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How Much is TOO Much to Spend on a Combo

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lijazz, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Title says it All....

    I had posted another thread a few weeks back looking for opinions on some combo amps I had tried and liked. These being a GKMB115 ($500), a Hartke Hy-Drive 115 ($630) and, on the advise of another TB'er, a GKMB212 ($800). I was blown away by the MB212, but at $800 it made me think: is spending that much on a combo amp crazy? Will I be too limited whereas I can spend this same amount on a head and cab and have more flexibility to change one or the other if I so desire. But then I keep going back to the fact that even as much as I loved the MB212, I could easily make due with the lower priced amps I tried since they were also appealing tonally to me and much cheaper.

    What say you?
  2. This will depend on who you ask.

    IMHO no combo is worth the money. I would much rather have a head and cab.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    There are a lot of Mesa Walkabout owners out there, including me.
  4. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    It depends on your needs. I'm inclined to agree with owning a head an cabinet. But I have two rigs - a MarkBass Jeff Berlin combo and a Carvin head with misc cabinets. The MarkBass is expensive but fits my needs - as does my other setups.
  5. The other thing I keep asking myself is this:

    If I use the GK MB115 as an example...it is $500. A very comparable head and cab (GK MB200 and 115 cab) comes in at $700. What am I really getting for that extra $200 other than the abilit to try a different head or cab with each one?

    More confused now than ever.
  6. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Too Much > (Need / Available Cash)

  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    More than you'd pay for a head and a cab. Combos are perfectly valid solutions and their quality is the same as similarly priced separate amps.
  8. I would disagree. I have yet to find a combo that does not make a compromise in the "cabinet" design to meet form factor. IMHO, IME, YMMV.
  9. There are some truly fine combos out there at a wide range of price points. It comes down to finding the sound you like, the weight you're willing to shlep and the price you're willing to pay.

    In the end, it's all a matter of personal taste.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The ability to sell them separately if you so choose. But the thing you mentioned, being able to swap alternate components, is the big reason to pay the extra.
  11. tmntfan


    Oct 6, 2011
    Edmonton canada
    it depends on what you play. and how ok you are with FOH handling the bass.
    I have been using a SWR baby blue combo (the new version is the spellbinder blue) for years. there is enough there for rock rehearsals and plenty for the jazz gig's. For most bar/wedding shows I would just run the DI out the back to the board as the sound guy requested.
    Granted, I don't think 90% of sound guys know what they are doing with an Upright or effects on a bass though so the sound isn't the greatest.

    it depends on what suits your needs. I wanted a light package that would work for upright and electric in small to mid size gigs and was willing to pay for it. Makes load in/out much easier.
  12. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    My 112 Markbass does the job for me at least 50% of the time. For most of my other gigs, I add a 12 extension, but sometimes putting that on the other side of the stage is beneficial to the other musicians.

    For my outdoor gigs, I have a GK 212 with a 1001 (and a 410 if needed).

    So, If you need volume, pay for the larger comb. For portability and easy of set up, get a smaller combo and cab.
    Price? When you average it out over 5 to 10 year--- who cares.
  13. EBS ~$4000, SWR ~$2300, AER ~$2300, Mesa ~$1700, Orange ~$1600, Epifani ~$1600, GB (Shuttle) ~$1500, AI $1500, Markbass ~$1000

    GK's and Hartke's aren't exactly at the high end of combo prices.
  14. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Combo is not necessarily inferior. Both cab and head are often designed to work well together in a combo. It can be more portable (especially a 1x12 combo, or maybe a vertical 2x10). They are often sufficient for most situations you might find yourself in.

    It's all about your needs and taste. Find out what you need and like, and then you will likely know what to buy or how much it's worth it.
  15. pineapplerobot


    Jul 23, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I've spent $1000 on a combo, I wouldn't pay more than $1300/1400. See SWR Redhead.
  16. I'd say that unless you're looking at micro rigs or beginner rigs, no combo is really worth the price. Micro rigs I exclude because being a decently powerful and good sounding rig in such a small area is very advantagous in certain situations. (Think coffee shop gigs.) Beginner rigs I also exclude because most people start off with something cheap and small, which combos excel at.
  17. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I love my Markbass 112 combo but felt it was expensive for a combo and was afraid it might not be enough "oomph" for some gigs. It has proven to be worth every penny and I later added a Markbass NY12 which solves any issues of volume.
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If you are as rich as Bill Gates, there is no amount that is to much. If you are late with your rent then $1 is too much.

    I guess I don't understand the question. Use your own ears to find a combo you like and then user the internet to find out how much it is worth.
  19. I bought an Eden Metro when I wanted a decent gigging amp. It was cheaper than buying the same components as separates. But man it got to be a pain to move around, and then it wasn't really loud enough for my gigs without an extension cabinet.

    So a small combo for rehearsals and quiet gigs can make a lot of sense, but if you're thinking of a 212 combo, I would go separates. On the other hand, if you need the amp now, it's better to have it and use than go another month or two not being able to play the gigs/rehearsals/jams you want to play.
  20. My opinion as of this moment is that for up to $800 I have not played or know of a head/cab that is as appealing to me as the new GK MB212 combo I tried...so maybe that is the answer right there.

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