Combo vs stack

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mrdeadlybass, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. mrdeadlybass


    Jul 20, 2018
    So I'm a previous metal bassist in my younger glory days now playing in a rockabilly/blues band that does covers and originals. I'm looking took downsize from my 610 and 1000w head. It's just more than I need anymore and I'm tired of lugging it around! Looking for recommendations on what to go with. I'm really wanting a clean/smooth/middy/old school sound. I've been eyeing everything from markbass, Eden, ampeg, etc. I'm having a hard time choosing between a combo or maybe a 210 with seperate head set up that I could add onto in the future. My budget is a measley 600-800 bucks. Any advice would be much appreciated. Bass on
  2. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147

    Don't go combo. Here is my standard rant: Modular rigs are free of the "combo trap" problems, such as: if the amp dies, the speaker is useless, or if the speaker dies the amp is either useless until the whole thing comes back from repair, or you get to lug a combo with a dead speaker as an amp head for a different cabinet.

    Oh yes, the combo lover will tell you "it is so much easier," and yes, if plugging in a speaker cable is too hard, your life will be golden. The combo fans also say "moving a combo is easier," which is fine, if it is actually true. Many combos are huge and heavy, though new lighter ones are more portable that the old ~70 lbs combos like the SWR workingman's 15 or Acoustic 136 I used to schlep.

    I have an 800 watt head that fits in my gig bag and weighs about 4.5 lbs. Add a good 30 lb cabinet, and I can load-in in one carry—and I am 68 years old! That said, I am much happier with a large rig with tons of power, but that discussion is for another day.

    My advice is use all of your budget to buy a top quality modern cabinet, and use your current head until you can afford a Mesa Subway or GK MB800.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  3. Drgonzonm


    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    the budget imo, limits you to combos. The OP never stated what the make and model of his 1k head. His best bet, might be a 210 cab with 8 ohm nominal rating. I would also consider removing any master volume knob.
    Nickweissmusic likes this.
  4. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Used Aguilar TH 500.
    Aqualung60, Koog and Lance Bunyon like this.
  5. TrevorG

    TrevorG Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2012
    I've always had combos. Only had one that was useless if the amp went(and that lasted fifteen years). My present combo could take a separate amp easy if the head blew. Heads are very small these days as I realised seeing a cab for sale because someone had walked out the venue with the guy's head without anyone noticing. I also like combos because I also carry the bass, the leads, guitar stands and extra cab. So any reduction is welcome. I do envy the flexibility of swapping either head or cab if I needed to change my sound but my present combo is just right for me. I guess it depends on the combo or choice of stack but you can make either work for you.
    Joedog likes this.
  6. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    Ampeg V4B would be ideal, if not maybe a SVT CL.

    Depending on what brand 610 you have (Berg?), half the battle may be already won.

    Edit: Probably won't find a SVT for that price but, I have seen V4's listed at that price. I would also look for Fender Bassman's in that price range.
  7. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Fender Rumble 500 Combo of course! It's your huckleberry of bass goodness. Or the new Rumble Stage 800 if you are into high technology digital modeling amps that rock.
    pcake, Aqualung60, craig0316 and 5 others like this.
  8. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

    —H. L. Mencken (not a member of the Rumble Club, LOL)
    Nickweissmusic, fdeck, pcake and 4 others like this.
  9. Drgonzonm


    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    Is the OP into death metal? You know a huckleberry, is also known as a pallbearer?:laugh:
  10. Agreed : Combo is false economy
    My Bergantino forte’head And 1-12 cab weigh @ 35 lbs and substantially more powerful than any combo and far more versatile
    Mpike and Munjibunga like this.
  11. bordinco90


    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    If I was you I would get the Hartke KB15 Combo amp. It kicks back so you can hear it when playing. I've used mine for big stages and small. I love the tone and how loud it can get. I went from a Markbass 4x10 with a Markbass 800 watt head to this and I love it!
  12. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    Go used, my friend, and do separates - the latter for the same reasons Dr. Jim gave in the first response.
    Aqualung60 and zon6c-f like this.
  13. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    I've had numerous combos (some w/extension cab), and numerous separates. I've had equally good luck w/all of them. I have no preference, other than some sound better than others. I see no correlation between tone and configuration. Currently running a 500W 115 Genz Benz Countour combo, and am pleased. No need for an additional cab at this point.
  14. west al

    west al Road Rex (ROAD KING) Supporting Member

    I'd stay away from the combos. Hartke has the TX600 head for $399. 600 Watts @ 4 ohms, and 450 watts @ 8 ohms. It has a good but simple EQ, and a head phone jack. HyDrive HD210 is 500 watts @ 8 ohms, so it would be great giving you 450 watts from the TX600, that weighs in at 7 pounds. Don't go to low on the power end of a head, ya' never know when you may need it, or want it.

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    AstroSonic likes this.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    Used GK RB head (400, 700, 800, 1000...any of them) these sound great, last forever and are relatively light. Compared to today's class D amps, they may seem heavy but I remember when a 400RB seemed like a featherweight (about 20 pounds).

    Whatever used cabinet you like...sounds like you like 10s.

    You could probably come in for under $500, leaving you some room to afford either the cab or head new.

    PS: combo paranoia is misplaced. If you're on the road with no backup rig, then maybe worrying about the speaker or amp section dying is justifed but that doesn't bother guitarists, now does it? I like separates because you can mix and match (add or subtract cabs, for instance) and each piece is lighter than the same thing in a combo. But I've gigged with combos maybe half the time over 40 years and had no issues.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    That's a sweet amp. I'm running one and have the extension for the times I need it. Each is under 50 pounds, so carrying is no big deal.
    wesonbass and Joedog like this.
  17. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Yeah, I wish I had bought the ext. cab when they were available. They seem impossible to find now! Don't really need it....but you how GAS is...LOL.
  18. mindwell

    mindwell Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wichita, KS
    Fender TV Bassman 15 combo: tube preamp, 350 watt solid state power, 15" driver, gorgeous tone, enough bump for a bigger stage, stunning aesthetic, 60 lbs with casters. Discontinued, and sounds great no matter what you play. Total sleeper rig.

    TV Bassman 15.jpg
  19. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I looked a long time until one showed up at GC used. I got the combo when they were blowing them out at the end of Genz. The whole rig cost me less than $800. :)
    Omega Monkey and Joedog like this.
  20. Wanted light weight rig that could handle low B

    Years ago I bought and still own a GC Acoustic combo which is remarkably powerful and handles low B excellently
    My thinking was Low B plus one lift was win -win False economy. Still too heavy for lower back

    Bought same rig in separates and although 2 lifts is Much easier to load

    Now I own class D Bergantino forte and 1-12,cab with exponentially more power and substantially lower weight

    As I like the combo I will leave combo home and take the Berg out

    Head and accessory bag in one hand and cab in the other with enough power to gig is amazing