Simple question are we moving back to combo amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rtslinger, Jun 9, 2021.

  1. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    This is exactly the setup I use. I am not a I need many amps kind of guy, I need one great sounding rig and I will mix up my basses for any variety that I want. Total weight between the combo and my 2x10 is about 70 pounds. Not the lightest out there, but weighs less than just one of the 2 Eden cabinets that I used for many years. I don't always use the 2x10 cabinet (I always have FOH support even in rehearsal), the combo alone is normally just fine and the tilt-back is a great feature. But, it is nice to have the option when I want it.
    Jjacks651 likes this.
  2. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Switch back? That is presumptuous.
  3. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    I've used a SWR Redhead in full band and trio situations for 25+ years. Sometimes, on huge stages I may plop it on top of a 4x10. Never needed more.
    bassandboy and marchone like this.
  4. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    I have small, medium, and large. Small is a Phil Jones Double four that I can power with a battery. Medium is my Markbass Ninja 500, and large is a Genzler Magellan with an Aggie 1 12 and a GK 2 212. I find myself mostly using the Markbass. I suppose if I had an outdoor gig, I'd break out the big setup but in all honesty, I don't see it getting much use anymore. I'll still keep it. I hate carrying gear, especially if it's not necessary.
  5. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    My $0.019 is that the amplification chain for bass guitar has been diverging into diverse solutions more than converging to any kind of center; but, there is also a HUGE missed opportunity / hole in the gear offerings.

    What do I mean? Well, first you will find all kinds of varying signal chains because many acts have moved in the direction of using the PA as the primary projection system; NOT all, but enough that it affects the general gigging scenes. So, several technologies, including pedal board mounted preamps and in-ear monitors have become part of a prepared bassist’s tool kit.

    All of this can converge, but needs some missing pieces.

    What are missing are real deal bass cabinets with real deal Class D power sections built into them. What I am referring to are cabs built by the Bergantino / Barefaced / Mesa / GK etc makers which COULD have legit power sections, like the ICEPower 700ASC, installed internally; where the power amp can run at 8 ohms into the built-in enclosure, with a line out into an extension cab to run at higher output. A SIMPLE preamp circuit to allow stand alone combo mode as an option would be a bonus; but, allowing the pedal board preamp input would be perfect.

    I recently bought a QSC K10.2 for use as a (mainly vocal) monitor on my current gig. That speaker actually hits a couple of the marks, but is not optimized for bass instrument use. A little too heavy for what it does, etc. Still, it shows the way.

    For the moment, I’ve been gigging with my pedal board preamp (also IEM friendly) into a Demeter Minnie 800D sitting on Bergantino cabs. For my last gig, the Minnie was driving a Bergantino HG310. While that is not too far off a combo, it does still have the (separate) power section sitting on top of the cab; which, with neo speakers etc, could be internal.

    I just think part of the issue is that bass players are still presenting the cab / amp builders with an incoherent wish list. We need to get it together and stop going in too many different directions.

    Probably TL;DR. But, it is an important topic. At this point I’m kind of tired of all the different gear rigs, none of which hit all the buttons. Doesn’t have to be this way.

    Edit: For example, something like a Mesa D-800 mounted within a Mesa Subway 112 would be a really great start. A player would have a LOT of options with such a box.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    BlueTalon, Max Bogosity and Joebone like this.
  6. NeonVomit


    Jan 29, 2013
    Combo lacks flexibility for me. I'll stick with head/cab - especially if it's a gig where flying will be involved, a class D head just gets tossed into my carry on and we're good to go. Combo would be too difficult.
    shoot-r likes this.
  7. I have both, but my gear is somewhat dated; no new bass amps for the last 4 or 5 years. I must repent.

    Thump on,

  8. NeonVomit


    Jan 29, 2013
    Apparently one of the big issues with class D bass amps is how a preamp and power amp module interact which has a lot to do with the end result. People who actually know about this stuff have chimed in before and explained in ways that made sense when I read them but I cannot describe because I am dumb.
    bucephylus likes this.
  9. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Absolutely true! BUT, that does not mean that it is NOT possible to achieve greatness with the preamp being physically separate from the power amp. I offer the Demeter Minnie 800D as a case in point. That power section is superlative with whatever you put into it.

    Can the designers get more design space by coupling the circuits? Sure. But, that does NOT mean they can’t make outstanding separate circuits. They can. If we ask the right way.
  10. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    Can't speak for the rest of TB, or the bass-playing world, but honestly I never left the realm of the combo. Overall, they're much more convenient than head-cab, fewer pieces to haul and fewer cables to plug in. You might find more available power in a separate head, but my little Markbass CMD102P has never been outclassed in any situation where I didn't have PA help.

    My rig of choice is what I have now: Sire P7 5-string, into a modest pedalboard (tuner, compressor, couple gain stages, chorus, multi-function delay, looper) and into the CMD102P.


    The pedalboard fits in a pocket of my bass case, making this a one-trip load-in even with a spare bass and an "oh s*** kit". If you told me I had to change something, I'd add an extension cab so those 2 10s weren't working as hard on the low end; E and below can flub out a bit with this rig. But, the band PA got a new subwoofer a couple gigs back, which is basically for me and the kick drum, so if I got the extension it would just be stage sound.
  11. Thanks for your answers people seems so far to be split down the middle
    I have many amp head and cabinet combinations I use now, but do like the idea of rolling in
    with a light weight powerful combo that has some tonal option and speaker outs if needed that were not available in older model combo amps. After a back injury I needed to find the light weight solution and went with separate head and speakers an I was force to choose the lightest at the time which was 2*10 or 1*12. I really loved the 1*15 combo I was using but at nearly 60 lbs it was a problem. Now you can grab a 300 watt 1*15 weighing in at about 25 lbs example
    Ashdown Studio 15 1x15" 300-watt Bass Combo Amp
    Which I recently test out it was killer :) Currently not gigging yet this year due to my guitarist being on the mend, but I am close to pulling the trigger on something in the near future. Like a little kid stomping his feet I want my 15 back! :hyper:
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  12. SLPimp

    SLPimp An Injury to One is an Injury to All Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2020
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    I'll move to a combo when it's 25lbs or less with 250+ watts into the internal 10" or 12" driver and also has all the IO of most good heads. Until then...

    I've got a completely modular rig that cost me under $650 in 2x ELF 110 and a TC BQ500.
  13. backin82

    backin82 Jack of a Few Trades

    Sep 9, 2009
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I have. I don't even own a head unit anymore, and it's great. I use a GK MB212 (~38 lbs) that's one trip, and covers all scenarios I've faced as either house sound or FOH support/stage monitor, and also works as my main practice amp. It's a single, do-it-all box, and it sounds great.
  14. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I vary from an Ampeg Stack to an ancient Fender BXR300C combo (that sounds a lot better than the Ampeg stack, but weighs more than I can deal with easily).
    I'd be all over the new Ampeg 200 watt 1X15 combo if they had put the knobs on the front where they belong. I'm not willing to reach around or over the PA head to turn the treble up a tad.
  15. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Combo's are fun and convenient but you need to bring a backup if you gig a lot. Even something like a Sansamp DI is better than nothing but a second combo, even a 100 watter, will do in a pinch.
  16. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I use them more than I ever did before. There was a time when a full-throated combo was clunky as a refrigerator. Now it can be an excellent hedge solution for gigs large and small. These days a 50-pound combo can raise the roof off a place, and that’s a pretty heavy one, at about half the mass as before.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    To me it’s just a batter of personal preference. And so far I haven’t seen combo bass amps replacing separates where I am. Guitar amos are a different story. Most guitarists I know use combos. And smaller, lower wattage guitar amps seem to have become very popular now that FOH systems are becoming more the norm.

    I like to mix & match, so I prefer separates. And with today’s lighter gear I don’t see any significant convenience advantages to gigging with a new combo vs packing along one of the newer heads and cabs plus a Speakon cable.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  18. At 71 Y/O, i use combos exclusively. (Well controlled gig venues and band mates).
    shoot-r likes this.
  19. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
  20. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    When one of the commercial combo amp manufacturers releases a true "vertical" 4x8" or a true "vertical" 2x10" or 3x10", then I'll be interested in a combo.

    Until then, I'll keep gigging my two, 210 cabinets stacked as a vertical 410 and powered by either my Mesa 800+ head or my G.K. MB500 head.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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