I have two 15'Rs one stock and one modded including the diode removal. The diode removal imo gives way more clean headroom and changes the distortion from what can be fizzy fuzz at high gain, to more of a smooth variable overdrive. I also added a mid control and increased the intensity of the tremolo. Its not better or worse than the stock, just different. I use mine equally stock and modded. Going through a cab imo gives a perceived increase in volume as the bass is greatly improved and seems to spread the sound further. It is still 15 watts output, but to my ears, a fuller sound that could be perceived as louder. I would be confident in gigging with or without the cab just control your drummer! Angle your amp/& cab to you head, line or mic up if you band is too loud. I play solo or duo so it is easily enough power, sound spread for me.