1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Pros and Cons of combo Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Feb 3, 2005.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    If you would please list the pros/cons of using combo amps as opposed to seperate heads and cabinets. Thanks
  2. As I see it, the main "pro" would be portability, and the main "con" would be limited power, unless you get into one of the new Aguilar (500 watt) or Mesa (600 watt) combos, but then you're talking big $$. IME, combos are good for rehearsal, but not gigs.
  3. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I'll never go combo again (errrr, I think). Why would you lock yourself into a combo when you can get a sep head and cab?

    Easier to haul two smaller pieces, you can upgrade one of the two if you are not happy with it, etc... Unless it's a small practice combo for a bedroom or office, I don't see why you would go combo...
  4. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Plenty of VERY light heads now (new Yamaha 500 watt @ 10 lbs, etc) and plenty of light cabs (most you now using Neo magnets as well, VERY light). Don't do a combo man!
  5. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    My 210 combo weighs in at a beefy 68 lbs.

    I can take the head out if need be, or I can add any other 8 ohm extension cab (I made another 210 for this setup). I can get plenty loud with just the combo alone. But, of course you can't just buy one like this as I made mine.

    The back of the combo has wheels on a tilt plate at the bottom so once I get it out of my car I can just wheel it.

    I've had an Eden Metro and a Peavey BAM210 and they were big time heavy!

    Typically, combos are heavy but you only have to haul in one thing. It really is a personal preference, but I prefer combos that allow for extension cabs. Of course mine is custom made so it got rid of the weight problem and it fits in the back seat of my Saturn.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Very Nice, i bet you get alot of punch with that set up.
  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah it gives alot of punch. So much so that despite having an extra 210 extension cab, I have yet to use it.

    We played a gig recently where we played quite loud onstage (and we normally don't play loud onstage) and I still didn't need the extension cab.

    I can certainly see why so many people would prefer head/cab setups to combos. Combos are pretty heavy for anything decent (and even ones that aren't so decent), which is why I designed my own. :)
  8. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    -1 portable unit that does everything (amp & speakers)

    -One really heavy piece of equipment (speakers and amp in one box)
    -Can't be incrementally upgraded (more power, different preamp, etc)

    To me that's the way it is. I'd only ever own a combo amp again as a small bedroom practive amp (maybe).
  9. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    The above statements sound vaguely familar... :confused: :D

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Yeah those ampeg combos get real heavy
  11. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I have been using the Mesa Scout Combo for the smaller venues without problem and when I need more I use my WW Ultra with two Bag End Single 15's.
    The WW/ Bag End is an the small size compared to other rigs but it produces huge tone and sound. The Scout works very well ...big sound from a decent sized combo.. I always use dollys to haul gear aroung.. my back is not what it used to be....
  12. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Oh man, I _love_ my combo amp. I just bought a Peavey 2x10. 350 W by itself, 500 W with an extension speaker. ( :eek: ) Power is not a problem. ;)

    It's heavy, yes, but rolls on some pretty sweet casters. I roll it out to my car, it fits in my hatcback, I roll it into the gig. Nice, big handles, easy to lift. Still much easier than the head/combo, at least for my situation. (The 70's SVTs are heavier than just about everything.)

    I used to use an Ampeg head with either an 8x10 or a 4x10. I have yet to be in a situation where my BAM has not "underpowered" or "not heavy-duty enough" for a gig. And when that day comes, I can plug in the 1x12 I'm going to be getting.

    For my personal situation, which is gigging at small clubs and bars and playing in medium-sized churches, my combo amp is perfect.

    Done and done.

    PS - My smaller, practice amp is a 60 W Hartke combo amp. I'm using that in church it's _still_ more than adequate. I use that same combo amp in rehearsal for my secular band, and it comes in clear as a bell against a drummer and a 100 W Marshall half-stack.
  13. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    1. The combo weighs a ton. Lugging it up a couple of flights of stairs will leave your shins all banged up.

    2. Some of them only have one handle on the top, instead of two side handles, which means you can't ask the guit@r player to help you carry it. And he probably wouldn't help anyway because he "doesn't want to hurt his hands".

    3. Having the head and speaker in one cabinet doesn't really save you a trip anyway because you still have to go back to the car and get your bass and the gig bag that has all your cords and stomp boxes in it.

    4. Unless you are doing a Jazz gig or are backing up some folk singers, if you show up with a combo you will look like a weinie.

    5. If you show up at the gig with your combo and you see a Marshall stack and a Fender Super Reverb you had better pray that there is PA support for you. :rolleyes:
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I think there is a point of diminishing returns somewhere around 100 Watts, where combo amps cease to be portable. In my case, though, a typical electric bass load-in is a GK MB150E combo in one hand, music stand in the other, and bass hanging over my shoulder. Strictly for jazz.

    The other use is in places like schools, churches, etc., where the combo simply has fewer parts to get misplaced, stolen, or misconnected.
    groove-in likes this.
  15. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Really? Wow. That's as good a reason I've heard not to have a combo amp. Thanks for that insight.
    chadds likes this.
  16. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Sure, I mean, why not let them get it all in one swoop? ;) :D
  17. I use a combo now for most gigs because it's just easier to tote around. With my hand truck, I can make just one trip (gig bag on my back).

    Power is not an issue. It's a Peavey Databass with 450 watts (yep!!) into a 15" Black Widow.
  18. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    My other problems with combos besides the ones already listed is, if something goes wrong with the speakers or head, it's not that easy to swap out. My small combo these days is a Schroeder 1210 and a Thunderfunk head....60 pounds total, in a very portable package :cool:
  19. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    I've got a BAM also and it's easy as hell to gig with, has tremendous tone and versatility and is loud to boot. I don't even need the 4x10 I have in my basement, it's just a prop now. The BAM handles the B better than my 4x10, has good articulation of all notes all over the neck, has outstanding power, I have yet to turn it above 3 and that was at home. At practice it doesn't go over 2 or the keyboardist whines. Combo amps are a perfectly viable solution for a lot of bassists and the implication that gigging with a combo amp makes me a wienie is pure and total crap. Who needs to bring a 170 pound 8x10 to every single gig, even the small ones where you need a single 12 and 100 watts? Tell all the guys that own Eden Metros, GK MB150's and RB series, Aguilar, Mesa/Boogie, Fender, Peavey and every other combo manufacturer that combos are for pussies and make you look like a wiener. There's pro's and cons to everything man, no need to call people out for what they play. And no I'm not sensitive, I just don't like it when people call out others for no good reason.
    groove-in and xelaalex like this.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    My Warwick Infinity LTD 2000 actually sounds pretty good through my Ampeg B 100 R, i will be using that and my Sadowsky tonight.

Share This Page