Pros and Cons of using Combo amp with cab instead of head unit?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by CQLove, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. CQLove

    CQLove Tele-Meister

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    I need some advice from all you knowledgeable people. This is my current rig and it sounds great. Peavey Classic 30 combo connected to 212 peavey extension cab all with blue marvel speakers. My question is am I missing out on anything by not using the peavey classic 30 head unit instead of using my peavey classic 30 combo amp! Is it just a matter of convenience by using a head to run the cab instead of a combo amp? or does it in fact sound better with a head unit?? Thanks!


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  2. trxx

    trxx Tele-Holic

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    There shouldn't be any sonic difference between a combo and head, other than a combo possibly being more prone to tube rattle. But in 99% of cases, a head is going to be placed directly on top of a cab, so that point is pretty nil.

    Functionally, a combo amp is more convenient as a grab and go amp. But on the flip side, combos tend to have the tubes hanging directly below the chassis, which can be more prone to heat issues than a head where tubes tend to be above the chassis, allowing the heat to pass upward with no circuit in that heat path.

    To me, either a combo or head is fine, as long as the combo is not in a too big/heavy format, such as a 1x10" or 1x12". Bigger/heavier than that, a combo can be a chore to load/unload as a gigging amp. But I don't find a head and 212 cab to be too much to deal with, where toting a 212 or bigger/heavier amp on a regular basis can suck.

    That said, I own two big/heavy combos. A silverface twin reverb (back breaker) and a blackface super reverb (awkward back breaker). If I ever get it in gear to get back out gigging, the chassis of one or both of these amps will be head cabbed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Do you use the internal speaker? That would be the only advantage.

    I have a DSL20CR. It sounds far better plugged into a separate (bigger) cab. It sounds great with both internal speaker and the cab. It sounds better with only the cab, than it sounds with only the internal speaker. I probably should have bought the head. But I have it, and it would probably be at a financial loss to replace it with the head, even though the head cost less new. In any case, I still do have the option of grab and go without an extra cab if I need it. So there's that. At home I just use both speakers, cuz I can.
     
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  4. trxx

    trxx Tele-Holic

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    ^ Yea, that is a practical consideration. If the speaker/cab doesn't sound good, it can be an annoyance having to tote around that dead weight. But if you ask me, pretty much any open cab can sound good with a good speaker. And most closed cabs too.
     
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  5. stevemc

    stevemc Tele-Holic

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    advantages and disadvantages either way nut i prefer heads and cabs for variety.
     
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  6. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Holic

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    no,no difference...just a different casing...your Peavey rig looks cool...I love my Classic 30,too...
     
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  7. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I occasionally run my mesa boogie Mark combo through a mesa half back 2x12 with EVMs in it as an extension.

    Its gargantuan - nice mix of punch and power and airiness from the open back combo.... shame it weighs as much as a neutron star! Different to driving the cab alone using the combo as a head.

    I am looking for a cab to run with my DSL combo. As I’d like similar bottom end extension and punch occasionally.
     
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  8. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    As long as you're not hauling the rig around there's no difference.

    I had my '62 Princeton serviced and the tech plugged it into a Marshall cab. Man did that sound good! Go for it and enjoy.
     
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  9. Daytona.57

    Daytona.57 Tele-Meister

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    Cabs sound better than combos. Using the combo as a head, prolongs the life of the amp circuit boards, chassis and hanging tubes, from speaker motor and tube heat and vibrations.

    If you add a cooling fan, $9.99 from Walmart, it will add additional longevity to your amp.

    YMMV
     
  10. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    doing this couple years led to a pretty cool CD that year, The mdf had choked it out DSL conv1 (2).jpg DSL studio 2 (2).jpg
     
  11. nikola

    nikola Tele-Meister

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    Having a Head+Cab setup allows you to connect an attenuator easily!
     
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  12. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I prefer head units for one benefit that they offer....location. I don't stack the head on top of the cabinet like most, I place the head nearer to me so that I can make adjustments without having to walk back like with a combo. There will be those that scoff at running a long speaker cable, but it works well for me.

    Beyond that benefit, it is easier to carry two items than one heavy one which is a real benefit to a head unit, but if the combo isn't all that heavy (sub 40 lbs) then there is no benefit.
     
  13. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    Yeh. I think combo & cab is a versatile outfit for up to prob. 30watts. I have a 20w Marshall Vintage series head & 1x12 cab & sometimes wish I had the combo for just grab'n'go & mic, pair when I want to.
     
  14. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    Last year at gigs I used my C30, brought a 1x12 open back cab w/ Emi Legend GB in it and a Yamaha head. I plugged the C30 into the ext cab and mic'd it,. The Yamaha was there as a spare amp.

    At rehearsals I just take the C30..its convenient having a combo.

    I just got a smokin deal in an H&K combo from a head/cab devotee so I gotta figure my rig for this season.
     
  15. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like heads. I have a late 60s AC30 combined with lovely Celestine blues and I put other heads through that. Max bang per buck!
     
  16. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    I prefer heads. Combos are tube torture chambers.
     
  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I started using my AC10C1 with a 1X12 Mesa extension cab; it makes it sound "bigger". I was placing them side-by-side on the stage, now I stack them. It looks cooler.
     
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  18. stormsedge

    stormsedge Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I have three combos, two heads and three different cabinets (with different neo speakers). Admittedly, I am in the sonic experimentation stage...but were I to go out of the house I would take a head and a cab just to make moving easier (no piece weighs >30lbs, unlike the combos). Cheers!

    Edit: oh, and that is a cool looking rig...especially if you are moving all the speakers!
     
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  19. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    The more air you are pushing, the longer it will take you to hit
    that magic break up area.
     
  20. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I’ve found a 12 watt combo is more than enough amp for my non-stadium-playing arse. I can load and unload my whole rig in two trips. Guitar, pedal board, amp stand, 12w combo. Boom.
     
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