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Are there any awesome benefits to having a head & cab instead of a combo?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nicklathambass, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. nicklathambass


    Apr 5, 2012
    Hi everyone.

    I've had the same Ashdown combo for my entire playing life and it's served me very well. Until recently, at least. I've started to have gigs in larger venues and the 180w just isn't cutting it. So, I've been looking into getting a new amp. I'm far from being able to afford one just yet, so this is just to help me figure out what I want to do before I do it.

    I'm unsure whether to go for another combo (albeit larger) or a separate head and cab. What are the benefits of the separate head and cab, or should I just go with another combo? Because my current one seems just fine (in terms of ease of use/practicality)!

  2. A thousand more opportunities to indulge G.A.S.
  3. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    Separate head and cab give you the option to use more or less speakers depending on the size of the gig/ volume of the band
  4. 45acp


    Feb 5, 2013
    Texarkana TX
    We used to practice at the drummers house, his jamroom is upstairs. I would leave an old 115 cab there so i only had to carry bass and a head. Lugging a cab to band practice every week would have sucked.

    Also, at the bigger clubs i just run 115 and a DI. At smaller places we dont bring the subs so i run 2 15" cabs to get more volume since im not in the board.
  5. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    1. The ability to have a Large and a Small sized rig, depending on the gig. One speaker cab or two.

    2. The ability to replace/upgrade your amp separately from cabs and vice versa.

    3. The ability to leave one cab semi-permanently at a rehearsal space/studio so that you din't have to cart it there and back every time you go there. The other cab at home should satisfy any practicing you need to do there.
  6. Mousekillaz


    Nov 25, 2009
    Anacortes Wa.
    I'm finding that having a potent head and a couple of cabs, is the best solution.
    Every time I'd bring my combo to a gig, it wasn't enough.
  7. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    The ability to have one fixed (if needed) while still being able to use the other...
  8. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    And most of the time, separate cabs can handle more then combos
  9. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    True. Many combo amps are aimed at hobbyists while a lot of separate head/cab components are aimed at pros.
  10. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Combos are fine for at home or at the studio, but when you go live and play at a venue which ain't small, I would go for a separated cab and head :p
  11. nicklathambass


    Apr 5, 2012
    Thanks for your help, everyone!
    I think I'll be getting a separate head and combo then. ;D
  12. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Cool, will it be a Ashdown as well?
  13. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    answer is no. there are NO real benefits to having a head/cab exclusively.

    look at pro level combos that allow the amp section to be removed for use with other cab combinations if you ever need it. otherwise you will have a great all-in one unit that can cover most normal gigs (as most players don't regularly do 500-1000 person venues or stadium gigs without PA support)

    there are some really great combos with pro features to look at these days that provide this option. Some examples are:

    Mesa Walkabout
    Mesa M3/M6
    Genz Benz Shuttle series
    Amgeg PF series (350, 500, 800)
    (there are others too)

    no one can honestly say that these amps are not working pro level gear.

    good luck, and most importantly ....

  14. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    As partial insight:

    I'm probably going to turn my combo into a head and cab, mostly because it will be a heck of a lot easier to move in two pieces that weigh less. If I wasn't a cheap [bass-tard] I could go lighter yet with a lightweight amp and cab, but even a heavy amp like the big-hunk of iron that Peavey used for a transformer on the TNT is a lot easier to move in a small cabinet by itself than as part of a large, heavily built awkward box with a heavy speaker in it, unless you absolutely, positively needed to do it in one trip, and then you can strap it all to a hand cart - but if you are going to hand-cart it anyway, a combo is about the same, until you get to a set of stairs...

    This line of thought is aggravated by old age and decrepitude. In my jazz band days I used to haul a big sunn cabinet or combo (I don't recall which) up into the bus (I was playing trombone, not bass, but I was good at getting the bus loaded with gear), but I was young and strong. I've horked the 80 lb TNT around a few places and up stairs, and I can still do that, but it lacks the appeal that it might have had 30 years ago. For now it's fine (I doubt it needs to move while I figure out how to play bass) but once I need to move it again, a lighter cabinet and multiple parts that weigh less each look very appealing. Spending big bucks on 3 lb amps and neo speakers, less so, since I AM a cheap [bass-tard] and not actually gigging, where the benefits of lighter but more expensive gear would be more noticeable.

    On the third hand, if a 3lb micro head will crank out the volume, then a combo with a 3-lb micro head built in would not weigh much more than a plain cabinet - if it had outputs for a second speaker it might not be a bad choice, but the head and separate cabs is still more versatile in theory, though possibly less so in practice unless you have lots of extra cabs to play around with...
  15. 45acp


    Feb 5, 2013
    Texarkana TX
    very good points, but you are missing the one benefit of not having to lug a ton of combo amp to every practice. No big deal to some... major benefit to others.
  16. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    My CMD 102p combo is 44 lbs. I am not big (5'10",155 lbs) nor young (60) but can carry it easily. The second cab is 43 lbs. How is carrying the combo harder? Of course. I have a second rig - so nevermind
  17. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses

    You didn't mention what configuration your Ashdown is- have you considered simply adding a matching speaker cab? Provided it has a speaker-out jack and you watch your impedance load that might be an easy solution for you.
  18. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    very often a combo is a series of compromises between engineering and marketing. Separates are less so.
  19. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    the Walkabout is 47lbs and its on the heavy side for these kind of rigs. Does not sound like a "ton of combo" to me.
  20. Bassics101


    Feb 3, 2011
    An awesome benefit to me is that I can use a V4-b. And as others have said, there is the weight issue. But then again, I use a V4-b. Guess the weight benefit is lost on me.