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Amp+head vs Combo?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MX5J6, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    I am in a heavy/prog. metal band and I need something thtwill put out heavy tones and cut through the mix of two distorted guitars and a drummer.

    After looking at some of my options i don't know here to go from here. I can afford either a dinky 300w (proably max) combo or a bigger 500w+ cab but Iwould have to wait on a head since I will only have round $350-$400 in december but more as feb and mrch come around.

    We are i the practicing stages right now but we are ooking to move up tos mall/medium sized gis so I wi need someting pretty decent.

    I will be playing a 5-string bass probably in drop C but I don't know which bass I will be using yet, so i hope that little bit of info helps.

    i have looked around but most of the stuff people recommend seems to be out of my price range right now. i will have to put out at least $300-$800+ on a new decent ass and possibly some pups, preamp and strings. That will also be in feb.-march.

    Transportion is also a factor as it cannot be so large as not to fit in a sedan. that is m only real ride so something big enough to fit in the trunk or back seat will have to do.

    So what are my better options? Buy a combo or buy a decent cab and sav for a nice head when I get more money?

    Will the cab be of any use to me without a head, because I only have some small jank amps that ren't nearly loud enough. they barely work for practice right now. I really need to upgrade.

    Btw when next year comes I will have steady income so I can save fr some decent gear i just need something that will suffice for at least practice until I can save for more. So how should i go about this?
  2. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I would suggest the modular rig.. and try to get 8 ohm cabs that way you can match them and split them according to venue... One thing I have learned the hard way about this gear stuff, well more than one actually .. is:

    Take your time
    Do your research
    Consider used gear
    Get a bit more than your immediate needs. Sometimes spending a bit more than you planned today means you won't have to do it later.

    I can't help you with the problem on your ass.. ;) :bag:
  3. bassguppy

    bassguppy Supporting Member


  4. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Whatever you look at, go the used route.
  5. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Long Beach, CA
    What are you playing now? Could you hook up a bigger cab to the amp you have now, and get a head later?
  6. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Sorry for all the typos, it was 40 degrees in california and i couldn't feel what i was typing. haha Anywho, I will look closer at some used stuff and right now I'm using a cheap little 15w because when i first got my bass it was just for messing about since I was still in my teens and not too serious about anything. Now though I do need something decent so i will look up a few things and see what you guys think.
  7. SoloC


    Oct 23, 2012
    If you're going modular, then check out craigslist. I see a lot of good deals pop up around here.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Dont worry about pickups. There are tons of good basses in the $500 range these days.

    There is usually a huge gear investment involved with getting great tone in a loud metal band. Go used... get at least 300w for your head and a 4x10 (buy used and get something decent). I wouldnt waste time on a combo.
  9. metlman72


    Jun 29, 2011
    Long Island NY
    Go the used route for sure. I just picked up an SWR 210 and SWR 115 cabinet (both 8 ohm)for 130 a piece. Add that to a nice 450 watt (4 ohm) head I snagged for 100 about 6 months ago and I have a decent system for under 400.
    Remeber you dont have to get it all now. A piece here and there and you have a nice rig that will last for a while.
  10. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    4x10's are very heavy, are there any on the lighter side? I also saw a thread on MROD's. i know what it stands for but I don't really know what is considered an MROD or what kind of gigs they are used for?
  11. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Long Beach, CA
    Check out Guitar Center's used gear, sometimes good deals can be found.
  12. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Doing that now, looking at perhaps a GK Neo 410. Or a Peavy headliner 4x10.
  13. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Long Beach, CA
    Neo's are going to be MUCH lighter if affordable
  14. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Some of them are - but you'll find it's a set of compromises. Generally, well made cabs that are able to go loud and low are pretty heavy, and bulky - especially if they are cheap!

    Peavey gear is on the heavy side but is reliable and pretty loud. Tone is generally passable also. Hartke, GK, and brands like Traynor, Ashdown and Trace Elliot all are around most used markets - you may be able to get something great.

    I was looking at getting a 210 - but was recommended to try 212's and 410's - I ended up with a super light 115 - it's a barefaced compact which is pretty loud, but not cheap.

    I'd recommend checking out 212's, 115's, 210's, 410's and 810's & 215's - keep in mind the last two can get too big for the back seat of most cars . . . bring a measuring tape to be sure.
  15. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    One question about heads, I heard somewhere you have to match Ohms, so what if a head is rated at 300w+ at 4 ohms but only like 2XXw at 8 ohms, will I need to find something that is rated at 300w+ at 8 ohms or would 2XXw be fine? that is something I don't really understand.

    I ask because I am finding a few cheap Hartke HA3500's rated at 350w@4 Ohms that are only 240w@8 Ohms.
  16. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    I'm no expert, but the guides on this website and elsewhere (in FAQ and thread form) seem to agree:
    You need to be careful about impedance - for tube heads you can't go above or below the recommended ohm ratings, eg. 2 - 4 ohms.
    For Solid state heads you can go as high as you like but never below the minimum load eg. 4 ohms plus. Keep in mind the manual will give you better info, and the head will usually deliver less watts with more resistance - eg. 500W @ 4 ohms, and 300W @ 8ohms.

    See here: http://www.tunemybass.com/bass_amps/bass_guitar_amps_faq.html

    You will find that cabs max output (SPL or 'volume') is usually limited by the lows - a cab may start to complain and blow drivers at 200W even if rated for 1000W if the signal is full of lows. The 1000W is almost always a thermal rating, generally not a accurate indicator of power handling.
    Check this out too!


    EDIT: Hope this helps, the hartke HA heads are supposed to be pretty good - if the price is right it could be perfect for a crushing metal tone with the right effects. The 240 - 350W output will mean the tone won't be amazingly loud unless you have very sensitive cab(s), which usually means quite big. Like 2 212's or a 215. I'm no expert of course so I could be off by quite a bit.
  17. DogBone


    Mar 15, 2009
    Central Virginia
    My advice, go used.

    Get the biggest cab you are comfortable fitting in your sedan. You can grab an 810 or a used 2 X 15 for $400 -$500. But I'll ask, how about your bandmates, any of them have a truck, van, or station wagon? Transportation to gigs can be a team effort, the rest of the time leave the cab at the practice area and just get a smaller amp to keep at your home for practicing.

    Find a used head, 300 watt-ish minimum. I'd suggest an older Peavey Mark series or similar, maybe $200 or so if you shop around. Plenty of power and useable tone, at least enough to get you well on your way.

    Good luck!
  18. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Right now looking at a GK 410MBE ($270) and Hartke HA3500 (170). The only thing is I don't know the Ohms of the GK but since the Hartke works at 4 and 8 and the GK comes in 4 and 8 ohms it should be fine?

    Otherwise I'll look at a Peavey head.
  19. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    The GK cab should have 4 or 8 ohms written near the jack - if not I think you just need a multimeter.
    The head will be slightly louder* with the 4 ohm version but then you will be stuck with one cab . . . or switching to a 2 ohm stable head (with the 8 ohm version you could add another to get even louder!) IIRC the GK mbe cabs are Neo's so the cab should be pretty light . . . http://www.thomann.de/ie/gallien_krueger_410mbe_8_ohm.htm
    WOW 19kg!!!

    *generally to get twice as loud, you need 10 times the power - so 350W is only slightly louder than 2XXW.
    See: http://barefacedbass.com/uploads/BGM57, Aug2010.pdf
  20. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Ok when I get the cab I will check the Ohms and slect a head from there. As for being stuck with one cab that should be enough for right now.

    Or I can get a Neo 410 for the same price as the MBE but the grill I am guessing has been replaced but I don't think that changes anything?

    What about maybe getting 2 2x10's? I can get some pretty good 2x10's at some good prices, just have to do some searching to find a matching pair.

    If I do get some matching 2x10's can I still use the Hartke HA3500? Because I can find some Peavey headliner 2x10's@8 Ohms, 400W each. Or will I have to find a different head?