SwanPro RCS 20 Amp

Axemeister

Member
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2,136
I just picked up a Swan Pro RCS20 in a trade for a guitar . Its a 20 watt combo made in small quantities by Bob Swanson in Colorado. Bob is a studio owner and sound tech, who builds these amps in 20 and 40 watt versions, in small quantities. I think Wildwood is the only dealer.

TGPs Shovelhead (Don DiMasi)has one these SwanPro amps and gave me some input about these amps, as did a couple of other Gear Page members, but I made the trade that brought me this amp without having heard the amp, so I was really taking a leap of faith. The SwanPro got here today, so I thought I would share some initial thoughts after playing with it for a few hours this evening.

Its an EL84 x2 combo, with Master Volume, Preamp Volume, and Boost Circuit. While it is a single channel amp, it has a very usable boost with its own level control, which is footswitchable. Once you get the volume and boost levels set up at compatible levels, you have two easily switchable sounds available with use of the footswitch. Find your basic tone and volume, then kick in or out of the boosted tone and level, with the footswitch for OD or lead tones... This combo has a 12" speaker, private labeled for SwanPro.. not sure who makes it for them. The combo cab is chunky and somewhat bigger than most 1x12 combos with top mounted controls. It has Master Volume, PreAmp Level, Boost Level, Low, Middle and High tone pots. Each of the tone pots offers a good range of impact and response.

This is a versatile combo for rock and blues, with the ability to get great OD tones at low to moderate volume. It is also plenty loud for small gigs too, but it is still just a 20 watt amp with two EL84s, so pristine clean headroom is a bit limited, especially when you are really cranked up at higher volumes.. To my ears this amp has a punchy, rock-oriented voice that can range from vaguely Voxy to Marshall-ish in tone, but it has a nice warmth, and thickness of its own. It seems touch sensitive. and responds well to pick attack when you dig in. I played through the amp with both humbuckers and single coils and the character of each guitar came through well. When pushed hard with the boost engaged, this amp really grows hair. It can get pretty heavy and modern sounding. The Master Volume is very effective and works well with the amp's gain and boost controls to make this amp sound good at bedroom volumes, but I pushed this amp hard and loud this evening, and it really sounded great... BTW, there are some sound samples & videos at SwanPro.com: http://swanproamps.com/MP4_sounds.htm

The SwanPro seems well built and thought-out. It is a cool setup for home use at low to moderate volume and it seems to have more than enough fire power for small gigs too. For me, this amp turned out to be a really pleasant surprise, and I have only spent a few hours with it so far, so I am sure that there is much more to discover.
CIMG7130.JPG
 

Axemeister

Member
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2,136
I'm glad you like it! I think your review nails this amp accurately.

Sometime just for fun, plug it into a 4x12 or 2x12. It really rocks. It sounds absolutely huge for a 20 watter.

BTW, the speakers are custom made by Eminence.

Thanks.....Your input was what got me to pull the trigger...

I talked to Bob Swanson and he told me that he is using a 20 watt head version with a big speaker cab for gigging.

I was up early today and plugged a Strat in at about .5 on the Master and pushed the pre-amp and boost up. The dirty Strat sang nicely for a 7:30 am riff or two, and I did not wake anybody.
 

mcgriff420

Member
Messages
1,547
Cool! I've been thinking of getting back into an EL84 amp, now i have another choice on my radar.

I like the look of the amp too, kind of a Bogner meets early TopHat look.


Edit: To you guys familiar with the SwanPro, how does it compare with say the 2 EL84 budda super drive?

..
 

fugot

Member
Messages
732
it is not really that i want to 'keep' another amp in the house...i just don't want to sell it ...

I need to play it more, but it compares well to my goodsell super 17.
 

Axemeister

Member
Messages
2,136
I have one. Bob Swanson has been a friend of mine for years.

It's a rockin' little amp. A 'little' amp that sounds huge. I've played it through a 1x12, a 2x12, and a 4x12, and it has plenty of gas to light up a 4x12. It can be a very loud amp. I use it in my home studio for rehearsals all the time. It's also very touch-sensitive. For lack of a better term, it just feels and sounds more organic than lots of fast-food amps I've tried.

On stage, I still mainly use my Bogner Shiva. I've used the Swanpro at several gigs, and it really does well. The only reason I primarily use the Bogner is that it has a bit more headroom and can be really punchy in a band situation. However, I've also played Bob's 40-watter, and it rivals the Bogner for headroom. It kicks serious butt.

All in all, Bob's creation will run with anyone out there in terms of build quality and tone.

That nails it.

I have had my RCS20 for about four months and I really love this amp.....and I now have an RCS-40 too. Louder and more headroom, but the master works pretty well. I have the 40 watter in a practice room that my son and his band also use, and it can cut through the mix in a big way.

I ended up with the RCS-20 in a trade deal and did not know much about it, but it really nails what I like. It became my favorite amp, so I took the opportunity to snag a 40 watter when I came across one.

The 40 has more headroom and will cover loud band situations easily, but I have also used it at home with the master at a moderate levels.

These are great amps. Definately under the radar, but very worthwhile.
 

fugot

Member
Messages
732
ANYONE looking for harmonic richness, sweet sustain, and fat tone ? I was playing mine earlier today and sheesh. can't believe there are only three of us turned onto to these amps here at tgp. oh well, c'est la vie.
 

Axemeister

Member
Messages
2,136
The clips work for me. (BTW, the homely dude with the goldtop in those clips is me).

I was just playing my 20 watter again last night. Nice amp! I'm not affilliated with SwanPro, other than Bob is my pal, but I'm a fan of his work. The guy really knows about voicing an amp... at least to my ears.

So Bob did not give you a big royalty check? :RoCkIn:rotflmao

BTW, the other thing about these amps is that they let each guitar and/or pickup combination come through on their own. The amp does not taint or over-color the tone of the guitars that you plug into it.
 

Axemeister

Member
Messages
2,136
There seem to be about three or four of us here.... These amps are great, but they travel under the radar of most people.
 

michaelwolsey

Member
Messages
1
Greetings!

I am fairly new to this forum and usually use it to read some great information. Today, however, I make my first post.

I was recently shopping for a new amplifier and ended up buying a SwanPro RCS 20 that I found used on craigslist. This thread was actually very helpful to me before I drove to Boulder to buy it....Thanks all!

I love the amp....it's awesome and amazing. With that said, I confess to being very new to electric guitar and the associated gear. I started out on acoustic and less than a year ago added the study of electric guitar. I wondered if anyone here who owns a SwanPro can help me with ways of getting a better clean sound from the amp.

The overdrive in this amp is amazing but I have yet to figure out how to have both a nice clean and the great overdrive. A couple of things... I have ordered but not yet received an ABY splitter that will allow me to switch between the normal and boost channels. Since each channel does not have it's own settings, I am concerned that I will not be able to dial in that great overdrive, and still have a nice clean sound in the normal channel.

Perhaps this amp is not really designed for a clean sound? I also wondered if swapping out tubes might do what I am trying to do, or perhaps there is a solution that I just have not considered because of my lack of experience.

Any help is appreciated!
 

Uzeurillus1on82

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
209
Just thought I would chime in. A dimasi (which what I’ve gathered is similar if not the same as a swan pro) 2x12 cab and it is seriously high quality and sounds great. If you come across any of this gear don’t hesitate to grab it!
 




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