Matching (brands) Head and Cab(s)?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by madjazzbass, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. madjazzbass

    madjazzbass Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    How many of you feel that a rig Sounds better, Could sound better or Would sound better if both the Amp Head AND cabinet(s) were the same make? For instance, Mesa head/Mesa cabs, Trace Elliot head/Trace Elliot cabs, Gallien Krueger head/Gallien Krueger cabs etc., or Do you think it doesn't matter what brands you mix and match together - and it's ridiculous to think that a rig will sound better matched/paired together with the same like brand? Just a thought :whistle:
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  2. I only match for aesthetics. I’m sure there are times that manufacturers design a cab and amp to compliment each other however those are only two parts of a long signal chain filled with variables.

    Example, my Orange AD200 looks and sounds great on top of my Orange OBC810 with my ESP LTD B-1005MS, however the same head sounds even better with the Bergantino CN212 and Dingwall Combustion.
    Aqualung60, LeftyD and madjazzbass like this.
  3. LeftyD


    Feb 22, 2017
    Las Vegas
    Yes, the signal chain and variables. True.
    But, I bought a used full Ampeg stack consisting of a 4Pro and BXT410 and 115.
    When I first played through it, I remember thinking,
    Boy, this sounds great, maybe there is something with the all by one company rig.
    Maybe it was just because it was all Ampeg;)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  4. Lovep

    Lovep Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    Some companies do make their cabs with their amps in mind. Bergantino, TC and others have special bells and whistles in their amps that work in sync with the cabs. I think you can also tweek the cab’s EQ via the amp (Berg).
    Al Kraft, madjazzbass and LeftyD like this.
  5. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey Suspended

    Mar 8, 2015
    Yeah, makes a huge difference, that's why guitarists always play their Marshall guitars through their Marshall amps and cabs (strung with Marshall strings of course!).
  6. I have only two pieces of matching gear. I haven't used that rig by itself in years. Matching is way over rated.
  7. Just 'cause they look like they go with each other, doesn't mean a matched set provides the sound someone likes best.
    I suppose one small (very small) advantage might be consistency in philosophy of power ratings.

    Merry Christmas everyone.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I have a matched Epifani head and cabs. Looks cool as all git-out and they're matched power-wise but I still have a tube emulator pedal sitting on my board to sweeten the rig.

  9. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    The company who maketh my speaker cabinets don’t make amplifiers. I have no choice! :D
    madjazzbass likes this.
  10. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I've always used matching amp and cabs. I feel that the manufacturers design them to work together and I've never really considered using different brands. However, I have a friend who runs an SVT-CL head with a Hartke 810 and it sounds amazing. Nice tube warmth and growl with the tightness and punch of the Hartke speakers.
    madjazzbass likes this.
  11. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    Generally I match with my bass gear, but almost any head sounds good (to me) through an 810. With my guitar gear, I am much less concerned with matching head and cab.
    LeftyD and DD Gunz like this.
  12. last matching rig i gigged with was the swr 750 and 610 a dozen years ago. These days I’m very much the type that prefers a great DI and the power amp and cabs are just a stage monitor to me. In other words, no I wouldn’t choose any bass head that ampeg makes over my rack setup.
    69F4EFF4-7091-4AAB-A439-2570422B4278.jpeg And if I replaced My cabs at this point I’d probably go with greenboy or barefaced and they don’t make Amps to my knowledge so my gear still wouldn’t match. By as far as looks Half the time we gig my band uses scrims anyways 9E2D8237-97EE-4AB0-8523-A4D2F2B3A21C.jpeg
    LeftyD likes this.
  13. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    While there are some companies that provide special features or voicing options when you match their heads and cabs (GK with their bi-amp feature and Bergantino with those optimized settings for their cabs immediately to mind), I've never found it essential to match things in order to get a great sound. Matched sets do look cool, but unless your rig is on display at an art show and being judged on aesthetics, the audience will more likely be interested in how you sound.

    Most companies tend to go for a certain type of sound or voicing in many of their products (amps/cabs) and you can often get equally impressive results by pairing differently voiced designs to either smooth out or accentuate some of those inherent characteristics. That said, I typically like Mesa heads on Mesa cabs and GK heads on GK cabs, but will freely admit that any head sounds great on a Berg or AudioKinesis cab! As always YMMV!
    LeftyD and J-Bassomatic like this.
  14. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    Been running a GK head and an Ampeg 810 for years. I have ran GK cabs in the past but there is just something about that combo. I prefer the standard 810E over any other cab As I can get my tone anywhere.

    That said, I also have a Heritage SVT head I run as well. I attribute much of the Ampeg tone to their cabs. Running the GK head with the 810 gives me everything I like from both.
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  15. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    Ever try a Bergantino NV610 with an SVT? This alone will disprove your premise. :bassist:
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  16. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    You also have to consider the instrument, the environment, the player's technique, and what the player expects from the rig. For example, The SVT with the matching 810 and a Fender P bass combine to make an iconic and highly sought after sound. I have read the SVT and 810 was specifically voiced for the P bass, so these are essentially 3 elements of an optimized system. Many would argue that nothing sounds better, and they would be right.

    Unfortunately when I play through a fridge I feel totally disconnected from the instrument because I like more of a full range sound. Almost every brand and model of speaker I have tried with an SVT gave me better results than the speaker designed specifically for it. That's not to say an SVT with an 810 is not's just not my kind of awesome.
    madjazzbass likes this.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If you are happy, I am happy, and I really don't care what gear you use or whether or not it matches. I don't use the gear I use because it matches...I use it because I like it.
  18. Bubble


    Apr 17, 2013
    If you mix four different brands of tires on your car it may not handle well, but with amps and cabs you can get away with liking the way it sounds.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  19. J-Bassomatic


    Mar 30, 2017
    Canton OH
    That's a very nice rig.
    I would be surprised that a company that made amps and cabs did not 'tune' them to achieve the desired sound. I think the Ampegs are living proof of that. I know when I bought my Fender Rumble 500/2 210 cabs that I knew beforehand about how it was going to sound (kind of 'Ampegy' IMHO). On the other hand I have mixed amps and cabs and got excellent results. (LAB4 in a Peavey 610 and an SVT through 2 Acoustic 215s) So yes, agree with your supposition that the sound was a result of using like gear. I'm guessing that the Ampeg PF 50t that I am seriously gassing for would sound great through the Rumble 210s. OMG. I just realized that I'd need another 210. GAS is like that isn't it?:laugh:
    LeftyD likes this.
  20. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    This would have made a great poll.
    I don't think it matters a lot unless there's bi-amping involved, or powered cabinets.

    Isn't there a G-K setup where the amp powers the cabinets?
    not just audio, but actual power

    Not sure if Line 6 applies much for bass, but they make their pedals & stuff to go with their amps.
    i.e. there are more benefits with the pedal if it's plugged into a Line 6

    Their Variax lines can be powered from certain Line 6 pedals, so you could play w/o the battery, or be charging while you play.
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