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Reasons to buy a combo rather than separates?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lord Henry, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. I should be getting my new bass within the next couple of weeks. After that my new aim will be a decent form of amplification.

    So I'm just wondering: Given the choice (by which I mean basically the same price), is there any reason to go for a combo rather than head/cab separates? Am I just fooled into believeing that separates are more 'pro' and give a better sound?

    NB - I did a couple of searches and couldn't find a thread on this topic. If there is one then just point the way.

  2. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Both my amps are combos. One mainly for practice and small gigs. I wish I had got separates for my better amp. Probably not the reason your expecting, but it would make it much easier to haul around. Combo's get heavy fast and pain to load into the car. Also with separates when the head goes out I can borrow a head.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I feel that separates are better than combos. Easier to move, plus you can interchange heads/cabs if you want.

  4. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Combos are good for practice amps, in my opinion. But, for gigs and stuff, separates are easier to carry (especially if you want large wattage) and you can get different brands of speakers and amps together. And If you decide later that you don't like the sound of something, you can upgrade slowly without blowing the bank all at once
  5. I have both and I purchased a combo because I wanted one thing to have to load and haul. At my age (47) I'm just getting tired of having loads of gear to deal with. I sadly got rid of my 70's svt head because it was just too damn heavy and I purchased an Ashdown ABM EVO combo. Much easier to haul and actually more appropiate for smaller venues.
    There are some great combo's these days.
    So sometimes I like just having the one item to load on a dolly. One trip to the stage as opposed to an amp, a 4x10 cab, a 2x10 cab etc. too much work for these old bones.
    That said seperates can offer more variety, different amps, different cabs etc.
    So it depends on what your needs are ultimatly.
  6. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I have a combo (SWR Baby Blue II) that I use frequently - great sound in a portable package. I also have a more modular, but still small rig (Glock HeartCore and 2 Aggie GS112's) that gets a LOT louder.

    The benefit of the combo is that you don't have to mess with bringing lots of different items. The downside is that you cannot upgrade/modify/change it.

    I have gone through a LOT of speakers to match up with the Glock - Eden 210XLT's, Epifani 2x12, Epifani NV610, Euphonic 210, and many more. The point is, I'm satisfied with the Glock head and am able to change speakers when I want a change. You can't do that with a combo.

    If we had not been DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) I probably would not have spent the $$$ on the stuff I had - I would have gone with only the more modular set-up.

    Dan K.
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    My combo is an Eden WT-550 head and Bergie HT112 cab. Much easier to carry than a combo, and sounds way better.

    I do sometimes wish I had a little tilt back for PA assisted gigs.
  8. yamaha


    Apr 7, 2006
    I don't think it's a question of sound quality, more of versatility. Seperates can be mix and matched, upgraded, and are easyer to carry (if you have a kit that's of combo size-power). In addition, if something breaks in your combo, you loose the whole thing as it is beeing repaired, and if it is completely blown, you loose both speakers and amp. Think of what you are going to be doing with your rig, tomorrow, next month, next year.

    Good shopping, and good luck.
  9. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    A lot of players end up with both, which makes it rather than an either/or question, a matter of using whatever fits the gig.

    To me, the combo fits gigs where, for whatever reason, you need to be able to get on and off stage. This typically occurrs at multi-band events; but, I am also now finding the same kind of need for simplicity for gigs during the week, where I want to be able to break down with minimal time and effort and hit the road.

    I think the biggest problem with combos is striking the balance between tone / volume / weight. In fact, whereas the stack rigs offer infinite choices and excellent performance, I almost always end up hating a given combo for one reason or another, but mainly because no manufacturer has struck the right balance. The closest I have found is this Nemesis 410, which I just started a thread about, where I think Eden got almost everything right. However, it seems kind of cheaply made. I don't go for the higher end Eden stuff, because it has the wrong weight factor, and I don't think most of their models move as much air as a 4x10.

    Anyway, you'll probably end up with both a stack rig and a combo. The stack is pretty easy is to get what you want. You will struggle with the combo, because most of what is available has issues. In the meantime, what you really need to do is look carefully at what you are going to do with it.
  10. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    The combo I use is my "Swiss Army Knife" amp the SWR Super Redhead ... it will tilt back, has an extra rack slot (for my BBE) ... runs down to 2 ohms @450 watts, has nice midange cut and punch. It has every feature I could want including being relatively small and light. As a bonus I can sit it on top of my 4 ohm 1x15 cab and now ya got a big club amp.

    Still seperates may be the way to go as far as mix and match versatility.
  11. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    I 'downsized' and got an SWR Workingmans 15 and ext. cab. Sounded fine but I soon realized my error. It was a pain to haul. Now I use a 350 head and a Bag End s15. Very efficient and also more flexible as far as adding/ combining components as I change my mind/ears. Go separates~!
  12. Chazinroch


    Feb 2, 2003
    Ontario N.Y.
    I have a Mesa Venture 2X10 combo and it was just too heavy. I took the head out and now use it with a 2X10 and 1X15 cabs. It is much easier to carry around. I also have an Ampeg B112 combo that I use for practice. I can carry that amp, my bass and gig bag in one trip up and down two flights of stairs with no problem. This works if you don't practice at high volumes.
  13. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Mmm cant wait till i buy that same setup....
  14. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
  15. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    1. Weight
    2. Weight
    3. Weight

    I love my rig, but horsing it in and out of my Toyota takes more horsepower than I've got, any more. Now I use an Ampeg B100R and I'll never herniate a disc again.

    Oh yeah, and it sounds terrific. Need more ooomph? Mic it through the PA.

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