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Cabinet or Amp-head what to buy first?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ArchBass, Nov 26, 2000.

  1. Looking for a starting point for new rig (upgrading from a practice amp). Would it be better to purchase a cabinet, or amp-head first? I am leaning towards the cabinet because I can use it as an external speaker to my practice amp. Yes, I know there will be a power issue about getting the best sound out of the cabinet. Amp-head later would fix the power issue.

    The other reason I asked this question is to see if buying separate components (cabinet, pre-amp, amp, effects, EQ) is better than buying a combo? I feel by buying separate components I can get the best of the best for each component, similar to buying a home stereo system.

    Just curious to see what the members think!
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I'd suggest a combo and here are a few reasons -

    > Your Fender Frontman, assuming it's the bass model, puts out 15 watts. That's simply not enough juice to drive a second speaker cab. Adding speakers isn't necessarily the way the way to increase volume, especially with your low power amp. (I know, it seems like it should).
    > If you did get another speaker cabinet, you'd have to worry about the impedance/the ohms of the cabinets and if your amp is designed to handle the impedance change that will result from adding an extra cab. Some people don't do their homework and fry their amps because they don't know about impedance.
    > The speakers in both cabinets stand a good chance of being out of phase with each other. In other words, when the voice coil is moving in one direction in your Fender, the voice coil in the other cabinet is moving in the opposite direction. As a result, the sonic waves cancel each other and you sound awful.
    Try looking at Bass Player online at the combos they have rated in their combo amp shootout and look through Talkbass info. You can learn so much.
    Let us know what you decide.
  3. Mo' bass

    Mo' bass

    May 4, 2000
    IMHO it is best to save your money and when you have enough for a combo or a head+cabinet go out and buy what suits your needs best.

    What size gigs do you play most? Will a combo be loud enough? What about portability and weight? What amount do you want to spend? These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself. Then find the brands that have the sound you want and are within your budget and check 'm out thoroughly. Nothing sucks more then buying some gear and then having to sell it at half the price a month later. Trust me, I've been there.
  4. jrock111


    Oct 10, 2000
    I agree with the above post. Don't be impatient and save your cash. Down the road something better might come out that you like better and you wish you didn't buy that one component earlier. However, if you really want to take this approach, I would suggest buying the head first because it will be portable enough to take to music stores and try it out on different cabs. I did it this way only because the head was dirt cheap. The truth is I don't need my head and cab most of the time. I just happened to get it super cheap. Your playing situation might not require you to use a big rig. There are alot nice combos with alot of power that you can afford.

    [Edited by jrock111 on 11-27-2000 at 01:19 PM]
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I would advise buying a cabinet before a head. Reason is that cabinets have much more to do with overall coloration of the sound than amps do. That's not to say all amp heads sound the same, but they vary less, in general, then cabinets do.

    I do agree with the advice about trying to drive a cab with only 15 watts. If you're talking about using this for anything more than practice at home, it's not going to work well.

    As far as combos vs. separates, combos have only one real advantage: they are an all-in-one solution. If you don't need the portability that this implies, then there is no reason to use a combo amp over separates.

    Separates are easier to upgrade and if you get to the point where you have at least two heads and two cabs, you can "mix and match" components to build rigs of varying sizes appropriate to each gig. It's just more flexible, at the cost of needing to always haul at least two pieces to the gig.
  6. I'd buy the cab first.. it's what I did =) I plugged my little Fender 15b into it and it was awesome. from my observations.. there's no harm done on it... =) get the head later on, just using the little practice amp into the cab is loud enough for a little practice =) at least one of mine..

  7. LuoLi


    Apr 2, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    It probably wouldn't make a difference unless you want to get Acme or EA speakers. They require more power than other cabs (SWR, Eden, Bag End, Hartke, Peavy). Where you can get away with 250-450 watts with the other cabinets, you would need 500-800 for the Acme or EA.

    So if Acme or EA is in your future. It would be bad to have an amp, then getting the speakers, and finding out you need more power. OUCH!


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