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View Full Version : Buy a Swart AST or TK Imperial ?


motokev
03-25-2012, 11:54 PM
which one should I get, Swart AST or TK Imperial

I like:

-nice smooth breakup at moderate volume
-fender type reverb
-big full tone out of a 1x12
-blackface and tweed
-Top Notch Build Quality

ADDED:
-Works well with tube screamer type pedals !!!!!

both seem to offer about the same thing... reverb, tremelo, beautiful tone

which one :facepalm

DGTCrazy
03-26-2012, 12:01 AM
Honestly.........they are both fantastic amps. I prefer the AST because it's only 39lbs, and the Trem is simply unbeatable. I use the Nite Lite's Direct Out to pair up to a '66 Princeton Reverb. Heaven!

GAT
03-26-2012, 12:18 AM
I've had both. The TK can sound a bit strident when pushed at lead volume. The Swart sounds richer to my ears.

motokev
03-26-2012, 07:21 PM
yeah, the swart looks appealing

TRS1
03-26-2012, 08:02 PM
Ive owned the AST and found it lacking in many areas, it was one of the boxiest amps ive played. The imperial is one of the best amps on the planet. I am a fan of quality cleans and the rhythm channel of the imperial is huge round and clear. When turned up the imperial has a smooth feel and an incredibly responsive overdrive that made the Swart sound small and fizzy The tremolo is understated and very linear i'd say its on par with the legendary tremolo of my King Cobra. Go for the TK... seriously

riffmeister
03-26-2012, 08:03 PM
-nice smooth breakup at moderate volume NO MASTER VOLUME
-fender type reverb YES
-big full tone out of a 1x12 YES
-blackface and tweed YES
-Top Notch Build Quality YES


Comments based on my experience with the Imperial.

Csgband
03-26-2012, 08:20 PM
Do you want it for gigging, recording or both?
I have owned both and still own the Swart,
For my taste the Swart won.
There is not a huge amount of clean head room at gig volume.
When it is miked it is amazing, a Les Paul can push it hard.
But it does sound amazing and is very responsive to touch dynamics.

I liked the lead channel of the tone king but found the rhythm channel not to my liking.
It felt very stiff and sounded very hard.
I ended up using only the lead side.

The Swart is just an amazing amp.
I prefer the original AST with the upgrade back panel over all the other versions.
I have owned them all.

goodandswarty
03-26-2012, 09:15 PM
i know you're talking about the imperial, but i had a metro that i also ditched in favor of my swart ast mkii. both are amazing amps... but i just can't get over the versatility, the weight and the tone of the swart.

pedalcr8z
03-26-2012, 09:34 PM
I've owned both. Returned the Swart after a few days as it sounded very small and boxy which doesn't meet your "big full sound out of a 1x12" request. The TK fits the bill.

archtop
03-26-2012, 09:39 PM
Honestly.........they are both fantastic amps. I prefer the AST because it's only 39lbs, and the Trem is simply unbeatable. I use the Nite Lite's Direct Out to pair up to a '66 Princeton Reverb. Heaven!

Tone King Imperial is lighter at 30lbs

Gear-Junkie
03-26-2012, 09:52 PM
Two great amps but they sound very different from one another. Based on your likes you may prefer the TK, it excells at Fender BF style clean tones and reverb, and sounds big for a little 1-12. The Swart, on the other hand, has about the best tweed style cleans and smooth tweed breakup your going to hear out of a new production amp.

joshatatlasstands
03-26-2012, 09:54 PM
won't go wrong with Swart IMO

ieso
03-26-2012, 09:55 PM
I have a Swart. Amazing amp but it's probably not the best match for what you're wanting. With the Swart so much depends on the guitar and boxes in front of it and if you want to keep up with a drummer, etc. I have no idea about the other amp.

motokev
03-26-2012, 10:56 PM
hmmmm, very interesting.......
I think the TONE KING IMPERIAL would be the best fit for me
I like blackface and tweed....
I read where people were doing a mod to get rid of the brightness, man.....
just turn down the TREBLE !!

Oh, I forgot a very important criteria

-Works well with tube screamer type pedals

artguy47
03-29-2012, 04:39 PM
I'm also have similar interests. Can't find a decent BFDR for less than I can buy a TK, Swart Pro(mkII is close in price), thinking more and more about Vintage Sounds.

Any suggestions along these lines is appreciated. Want to stay around $2K or less. The VSs seem to be a bit heavier. (Bad back)

motokev
03-29-2012, 06:24 PM
I've herd good things about Vintage Sound Amps, top notch components. But, I think the TK and AST offer more. Like the TWEED channel on the TK. Nice breakup on the AST. Hmmmmm, I wish I could try the swart

Csgband
03-29-2012, 06:32 PM
I posted earlier about my thought have had both amp.
As I said for me the swart was better but having read more of the post I have to recommend the Carr Sportsman.
It really is and amazing little amps.

oldguitar
03-29-2012, 06:54 PM
I haven't played either of the two amps mentioned.

I did own a Vintage Sound though. It was a well built amp, but I thought it broke up way too early. Thought something might be wrong with it, so took it to a tech who couldn't find anything wrong with it. The tech liked the way it sounded. Just goes to show we're all different in what we like.

I liked the Lil King better than the VS. But the one I like best is the Allen Sweet Spot, and I have owned several. I would highly recommend you check out the Allen, if you haven't already.

motokev
03-31-2012, 09:56 PM
ok, I got a Fender Super Champ XD, $150
awesome
saved myself $1,900

the sound guy told me to TURN IT DOWN !!

OO
>
-

motokev
04-12-2012, 12:16 AM
asdas

sublimeaudio
04-12-2012, 07:28 AM
I have owned both and currently own an AST and a TK Meteor II. The Imperial and AST are very different amps.

The AST is kind of a one trick pony and has a very mid-randgy, tweedy vibe to it. There is always a little bit of hair on the sound, and it doesn't have a whole lot of "clean" headroom. That said, it is incredible soulful and does what it does very well. The reverb and trem are awesome, but the reverb is not the typical Fender reverb sound. It's less spanky/in your face.

The Imperial is much more in the blackface camp and has the Fender scooped sound on the rhythm channel. The lead channel is more of a tweed vibe, but does not sound exactly like a tweed amp. The lead channel is also extremely loud if you turn it up at all. A guy in my band uses an Imperial and runs it with an attenuator most of the time. The amp can be a little crispy on the rhythm channel at lower volumes but fills out really nicely when turned up. Great Fender style reverb and trem.

If you're looking for a versatile amp, the Imperial is definitely the better choice and also sounds more open than the AST. The Imperial definitely works well with tube screamer type pedals due to the scooped nature of the rhythm channel. I don't like tube screamers with the AST because it's already a very midrangy sound - a full range overdrive like the King of Tone works better with that amp.

motokev
04-12-2012, 11:46 AM
I have owned both and currently own an AST and a TK Meteor II. The Imperial and AST are very different amps.

The AST is kind of a one trick pony and has a very mid-randgy, tweedy vibe to it. There is always a little bit of hair on the sound, and it doesn't have a whole lot of "clean" headroom. That said, it is incredible soulful and does what it does very well. The reverb and trem are awesome, but the reverb is not the typical Fender reverb sound. It's less spanky/in your face.

The Imperial is much more in the blackface camp and has the Fender scooped sound on the rhythm channel. The lead channel is more of a tweed vibe, but does not sound exactly like a tweed amp. The lead channel is also extremely loud if you turn it up at all. A guy in my band uses an Imperial and runs it with an attenuator most of the time. The amp can be a little crispy on the rhythm channel at lower volumes but fills out really nicely when turned up. Great Fender style reverb and trem.

If you're looking for a versatile amp, the Imperial is definitely the better choice and also sounds more open than the AST. The Imperial definitely works well with tube screamer type pedals due to the scooped nature of the rhythm channel. I don't like tube screamers with the AST because it's already a very midrangy sound - a full range overdrive like the King of Tone works better with that amp.


VERY GOOD INFO !! thanks

terrapin
04-12-2012, 11:52 AM
hmmmm, very interesting.......
I think the TONE KING IMPERIAL would be the best fit for me
I like blackface and tweed....
I read where people were doing a mod to get rid of the brightness, man.....
just turn down the TREBLE !!

Oh, I forgot a very important criteria

-Works well with tube screamer type pedals

I can't understand why the Imperial gets labeled as too bright? To my ear the Rhythm Channel NAILS BF cleans and the Lead Channel NAILS tweed OD. I do think the reverb, which is fantastic, can be a bit over the top if not dialed in very low. The Tremelo is rich and intoxicating. That being said I much prefer the reverb and tremelo on my Juke Coda.

Rick360
04-12-2012, 07:21 PM
Howdy,

I'm definitely GASSING for a Swart AST.

motokev
04-12-2012, 11:43 PM
Howdy,

I'm definitely GASSING for a Swart AST.


I bot a Swart STR a while ago, I didn't care for it at all. I think I would like the AST more, but probably not my thingy. I've always loved that BF tone. So, I think a TK Metro or Imperial would be best for me

Bikedude
04-13-2012, 08:22 PM
which one should I get, Swart AST or TK Imperial

I like:

-nice smooth breakup at moderate volume
-fender type reverb
-big full tone out of a 1x12
-blackface and tweed
-Top Notch Build Quality

ADDED:
-Works well with tube screamer type pedals !!!!!

both seem to offer about the same thing... reverb, tremelo, beautiful tone

which one :facepalm

ok, I got a Fender Super Champ XD, $150
awesome
saved myself $1,900

the sound guy told me to TURN IT DOWN !!

OO
>
-
Another troll post! Unless there are 2 of you on TGP!

WTF

ieso
04-13-2012, 08:52 PM
LOL. Should I buy the Mercedes or the BMW?

Woo Hoo, I bought a Kia and saved a bundle. Cop told me to slow down!

motokev
04-13-2012, 10:35 PM
LOL. Should I buy the Mercedes or the BMW?

Woo Hoo, I bought a Kia and saved a bundle. Cop told me to slow down!


funny..... :crazy

terrapin
04-13-2012, 11:24 PM
The more I get to know my Imperial the more I realize I don't like to use OD pedals with it. To my ear the amp doesn't seem to really like them. Mark says IF you are going to use OD or Distortion with the amp he feels the Lead channel is best with the Mid Bite all the way down. I don't see the point of not taking advantage of that great Mid Bite. What I find the Imperial really loves in either channel is good Boost pedals. I have a Katana and a Sex Drive and both sound great. I am using a Crazy Horse fuzz/distortion pedal with it and that works very nicely.

I would not really call the Impetial a pedal loving amp, but that's cool, it sounds fabulous without them.

motokev
04-17-2012, 09:10 PM
well, I was about to push the BUY BUTTON on the Imperial, but after filling out my 1040.....soooo sad..........
sorry Humbucker Music

peanutavalon
04-17-2012, 09:33 PM
I've had both. The TK can sound a bit strident when pushed at lead volume. The Swart sounds richer to my ears.

I agree..The swart is warmer..the TK is quite loud at pushed volumes..way loud!