amp terms

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by one_winged_angel, Sep 9, 2000.

  1. one_winged_angel


    Sep 9, 2000
    I am fairly new at the bass and I have no idea what all of these terms are (head, cab, combo, etc.). Could someone please tell me what this stuff is or where I can find info on these terms.
  2. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    That's a good source:
    Go to the rubric 'gear', there you will find:
    gear glossary
    bass amp basics
    bass cabinet 101
    (those pages seem to be encoded somehow, I can't copy the adresses)

    BTW, you won't find the word 'cab': that's short for 'speaker cabinet'

  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Head - Usually refers to an amplifier system with no self-contained speaker. It usually has a pre-amp stage and power amp stage all in the same box. The pre-amp may be tube-driven or solid state (transistors). Most heads have a solid state power amp, but some have tube power amps. If it has a tube pre-amp and a solid state power amp, it's called a hybrid. The pre-amp stage is where the EQ is applied (treble, mid, bass tone controls) and other effects like compression. Sometimes, people use a separate pre-amp and power amp (two separate units). The pre-amp sends the EQ'd and effected signal to the power amp. Power amps can vary in output from about 15 watts to over 1,000 watts. Basses need more power than guitars to achieve usable volumes, and 300 watts is a good place to start for bass (this is my opinion). The power amp takes the signal and boosts it to a level strong enough to drive the speakers ... which brings us to cabs.

    Cabs - Cab is short for cabinet, or speaker cabinet. This is a box that has speakers in it, but no amplifier. You plug the output of your power amplifier into the cab. Cabs come in many different sizes and combinations of speakers. When you see someone mention, say, a 110 cab, this means it has one ten-inch-diameter speaker in it. Likewise, a 410 has four ten-inch speakers in it. Some cabinets have different size speakers in one box, like the SWR Triad, which has one fifteen, one ten, and a tweeter horn (a little-bitty thing that enables you to blow out someone's ear drums, if you want). Sometimes, manufacturers put an amp and speakers into one box ... this is a combo.

    Combo - Combos come in all shapes and sizes. Two really popular ones are the Eden Metro and SWR Super Redhead. These two have 300-watt to 600-watt amplifiers built in, and each has two 10-inch speakers. Eden and SWR make a bunch of other combos to meet the various requirements of players. Other manufacturers, like Ampeg, Fender, Peavey, Crate, and Yorkville make combos of varying configuration, quality and price.

    Hope this helps. Let me know what you mean by "etc." and I'll tell you more.