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Head or combo?

rubbersoul

Member
Messages
3,428
I will be purchasing a Gries 5 in the near future. I had planned for a long time to buy a head because I have a 1x12 Mather cab to use it with. But then I thought, if I buy a combo, then I can still run it through the Mather cab whenever I want, which would effectively give me two different sounding amps.

Which do you think you would do?
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,909
Advantage to a combo: Easy grab-n-go, no speaker cables to mess with, guitar and amp can be carried one in each hand.

Advantage to head and cab: Lighter weight to carry the individual pieces; I have yet to play a combo that sounds quite as good as a comparable, well-constructed cabinet (though a 3x10 or 4x10 combo gets pretty darned close to its comparable cab).
 

dk123123dk

Member
Messages
3,890
I would rather a head vs a combo. You can always get the Fender piggyback hardware if you want to turn a small cab and head into a "combo" of sorts.


dk
 

IbanezRokr

Member
Messages
475
Advantage to a combo: Easy grab-n-go, no speaker cables to mess with, guitar and amp can be carried one in each hand.
... It's one cable! Is this really that hard? One end goes in the amp, one goes in the cab. That's it. Why do people keep saying this?
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,909
... It's one cable! Is this really that hard? One end goes in the amp, one goes in the cab. That's it. Why do people keep saying this?
Up to the OP to decide. I just put it out there because it's a consideration.

And for someone who gigs regularly, every cable and connection, while not in and of itself significantly time consuming, adds up once you factor in mic cables, stands, PA, pedal boards, etc. Personally, the difference in load in, setup, teardown and load out time between a guitar-and-combo walk-on and a gig where I've got to bring all the separate pieces and cables can add up to well over 2 hours a night.

I've learned not to fault anyone looking for ways to shorten the process, no matter how seemingly insignificant. There's always more steps to the process than you know until you take THAT gig with THAT equipment.
 

IbanezRokr

Member
Messages
475
Up to the OP to decide. I just put it out there because it's a consideration.

And for someone who gigs regularly, every cable and connection, while not in and of itself significantly time consuming, adds up once you factor in MIC' cables, stands, PA, pedal boards, etc. Personally, the difference in load in, setup, teardown and load out time between a guitar-and-combo walk-on and a gig where I've got to bring all the separate pieces and cables can add up to well over 2 hours a night.

I've learned not to fault anyone looking for ways to shorten the process, no matter how seemingly insignificant. There's always more steps to the process than you know until you take THAT gig with THAT equipment.
Okay, I'll give you that. I'll admit even my rig has many cables, 2 guitars in, fx loop, footswitch, etc, but to me the headache is always did I get send/return right, never speaker cab. That one is as easy as "Tab A should be inserted into Slot A" Even after last nights gig I was thinking I should make a junction box on my pedalboard to make my life easier. But speaker cab...
 

jetstrat

Member
Messages
565
Head!

Cabs are addicting and extremely versatle! 410, 210, 112, 212, 115, 412. Whatever fits the venue and your mood!
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,909
Okay, I'll give you that. I'll admit even my rig has many cables, 2 guitars in, fx loop, footswitch, etc, but to me the headache is always did I get send/return right, never speaker cab. That one is as easy as "Tab A should be inserted into Slot A" Even after last nights gig I was thinking I should make a junction box on my pedalboard to make my life easier. But speaker cab...
For me it's not just the act of plugging up the cable, but finding it in the cable bag, and when done, giving it the old over-andd-under wrap, Velcro and adding it to the other coiled cables on the ground, and back in the bag. Potentially as much as 5 extra minutes of just cable handling on a given night.

Now all this said, I still prefer separate heads & cabinets. The individual pieces are lighter and not as much of a strain getting in and out of the van, and up and down off the stage or band stand.

Plus as I said in my original response to the OP, when built right, a separate cab is almost always going to sound better and more resonant then a combo cab 1/3rd already stuffed with chassis transformers and tubes.
 

kombi1976

Member
Messages
668
In a perfect world a combo is the best choice in terms of portability.
But since we're musicians and not furniture removalists probably the big question is how does the combo sound?
It's a modded 1x12" Champ, right?
If you wanted a modded champ sound the combo is the deal.
If it was a big wattage beastie that weighed alot the advantage is definitely in favour of the head.
But it shoundn't weigh too much and, as you said yourself, you can run it through the Mather cab for a different sound.
If it has an Ext. Speaker out you could run it through both!
I'd go the combo.
There's a lot to be said for a 2 hands approach - guitar in one hand and amp in the other.
 

Hugh_s

Member
Messages
3,843
Okay, I'll give you that. I'll admit even my rig has many cables, 2 guitars in, fx loop, footswitch, etc, but to me the headache is always did I get send/return right, never speaker cab. That one is as easy as "Tab A should be inserted into Slot A" Even after last nights gig I was thinking I should make a junction box on my pedalboard to make my life easier. But speaker cab...
I just wrap both ends of one cable with electrical tape and use that for amp send, that way I don't have to think about it and I can pull the fx loop and pedal control cable off the amp and coil as a harness very quickly.
 

sleewell

Senior Member
Messages
10,588
I prefer heads to combos, in fact I run my only combo through a 212 ext cab. none of my amps are 5 watts though, at that wattage it really shouldn't matter too much.
 

Hugh_s

Member
Messages
3,843
Also, I've always used the head/cab versions because they're lighter usually and I get the added benefit of being able to size the cabinet for the venue. Some place I use a 2x12, some a 4x12. It has also been nice to be able to try out different cabinets and speakers.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,710
I prefer combos to heads. Basically, if you're anything like me, you'll quickly find out which speaker goes best with that amp. After you settle in on which speaker works best with that amp, you pretty much leave it alone. That's what always happens to me. A few months after I get the amp, I get used to how it sounds and learn how I want it set up. From there, I almost never touch it. So the combo is just easier for me, because I can grab both at once, and make it one trip.

Though a head/cabinet isn't that much harder to haul around. Sometimes it's even easier. Maybe the answer is to get a head/cabinet that has some kind of latching system that can easily secure them together, or separate them without the need for any tools.
 

Heady Jam Fan

Member
Messages
9,009
For me, portability is key and I find combo's more portable.

I also agree every cable makes a difference, especially if your speaker cable bites the dust.

I use a SF DR with a Badcat Unleash installed inside the combo cabinet. I have an 8ohm 100w speaker and I'm going to test a 4ohm speaker than can handle 180w (which is the max for the Unleash). The amp with the Unleash weighs about 45lbs and sounds nearly the same at home practicing as it does cranked for a loud gig.
 

Ilduce

And now for something completely different!
Messages
4,593
I have several of each, heads cabs & combos, I'm kinda partial to heads and cabs. One advantage that I haven't seen mentioned so far is that a lot of venues and rehearsal spaces will have at least one or more cabs you can use so for amplification all ya need to bring is your head. That said, you really can't go wrong either way.
 

SeanMc

Member
Messages
1,630
I have several of each, heads cabs & combos, I'm kinda partial to heads and cabs. One advantage that I haven't seen mentioned so far is that a lot of venues and rehearsal spaces will have at least one or more cabs you can use so for amplification all ya need to bring is your head. That said, you really can't go wrong either way.
^this...

And it's pretty easy to find good sounding cabs for cheap. So I "stock" my rehearsal spaces myself. For me, carrying a < 40'lb head that can be plugged into a solid 2x12, 2x10, 4x12, or 4x10 is way better than the equivalent combo.

I get to practice, rehearse, and play with my #1 amp. I've tried other approaches but found nothing better than this.
 

colinesquire

Member
Messages
1,120
... It's one cable! Is this really that hard? One end goes in the amp, one goes in the cab. That's it. Why do people keep saying this?
Ha-true. Though it is also easy to lose that one cable on a gig and you can't find a spare speaker cable. I have always preferred small 1-12 combos but have used heads and cabs in the past. These days I grab my sfdr or 5e3 if I really want to travel light (25 lbs! Most heads are more than that).
 




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