Simple question are we moving back to combo amps?

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

  1. lbbc


    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    I was going "ampless" for 5 years but now have a Genz Benz 6.0 210T combo and love it!
  2. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Exact same configuration types here... :thumbsup:
    JRA likes this.
  3. rashrader


    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I am without an amp right now, but I’m not gigging, playing in a band or needing to be heard by anyone other than me.

    If I were to get an amp, it would be a combo. A very small one. Maybe an ELF.
  4. Pocket4

    Pocket4 Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Most recently I have been buying the combo-style Quilter Bass Dock models with the strap-on Bass Block. Other than that my attention tends towards combos.
  5. west al

    west al Ready, PLAY! Supporting Member

    I started playing using combo in 1968. And now I went from an Ampeg half stack, to a Fender Rumble 100 combo. 5Jty2Wg.jpg R 100.JPG
  6. Ostie


    Aug 1, 2018
    Mid MI
    I have 2 combos, Peavey Max 115 and a Rumble 25 for practice. I also have a Peavey Delta bass head and a 1x15 cab and a 210 cab that I can still tote. I can tell you that I’m not moving back to SVTs at my age.
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    For clarification, the Shuttle 6.2 is rated at 600 watts RMS not peak. If using peak metrics, that would be over 1000 watts peak with its 3DPM output management circuitry

    The Shuttle cabinets are also rated using RMS metrics.
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Thank you! Memory failed me. Tat 600W is really loud... and if I recall correctly, the 600W is at 4 ohms, with both my T-series cabs connected.

    I look forward to each of your posts. I plan to use that Shuttle and the T-series speakers for the rest of my performing life.
    agedhorse likes this.
  9. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    If it feels fat, I'm in. But I don't want explanations about what I am or what I am not hearing. If it doesn't feel fat, it's a technical exercise.
    JimmyM likes this.
  10. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey Suspended

    Mar 8, 2015
    No, why on earth would we do that? Bass requires displacement. Period, the end. There's no way around that.

    To me, the fact that are sub 5 lb amp heads that are several hundred watts is all the more reason to NOT use combos. In the olden days, everything was heavy, so you might save 5 lbs out of 50+ by having a head and speaker built together as one unit.

    Now though, the cab/s might only weigh 30-40 lbs and the head probably weighs less than 10, and there are so many great heads and cabs out there, that limiting yourself to one because you like the other (by the same company) is flat out silly. If you happen to like both the head and cab from "Brand X", and they offer a combo that meets your volume needs, by all means get that. BUT, it also means you can't use the head or cab with anything else. Now, I have a Genz ShuttleMax 9.2 which is a 900w head and weighs about 7 lbs. I can use that with 1 or both of my Uber Quads, I can use it with 1 or both of my Shuttle 12 cabs, I can use it with my EVM 15B, etc... I happen to mostly have Genz cabs at this point, but that's just a coincidence and my roster will probably be diversifying a bit in the not too distant future. My point is I have tons of options based on what I want/need to do, and what kind of mood I'm in. And conversely I can use those cabs with any of my other heads. The Genz stuff (and now Genzler) is a bit of an outlier because the heads are removable. But sadly instead of just making all the cabs the same, they made "combo" cabs, which is what both of mine are, and so I'll end up spending a bit of cash to convert them

    For me, the only reason to get a combo would be something that kind of has "a sound", like a B15, Baby Blue, Super Redhead, etc... The idea of buying a generic Fender combo off the floor at GC is completely unappealing to me, even if stuff like that is better than it was in the past. That just means that the separates are even better than that.

    But bass players are increasingly lazy these days. Any shortcuts are jumped on, regardless of what they mean to the end result. The primary thing everyone always asks is "how much does it weigh?" Dude, you're a bass player. If you were worried about the weight of the gear, you should have gone with piccolo. And as a soundguy, it's pretty sad to see so many people say "oh, I don't use an amp any more". "Oh, because it sounds better?" "No, I just don't want to carry anything." That was probably more justified 30 years ago when a rig might be 120 lbs and up. Now that you can have a 600w 2x12 rig in 3 pieces all under 35 lbs and less than 75 lbs total that sounds fantastic, I don't really see that as a valid reason other than in very specific/unusual circumstances ("we're a 6 piece band and we tour in a Cessna", etc...).
    DrMole likes this.
  11. edr


    Mar 28, 2019
    I have all combos. I started with a combo (like most of us), stayed with them because it was what I was familiar with, and by the time I wanted something big enough that most sane people would opt for a head and cab, I realized I'd be spending less money to buy a 500W combo instead of separate components at an equivalent level of quality. So that's what I did.
    If I was already in the head-and-cab ecosystem, then maybe I could have saved money by only having to buy one of the components to meet that need. But I'm happy where I'm at, and I find it convenient.
    my combos:
    GK MB112 mk1 (most bass playing at home, smaller gigs)
    GK MB212 mk2 (used to be at rehearsal space, slightly less small gigs)
    PJB Micro 7 (home use with my fretless bass and electric violin currently)

    Since I liked that GK sound, if this were planned out all at once I totally could have spent less by getting one amp and two cabs or something. Instead I had the MB112 for a while, and after spending a long time trying out amps, realized I just wanted another MB112, but bigger. I did find separate amps and cabs that I liked too, but the combo won from the price point. Plus I could get almost the exact same sound at home and at practice without moving any amps/cabs/combos/whatever. But like I said, my situation was a result of the stuff I already had.
  12. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    I have both a 210 combo, and a 410 half stack. I'm currently looking at a 750 watt head and 4x 112(8ohm) cab stack. This will give me 4 12s that I can run all 4 cabs at a 2ohm load, or 3 cabs @ 2.67 ohms, or 2 cabs @ 4ohms, or 1 cab @ 8 ohms
  13. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I've only had one combo that I gigged with and actually it was a cast-off from my son's gear back in 1997 when I started gigging again after a 20-year absence. That was a Yamaha 115 combo. Once it hit 5 on the dial, turning it up further made virtually no difference. I did run a Sunn 212 cabinet with it for a while, but it was only a 50-watt combo, so not very versatile. Besides that one combo, I've always used separate heads and cabs. It's much easier to upgrade as well as mix and match.

    For instance, I have 3 options to use with my EX-112 cab in a venue. I can use my Eden TN-226 amp for one 4Ω cab (that's what I bought it for), I can use my big Eden WT500/800 amp for same cab or for two of them. I can use my Eden Nemesis RS400 for one cab, and I can use my new DNA-800 amp for either one or two of them (will do 2Ω). And that's just for my 12's. I can use my big Eden amp bridged at 800-watts into either my DNS-410 or DNS-210. I can also use my Class D DNS-800 amp for either the 410 or 210 or for both at once. It will only put 400-watts into one of them, but will also deliver another 400-watts (total of 800-watts) if I plug both in at the same time. Until I bought my DNS-210 in late 2019 I would use either my DNS-410 or two EX-112 cabs for medium sized venues. Now I use the DNS-210 for all my indoor venues and my DNS-410 for outdoor venues and Festivals.I don't currently have any combos, nor do I plan on getting any.

    The modular capabilities of separate amp and cabs is a pretty big plus in my opinion.

    It used to be that combos were not realistically gigging gear because they were typically low-powered. They are not necessarily so low-powered anymore. Most major manufacturers have combos that can be successfully gigged at least to small and medium venues. Most of those combos will deliver from half to 3/4 of their total power rating to the internal speaker, which allows you to expand it by adding another cab and releasing the rest of its rated power to be split between the two cabs. But not all of them do.

    Eden's E-series combos and I believe their Terra Nova combos use 4 ohm speakers to get the most out of their 180-watt combo amp. They will take another cab or even two 8Ω cabs, but as soon as you hook up that extension speaker it disconnects the internal speaker. So you end up hauling around a combo with a disconnected speaker if you add an extension cab to it because that non-functioning speaker has the amp built into it. In a case like that it would be much better to have a separate amp.

    I can understand the wish to get the most out of the combo's amp as it sits, but there really is only one upgrade path with combos like that. An upgrade to the 410 cab is the only thing that makes sense. I wouldn't recommend combos that do that. So be aware, just because it has an extension speaker out doesn't mean you'll be able to use both and extra speaker and the speakers in the combo itself. I think those combos are in the minority though, but definitely something you need to check out before buying.

    Seems to me that Fender is now the big "combo" company with it's Rumble amps. All the Rumble combos seem to be popular and the 200, 500, and 800 combos can all take an extension speaker. The 500, which delivers up to 350-watts to its internal 210 speakers handles small and medium venues with no problem. Add a second 210 cab to it and you can play large indoor and also outdoor venues. The deal is you need to like that Fender sound and if you do, you can actually gig very successfully with it. I understand the amp in their 800 has all kinds of whistles, bells, and presets. It puts out 400 watts into its internal 210 and all 800 if you buy the extension cab plus the presets give it a lot of different sounds.

    So combos can do a lot now days if you pay attention to what they can really do and don't presume they can do something without checking it out. I still don't see how combos will overtake separate head and cabinets, but some combos are both giggable and can be upgraded with another speaker cab. So I'd say they are more popular than they were 10-years ago but doubt they will ever become the preferred form factor.
  14. don21480


    Mar 17, 2006
    my dream combo - the markbass minimark 802 form factor but 250 watts not just 150 and with a bass, mid, treble EQ instead of the VPF VLE knobs. lightweight - vertical - enough power for most of my gigs. i currently use the minimark 602 but looking for something more powerful for when gigs start coming back!
  15. donhank

    donhank Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    Denton, TX
    . . . fair enough

    WA scout from HotRod.jpg
  16. Not nearly as much as guitarists, it seems. Almost every guitarist I know is using a 20 or 30-watt combo these days.
  17. Bassiclees

    Bassiclees Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2020
    So basically this thread is a plea to Mesa Boogie for an updated Walkabout.
    Gibson are you listening? Yamaha is looking to do great things with Ampeg, now it's your turn.
    Does someone here know JC Curleigh? Let's make this happen.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    You are fairly new here, but there is an updated Walkabout, and it was developed with a LOT of input from hundreds of players here on TalkBass. We took the things that players liked combined with the things players didn't like and came up with the WD-800 which has been very well received (in fact we can't build them fast enough). This happened several years before Gibson's acquisition, so this is something that JC can take off of his very long list.
    RodRy, JimmyM, Fun Size Nick and 3 others like this.
  19. Bassiclees

    Bassiclees Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2020
    This is so cool, MesaBoogie on the case! Thank you @agedhorse for the swift inside info. Amazing. Another reason I'm a (relatively new) supporting member.
    Agreed, the Subways/WD-800 is/are the unparalleled lords of bass amplification, but is there a combo that marries the 15"+WD Head a la Walkabout (like the one pictured above which I think is discontinued?)? Neither the MB site nor the University of Google have yielded any insight accordingly. I'll be at the MB Sunset/HWood store next week and will try to find out more. Thank you again @agedhorse also nice work making lanes for JC who is indeed busy!
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  20. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    with very few exceptions... combo's suck. Yes there are a few that kick butt but... just a few. For my money, a good head an a good cab or two just works in a way that no commercially viable combo will. eden Metro, SWR Redhead, Mesa Walkabout may be the only real exceptions...
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    Omega Monkey, Passinwind and DJ Bebop like this.
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