Swart Space Tone

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,026
I spent the week with Michael Swart's Space Tone and wanted to share some comments before I pass the demo unit on to the next guy.

First, I can't get over the feel of the amp - the perfect amount of give, very elastic feeling, but its not loose on the low end. Very touch sensitive.

Tonally, I can't quite put my finger on it. The mids have a little tweed richness to them, the top has a little blackface sparkle. The overdrive tones remind me of the first Led Zeppelin album. A little Marshall in there too. A very rich, enveloping sound. With the tone knob turned down, there's even a little bit of Z Route 66! Sorry for all the different amp comparisons, but this amp just doesn't sound like anything I've ever played. The sound stage is very 3D, there is some kind of cabinet mojo, the chassis sits in the middle of the open back, but the lower portion of the amp has a small closed/ported section. I'll try to post some pics later to better illustrate. The reverb is very unique, at low to medium levels, it lays back and blends very well with the notes - at high levels it almost sounds like a ducking delay in a cathedral. When I first turned the reverb up, I understood exactly where he got the name for the amp as it does sound very spacey. With the reverb and the cabinet design, the amp sounds much bigger than you would expect coming from such a small box. The trem is very good, not a huge amount of range, but a very hypnotic sound - I think the trem varies the bias on the power tubes as you can see the tube's blue glow pulse with the trem on.

The controls are on the rear of the amp, I can see some guys not liking this, but this really is the kind of amp where you set your volume and tone and do the rest from the guitar. The footswitch controls the reverb and trem. Lots of different shades of tone by varying pick attack and the guitar volume knob.

Bottom line is this is a very fun amp, perfect for around the house or in a recording environment. It doesn't require any tweaking to sound good, just plug in and play - you can get kinda lost enjoying the rich tone. Great amp and I think the guys who have them on order are going to be very very happy.
 

khudson

Member
Messages
306
I was able to try one at Jason Barker's (Steelbender). I am so impressed with this little amp. Nice cleans, but easily coaxed into "browning" out. No pedals needed. We a/b'd to the Carr Rambler. It was darker and a little bassier to my ears, but the Rambler was tighter and more articulate. I did prefer the reverb & tremelo on the Space Tone as it is more pronounced - far out and fun to play!
 

Ogre

Member
Messages
4,652
Just for clarity, this must be the new model with 2 6V6s, not the original single-ended 1-6V6 model.
 

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,026
Originally posted by Ogre
Just for clarity, this must be the new model with 2 6V6s, not the original single-ended 1-6V6 model.
Yep
 

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,026
Originally posted by Ogre
So are you ordering one, Lou?
not at the moment...Stu has all of my money from my last 2 amp purchases :)
 

malabarmusic

Member
Messages
1,701
Thanks for the writeup, Lou. Your amp reviews are always well written and fun to read. Maybe you should think about moonlighting for gear magazines. :AOK

- DB
 

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,026
Originally posted by malabarmusic
Thanks for the writeup, Lou. Your amp reviews are always well written and fun to read. Maybe you should think about moonlighting for gear magazines. :AOK

- DB
Thanks man - you're welcome to come by this weekend and try the amp before I send it back. You could bring your magical delay unit!
 

Dave LaP

Member
Messages
3,324
Hi Lou,

Looking forward to hearing the Space Tone myself. Thanks for the review.


Dave
 

GAT

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
19,026
I was to get the demo for a test drive, but everytime I talk to Stu, he's so excited about the Swarts, I just went ahead and ordered one. Sounds like a "different" amp that is the perfect around the house, jam amp. I may try it for a wet amp with my Brunos. I can hardly wait, maybe 1-2 more weeks.
 

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,026
I just spent a couple more hours with this little sweetheart (she goes to Procos tomorrow), and the combination of tone, feel, and touch sensitivity all add up to major FUN. I normally prefer tones that are either totally clean, or heavily distorted - but this Swart amp sounds so great when dialed in for mild breakup (especially on open chords), and the tone stays clear and full when you dial down the guutar volume. So many old school blues tones just pour out. I also tried the amp with my MI Audio Blue Boy and those two were *made* for each other, thick rich tones that make me laugh when I look at how small the box is. When I first plugged the BB in, I immediately thought of RF's Jing Chi live tone (not exact but has that almost bloated exploding kind of distortion) This amp is also one of the few amps where I don't have to adjust the controls/dial down the treble when I step on the pedal. I recorded some noodling with my camcorder that I will post if I can figure how to get the audio to my PC.
 

Stephen J

Member
Messages
192
I'm waiting on a Space Tone and would love to hear what you've got- I appreciate your review as well. Steve
 

GAT

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
19,026
Lou V,

I LOVE that Jing Ching live sound, hmm I can hardly wait! I bet my Klon will sound great with it as well. Thanks for the reviews!
 

Stu/Fat Sound

Member
Messages
686
Hey Guys! I recorded several clips of the Atomic Space Tone 20 today. It's amazing how the amp can cover so much ground with just a tone and volume knob. We did a quick clip of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl with my '57 Les Paul and the tone was dead on.....then without changing any setting on the amp we plugged in this kind of weird Chandler Strat style guitar with three el cheapo single coils and had the most amazingly beautifull, swirly and chimey clean tones....kind of a Mark Knopfler sound. Next we plugged in a high end Tele style guitar with Fralin pickups and were nailin' modern country tones.
I should be able to post these clips on my website by mid-week.

We also left a recording rig set up with the amp this past week in the shop and just had local customers sit in the hot seat and play. This really helped showcase the range this amp is capable of as well as how it really reveals each player's unique tone.
 

Lerxst2112

Member
Messages
472
"I should be able to post these clips on my website by mid-week."

I'm retarded. I should exit the gene pool.
 

GAT

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
19,026
Stu,

You need to come out west and have some BBQ and Brews. You can deliver my Swarts and take a tax write-off! :dude

P.S. I'll let you take the M's and my Hog out for a spin!
 

Stu/Fat Sound

Member
Messages
686
I hope to have some posted by mid week. Jason Barker of steelbender.com has been working on some too so he may have some up sooner than me.
Mine are on a G4 notebook hardrive that belongs to a guy that works with me so I don't have access to them until next time he comes in to the shop. He is supposed to bring me formatted versions on Wednesday.
 

Stu/Fat Sound

Member
Messages
686
Originally posted by Lerxst2112
"I should be able to post these clips on my website by mid-week."

I'm retarded. I should exit the gene pool.
:D .....Ha...I was typing a response...see above....but you beat me to it! Thanks Lerxst2112!
 

Stu/Fat Sound

Member
Messages
686
Originally posted by GAT
Stu,

You need to come out west and have some BBQ and Brews. You can deliver my Swarts and take a tax write-off! :dude

P.S. I'll let you take the M's and my Hog out for a spin!
Dang....well.....since you put it that way! Mighty hard to resist! :dude
 




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