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reviews (2) user comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Workingman's 2004 Reviewed by: lowHz, on january 20, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Sound: I typically use an Ibanez SR506 6-string with Bartolini's (the guitar is low-impedance, wired (the only one I've heard of) with an XLR plug v. 1/4"), a Fender Precision fretted, Fender Precision/Jazz hybrid fretless and an Ibanez Roadstar II (850 a Spector copy) for kicks (very light guitar and clear as a bell). I play rock and classic rock predominately; I also play acoustic guitars through this amp and it does very well (I really didn't want to spend the money on a separate acoustic amp to use it for a half-dozen songs). The 2004 is very quiet, although I once detected a slight buzz in a funky ground situation (nothing that wasn't overshadowed by everything else around me or that had been an issue, and I certainly couldn't hear it while playing). SWR ampifiers have a very distinct sound, and you have to be aware of that before you buy. While the 2004 is versatile in its ability to amplify a variety of basses and faithfully reproduce differing genres and styles, there is no mistaking the over-arching SWR sound produced. It's a modern tone, the best I can describe it, and very clear; this is not an old Fender Bassman! I never run my amps where they're butting up against headroom, so I don't know if this amp distorts at high gain (if you need to run your amp on "seven" then you need a larger power amp); forced distortion (high gain, low master) is nothing to write home about (I don't use this method anyway, opting for outboard effects to accomplish this), so I can't really comment on its affect in terms of my like or dislike of this amp. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It took me a little while to become comfortable with bringing this amp solo, predominately due to the fact that the first amp Musician's Friend sent me blew, at low volume, nonetheless, after only having it for about a week. The output section was completely gone. MF did a good job of sending me a new one in three days and I've had zero problems since. I can now say that I'd use this without a backup, although we always have a backup amp with us anyway (a versatile old Fender, why tempt fate). Having used predominately Sunn amps and Crown power for many years I still can't get past the fact that this head only weighs around 25 lbs. That makes me somewhat nervous as far as a good "solid" feel is concerned, admittedly, but I'm getting past it. The SWR head and cabs are showing no signs of wear and are definitely well constructed (the carpet covering picks up lint and grass but can be brushed off if you want it to stay "pretty"). Despite the aforementioned mishap, I'm rating the reliability on this a tenuous "8", because of the first one blowing (I hope this never comes back to haunt me). // 8

Overall Impression: As previously mentioned, I play rock, everything from The Byrds to Ozzy to Better Than Ezra, and this amp can realistically emulate the tones needed to give this music the right "feel" with very little tweaking. Much of this has to do with the Aural Enhancer. If you've never used one you'd be amazed at what it adds. We've used one on vocals since the very-early '80s but it never really occured to me to add it to my rig. I hope to keep this amp around for a long time, God knows how much longer I will be able to hit Sammy's vocal range (or somewhere there'bouts), and can see no reason to change. When I get old (older than I am now) I can always bring half the rig, or a 1x12 cabinet or something, right? I've been playing for 35 years now (oh, man, that just hit me) and I don't know that I've ever been more pleased with an amp, pound-for-pound, than I have with this setup. If I lost this head somehow I wouldn't hesitate to get another. Overall, the amp has a unique but versatile sound, is sufficiently powerful for most any rehearsal/small-medium club situation and is rife with features. I compared it to Ampeg, Eden, Hartke, Behringer (why did I do that) and Fender and either was as happy with the sound with the far-more expensive brands or it blew past the others. The only elements that bother me or I wish it had are the location of the XLR and its limited feature (direct out only) and maybe slightly more wattage ("just in case," although it's never been an issue). For the money (and more) I can't beat this amp. // 9

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overall: 8.8
Workingman's 2004 Reviewed by: BassDude2737, on october 24, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound: I'm using this with a Ibanez SoundGear bass. There is absoutely no noise unless I am using a very high treble setting. This amp fits me incredibly. It can make any sound. It has an incredible frequency response range. I can even play a CD through it. It give a really punchy tone, or a really clear tone, or both. Absolutely phenomonal. The only complaint I have is that on certain tones it makes my speaker grill vibrate, but that's my own fault for not putting a good enough seperation between the speaker and the grill. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would use this amp in a gig without a backup, however I would bring extra fuses. Several times it has shut off, or started to lose it's tone becuase of the fuse blowing. However it is a slo-blow so I have only had that happen a couple of times. But I blows at the weirdist times. It tends to go when I am playing at low volumes. // 8

Overall Impression: This thing, as I said before is fricken amazing. I absolutely love the tone that I get out of it. If it was stolen there is no doubt in my mind that I would buy another workingman. The only thing that I could think of it having would be the distortion channel. However I think that I can get distortion by turning up the pre-amp gain and turning down the master volume. But no worries. If you are looking for a pro-grade amp this is the one that you should buy! // 9

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