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Are combos obsolete?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by dar512, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. dar512


    Mar 25, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Ok, that's stretching it a bit. But small, powerful heads are readily available. Mine goes in my gig backpack so nicely that I can't imagine a combo being more convenient.

    Does the (now minor) convenience of a combo outweigh the benefits of a separate head and cab anymore?
  2. Absentia


    Feb 25, 2009
    I think combos are at the top of their game right now, I hear more people switching to smaller combos as opposed to large rigs of doom, not the other way around.

    at 42 pounds I snatch my cables up tuck them in the case with my bass and haul it up stairs and toss in the back of the car. done deal.

    sometimes I wish I got the separate cab and head but meh, apples and oranges.
  3. thirtypoint87


    Feb 9, 2004
    Manager/Repairman: Music-Go-Round
    I love a good kick-back combo (or, in my case right now, a Tech 21 Programmable Sansamp DI into a powered p.a. speaker). It can be used as a monitor onstage with a DI sent to the PA. If you need an 8x10 to hear yourself, then yer whole band needs to turn down!

    Your sound guy will appreciate not having to compete with the backline amps when mixing and will make you sound good in the room. This is rarely the same as what sounds good onstage.
  4. I guess the new trend is 2 in 1. Small combo with removable head. This way if the small combo is not enough you can remove the head and take another bigger/louder cab or maybe use one available at the gig. Mesa boogie's Scout combo has had this feature for some time now (I guess there aren't many DB here using it!), the shuttle from genz benz has it as well and now the new coda from AI. Probably other company's have this feature already.

    David Santos
  5. I love my GK combo... a little heavy but nothing I can't handle. I think about getting a seperate amp/cab... but can't find a reason why.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The best of both worlds at the moment (IMO) is the design of the new Genz Benz shuttle combos.


    The little bracket on top of the speaker cab is pure genius. I've long thought of modding something like it for my AI Focus 2/Wizzy 10 setup, since it's what I use 99.99% of the time, and would save me some time each gig. I suppose I could build one out of wood and paint it black...
  7. I kind of agree with the premise, especially for slab doublers. With the powerful microheads, you can stick the amp in your bass bag (maybe they'll start adding pockets designed just for this purpose) and grab the right speaker for the instrument. The trick in that case would be to find the head that works well for both instruments.

    I love my Contra, but I could definitely see going the this route if I routinely did slab gigs. Right now, I do maybe a half dozen a year and bring along a Hartke 2x10 for extra support. Not the best solution, but it works.
  8. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    LMII w/ a Platinum Pre AMP is heaven + a neo 1x15 is heaven.
  9. JKT


    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    On the contrary I don't think we've seen the pinnacle of combo technology.

    I would think we'll see more permutations of detachable mounting systems too.
  10. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    That's an excellent point chief. Kind of addresses the whole premise of the OP.

    But kudos to dar512 for proposing the question. It's something some combo manufacturers are already thinking about like David said. Those that aren't risk being labelled ... obsolete.
  11. geez, i din't know a guy who weighed in at 42 pounds could do all that. powrful little guy.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree with you 100% - for

    DOUBLE BASS amplification (which is what this forum is about :p)

    So - small heads and cabs are much easier to transport than any combos. I still see a lot of DB players using GK 150 watt combos..

    But for me there is no cab to beat my EA VL208s - so then it's just a case of deciding on a small amp to power one of them or two for loud gigs!!

    I was thinking about a Little Mark II lately...6.39 lbs and 500 watts?
  13. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    That's 'cause they are small, easy to carry, and work for many people.

    I think the reason we mess around as much as we do is because there is no single setup (yet) that works for everyone and every situation. Pickup, strings, amp, bass, pre, ahhhh. We can go 'round and 'round here is but some people love/hate the GK, some people love/hate the AI stuff, some people love/hate the Markbass... and on it goes.

    I love my little GK but it is a little lacking in headroom... the Clarus/Wizzy M-Line cab sounds great but is more to carry and is overkill for small gigs... but the Clarus/MBX sounds great too, is less to carry, and has more headroom just the combo... but it is more to setup... but the GK combo and MBX is a little less to setup but still lots to carry...
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Small head who cares, you still have to carry the cabinet which is where the real action is..

    The Coda works for me and at 25 pounds in a road case, game over. The Walter/Berg rig now only gets used when doubling bass guitar.
  15. I think if the price of the combo is less than separates than no. My previous combos that were heavy and under powered were really a waste of money but now with light powerful combo's its nice to just have something that works and that will last years.
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    And one fewer thing to plug in, one fewer cable to worry about forgetting to move to your other bag...

    It sounds petty, but when you're playing a lot and sleeping a little, simplicity makes a big difference. So, vote for good combos. With expensive gear too, I hate leaving anything in the car awaiting that second trip, even for a few minutes. I've never and anything jacked, but I know plenty of guys who have. So, what part of town and what time of day/night I'm playing influences my choice of gear for the night too.

    I'm coming to terms with needing high-scalable rig, which is not necessarily the most portable and an uber portable one to cover all occasions and back one another up. I have an EA iAmp200c for the former and a GK MB150 for the latter.

    Honestly the GK does most of what I need most of the time. It doesn't always feel as light as it is/looks, but it's pretty small. There are rooms and drummers that it doesn't get along all that well with, but it's pretty darn good.

    The EA scales much better, but probably not infinately. If I ever see an iAmp 500 for sale used at the right price, I might swap the head and pick up a 2nd cabinet of some kind, but honestly, I haven't even come close to reaching it's top end.

    The AI combos are sub-20 lbs now with their former headroom problems apparenly solved, which does make me think.

    Anyway, I'm fine but am tempted to lighten my light rig and boost my loud rig. Don't really need to on either end, though.

    I'm really not tempted to separate my cabinet and head. More crap to carry, no matter how small.
  17. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Note the forthcoming AI cabs shown on the home page at the Acoustic Image site. Same kind of deal as the Genz-Benz shuttle. As Chris says, best of both worlds.
  18. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I agree with you pal. Yes, it makes a diff. And yes, it sounds petty. :)

    Convenience to the extremes we sometimes take it is a bane of modern living IMO. What we do w/ DB is all about the sound and the feel, yes? Whatever does those best, use that.

    Granted, my commutes and parking and load-ins in Raleigh are nothing like Seattle or Chicago. :oops: So the environs can definitely influence how much weight one gives to "convenience," and rightfully so.

    There will always be a "market" for convenience < sigh >. Too philosophical. Hm, sorry. So no, combos will never be obsolete.
  19. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Like David and Chris and Adrian said, detachability seems to be the answer. Although there is a Bud Light commercial featuring a guy w/ a toupee where detachability=bad.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    For me it's a case of having found the EA VL208 cabs and then nothing else compares to these - so it's just a case of finding the right head to go with them! :p

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