The mail would start innocently enough: "Hi, I love your amps!" Then would come the hook: "So..., can I play the STR-Tweed in the same room with Aunt Rene? She's not a heavy napper but her hearing aid can be dialed back." Sure, Jimmy.
Indeed. Truth be told, even the little ST-6V6se would make Aunt Rene's eyes change hue given a heavy hand and increased endorphins. But we love the 6V6se, STR, and AST and really didn't feel like saddling each with Master volume. The combos deserve the Swart Hallmark purity of circuit.
Enter the dreaded A Word: Attenuator. Yeah, we know. And Sir Michael thought there were plenty of attenuators to choose from. On the other hand, could thy Swart Magic come into play yet again, moving this device to another plane? Well, after a solid year of research, trials, virtual black holes, and head scratching, we have the answer:
YES! Meet the Swart Night Light; there's NOTHING like it.
Michael succeed in making an attenuator that is optimized for our lower wattage combos, standing apart from the crowd. And while this beast brings the excellent Swart tone down to whisper quiet levels, keeping the tonal harmonic integrity intact while retaining the quality of output tube breakup, it's much, much more.
For instance, the completely defeatable (flip a switch and you bypass the whole nine yards) circuit has a unique bulb filament compression stage, giving the attenuated signal a more saturated tube-esque compression, bringing a bit of the Brown Sound to play(this is a subtle effect). Slam a chord, and watch the main jewel lamp glow as it compresses into sweetness. A flip of the switch removes this stage if not desired.
The actual attenuation is controlled via a three position switch, avoiding the issues with mediocre attenuator pots robbing the sonics of heft and tone. The most attenuated position leaves surprisingly robust breakup at a shade over natural string loudness. It's THE answer to your significant other wanting to burn a hole through the center of your skull. The current Night Light actually has FOUR LEVELS of attenuation, broken down below.
If this was all the Night Light did, it would be good enough. Yet ole Michael didn't stop there. He wanted a way to link up TWO amps, the first driving the second via it's full OUTPUT stage, bring all the effects PLUS power tube drive, this reduced to proper input level, then fed through the INPUT of the second amp! The number of tonal variations is staggering; simply put, this is a boon for all Tone Explorers. Run an AST into a ST-6V6se! Or how about the STR-tweed into the little ST. Man, it's just too fun to be legal. I could ramble for 10 paragraphs and still not get near all the possibilities with this setup. When you add in the attenuation aspect, this little magic box gives more than it has a right to.
Lastly, it's compact, and cool to stare at, just like all the Swart gear. And last but not least, it makes a great NIGHT LIGHT! Bring your whole family in to gaze at the beauty. Or not.
The night light is very portable and built like a rock. It's the size of a small effects pedal: 4.67" L x 3.68" W x 1.18" H. This thing can practically fit in your pocket.
The Night Light was designed specifically for the ST-6V6se, STR, AST, and AST Pro. But even though optimized for the Swart brigade, the Night Light will work with ANY amplifier 22w or less with the light compression, 30w with it off. In addition, it's designed for 4-8ohms load. 16ohms will not work with this version of NL.
Bored by the plethora of text? Hit the bullets:
Attenuation settings (4 Attenuation Levels)
Filament BULB Compression Mode
This mode runs the attenuated signal through a Swart jewel lamp filament, bringing a subtle tube compression/brown sound goodness. Ever wonder what your signal sounded like through a light bulb? You'll be addicted in seconds. NOTE: This switch ONLY works with LEVEL chickenhead at 12oclock
Bypass compression mode
Removes the light compressor out of the circuit for more natural dynamics. With level at 12oclock, this is least attenuation/highest volume setting.
Heavy duty 3 position Switch
This main chicken head switch allows you to switch between FOUR different attenuation settings. At first setting, or 12oclock, the NL can cycle between the COMP and DECOMP switch which brings two levels. DECOMP is least attenuated or loudest setting with COMP position bringing more attenuation via the bulb filament. Turn the switch to 2oclock will bring more attenuation, bypassing the DECOMP/COMP switch. The lowest setting is about the same loudness as your guitar strings.
Guitar Amp, guitar line level out
(works in attenuation mode or bypassed)
- Allows you to send the complete amp signal to another guitar amp. Now you an sound like Jimi in BOLD AS LOVE! Well, maybe. You COULD. Seriously, have you heard two Swarts together? You should. .
- You can send the AST effects, reverb and Tremolo to a standard non effects amp. This allows you to run the AST in stereo with another amp sharing the effects between the two amps.
- With the Night Light it is now possible to get the AST sound into your 200 watt live guitar amp. Just plug the Night Light into the AST; set it to the sound you like and run a line from the Night Light to your 200 watt stack for ear shattering levels.
- it is now easy to run a Space tone into a AST or a AST into a Space Tone.
It's a virtual blue night light show of psychedelic craziness. And it looks cool. Keep your 3 yr old entertained till the wee hours.