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Why mix and match heads and cabs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lowdownwalt, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. lowdownwalt


    Mar 23, 2008
    BC Canada
    Just throwin out a question here as to why so many mix and match their heads and cabs? ie: Genz Benz head with Aguilar cab or the other way around etc. if you know what I mean. Seems to me that each manufacturer matches head and cab to work together ideally. Must be varying tastes and what we hear from different combination's.

    Anyway... I'm content with my Genz Benz complete set-up.
    I'd be interested to see comments regarding this.

  2. SpamBot


    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    I just use whatever sounds best for the price. This often means I buy used, where I rarely find cheap, good gear of the same brands. My main head is a Crate, and my cab is a Yamaha. I did not do this by choice, but by necessity and convenience.
  3. shamus63


    Dec 17, 2005
    San Mateo, CA
  4. I think you pretty much got it.

    While I'm sure manufacturers want bass players to use their matching head and cabinet combinations, I believe varying tastes, and the surprises of searching for great tones with different head and cabinet combinations for me personally, outweighs any feeling of "brand loyalty".
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Absolutely 100% right with cabs. If you mix and match cabs, whether they're the same brand or not, you can induce phasing issues, sometimes not so bad, sometimes REALLY bad, mostly somewhere in the middle. With heads, it's not quite as critical, though there is something to the fact that a company's gear is designed around its own companion products.

    At any rate, mixing cabs is definitely a crapshoot.
  6. riker1384


    Jan 2, 2007
    I've always wondered about this. Everybody seems convinced that heads and cabs are better than combos, but there are some advantages to having a well-designed combo, or possibly a matching head/cab set.

    For one thing, the head could have built-in subsonic filtering matched to the capabilities of the speakers, as well as an appropriate amount of amp power. That would allow you to get the most useable volume possible without compromising the reliability of the speakers.

    Also, the head could have EQ built-in to work with the speakers. It would make it much easier to achieve a desired tone. If you had some simple aspect of a speaker's frequency response that you wanted to change, you could do it in EQ rather than trying to do it by physically altering the speakers, which is surely a costly process that must introduce new problems every time you fix one. It would allow the designer to focus more on other criteria when choosing drivers, improving the overall quality.
  7. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    Q: Why mix and match heads and cabs?
    A: Jim Bergantino :D
  8. banditcosmo

    banditcosmo Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    Charlottesville, Va.
    How do you tell you are having phasing issues and what does it sound like ?

    I have a Schroeder 1215L, Epifani UL-115 and an Avatar SB-112 cabs and mix them. The Schroeder on top of the Epifani sounds incredible especially with my band.
  9. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    Genz got it right - that is not true of everyone. For some of these companies, the cabs seem to be a thrown together afterthought compared to the time & effort put into their heads.
  10. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    If you add cabs and lose sound the you have phasing issues.

    I doubt this will be a major issue in a bass rig. If one of your cabs is totally out of phase (its speakers are moving back when the other cabs are moving forwards and vice-versa) then that's a big deal. Easily fixed though.

    Issues like comb filtering can be a major headache in SR or where you're trying for a ruler-flat response throughout a huge venue. Bass rig on stage? Nah.
  11. Sometimes, companies make great cabs and amplification that is not particularly impressive. And, vic versa. And, some companies only make amps or only make cabs.

    The mix and match is a beautiful thing, if you have the time and either the access to the gear or are willing to spend the money to get it in-house and check it out. GTG's are GREAT for this! The issue that JimmyM brought up above is a separate issue, and has more to do with speaker size and configuration than brand, which is I think more of what the OP was talking about.

    There are some companies who's gear is hard to improve by mixing and matching. Eden is the best example to me. I rarely hear an Eden head or Eden cab that sounds better with another brand. EA is another company who's heads and cabs really seem to be voiced to work together, and not so well with other brands. However, Epifani, Aguilar, Markbass, for example... not so much IMO.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well if it's getting you a sound you like, that's what's important. And it varies with the different stuff on the amrket. I used to have a 112 Markbass combo I'd set up on a 115 Ampeg cab. If I set them up lined up dead on axis with each other, I wouldn't have trouble with it. If I was off by as much as an inch, I could hear the phasing.

    Phasing does cause your sound to disappear, but with mixing cabs, you might have some notes that are unusually strong and some notes that are not as strong or just plain gone. Mixing drivers and/or cabs of different sizes to cover the same frequency ranges causes it. Again, it's a case by case basis how bad it is, though. I've heard them not be so bad, but I've also heard them be pretty bad indeed.
  13. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I think the real question is: Why limit yourself by saying you have to match?
  14. Well said.
  15. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    While my main gigging rig does match, most of my other gear was bought piece meal when a good deal came up. I have mixed and matched cabs and amps with great success, so far no misses.

    Even stuff that "theoretically" should be a problem, such as mixing 4ohm and 8 ohm cabs, has always worked well. YMMV, dealer may sell for less.

    Note: Don't mix 4 ohm and 8 ohm cabs unless the amp is stable at 2. 7 ohms!
  16. xbrandonx


    Sep 27, 2008
    Well of course. Why sell you just a head when you could spend double the money?

    Preference and budget.

    You may go out and find an amazing deal on a great head or cab and the other you may only come up with a decent deal and have to settle based on your budget, this holds especially true when buying used.
  17. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    Bag End has yet to make a head, but if they did, I'd be first in line!
  18. Have you heard how crap Markbass cabs sound? :bag:
  19. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    I was going to say that, too. Until he makes an SVT clone to go with the NV series, I'll be mixing and matching.
  20. Why not?

    My SVT sounds better through my marshall 810 than any ampeg 810 i've played. It also sounds bitchin' through my peavey cabs.

    So again, why the heck not :D

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