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Combos vs Stacks?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Doctor Intrepid, May 12, 2018.

  1. Combo

  2. Stack

  3. Mere preference

  4. Carrots

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. I had an Ampeg BA300 combo, that was a great little amp, but after a few years the amp section died and wasn't worth the trouble to repair. You're right that it was a hard sell, so I removed the amp section and now I have a great speaker cab that I use with an Aguilar th350.
    S-Bigbottom likes this.
  2. leftyjohn


    Mar 20, 2018
    NW US
    I have combo's and stacks. The stack is an Sunn Beta that is used more for experimenting (with different speaker and cabinet combinations) than anything. Nice to have both as long as I don't have to carry both.
    ScotRFM likes this.
  3. ScotRFM

    ScotRFM Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2017
    Northern Kentucky
    I love my stack and it's been my main live amp setup for years and years (and years) - a Peavey Mark VI head, a Peavey 410-TX cabinet, and a Hartke 410-XL cabinet. But, my little Hartke Kickback is fantastic for smaller stuff, coffeeshops and acoustic things. I'm thinking of a new Fender Rumble 2x10 and using it as my go-to. It has more than enough power, is expandable, and sounds fantastic. And the biggest thing? They're light. My stack? Jesus, I need a truck to haul the pieces around. I see the limitations of combos, but that's still where I'm headed back to - never should've sold my Eden/Nemesis 410 combo. (Also, plenty of times, it's just as feasible to take my effects board and run DI, too.)
    Doctor Intrepid likes this.
  4. well I've been using a stack for about 20 years and my last one was an Ashdown EVOIII 900 AMB with a Warwick 4x10... the amp weighed 20kgs and the cab about 38kgs.... every weekend I had to rearrange the car and fold the seats down to get it all in.... then 3 years ago I bit the bullet and bought a Fender Rumble v3, 500 second hand - well what an amp it is!!! only weighs 17kgs and has power / volume to spare.
    in my last band we mic'ed everything up (drums / guitar) and I used the DI on the amp to go to the mixing desk. I only had the amp on 2.5 / 3 and it was plenty loud enough on stage.
    I don't regret downsizing for a minute
  5. Screnshaw


    Nov 20, 2017

    As I have gotten older (and wiser) I switched to mark bass. I use a 2x10 combo which is a great practice amp but can also be used together with my mark bass 2x10 and/or 4x10 cabinet. I typically use my GK 740 with the 2x10 & 4x10 cabinets. Versatility and lightweight fir me
  6. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost

    Feb 15, 2011
    I say use whatever gets you the sound you're after. In the big scheme of things, you can get as much volume out of a combo and an extension cab as you can a separate amp and two cabs. If the amp ever bites the big one, rig up a speaker jack in the back, yank the amp, get another combo and use your old one as an extension. I've got a GK MB210 combo, and a GK 115 extension that will rattle the walls anywhere we play. I also have an SVT Micro head with an Ampeg 4 X 8 cab that's tighter than a millionaires butt cheeks. I love it and use it anywhere I can, but they both sound great and each of the GK's weighs 33#s. Use what makes you sound good.
    Kinky Afro and Doctor Intrepid like this.
  7. oldskoolskatedad

    oldskoolskatedad Supporting Member

    May 18, 2014
    I personally always prefer a separate head & cab set up. Originally it was based mainly on versatility of configurations. A few years back I fell completely head over heels for the then newly released Bassman Pro gear and really can't foresee my all-tube love affair ever ending.

    That being said, during the early 2000's I went through a faze of picking up some really cool Peavey gear, that nobody up here in NE Wisconsin thought was cool anymore, for practically nothing. One such jem was a Black Widow loaded Combo 300. Super cool and extremely versatile combo but weighs a ton. It has an active crossover that was my first foray into bi-amping. Here are some gratuitous pics because I love seeing people's rigs.
    Stumbo likes this.
  8. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    So those old Peavey combos are good? There is one for sale cheap close to me, so I'm tempted.
  9. oldskoolskatedad

    oldskoolskatedad Supporting Member

    May 18, 2014
    Well, they are definitely built like tanks and weigh just about as much. I have no problem saying they are generally a good bargain and all the Peavey gear I have is very well made but also fairly old, can't speak to anything newer than the mid 80's. Only you can decide if they sound "good" to you.
    Doctor Intrepid likes this.
  10. Kinky Afro

    Kinky Afro

    May 24, 2012
    Choosing between combos and stacks is like saying you only like one size wrench. You need the right size tool for the job. I used a Darkglass 900 with a Bergantino 2x12 for large events and a Markbass 15" combo for small. Absolutely loved them both but now ive down sized I only need the MB 15 combo. Stacks for the headroom and Combos for the load in.
    Doctor Intrepid, derrico1 and Stumbo like this.
  11. Given the power and light weight of many combos and the more frequent availability of a FOH PA I'd usually opt for a combo these days or a smaller stack with a Class D head and lightweight cab. I've done the SVT thing and if supplied I'd love it but I'm long past wanting to haul a beast like that around and many other Ampeg rigs aren't very light either.
  12. I use both depending on the gig. If the room is small I will use either the Peavey Max 112 200w or my Fender Rumble 100w. if it is a unplugged gig I will lower it to my Randall Rb60 60w combo,so it really depends on what is required to get the best bass tone from the room.
    Doctor Intrepid likes this.
  13. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    This. I gig Mesa Walkabouts a lot, but rarely as a stand-alone combo. The Walkabouts have a 300-watt removeable head that sounds killer: thick, chewy notes; sounds great driving almost every cab I've ever paired it with; and a great sounding DI.

    Most gigs see the Walkabout head driving either a Bergantino 2x12 or a Schroeder 21012L (both light, w/ good power handling and high-excursion speakers—in the ballpark of a conventional 410 edging toward a 412). Bluesy gigs get a Walkabout combo stack.

    And when none of those rigs make sense, I go with a pre/power rack w an Aguilar DB659, a Thunderfunk, or a MarkBass LMII. Or with a pedalboard w/ pre and cab sims driving IEMs.
    Kinky Afro and Doctor Intrepid like this.
  14. Larry Dolamore

    Larry Dolamore

    Jun 9, 2003
    Over 25 years I've owned numerous rigs, mostly separate amps/speakers but a few combos. Maybe I didn't own most of them long enough to prove longevity but I've never had even one problem with an amp, speaker, or combo. I did own two GK products, one amp and one small combo, for 20+ years (that I eventually sold to friends who still use them) and they just keep going, so I'm impressed with GK durability. Nowadays I don't need a large rig or even a high power amp so a couple years ago I got a Gallien Krueger MB112-II Bass Combo Amp. At 200 watts it won't move walls but it's perfect for my gigs. It is compact and lightweight. I also got a GK 112MBP which is the powered 200w extension cabinet that daisy chains to the MB112-II via XLR cable, so if I need the extra oomph I stack the combo on the powered extension cab. Infinite number of extension cabs could be daisy chained so, if I had the need, I could get more extension cabs.
  15. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    Combos are alright for some things however I always liked having the separate amps and cabs which makes for more freedom in combinations and also upgrades.
  16. Have both. Use combo for rehearsal and practice. Play rock so the stack rules at gigs. Just got an Accugrove El Whappo with a GK MB-800. Clean and clear. And I can get the volume I need to hear myself.
  17. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I have a combo that I love. It's an Ibanez Promethean, which means that the amp section is actually totally separate and attaches with 2 thumbscrews. When assembled, it's just like any other combo. But, I can quickly and easily pop off the amp (Class D, small and light, 500W into 4 ohms), put it in its own case and take it to a gig as a backup head.

    So, really, I like "stacks".

    I don't like hassling with 2 cabs for a gig. A 210 or 212 is enough for most gigs. But, if it's not, I'd rather take one 810 than 2 x 210 or 2 x 212. So, all I need to own is one 210 or 212 and one 810 and I can cover everything I would ever play.

    I have a lot more than that, but I just ordered a 212 cab. When it gets here and I determine that I am happy with its sound, I will be selling off several other cabs. Assuming the 212 works and sounds like I expect, I will have no further use for the 115 and 610 that I have. I will probably keep my 210 just because I have it setup with a little Hotone amp as a permanent home practice rig.
    Deak and Doctor Intrepid like this.
  18. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    The world is thankfully not black and white, which is why I voted Carrots.
    1. Combo for home practice, and very small jam sessions.
    2. Stack for everything else.
  19. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    I think that is the preferncce option, as the question was more along the line of whether you use one exclusively or not. The carrot option is simply to appease the carrot god.
  20. My preference has been for rigs over combos for the versatility of cab choices & having only a part of a system down in case of problems. I keep a spare rig to match any breakdowns with a viable alternative. I can also pick the best match for room sizes (outside of DI'ing). My first Hartke was a combo 1-15 which I used w/o any probs for 20+ years; this hasn't been matched by any subsequent Hartke setups. I also have a pair of Ampeg heads & a BSE410HLF cab.
    Doctor Intrepid likes this.

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