Swart Ast

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bluetweed, Jan 20, 2008.


  1. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    I had to repost this from a reply I did/ Swart amps are awesome!

    Hi, Let me tell you something. I purchased the AST used about 2 months ago and never thought this amp would sneak up on me like this. It has some of the best and harmonically rich cleans I ever heard. I did some tweaks that made the amp twice as good in my opinion and everyone who plays it opinion.
    I first put in all NOS tubes and changed a few values. I dropped the GZ34 to a 5Y3 40's blackplate (cheap and easy to find. This gave the amp more cleans and opened it up some more. Next in V1 I put a RCA 12AX7 which gave me more of everything WOW! what a change. Next in the reverb driver and return a RCA 5751. This hits the tank harder on the dwell side and is a little easier on the reverb return which makes the reverb sound much better. The last tube use a good strong NOS 12AX7. The amp went from good to great.
    The last change was to get rid of the boxy sound. I swapped a G12H30 into this and it transformed it to the top of the heap for sure. This suggestion was made by RYHLICK to me, my tone buddy who lives in a parallel tone universe with me. More of everything and for some strange reason the speaker baffle sounds twice as big and the cab sounds huge now. The G12h30 also has much more touch sensitivity to. I have played against a Guy with a blackface 2 6L6 and had no trouble keeping up.
    As setup this amp is killer. The trem is the best out there. Very good reverb now and some of the best cleans tones with my Tele that I have ever experienced. It also still overdrives very nicely, actually more controllable and predictable now. You could also step up the drive a little with a 5V4 rectifier . Michael had told me the original AST used a 5Y3 and he loved it, but new good choices were not available for building his amps. This amp is a jewel and a lucky find for anyone. Try this tube setup and speaker and don't look back.
    This amp is like a supro, vox, blackface and a touch of tweed all rolled into one.
     
  2. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Wow...Too bad the amp doesn't come with the better speaker. I've heard just about everyone say they dislike the mojotone that comes in it. I'm typically old school about amps(Bface Fender) but my interest is piqued for sure. I love great cleans with the possibility of an interesting "pushed" tone for solos via a boost or OD pedal.

    This amp seems like a future classic-

    Congrats on finding something special.

    Jack
     
  3. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    the 5Y3 and 5V4 are just plug ins with the same current draw, no worries! they are actually easier on the cathode biased 6V6's

    I get my tubes from various places/KCA, Ebay (organ pulls from organs that have set in peoples homes and never really been used) and ham radio dealers. 5Y3 and 5V4 from the 40's and 50's are still quite a deal.

    Kca has Rca blackplate versions of these (awesome) from $22-24/not like new tubes, these old rectifiers will outlast most amps and really do make a difference in tone and feel.
     
  4. Heinz W

    Heinz W Genuine '66 Relic Gold Supporting Member

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    I totally agree about the tremolo. It's the best amp trem I've ever heard. Everybody who hears it comments on it.

    Hell, I haven't changed so much as a preamp tube in my SST and it sounds phenominal.
     
  5. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    I agree, try my recipe you will pleased for sure!
     
  6. farlowhigh

    farlowhigh Member

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    Bluetweed,
    great information and I will definitely try some of those tube swaps you suggest! I will start with the rectifier and the V1...I already like the AST a great deal and so I can't wait to hear the differences!
     
  7. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    You need experience listening to NOS/ used NOS can sold great and powerful for years, but you first need a reference of hearng some NOS tubes, because they really do sound different than new tubes from now.
     
  8. farlowhigh

    farlowhigh Member

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    anos means "almost new old stock" I believe...and refers to tubes with only a light amount of use on them...
     
  9. ryhlick

    ryhlick Silver Supporting Member

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    I have to agree with Bluetweed on this subject. I have the opportunity to play with one or next to a AST regularly and it sounds great. It seems I am often times putting it next to some pretty nice botique amps and it is always among the top. It has the feel and tone and it is so simple to dial in a great tone. Turn the volume up to noon or one and it has some of the nicest OD a amp can produce. IT is a sleeper out there and is priced so well next to some of its competitors. Check one out, you will not be disappointed.
     
  10. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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  11. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Ditto on the thanks — I'll try those suggestions out on my AST.
     
  12. motis1953

    motis1953 Member

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    I found the speaker to be a great match with the amp but it seems a lot of folks are using JBL's.
     
  13. Redrum

    Redrum Member

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    Good to hear more appreciative comments regarding the AST - and coming from ryhlick, that's truly saying something! (Thanks Brad) Of course, each week ryhlick shows up at our weekly jam with a new amp (OK, maybe every other week.. ) so we've had my AST (#64, and completely stock) sitting next to some very, very sweet amps. The AST acts like a little Terrier with a Napoleon complex!

    The cool thing about the AST is it has it's own thing going-on. You really can't compare or A/B it to most amps because it really doesn't sound like anything else out there.

    It's worth mentioning that the stock Mojotone in my AST took a while to break-in, but I wouldn't categorize it as "boxy" in any way. A G12H30 probably would sound great, although I'm going to leave the Mojotone in it since it's getting smoother and smoother with time.

    I've used a 5Y3, 5AU4 and GZ34 in it - all sound good with the 5Y3 offering the earliest breakup and softest attack while the GZ34 serves-up a quicker attack and some added headroom.

    Now if I can just pull those 6V6's out long enough to try a pair of 6L6's in it...................

    :cool:
     
  14. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    Regarding the speaker - I also didn't like the MojoTone when I got the amp, started looking around for a decent replacement, and by the time I decided on something, the Mojo had broken in and become a good match for the amp. Sure, I'd love an old Jensen or something in there, but I am very happy with the sound of the amp with the stock speaker now.
     
  15. farlowhigh

    farlowhigh Member

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    just ordered that 5Y3 rectifier and a RCA 12ax7...can't wait to hear how they sound in the AST...thanks again for sharing your tube swapping advice on the AST ...I really like it already with the stock tubes and I am sure I will love the upgrades...very cool to know that Swart was going to use the 5Y3 initially...that made it irresistible as I want to hear the amp as Swart originally envisioned in terms of where the breakup sounds come in, etc.
     
  16. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    you got to hear it with the G12H-30 too!!
     
  17. Drowned Rabbit

    Drowned Rabbit Black Beauty Beats Burst

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    THANKS!!!

    Cool info to have. I love my AST.
    I have the Head version so I get
    to try it out with different cabs &
    speakers very easily. My favorite
    was through a ZBest 2x12 with
    Greenbacks. WOW!
     
  18. bluetweed

    bluetweed Supporting Member

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    Quite welcome/what tubes did you get?
     
  19. zion

    zion Member

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    Bluetweed nailed it! Very similar to what I'm running in the Swart. Game on!
     
  20. phatster

    phatster Member

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    Thanks for the ideas...I tried the 5751 and it clearly makes a difference!
     

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