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Head+Cabinet vs. Preamp+Poweramp+Cabinet?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by metallicarules, Sep 28, 2002.

  1. Well, the title is pretty self explanatory, yet the question is confusing the heck out of me. What exactly are the pros and cons of the two different methods?
    I don't have much money to spend and I'm just an amateur player looking for an amp that has a decent tone and will keep up with the guitars and drums --> loud drummer, 80 & 100 watt marshall guitar amps.
  2. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    well... there are a few of them that I took into consideration before buying a rig.

    Pros head + Cab. more portable, less stuff to deal with

    Cons. You can only get so much power out of the head.. you may need more than 300 watts..

    Pros preamp/poweramp + cab

    you can pick and choose everything, you aren't limited to one brand, If one thing on your rig breaks.. you aren't completely out of the game..

    Cons. its alot more to deal with and it might cost more..

    In the end, I went with a preamp, poweramp and Cab setup.. I am very happy with it
  3. sizz


    Sep 23, 2002
    Bella Vista, AR
    I personally am about to move to up to a preamp->power amp->cabinet setup. I normally play through a SWR SM-500 (which is for sale in the Classifieds:) ) but I find myself running out of power on full-band gigs in medium to large rooms. I think that a big fat power amp will cure that. :D
  4. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    You can never have enough power. I use a pre/power amp setup. It's always come through! Also I have found it cheaper to use this setup. I only cost me $950 for a 1300watt rig. Brand new! Eden, SWR, don't even come close with that price. Maybe ampeg has something in that range of price and watts. I also think most of these manafactures use poor quality power amplifiers. I had a SWR sm400s and hated it. You could not turn it all the way up without it clipping. I asked the folks at SWR and they said I need to buy their sm900. I wanted to know if something was wrong with my amp and they said no!! It is suppose to clip!! What a hunk of junk. I have a Crest LT1000 that I CAN turn all the way up and it sound great. It cost almost $1000 less than what I paid for the SWR.
  5. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I'm pretty fond of the preamp/ poweramp / cab combo myself......my Demeter/2402 weigh about the same as my SVT3, but with way more juice.
    Even on smaller gigs I like the way my smaller cabs sound with the overhead of a good poweramp:)
  6. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    It all depends on what you want. I looked at both options and went with the single head option (a SWR SM-500) that sounds very good through my two Aguilar GS112 cabinets. I was looking for good sound with enough headroom (500W) that was very portable (less weight) and gave me the expanded EQ section that the SM-500 has.

    For me as well, cost was a factor. and while yes you can get a cheap pre-amp and and relatively cheap power amp, I wanted the SWR quality.
    So far it has served me well in all the venues I play in (various sizes...small bars to mid-sized stages). If I ever go on my stadium tour ;) then I'll just pick up a couple of power amps and use the SM-500 as a pre-amp. I'm just giving you an opinion on the other side of the coin from the pre + power. it was the price/portability/quality issue for me (portability being the key).

    But as I say, it all depends on what you are looking for.


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