Pros and cons to head and cab instead of combo?

jjboogie

Supporting Member
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3,833
I was wondering if any of you guys can tell me what the pros and cons were to having a head and cab as opposed to a combo!!!!

Thanks
jj
 

Stevoreen

Member
Messages
229
Pros to a head & cab:

1) Tubes aren't exposed to the constant pounding of the speakers.

2) Distributes the weight so that it may be easier to carry 2 lightweight units verses one heavy combo.

3) Speaker swaps easier. Sometimes combos require removing chassis to get speaker out.

4) Ability to swap different cabs (1x12, 2x12, 4x10 etc...) with head


Pros to a combo:

1) Easier to tilt back on stage

2) Easier to move around 1 unit on stage verses 2.


That said....I still like combos.
 

DGDGBD

Silver Supporting Member
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7,810
Combos are almost always open back. With cabinets you can use open back, closed back, ported, or convertible back cabinets. So there's more variety in the sound projection capabilities depending on the type of cabinet that you use.
 

Jazzgear

Member
Messages
755
Pros to a head & cab:

1) Tubes aren't exposed to the constant pounding of the speakers.

2) Distributes the weight so that it may be easier to carry 2 lightweight units verses one heavy combo.

3) Speaker swaps easier. Sometimes combos require removing chassis to get speaker out.

4) Ability to swap different cabs (1x12, 2x12, 4x10 etc...) with head


Pros to a combo:

1) Easier to tilt back on stage

2) Easier to move around 1 unit on stage verses 2.


That said....I still like combos.

+1 I tried the Head/Cab setup based on the points made above, and ended up back with a combo. I like the tone of the combos better, and it is much easier to manage a combo in a tight space, or if you need to raise it off the ground.
 

Sniper-V

Member
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3,530
Great points already...

Only one I can add is I prefer heads and cabs,
Because,
They generally sound bigger, fuller, fatter, ect...
 
Messages
1,091
i currently play combos, but carrying them around to and from gigs is just killing me.... i'm thinking of switching to head/cab specifically to be able to try out different speakers/cabs in an easier manner.

great thread - i'm always contemplating which scenario to go with....
 

IIIBOOMERIII

Silver Supporting Member
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1,768
Head and Cab:
Pro: Each piece is lighter than the 1 combo to carry around.
Con: 2 pieces instead of 1 and you gotta carry a speaker cord.

Combos:
Pro: 1 piece all in one unit.
Con: They usually weigh a ton. 2-12 or 4-10 combo, don't even think it.

I have used heads and 1-12 cabs for about 15 years now.
 

mcdes

Member of no importance
Messages
7,545
with head and cab, if doing a gig you can mic a cab from elsewhere, while pushing it loud, but if you have a combo and do that on stage you risk spillover from stage to crowd. which can ruin the balance.
 

2leod

Re-Member
Messages
8,618
Good points all around, I just don't think it's either/or. A small combo that's easier to schlep around and an extension cab for when it's called for is an option that I like.
 

stratovarius

Silver Supporting Member
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9,709
Heads are better because trying new amps is an obsession and it's much cheaper and easier to ship them. There, I said it. :(
 

IPlayHamers

Member
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1,223
Because I do alot of studio work, I usually use heads & cabs. I can keep the head in the control room and isolate the cabs in my booth.

I also like the fact that separate they are lighter than most large combos.

But of course there are great, small combos that I use for recording and live.

If you can afford it, own a couple of both.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,618
All good points.

I always gravitated to combos but have been lately getting more into head and cab. I do like the versatility...another point is, you can have one speaker cab at the practice place and another at home and only have to move the head.

Minus, not all but a larger percentage heads don't have built-in reverb compared to combos.

Combos I always think blues, jazz, head/cab always think rock, hard rock.etc. but that is just superficial.

a 4x12" is bulky to move in narrow places, etc. (or you learn the right technique).

Also, generally, a lot of folks feel the need to have a combo raised (some exceptions like on bassman which sounds best on the floor to me) up, where a head usually its not an issue.
 

strat-rock

Member
Messages
272
Just switched from the back killa "Twin Reverb" to a head/cab (1x12") I hope my ears are as happy as my back. I sold one Twin and kept the beater just in case, of something (not sure what).

The tilt back issue will require either a device or a couple door stops, not sure where to put the amp either (or the reverb unit). Chchchchanges.
 

JimH

Member
Messages
1,571
Big combos are a major pain in the.... well everything. All other things being equal I wouldn't get one. But if you just love the tone of one then all other matters fade into the background - for now. I don't think there's an inherent advantage of combos - except little 1x12" are convenient - and cool. Bigger than that and I just can't be bothered getting them in and out of cars and pubs.
 

blackba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,285
I started with a half stack, had trouble fitting the 412 into my car easily. I then switched to all combos. Now I pretty much am a head/cab guy. I have 3 112's, 3 212's, and a 412.

Both have their place. One thing I found with Combos is that most of them I have owned I have changed out the speaker, which most of the time leaves me with a stock speaker just sitting in my closet that I put back in if I sell the amp.

I generally find that classic rock, blues, jazz, country, etc players prefer combos and harder rock, metal, punk, etc prefer head and cabs (probably due to the closed back speaker cabs). Just look at how Fender is known for their combo amps and marshall is known for their heads (stacks/half stacks).
 

lgehrig4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,244
+1 I tried the Head/Cab setup based on the points made above, and ended up back with a combo. I like the tone of the combos better, and it is much easier to manage a combo in a tight space, or if you need to raise it off the ground.

Isn't saying that you like the tone of a combo better saying that you like the sound of open back cabs better? Does having the chassis built in affect tone?

Seems to me the only benefit of a combo is one piece
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,375
In the studio , a head-cab set up can be advantageous when trying to dial in
tones. because you can take the head in the control room leaving the speakers in the sound room.

Combos under 40 lbs are not too bad to haul around, but some of the
beefier amps with 2X12's or heavy speakers are just too much.
 

Agramal

Member
Messages
1,221
I'm personally trying to make the move over to combos. I've played with full and half stacks for almost 20 years now, and here's what I've found:

1. They tended to be much too loud for the type of smaller clubs I'd play.
2. Combos with wheels are easier to deal with than heads in ATA cases or shockmounts and good, heavy cabs.
3. I realized using a 100-watt head was pointless, because I never pushed the volume beyond 3 live or in a practice situation. It's just too loud.

Now these are all my personal experiences - your mileage may vary. For me though, a 50-watt combo is the way to go. I've noticed that guys who use such amps have the most control over their tones and stage volumes.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,375
The choice of speaker configurations make such a dramatic change in the way
an amp sounds, so above all the convenience of a combo, the head-cab
configuration gives you the greatest flexibility of tone.
 

jjboogie

Supporting Member
Messages
3,833
All great and valid points.....I guess when it all boils down to it, it is just a matter of preference......No real pros and cons that overwhelmingly add up over the other......

I do like the idea of the head and cab in the sense of studio work....But then I would have to get a separate road cases for a head and cab instead of one for a combo....

I was thinking of getting a 1X12 combo with a 1x12 extension cab for a little extra umph when I need it......Also it would help raise the combo up a little bit so I can hear it better without the sound blowing past my ankles and losing tone.

Tough decisions....I do wish I had the money to have both right now....Maybe in the near future!
 




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