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FinnDave

Amp and cab or combo???

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I guess that's a typical 'newbie' question, separate head and cab or combo....but I'm not a newbie, been playing over 40 years. Most of those years I've been an 'amp and cab' man, though I did have an Ashdown Touring 550 combo for a year or two. For the last 6 years, I've relied on my Barefaced Super Twin and Ashdown ABM head (with a Rootmaster 800 as a spare), but last weekend has caused me to question this loyalty. 

We were headlining a festival in Kent, and I had loaded my gear into my Mitsubishi SUV, but it failed half an hour from home, so after being recovered back home, started the 135 mile drive in my wife's little Suzuki Swift - no room for the ABM or the cab. I called one of the guitarists who was already there, and he said he's sort out something for me to play through.

Ended up playing through a Fender Rumble 100 (sub £300 combo) and it was great. Easier to hear myself without interfering with the FoH rig, and I could lift it with one finger! Every gig we do is through a full PA with a sound man or crew, so my on-stage sound is really just for my own benefit. I am now seriously considering selling my cab and both amps and replacing them with a light weight combo. It would be less money tied up in gear, cheaper insurance, even easier to carry, and less space taken up at home, in the car, and on stage (we're a six piece with two drummers, so space is often tight on stage).

There are several suitable combos out there for 3-500 squids, and I must admit I'm rather tempted. Anyone else gone down this route - and even more pertinent, has anyone made the change and regretted it? My Super Twin is serial number S001 - first of the breed - so is irreplaceable. 

I've seen quite a few niche touring bands using sea and light gear on stage, and now I come to think of it, I was unable to take my own amps and cab to Germany recently, and played through a small combo there (can't remember what it was) but had no complaints about it for the three nights we played. 

 

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Pros and cons on both sides. Some great little combos out there, but similarly some great amps and cabs.

I don't think there's a definitive answer...

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

Pros and cons on both sides. Some great little combos out there, but similarly some great amps and cabs.

I don't think there's a definitive answer...

I agree, there is no absolute 'best' or even 'better', but I'm thinking mostly about what is best for me in my current circumstances. There is no way we will play without full PA, and even if i was to go back to do a few pub gigs for fun, a 100 watt combo ought to be enough.

Edited by FinnDave
auto posted a previous reply!

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I keep thinking I need an extra cab for my Markbass 210 combo, to look and feel more manly. 

But when I gig with the MB, it is easy to schlep, and really VERY LOUD.

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I know what you mean, but I don't think anyone really cares what the rig looks like, not even other bassists! The band on before us on Saturday's bass player was using a small Laney wedge bass amp, sounded great out front and he was happy on stage.

 

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5 minutes ago, songofthewind said:

I keep thinking I need an extra cab for my Markbass 210 combo, to look and feel more manly. 

But when I gig with the MB, it is easy to schlep, and really VERY LOUD.

I use a Mark Bass stack at our rehearsal studios, and am never really happy with the sound I get out of it, unfortunately.

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I sold my standard head & cab setup and never regretted it.

Since you're already with full PA & engineer, would you try in-ears?  I love them - all instruments & vocals so clear, and you have complete control over the volume.

If not, how about a monitor wedge?  Maybe your PA setup already has a spare one, so you wouldn't have to buy anything or bring anything in the car/store it at home.

For the in-ears/wedge setup, you could get your usual tone using an Ashdown pre-amp pedal.

If you go for a combo, how about a tilt-back one placed in front of you pointing up at 45 degrees.  I found I can hear myself a lot better this way.

 

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Good ideas, we have talked about in-ears, but the majority of the band don't feel they are worth the cost at the moment. We don't usually use our own PA, but rely on the house PA at the venues we play. I'd be quite happy using my sans amp DI and just getting a good dose of bass in my monitor, but I'm having trouble getting the rest of the bd to agree!

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I've owned several combos (The best was an AER Amp Two) and they were all decent and easily giggable.

My main problem is that I always carry a spare amp to a gig and it's not that simple with a combo. (I always gig with an amp and cab or two.)

Frank.

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I found the the best option for me was 1 or 2 amps with 1, 2 or 3 cabs depending on the gig.

I have a choice of several interchangeable and independently upgradeable rigs.

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4 hours ago, chris_b said:

I found the the best option for me was 1 or 2 amps with 1, 2 or 3 cabs depending on the gig.

I have a choice of several interchangeable and independently upgradeable rigs.

That was what I used to do as well, had my current rig plus a BF Super Compact which I used for the smaller gigs, usually with the Rootmaster head. I've changed bands since then though, and now only play medium sized venues or festivals, always with full PA, which means my 600 watt/2x12 rig is usually too big and by the time I get it cranked up so I can hear it close up, it is interfering with the levels out front. 

If I had storage space, I would be off to the shops today to buy a decent little combo, but sadly I have neither space nor money enough to have both options.

Two more gigs at the end of this month that I have to use the current rig for (unless I see a used combo that appeals and I can afford!), so I'll make a decision after that.

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I watched Bastille playing Glastonbury on the tellybox- not a whiff of backline in sight.  Imagine turning up to a gig with just your instrument and a pair of in ears?  I envy the brass section in my band for this reason, the singists even more so!

I would like to eventually go in-ears, but in no hurry as I play in pub bands too.

Could you get in-ears for yourself and just take a feed from the foh pa?  Surely you don’t need the full band to go in-ears too?

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Just now, Pea Turgh said:

I watched Bastille playing Glastonbury on the tellybox- not a whiff of backline in sight.  Imagine turning up to a gig with just your instrument and a pair of in ears?  I envy the brass section in my band for this reason, the singists even more so!

I would like to eventually go in-ears, but in no hurry as I play in pub bands too.

Playing in pubs is one of the biggest reasons to change to IEMs. Sounds in pubs are usually difficult, a battle of volume and often lacking in space for backline. I would always say the biggest improvement a pub band could make, is to go inears, ditch the backline - and let your PA do all the work.

And your band will sound 100% better for it.

And you ears will thank you.

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Posted (edited)

I'm also a big fan of portability! 

Personally I'd want a minimum of 250W for a pub gig, as I am not putting the bass through our RCF 310A PA speakers. So I'd be looking at the Fender Rumble 500 rather than the 100, which puts out 350W without an extension cab.

I played for four years with my MB combo - the only 'flaw' in the old LM3 heads was the EQ centre points and EQ 'black hole' between high mid and treble, but that's been addressed in the newer range. Otherwise I was very happy with it.

However in terms of portability and comparable quality I'm not sure there is a combo out there that matches my BF SC (21 lbs) and D class head (another 6 lbs or so)?  The BF, whilst really good, isn't the absolute best sounding cab I have played through**, although it's undoubtedly a step-up from my MB cab. But it's easily the most convenient and is a keeper because of its overall very good sound and weight.

But when you're including price into the mix (even buying used) combos can definitely steal a march.

 

[** I would rate a VK 210 MNT / LNT, Fearless F112 and Berg 212 all ahead of it].

Edited by Al Krow

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New Tech21 VT bass combo - and you can extend it @Dood did a review not long ago for I Guitar Mag or how about the Tech21 Power deuce Deluxe

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I will probably go for a 250-300 w combo if I decide to change - even though we don't do pub gigs (six piece with two drummers - we need plenty of room!). Having been very happy with Ashdown for years now, I am keeping an eye on their new Studio range - which includes a 300w 1x15 lightweight combo.

 

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5 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

New Tech21 VT bass combo - and you can extend it @Dood did a review not long ago for I Guitar Mag or how about the Tech21 Power deuce Deluxe

The people who make the Sansamp? I didn't know they made amps as well. 

Amps are like phones and cars to me - no interest in what's out there unless I need a new one!

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4 minutes ago, FinnDave said:

The people who make the Sansamp? I didn't know they made amps as well. 

Amps are like phones and cars to me - no interest in what's out there unless I need a new one!

Correct 

they have loads of bass and guitar amps and do cabs not just combos

Rather than me list - knock yourself out, it’s quality stuff

http://www.tech21nyc.com/products/amplifiers/

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If I were in a band where I only played pubs/only ever used my own rig I’d have a (lightweight) combo. As it is I use so many different rigs/cabs it’s amp head and preamp/D.I. pedal for me.

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32 minutes ago, FinnDave said:

I will probably go for a 250-300 w combo if I decide to change - even though we don't do pub gigs (six piece with two drummers - we need plenty of room!). Having been very happy with Ashdown for years now, I am keeping an eye on their new Studio range - which includes a 300w 1x15 lightweight combo.

Yup their RM series seems to have been very well liked by our fellow BC'ers!

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I'd keep your supertwin and get a head like the quilter 800. (and even another as a spare).

I've had the ashdown evo 2 and 4 and the quilter matches it easily for heft and volume.

Then you can put your amp in your bass case and youd only be externally carrying a cab, rather than a combo.

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Yeah, but in my case, it's more about storage space than carrying it, plus the space taken up on stage. 

If I stick with the amp & cab idea, there is no reason to change what I've got, really. Just struck by how small and light modern combos are and well they've done what I needed at the last two gigs. 

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