Gig Worthy Combos: Yea or Nay?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by stepswork4me, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Giggable

    300 vote(s)
  2. Not giggable

    39 vote(s)
  3. Undecided

    15 vote(s)
  4. Plain don't know

    15 vote(s)
  1. I know in the past, finding a truly giggable combo was near impossible. In recent years, the quality of this market seems to have grown in leaps and bounds. I've personally played a few from TC that are definitely gig worthy. What's your experience? Opinions are always welcome, as I have mine. But, I would really prefer to hear your experiences.

    Edit: Let's say playing with distorted guitar/s and a hard hitting drummer.
  2. SBsoundguy


    Sep 2, 2011
    Los Angeles
    It really depends on what kind of music you play. IMO no combo out can compete in a loud death metal band with 2 guitars running half stacks and a heavy handed drummer. Some combos are more than enough of a jazz trio though.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    With a PA, you can gig just about anything.
  4. Not even a 500w with a 15?
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    By their very nature, combo amps are compact and relatively low-powered. Once you scale them up to the size of a full concert rig, the advantages of a combo amp (i.e. space-saving integrated head, high degree of portability, etc.) are more or less lost - providing no relative benefit of the "large combo" over any ordinary head + cab(s) rig.

    Therefore, a high-quality combo amp has its uses and its benefits - but mostly just for small spaces, relatively low volume levels, and/or for smaller purchase budgets. As with bass gear generally, the quality has continued to increase significantly in recent years, while the relative price has continued to drop or remain steady. That process may continue on for awhile yet - but will eventually reach the limits of practical design & engineering, and of cost-effective production.

    I don't know what else one might have to say about them... :meh:

  6. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Absolutely, depends on many variables .. I have a 35 watt Peavey 110 Minx that has played small worship services and in a (16 piece orchestra) theater pit ... and a 60 watt Peavey Basic 112 that has covered the gig with two guitars, keys and drums playing 50/60's R&R in small settings ... I cant imagine anyone on here will tell you either one of those would even be remotely considered as 'giggable' ...

    .. you may need at least some 'basic' parameters to be judging the piece by to even remotely get any kind of credible responses ... JMHO :)
  7. Makes sense. I shall edit. Thank you, Sir.
  8. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Very few 115's are going to truly be able to do anything with 500 watts. The ones that can are not going to be found in combo's. Even if they were the compromise on cabinet size wouldnt give you great results.
  9. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    I think MM said it just right. I will add - if you want good low end response with good volume, combos are not going to cut it. Bam-Bam on drums? No freaking way.

    Playing with musicians who have restraint, good dynamics, and a very low stage volume, yeah, you can gig with a combo amp.

    The GK MB series of combos are fantastic and can truly keep up with many different kinds of bands.

    It really comes down to the tone you want. If you want to hear yourself, you can easily kill the low end through the combo and just focus on mids. It sounds terrible, but now you have a decent monitor and can get through the gig ok.....
  10. I'll just say that my experience differs on that.
  11. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Depends on how loud you have to be. But there are many combos that get pretty freaking loud for rooms that aren't large auditoriums. The GK MB212 seemed pretty awesome to me, and I would look at Hartke's offerings as well. I did an open jam with a Fender Rumble combo that was provided, and came away thinking it was pretty good. There are others as well.

    The key factors with a combo are portability and flexibility. If it's as heavy as a tombstone, what's the sense in having one? If it cannot work with amps other than its onboard amp, then you have to have another one as a backup, which kinda negates the portability factor.

    But giggable combos have been on the scene for years and years.
  12. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    There are a number of 500 watt combo's out there. Some with 2x10, 2x12 or 1x15 configurations and some with extension cab capability and DI out.
    The GK MB210 combo has around 500 watts and a 210 layout - pair it with a GK 4x10 extension cab if needed for larger venues. 500watts thru 6 tens should be able to keep up at club and medium size gigs and if more is needed just connect to the house system. Is it perfect, no. Can it be made to work, probably. Of course, if your drummer and gui****s are out of control you and your audience have other issues to deal with.
  13. Only giggable combo I've played was a 20 year old Ashdown. It wouldn't qualify for Doom. It would give most office workers a hernia. So nay here ime.

    New Ashdown stuff with civilised stage volume and PA support, didn't fare too well either.

    Flash new stuff seems to be working for others. It's all about the stage volume and neo.
  14. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    If keeping up with distorted guitars & a hard-hitting drummer are now the criteria, then why even screw around with a combo amp at all? Unless your budget is very strictly limited, I just can't see any rationale for it whatsoever.

    Even a very limited budget is a pretty dubious reason anymore, considering the variety of cheap, relatively powerful individual heads & cabs available these days - particularly on the aftermarket... :eyebrow:

  15. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    It all comes down to the drummer. If he has a touch and understands the volume requirements of the space, you can gig anywhere with one. If he has two speeds - too loud and way too loud? Maybe not. The volume produced by the drummer will set the bar for everyone else.
  16. ruiomichlet


    Jan 21, 2013
    It really depends on what kind of music you play.[​IMG]
  17. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have been gigging with a combo amp since 2005, so I hope it is doable ;)

    Maybe some will think it is cheating that I use an extension cabs for most gigs now. So I have two 1x12 cabs.

    The rig can get too loud. At some point I have to switch to PA (even a "vocals only" PA) just to keep the stage volume on my side down. But I never have a problem playing with a loud drummer.
  18. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    I feel sorry for the sound guy at some of these gigs y'all are talking about. When the stage overrides the front of house things can get ugly fast. A single 200-300 watt 15 combo IMO is plenty for most indoor gigs. Outdoors now that's a different story. Not much more is needed though as long as you have a good P.A.
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    My father gigged a 100 watt Sunn Beta for years with no problem. I've usually needed more juice and paper. I occasionally used a Carvin MB12 with a Hartke HyDrive 410 extension cab for some gigs. I could probably get away with an Eden Metro or something equivalent for about 50% of the jobs in my current band.