Loud, lightweight and liftable, Warwick’s new LWA 1000 head and cabs land on Chris Hanby’s doorstep for a road test…
Behold Warwick’s first attempt at entering the lightweight bass amplifier market. It’ll be interesting to see if the German luthiers have kept true to their design ethos and are able to offer a significant USP to make us part with our cash. Given my previous experiences with the brand, my expectations are high, and I was very keen to try out the LWA 1000 paired with its companion W CA 408 LW CE 4×8 and 1 x W CA 112 LW CE 1×12 cabs.
Build Quality And Features
On unpacking the LWA 1000, I was expecting to see a stark modern design. Instead I was confronted with something that looked like a high-end studio piece from a bygone era, thanks in part to the retro wooden panelling on the sides (made from bubinga, of course). It’s available with either a black or silver housing. Having switched it on, you are greeted with an ultraviolet glow from the backlit Warwick logo, again adding to the nostalgic look of it all.
The controls are neatly laid out and the aesthetic is straightforward and user-friendly. Channel 1 runs from left to right: ¼” jack input, input gain, mute on/off, bass, lo mid, hi mid, treble, compressor level and compressor on/off. Sensibly, Warwick has decided to mirror these controls for Channel 2. While this might sound obvious, I’ve seen many dual channel amps where this is not the case, so I commend Warwick for doing this. A single knob centred between the two channels controls the output volume of both channels. This layout makes sense and allows for very easy tweaking. I liked the aux in and headphone sockets, which make the LWA 1000 a handy tool for practice too. The rear panel provides tuner, ¼” line out and effects send and return jacks. Also present is the now-obligatory XLR balanced output, with pre/post switch and ground lift options. I was surprised to see only one Speakon connector, though: a pair would have been useful.
It all seems very nicely put together, as you would expect from a high-end German product, and the unit has a robust feel while being deceptively lightweight. To protect the head, you can purchase optional rack ears or a purpose-made gig bag at an additional cost. The LWA 1000 is also supplied with a footswitch to change channel. It cleverly uses a TRS cable to connect to either of the inputs, and you can then plug in your standard ¼” jack cable into the footswitch. This means you can use one bass with two different EQ and compression settings, or two instruments each with their own dedicated channel. One thing that struck me was the lack of a status LED to indicate which channel you are currently using.
Warwick specifically designed the W CA 408 LW CE 4×8 and W CA 112 LW CE 1×12 cabs for use with the LWA 1000, rated at 600 and 500 watts respectively. They both have the same dimensions and stack neatly. The 4×8 also sports an adjustable tweeter. If you’re used to standard-sized 4×10 or 1×15 cabs, these Warwick cabs will seem a lot smaller: this makes for much easier transportation and setup. Couple this with their fairly lightweight, and they start to make perfect sense as a replacement for their larger cousins. They both look the part, all in black with fluffy covering. This is much more hardwearing than traditional tolex, if perhaps not as nice to look at. They both have a sturdy metal grille to protect the Celestion speakers. Both cabs also have robust metal handles, which were comfortable and well placed to balance the cabinet when lifting.
First up, I plugged in an active five-string Jazz bass and set the controls flat with the compressor off. The tone was full and focused with a bright, modern top end. This rig has headroom in spades. With 1000 watts to play with, it’s like driving a car with a large engine; the LWA cruises along effortlessly, pumping out thick, defined low end. Pulling the mids down a bit emphasized the amp’s tightness and complemented the slightly scooped nature of the bass. The bass control allows you to go from thin and reedy to overwhelming subbiness, and the frequency sweep is very usable, making it simple to reduce woofiness in the room. The treble control adds a glassy, hi-fi top end, utilising the 4×8 cab’s tweeter. The inbuilt compressor is neat too, adding a warm, musical bit of squish, great to even up fingerstyle lines and a must when slapping.
Next up I tried a stock P-Bass, again starting with a flat EQ. The tone was clear and clean, and with a few twiddles of the knobs I could go from a rounded Motown Portaflex sound, pushing the low end and cutting the top, through to clanky punk edge by boosting the mids and using a pick. Last up was my faithful old Thumb bass, which for me is where the amp really shines. There is something about its distinctive Warwick growl that works in perfect harmony with the LWA 1000. You would expect this combination to sound pretty good, of course, as I would bet that much of the R&D was performed with Warwick basses. In every setting I tried I was rewarded with a clear, refined low end with soaring highs and lovely mid-range snarl.
This is a well designed and easy-to-use amp. The 1000-watt power rating means it can cope with practically any gig situation you put it in, from tiny club date to festival stage. Regardless of instrument, this rig allows any bass you plug into it to speak. What the LWA 1000 excels at it providing controlled, rich, clean tone. The bandwidths for the EQ section are well chosen and allow for quick and musical tone shaping. Its effortless tone, greater wattage and dual preamps may help it to perform in a well-saturated market. Only time will tell, but it certainly performed well during my test.
The 4×8 and 1×12 cabs surprised me in that they easily coped with the high output of the head, and didn’t even come close to folding until the bass knob wasmaxed. They could easily replace the industry standard 4×10 and 1×15 cabs with no loss of punch or low end. Offering smaller, lighter enclosures is an obvious advantage in that it makes for easier transportation – and therefore you incur fewer trips to the osteopath.
Warwick LWA 1000 head
Suggested RRP | £734
Power | 1000 watts at less than 1 per cent THD
Features | Class D power amp section, noise-free Class A preamp circuitry, two channels, footswitch; separate input gain, mute, 4-band EQ and adjustable compressor for each channel; stereo aux input for MP3 player/CD player, headphone out with integrated stereo headphone amplifier, serial FX loop, tuner output, line output, balanced DI output with pre/post and ground lift switches; dual purpose Neutrik / ¼” jack lockable speaker connector
Dimensions | (W/H/D): 270 x 98 x 146mm
Weight: 2.75 kg
W CA 408 LW CE bass cabinet
Suggested | RRP £550.50
Power handling | 600 watts, 8 ohm
Features | 4 x 8” Celestion Speaker (8 ohm), 1” Celestion neodymium compression driver, High Frequency Attenuation Control, two dual purpose ¼” jack and coaxial lockable connectors
Frequency range | 65Hz-20kHz
Dimensions | (W/H/D) 520 x 540 x 400mm
Weight | 21.9 kg
W CA 112 LW CE bass reflex speaker cabinet
Suggested RRP | £550.50
Power handling | 500 watts, 8 ohms
Features | 1 x 12” Celestion speaker, 1” Celestion neodymium compression HF driver, two dual purpose 1/4” jack and coaxial, lockable connectors
Frequency | range: 65 Hz-20 kHz
Dimensions | (W/H/D): 520x540x400mm
Weight | 17.6 kg
What We Think
Plus | Small, light, clean and powerful with great breadth of tone possibilities
Minus | The lack of channel status LED on the front panel or footswitch could make you come a cropper live. Dual Speakon outs would be a good failsafe option
Overall | If you’re looking to replace your 4×10 or 1×15 rig with something more easily transportable and you need plenty of heft, this could be the ideal solution