Swart AST v. AST Pro v. MKII Head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dB, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. dB

    dB Member

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    I owned an AST a few years ago which I loved with the exception of a couple complaints. These complaints were fairly common and were apparently remedied with the advent of the AST Pro. I had always planned on getting another AST when the head version came out, but for some reason I am really drawn to the simplicity and convenience of the AST Pro, not to mention it sounds great in all the clips I have heard. I think I have had enough of the endless pursuit of cabs/speaker combos and all the extraneous gear lying around that a head seems to involve. In these times of recession, I am looking to streamline and simplify....(with another boutique amp, yeah I get the irony).

    At any rate, has anyone compared all three? I will definitely not get another regular AST, but since I have owned it, it serves as my reference. Do the Pro and MKII differ from the AST and from one another at all? I am sure the reverb and trem are identical on the three, it's mainly the picking dynamics/fast responsiveness, harmonic overtones, and clean tones/headroom that I am looking to compare. The cleaner the better, which is another reason I am drawn to the Pro.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. dB

    dB Member

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  3. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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  4. Rocket Brother

    Rocket Brother Member

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    Ok I´ll bite
    I have no experience with the MkII head, so I can´t guide you on that one, both I´ve played the AST and AST Pro side by side a few times, and I must say as much as I like the AST and prefere the look of it the Pro wins hands down - for me anyway.
    Initially I found the AST a bit more snappy but also thinner sounding. After a short while though I found out that the Pro can be as snappy as the AST if you want it to and dial it right, but it has - to my ears - a much more full, complex, varm, balanced and to use the cliché - 3D sound. It might be pseudoacustics but I even found the reverb to be better and more 3D/spacious sounding on the Pro. The reverb and trem on the AST Pro are among the very best I´ve heard on any amp.
    I have boiled my amp collection down to currently 6 choise amps (from 30+) and the Axe Fx Ultra for recording, but I know that at some point I´ll cave in and get an AST Pro - it´s such a wonderfull low wattage amp full of unique sounds merging old Supro, Gibson and Fender Tweed.
    Perfect for home use or jams at small venues.
    Hope this helps you a little.
    RB
     
  5. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    Played all three of them...own the PRO. Briefly: The original AST is focused, with a hint of boxiness. The PRO is more open, bigger and stays cleaner a bit longer. The II I played through a Swart 1 X 12" cab...more gain and in-between the AST and the PRO as far as clean tones, i.e. the openess vs. the more focused tone. When the SST comes in a combo, if it ever does, all bets are off. Oh....back to the question. For clean and headroom my pick is the PRO. In fact I haven't tried 6L6s with mine yet as it's enough for me currently.
     
  6. Rocket Brother

    Rocket Brother Member

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    I agree with Peppy on the comparison: AST focused and a bit boxy vs AST Pro open and bigger. Well put Peppy
     
  7. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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  8. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    Have the other AST owners tried the new back panel? When I originally played an AST in the store with the original small opening, I thought it sounded boxy. The one I bought had the larger opening and it's a distinct improvement.
     
  9. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    Is the 1x12 cab closed-back, or semi-open back, or what?
     
  10. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    It is somewhat of an improvement but it doesn't quite approach (not saying that's what you necessarily are talking about) the PRO, due to the PRO's Brit-built Celestion G12H30 which really brings out some low end.
     
  11. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    The Swart 1 X 12" cab I played through was like the combos...open-back.
     
  12. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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    SO you guys have the pro with the celestion green? Also, did you guys try the regular AST with the new back board to make it like the Pro?
     
  13. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    No, my PRO has the G12H30...Heritage. Standard speaker for that amp...although some supposedly can come with a blue alnico.
    http://swartamps.com/amplifiers_swart_AST_PRO.htm
     
  14. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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    I thought that was considered a green Celestion. I have blues in two of my amps, but they only put out about 15 watts. I would think the Swart would blow it up!

    FWIW, I have an STR tweed and plugged it into my blue and it didnt sound good at all. Love the stock speaker though.
     
  15. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    The so-called "greenback" is what I normally hear described and it's not the same speaker. http://professional.celestion.com/guitar/products/classic/detail.asp?ID=6

    I also have blues in one of my amps...my amp (AC30 TBX) runs more power than the speakers "officially" take...no problem.
     
  16. Rick360

    Rick360 Member

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    Howdy,

    IMHO, that video isn't much good unless both amps have the same speaker. As it is, the AST Pro isn't superior to the AST tonally. The recessed chassis of the AST Pro is a compelling factor though. Worth the extra dough? Probably.

    Rick360
     
  17. doyle o'brian

    doyle o'brian Member

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    I wonder how much of the tonal difference is due to the deeper cab. I think that the recessed chassis addresses a major design flaw in the original AST, and it would be nice if it was made a standard feauture of both models. It's hard to believe that an extra inch so that the controls are protected would affect the tone that much.
     
  18. 19jmm68

    19jmm68 Member

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    IMO........they both sound stellar. Different though. Pro has a little more bottom end
    and overall bigger sound.

    It is hard to beat the regular AST though in that you can get one used for 1300 bucks.
    It'd be easy to rig up some kind of transport system box/case that would protect the chassis en route to a gig.

    I own the Pro.......but, if I had to do it all over, I'd get the AST used and purchase the new panel with the hole and speaker switching switch.
     
  19. Gretschster6120

    Gretschster6120 Member

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    What can I add that already has not been said! I tried both the AST and the AST Pro at Boutique Tone in Montreal in a treated room. I brought my Gretsch 6120 with stock Filter'Tron Pickups. I was looking for Clean Tones with plenty of headroom for country rhythms and I was really surprised to discover that those 6v6's could produce so much clean headroom. I was convinced that I was not going to like the AST and I was correct. Sounded to thin for my taste, but when I plug my guitar into the Pro, it was like night and day!. Yes all those descriptions are true...more 3d.....richer reverb.....more bottom end. It sounded like a 2 x 12! The sound just seemed to surround me. For the fun of it I think pluged into a 65 amps London Model (which is totally a different beast).
    I just wanted to see if the treated room is what was affecting my perception of the AST Pro, but no! The AST pro is just a thing of beauty.

    Hel,l Michael Swart even called me back after I left him a message telling him that I loved his amp and that if I was earning US dollars picking one up for $2100 would be a "no brainer". But in Canada it is a whole different picture. THis amp would set me back $3100 (tax in) Ouch! I can get a Rivera Quiana shipped from Edmonton for $2500 tax-in shipping included! Different amp, but also has shimmering cleans. Unfortunately the extra $700 to ge this amp is truly a deciding factor. I will wait and try to pick up a used one or an AST used and add the mod.
     
  20. Bluedawg

    Bluedawg Member

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    :drool

    I think it's time to start saving for an AST Pro myself ...


    :banana
     

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