#1
I am curious what the pros and cons of running a combo amp vs. a head. go.
I apologize for the broadness of this thread but i can't decide which route to look down.
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#2
If you get a head you can upgrade the cabinet latter on.
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#5
Well, Heads/Cabs are obviously less portable than a combo amp, but combo amps at the most usually have only 2x12 speakers.

I mic'd combo is a great recording amp setup, and they are even great when used live!

Personally, I would take a mic'd combo for recording because they are quite tame, but if you want to kickass onstage, a full stack marshall doesn't hurt...
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#7
head/cab stacks are for cool kids

combo amps are for girls guitar players and guys who don't like getting laid.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

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#8
I think you guys don't get it, I have a cab, is it better to run a head or combo through it i know for example tom delonge runs Vox and Fender combos through cabs and stuff.
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sunburst fender MIM tele
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#9
It doesn't matter, the combo will act as a head if you run it through the cab. If you buy a combo though you can obviously use it by itself whereas if you try and play a head without attaching it to a cab you'll destroy the thing (literally).
#10
Quote by Cloudkicker
I think you guys don't get it, I have a cab, is it better to run a head or combo through it i know for example tom delonge runs Vox and Fender combos through cabs and stuff.


oh i get it. do you like getting laid? or are you in a worship band that wears those rings?



ok, seriously. there is no better. a head would be lighter, a combo would be heavier and offer more speakers to help sculpt tone and can also be spread apart to increase the speaker projection path.

if there is another guitarist in the band and you don't like lugging gear then get a head. if you are the only guitarist, want to diversify your tone, and/or don't mind lugging extra gear then get a combo.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#11
It really depends on what head and cab versus what combo. If they are the same brand. I.E Jcm 800 Head and Cab versus JCM800 combo its about the number of speakers, the ease of mobility, the option of being able to use your cab for other heads, the cost, the application. There are many factors to consider.

IMO If you are a touring musician playing big venues get a stack.
Otherwise save your back the pain and get a two speaker combo. Plenty of oomph equivalent tone, but none of the hassle.

Edit: This is assuming the venue doesn't have a backline. If you play gigs where cabs are provided get a head and cab and leave your cab at home.
Last edited by Tyler.Allain at Nov 27, 2011,
#12
Quote by Cloudkicker
I think you guys don't get it, I have a cab, is it better to run a head or combo through it i know for example tom delonge runs Vox and Fender combos through cabs and stuff.

You didn't say that in the OP. You need to use the Edit button and fix it. You specifically asked about combos vs heads.



Quote by gumbilicious
head/cab stacks are for cool kids

combo amps are for girls guitar players and guys who don't like getting laid.

This is all you need to know.
#13
Quote by NakedInTheRain
incorrect. more speakers does not equal more decibels, it equals a fuller sound.

I wasn't sayin more decibels as a result of extra speakers, I was saying how the wattage is usually much higher for heads than combos
#14
Quote by Most_Triumphant
If you get a head you can upgrade the cabinet latter on.
Or if you have a good cabinet you can just swap heads too
#15
I think you guys have it backwards. Unless you have noodle arms, I can personally carry a 2x12 combo and my guitar in one go. One ****ing go is my entire setup for a metal gig.

Try doing that with a 4x12. Not too heavy. Too bulky.
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#16
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
I think you guys have it backwards. Unless you have noodle arms, I can personally carry a 2x12 combo and my guitar in one go. One ****ing go is my entire setup for a metal gig.

Try doing that with a 4x12. Not too heavy. Too bulky.

How heavy is your combo, mine's over 100lbs? One handed is not very easy.
#17
Quote by Sputnik1
How heavy is your combo, mine's over 100lbs? One handed is not very easy.


He probably has a valve junior.
#18
Quote by Sputnik1
How heavy is your combo, mine's over 100lbs? One handed is not very easy.


That's wussy talk! I handle my full stack custom built wrought iron head and two cabs in one hand and my all steel geetercase with two guitars in it in the other.
#19
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
I think you guys have it backwards. Unless you have noodle arms, I can personally carry a 2x12 combo and my guitar in one go. One ****ing go is my entire setup for a metal gig.

Try doing that with a 4x12. Not too heavy. Too bulky.

You have a cab with wheels then you can stack the other gear on top and use it as a trolley.

Seriously though, I have been known to just take my JCM900 combo when playing as a guest at punk/grunge gigs because it's a lot easier than dragging my full rig around.

The main difference is that combos are usually open backed and cabs are normally closed backed. Which is better depends on what sort of sound you like.
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#20
Quote by FearMyLightning
That's wussy talk! I handle my full stack custom built wrought iron head and two cabs in one hand and my all steel geetercase with two guitars in it in the other.


You guys are all dildos.

The van broke down once, so I had to run a chain through the trailer, put my 3 other band mates on top of it, and we took turns pulling it down the highway for 15 miles just to make it to a 20 minute gig for 5 people.

That was every day shit for us.
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#21
We used to live in a old water tank at a rubbish tip and were woken up every morning by having a load of rotten fish dumped all over us.

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#22
Quote by NakedInTheRain
incorrect. more speakers does not equal more decibels, it equals a fuller sound.


Decibels are a measure of sound pressure levels, aka spl. More speakers means more surface area, therefore more decibels. Double the speakers gives a 3 dB increase, which is only a slight increase, but it is in increase in decibels.

I personally fund head and 2x12 more portable than a 2x12 combo. Most cabinets are deeper than combos, and I can stack my guitar, amp, and rack on top and roll it in. I also have the benefit of mixing and matching, and after the initial cost of the cab, heads are cheaper than combos.
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#23
Quote by Reincaster
Decibels are a measure of sound pressure levels, aka spl. More speakers means more surface area, therefore more decibels. Double the speakers gives a 3 dB increase, which is only a slight increase, but it is in increase in decibels.

I personally fund head and 2x12 more portable than a 2x12 combo. Most cabinets are deeper than combos, and I can stack my guitar, amp, and rack on top and roll it in. I also have the benefit of mixing and matching, and after the initial cost of the cab, heads are cheaper than combos.

There's a flaw in your logic. When you double the number of speakers each speaker gets half the power - so where's the 3 dB coming from? You'd only get a 3 dB increase if each speaker was still receiving the same power as before.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 28, 2011,
#24
it all depends on what you need.

a combo is definitely better if space is an issue. having an individual head and cab is easier if your dealing with flights of stairs which i often have to do.

also another thing that really pisses me off but is out of pure ignorance of others is some people don't take you seriously if you have a combo, i mean how many craigslists ads in the musicians section have you seen that say no combos. thats a retarded argument cause a nice 212 combo can keep up with a 412...


i lost my train of thought cause im drunk but it comes down to matter of opinion. ive seen bands play huge casinos with a fender twin reverb, and ive seen metal bands play the smallest clubs with two 412 cabs stacked on top of each other... if you're gunna be mic'd it doesnt really matter. which is why when i upgrade soon im going with a 212 cab.
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Last edited by whyze250f at Nov 28, 2011,
#25
People should take you seriously as soon as you start playing. If you're good the audience won't care if you have no amp at all and are just using a MFX unit plugged straight into the PA.

Here's the reasons I prefer a 4x12.
1. Nothing gets you better feedback than a wall of speakers, I'd like a full stack but as most of my gigs have always been pub gigs that would just be silly. It would interfere with the lighting trees at most pub gigs.
2. it lifts the amp (a rack in my case) up to a convenient height.

Honestly, the difference in sound is marginal because only you are listening to it really, FOH is coming from the PA and he can colour it however he likes through the desk.

And guys, do yourselves a favor and buy one of these:

It's not fun playing a gig after throwing out your back, trust me. You NEED one of these. You need the triple wheels for going up stairs and you need the belt. I've seen ones that fold in half too. I had a collapsible one but it wasn't a stair walker.
But seriously, it's money well spent. Instead of blowing the gig money on a pedal you don't need buy a decent trolley. Do it and you will praise my name at every gig. This is advice from an old bastard that gigged for 30 years. Do it, do it now.
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#26
Quote by Cathbard
There's a flaw in your logic. When you double the number of speakers each speaker gets half the power - so where's the 3 dB coming from? You'd only get a 3 dB increase if each speaker was still receiving the same power as before.


It's not that each speaker is halved in power, but the same total amount of watts, but double the speaker area.

For example, the Bose L1 PA is only 250 watts, but it will compete with 1000W systems because it has 24 speakers in array, and placed well.

http://www.baudline.com/erik/ht/dB_laws_etc.html
http://www.musiccenters.com/vol.html


You can do a test with an SPL meter if you want. I have.
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Last edited by Reincaster at Nov 28, 2011,
#27
Edit. just read links. Ok, I concede.

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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 28, 2011,
#28
Quote by Cathbard
Speaker efficiency is what makes those work. Bose speakers are crazy efficient (big Bose fan btw). Apples and oranges man. In this case we are using identical speakers. With a guitar rig you've dropped the power in half to every speaker so there's a 3dB loss right off the bat. All you do by increasing the area is get that back. And now you're not running the speaker as hard. If anything your efficiency has dropped by doing that so you've lost more then as well. They seem a lot louder because it's a bigger wall of sound, it's mostly psychoacoustic. Tone is the thimg. The bigger wall of sound makes the bass pump. That makes them seem louder to the ear too.


Makes sense. But I wonder what would happen if said speaker was twice as large, but the same design.

WinISD confirmed my earlier statement, but then, WinISD takes into account the pressure at 1m, so possibly the increase is just from making the sound more directional.
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Last edited by Reincaster at Nov 28, 2011,
#29
You can always use a combo with a cab too. A combo is basically a head with it's own speaker(s).
I usually slightly prefer the sound of a dedicated cab, but both are a perfectly reasonable choice.
Valve combos can be heavy. Contrary to popular belief, a head and cab is usually easier to move about, albeit larger.
That is, unless you have a 4x12. Then it's a pain either way!
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#30
Quote by Reincaster
Makes sense. But I wonder what would happen if said speaker was twice as large, but the same design.


then the parts would be way heavier and the speaker wouldn't respond the same. for example, if a speaker was twice as large then the cone wouldnt be twice as big (A=pi r^2) so a 'proportional' magnet wouldn't provide the same damping nor would the cone respond the same way across it's frequency range because the increased weight changes how the speaker moves and responds. plus you need a different voice coil with a bunch more windings to move the speaker now which changes the voice coil flux. even furthermore, the basket and internal configurations might need to be adjusted to account for the bigger magnet, larger voice coil gap and the new stresses imposed by these larger components. in other words, it would be a quite different speaker at twice the size by necessity.

another thing to take into consideration, there examples didn't state if the impedance was changing (wired in parallel to lower the load, as would be the case in the real world) or if they assumed the speakers would have a similar load after adding a speaker; and this has bearings on how loud the speaker will sound. it also doesn't mention if the amp is solid state or tube. tube amps use an output transformer and if things aren't matched proper your lose a bunch of power, while a SS amp is 'loaded' with the speaker and a SS amp will actually increase it's output with a smaller impedance (more speakers wired in parallel).

i don't know how to take those links without them telling me how they are deriving their answers (are they using 'ideal amps and cabs' that don't change impedance with wiring and ignore how the speakers are coupled to the amp, and if so what do those numbers mean then if they don't relate to the real world).
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
Last edited by gumbilicious at Nov 28, 2011,
#31
Quote by FearMyLightning
That's wussy talk! I handle my full stack custom built wrought iron head and two cabs in one hand and my all steel geetercase with two guitars in it in the other.

Oh I am sorry Neanderthal, I forgot that you are also the one who thinks he can break a guitar string straight through with a 5mm thick guitar pick. Maybe you should just be a professional roadie since you are clearly a giant and would be a freak show on stage.
#32
Quote by Sputnik1
Oh I am sorry Neanderthal, I forgot that you are also the one who thinks he can break a guitar string straight through with a 5mm thick guitar pick. Maybe you should just be a professional roadie since you are clearly a giant and would be a freak show on stage.


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#33
Quote by Guitarbaddie
so much hate

I would just like to see someone carry two full cabinets and an amp head in one hand. I'm sorry but this is the second time he has said something completely ridiculous.
#34
Quote by Sputnik1
I would just like to see someone carry two full cabinets and an amp head in one hand. I'm sorry but this is the second time he has said something completely ridiculous.


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#35
NOODLE ARMS!

Play guitar through a Tesla coil. Pure win.
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because that's where you'll find me..."
#36
Quote by Cathbard

But seriously, it's money well spent. Instead of blowing the gig money on a pedal you don't need buy a decent trolley.






... to transport the gear?



I could almost buy a Klon for that type of money.
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#37
I've actually A/B'd both my 1x12 and 4x12 side by side to see the difference once. Inoticed that when I stood right between in front of both with them both flat on the ground, the 4x12 seemed only a bit louder than the 1x12. But when I put the 1x12 roughly at the same level, the level seemed about the same. Only thing was that in both situations, with the 4x12 I could walk around and the tone would be more consistent, whereas with the 1x12 it would sound fine in one location but total shit in another, and the volume wasn't as consistent either.

According to my Physics professor who also is a guitar player, what a 4x12 essentialy does over the others is increase the invisible orb of where the sound is projected, only slightly increasing the volume due to pressure, temperature, etc. (which although the equation equals +3 decibels, I think there are still other factors to consider; not all speakers are the same). Therefore, a 4x12 is far more ideal on a good-sized stage as it projects the sound across the front of the stage and allows there to be no guitar going through the front monitors. But if all you play in is a bar cover band then a combo or head and 1x12 cab would be the better option, for ease of transport, etc.

Also, while a 4x12 is not significantly louder in technicalities, it still looks a lot louder to non-guitarists and those who get irritated easily by noise. So if you live in an apartment or planned neighborhood, then it's best to not be seen by your neighbors with it if you own one, if you don't want to World War III to start.
#38
I like heads for portability just because I can carry the head like a baby then just kick the cab down the stairs. That and when you have friends helping carry gear you have something you can give the big dumb one without worrying about it.
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#39
casters are an amazing thing they dont help with stairs, but on the accross the ground they make it so easy. head on top of cab with casters is what i do.
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