#1
As the title said, what do you think is better, and why,
between a head and the same amp in a combo with speaker outputs?

The question came to me when I found the combo version of an amp I was about to buy, and I didn't really knew if getting the combo version would have had any (dis)advantages. The combo was about $50 more, so that's not that much of a deal.
Name's Luca.

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#2
As an owner of the 5150 212, combo and cab. It's heavy. I can lift it. But I'd prefer a few heads and a 212 or two.

If you're going to buy a combo, get a look at the back of it. I hear you usually want a closed back for metal (tighter low end) and an open back for a lot of other genres. I think I've heard open back cabs being described as "more open" but I'm no expert on it.

I've heard of some combos being capable of causing preamp tubes going microphonic if the amp is pushed to crazy levels. I'm not going to attempt to confirm that one.

It's also going to depend on what amp it is. What amp were you looking at?
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
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#4
Depends on what you really need and the head/combo you're thinking about. Portability is the main factor. If the head is small and easy to carry like a Tiny Terror, then the head is good. But there are some 50lb heads out there. Add a cab to that and you get something that's difficult to transport. The head/combo difference can sometimes be 15lbs and I think it's definitely better to get the combo in those cases. Look to see where the handles are too. You don't want a 90lb combo with only one top handle. You should also consider whether you want an open or closed back. Most combos have open backs. If you want a closed back, don't get the combo. The combo with an extension cab will be more trouble than the head with a cab.

I personally prefer combos or micro heads that have gigbags. But then again, I'm in NYC and don't have a car.
#5
the combo gives you more options, but the head is a fair bit more manageable and lighter and smaller.

assuming the exact same circuit in both, which isn't always the case.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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#6
Quote by The.new.guy
^ What he said.

I'd much rather have a head+2x12 over a combo amp.

+1

It also depends on what amp you talking about and what you play and where etc.


TS - are you the guy that was looking at 6505s, Kranks and DSLs?
#7
No, I wasn't looking at such big amps :P.

But the point would be getting the cab in any case.
I'm asking if it would be a good idea to get both the combo and the cab so I can play with the cab if I need more power, and only carry the combo if I need something more portable.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#8
Combo inherently means "with speaker output(s)". Unless you are asking about a combo with external speaker output(s) to drive a cab.

It wouldn't be a combo if it didn't have speakers.
#9
If you have to ask then I would say anything more than a 1x12 combo is gonna be overkill for you. What amp were you looking at?
#10
I was looking at the Blackheart BH5,
and sorry for the misunderstanding :P
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
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#11
A disadvantage of a combo is it's weight. If you gig, a head and cab will be easier on your back.
A disadvantage of a head and cab is if you gig, you have to make 2 trips, unless the cab is small enough to carry with one hand.
#12
It all depends on the amps in question. For example:
A Tiny Terror head is 12lbs and the 1x12 cab is 32lbs making the total 44lbs. The combo is 37lbs.
An AD30 head is 36lbs and the 2x12 cab is 52lbs making the total 88lb. The combo is 73lbs.
The difference in portability plays a much larger role in the AD30's case.
#13
Quote by Spambot_2
No, I wasn't looking at such big amps :P.

But the point would be getting the cab in any case.
I'm asking if it would be a good idea to get both the combo and the cab so I can play with the cab if I need more power, and only carry the combo if I need something more portable.


if having the option would be a bonus then, yeah, get the combo version alongside a separate extension cab. if you reckon you'd only ever be playing through the extension cab anyway, just get the head version.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#14
Quote by Spambot_2
I was looking at the Blackheart BH5,
and sorry for the misunderstanding :P

Have you tried other amps? IMO those BlackHeart amps are pretty bland and easily beaten price wise. Epiphone Valve Jr's go for bout $100(us), they don't have many features (speaker out, volume, power) but the picking dynamics and tone are the best of the amps in that range, imo

If I were you, I'd focus on getting a good, PRACTICAL amp that works for you now. Sell your cab or put your cab money into your amp fund and get something better than a bottom shelf BlackHeart (which is made by Crate). Worry about the cab later on when your playing larger venues.
#15
I actually just have a little, cheap, solid state combo right now.

I am going to try some stuff in less then a week, but for what I heard - both reviews and sounds, I am pretty convinced that the blackheart BH5 is what I'm looking for right now.

Anyway, though I kinda have a thing against epiphone hehe, I'll hear and try the Valve Jr. indeed.
Name's Luca.

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I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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Last edited by Spambot_2 at Jun 7, 2013,
#16
Go head and cab imo.
1: You can use the cab with other heads vice/versa
2: Easier to carry
3: If you're gigging, venues quite often have a stock cab, meaning you only need pedals, head, guitar
4: If you aren't happy with the speaker it's easier to upgrade/change

It'd be worth checking out Blackstar Ht series amps. They're a bit more expensive but have an emulated speaker output for recording, use with headphones, etc. Then you can save for a cab later. Nice sound and features aswell.
Silverburst
#17
Quote by Spambot_2
I actually just have a little, cheap, solid state combo right now.

I am going to try some stuff in less then a week, but for what I heard - both reviews and sounds, I am pretty convinced that the blackheart BH5 is what I'm looking for right now.

Anyway, though I kinda have a thing against epiphone hehe, I'll hear and try the Valve Jr. indeed.

I'm not a fan of Epi guitars besides a couple hollow-bodies but I have 2 Epi amps (the vj and an 18w Electar) and I love 'em. If the Blackhearts calling your name though I'd get the combo to keep the cab option open.
#18
Quote by lucky1978
Have you tried other amps? IMO those BlackHeart amps are pretty bland and easily beaten price wise. Epiphone Valve Jr's go for bout $100(us), they don't have many features (speaker out, volume, power) but the picking dynamics and tone are the best of the amps in that range, imo

If I were you, I'd focus on getting a good, PRACTICAL amp that works for you now. Sell your cab or put your cab money into your amp fund and get something better than a bottom shelf BlackHeart (which is made by Crate). Worry about the cab later on when your playing larger venues.

I respectfully disagree. I find the Blackhearts to not be bland at all and better than the Valve Jr. YMMV.
#20
Combos are nice for convenience, but generally have pretty poor speakers. A head allows you to change speaker/cab easily to try other options. It's just personal preference really. I've had both and would buy either again depending on the situation.
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#21
^ yeah (also there's nothing to stop you swapping to a better speaker in a combo, though it's easier to do that with some combos than others).

sometimes you can get more microphonics with a combo because the valves are moving. then again, sometimes you can get rattles in a speaker cabinet too, so

Quote by Spambot_2

Anyway, though I kinda have a thing against epiphone hehe, I'll hear and try the Valve Jr. indeed.


if you do decide on a valve junior, make sure it's a version 3. the version 3 supposedly fixed a lot of the previous versions' flaws (from what i hear, i've only tried a v2).

I think you can tell what version it is by the serial number- the wikipedia page on the valve junior tells you how to decipher it.

I haven't tried the blackheart, it may well be better. I would assume it's better than the v1 or v2 valve junior, at the very least.

Quote by ExDementia
Just curious, how does a combo give you more options than a head + cab setup?


i just meant that you have the option to use it as a combo or as a pseudo-head with a separate speaker cabinet.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jun 7, 2013,
#22
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ yeah (also there's nothing to stop you swapping to a better speaker in a combo, though it's easier to do that with some combos than others).

Ya I just meant that you're often paying for a speaker that you'll replace and that likely has no resale value... Whereas with a head you can buy a cab with the speaker selection you want. Of course the opposite can be true in some circumstances but generally that's how it works.

I love my BJr combo, because it's small and simple... But I don't gig, or even jam with friends much anymore, so my needs may not be the same as TS'. It really just boils down to personal preference and the exact details of the situation. Some amps I'd rather have in head form, some I'd rather have in combo form.
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#23
^ yep, exactly. and that's a good point, it even depends on which particular amp you're looking at.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#24
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ yep, exactly. and that's a good point, it even depends on which particular amp you're looking at.

Yup. It's kinda like asking 'what's better, a sedan or a coupe...'

Oh wait, you're in Europe. I guess the European equivalent of that analogy would be 'what's better, a tiny car or an impossibly tiny car.'
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Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#25
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#26
Quote by ExDementia
Just curious, how does a combo give you more options than a head + cab setup?

If you disconnect the combo's speaker, you basically have a head that can drive any other impedance-matched cab, or you can run the combo with its speaker as usual, & add an extension cab. I still enjoy the ability to mix heads & cabs (I have several of each), but for gigs, nothing beats having a devastating sounding little combo that weighs the same or less than an amp head. For example, my 1X12 combo amp weighs almost exactly the same as my 100W version of the same amp (head), approx 37-38 lb. So I get a virtually identical tone from the little combo with a lot less work carrying stuff.
Obviously it'd be awesome to take 2 4X12s everywhere, but dang. I've done that, & I'm too lazy to do it anymore
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#27
i always prefer to have a head and cab rather than a combo. i just find it easier to transport a small head and a 2x12 cab than a combo of equal size and power.

also tube combos pretty much never have closed backs, so never give me the focussed 'thump' i want in my low notes.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.