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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Doctor Intrepid, May 12, 2018.
A combo with removable head = a stack but easier to carry.
Suit or Jacket/Pants?
I'd suit up every time.
Half Stacks, or Full Stacks for me. A personal preference.
Nice! Nothin' half-anything about that setup!
I will never gig with a combo. Typically the amp section is usually underpowered and there's no option to increase the power section. Many combos are heavier and more cumbersome than a stack's individual components. Always better to have more power and options than you need rather that be stuck with one combo.
Older I get, the more combos make sense. Done with stack monsters. You can have 'em.
+1 to all these comments on the MarkBass combos.
Combos are good if you are going for the one trip in with all your equipment mantra. They also are a little quicker to setup (plug in bass and done - especially if your combo has a built in tuner and effects). That said, I prefer the versatility of separates.
Most of the gigging bassists in my town seem to use small combos (my friend bucks this trend by taking two, yes two, 810s for his speed metal gig).
Stacks but only because I like to roll components in 'n out of the rig. This was a fairly formidable combo I used to own...heavier than hell:
I have a pair of Ampeg B100R Rocket Bass combos, one that I modded with a line out so the other can operate like a slave.
I also have a 12" Mesa Walkabout Scout with a 12" extension cab.
I have a fEARful 15/6 that I can run with my Demeter VTBP-M-800D, Orange TB1000 head, or the Mesa Walkabout head (from the Scout).
Each has their place. Plus, it's nice to have lots of stuff laying around.
I like the convenience of a nice, light combo. But, I also like the sound of a tube amp, which would be too heavy to 'combo'. So both for me, and I'll use whatever fits my mood and situation of the day.
I voted stack because the choice of speaker is what is most important to me. My main cabs are made by mfrs who do not make combos.
The only combos I have really loved were specialized ones, the SWR Baby Blue and the Acoustic Image Contra/Coda. Both amps use unusual speaker designs. I bought both to get better sound for my DB.
I gigged a lovely Traynor Bass Mate tube combo for many years in small bars. It was only a little bigger than a Fender Deluxe Reverb guitar amp. Got it used for $65 (those were the days) and it more than paid for itself.
A few years ago I'd have said combos, with the caveat that they had the ability to have an extra cab added to them without modification. But since then, I've been a stack/more-speakers-less-wattage/separate unit guy and it works better for me. I have 2 different heads and 2 pairs of different cabs. This allows me to scale up or down as needed, or use parts of a backline if provided. Plus, with my 2x210 cabs, I can go vertical and have far better stage monitoring than a combo sitting on the floor or a milk crate.
A compact stack is the most versatile. You can change heads or cabs to suite the venue plus separate components are easier to lug around and pack in your car. I keep cabinets at two rehearsal locations and carry the head around in a laptop bag.
Depends on the gig and how much sound I need. I do many shows in different venues so I need both.
My Mesa Scout combo is amazing for small rooms. For the larger venues I scale up according to the venue..
To me, we may be on the verge of a 'sea change' regarding bass amps, and the Fast Freddie video of the Rumble amp shows something I think will be more and more common: Less knobs and more presets. Synths originally had more knobs and patch connections than a Western Electric switchboard, and required a nerd's knowledge base to get any sound at all out of them. Over time (notably the advent of the DX7) led to current designs where only controls are left to fine-tune what's in software, with very little facility to build sounds from the ground up.
And I also think amps will follow current practice in touring sound. The days when a massive touring rig would be driven by racks and racks and racks of Crown or Crest power amps (and the thousands of pound of copper speaker wire) have given way to flying cabs with built-in, light weight amps in each cab, requiring only signal cable to control arena sized systems. Portable bass rigs could be like this, for example . . . .
. . . . with only your choice of preamp, drive it from a pedalboard, whatever, as the power is internal to each cab. Stack as many as you need to fit the gig. There will always be a place for an SVT and the like, but time moves on.
My own personal Holy Grail: I've always envied guitar players who could walk in with the axe over their shoulder and a little single 12 in their other hand. I'd have settled for a bass Twin Reverb, and a Super RedHead was close, but one of these days, something along those lines will be a reality.
My concern is scalability. I can couple any of my amps with any of my cabs to get the right rig for the gig.
Use whatever is right for the venue. That said, I bring a head and whichever cab I want.
Also depends on the combo.
Some are budget getting started rigs some are pro kit.
If I'm honest I really love full stacks. I own an old Hartke HA3500 bass head and two Hartke cabs (4*10 and 1*15) since 2001 and it seems that they will be with me until I die.
But the truth is that I don't play in big venues or outdoors too many times and the older I get (I turn 44y.o. this year) the lazy I am about loading stuff to the gigs.
Usually I go ampless everytime I can. I plug my bass through my Sansamp and I send signal to FOH. If there's a decent monitor system or a bass amp on the venue I don't care at all. The main thing is to hear myself onstage.. no matter how.
Going ampless is not an option in every gig so I'm looking for a lightweight combo with 2 speakers or maybe with a single 15" speaker and a tweeter... Something loud,light and portable