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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting a band together soon and expect to start gigging this autumn/winter, so I'll be looking for some decent amplification - currently I'm only using a practice amp at home. I've been very impressed by the Engl Screamer 50, but I wondered if it is better to opt for the combo or head and cab version. The stack certainly has more stage presence, but it would also set me back a fair bit more:

Combo - about £750ish
Head and vintage 2x12 - about £1100

Now to a teen like me, £350 is a fair bit of cash, so what sort of tonal advantages would the stack have over the combo? Anyone own one that can give advice?
 

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Stacks cost a lot and are a major pain to lug around. Obviously a 2x12 cabinet is not as much of a pain as a 4x12, but it's one more thing to carry and one more trip to and from the car. A 2x12 is plenty loud enough for band practice, you can turn it up louder for more tube compression etc. and mic it if need be for gigs. Being as you are looking at a 2x12 cabinet, it's a no brainer to go for the combo.

I wouldn't say a closed back cabinet has more presence than a combo - it has more low end and holds its sound over more distance. You can put the combo against a wall and it will project almost like a cabinet as well though!
 

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I find combos a pain in the ass.

If you're talking about a tube combo then it's gonna' be like having a head and a 2x12" cab that are permanently fixed together and AFAIK that's gonna' be more hassle to carry than a separate head and cab.

I've always used separate tube Heads (Marshalls mostly) and i used to use a 4x12" cab but these days i find that a pair of 2x12's is more convenient and still sounds great.

I like having the option to inter-change cabs and heads too, and as you said a stack looks a lot cooler too.:) STACK!!!!!!!!

I nearly forgot to mention, the other reason i never liked tube combos is because they're usually made like an upside-down head, with the tubes hanging down underneath the circuitry and electronics.
That way all the heat (which is a lot!) from the tubes is cooking all the components above it.They get very, very hot indeed.

At least with a tube Head the tubes are usually (except in Fender type heads)sat on-top of the components and the heat rises out through the vents in the cabinet instead.:)
 

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If you can afford the extra, I'd get the stack.
Either way your going have a great amp, but the stack does give you more options in the future.
I'd have thought that using a hotplate would be a hassle with a combo and allow you to crank up the power amp valves.

Cheers
John P.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ah true, that hotplate argument is a very important one, as I was thinking about investing in one. I did have a bad experience having to lug a Fender Twin around, so I'm veering away from combos at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Change of amp: I tried the Mesa F50 against the Engl yesterday and there was really no comparison. I'm veering more towards getting the combo, as it's easier to take around for jams and stuff than a whole stack, and I'll get a extension cab, either 2 or 4x12 eventually when I can afford it. (Another advantage - I can jam with the combo right away instead of waiting for the head AND cab).

My bedroom is 2 flights of stairs up, so I really wasn't looking forward to carrying the head and cab up and down everytime. With the combo, I feel more inclined to get a 4x12 extension, just because I can leave it downstairs and easily take it to the car, rather than carrying it down all those stairs and then back up again, which is what put me off one most. The combo itself really isn't that heavy, compared to what I was expecting/dreading.

Has anyone used this site before - www.guitarbargains.co.uk ? They have a great price on the Mesa combo and cabs and I wondered what they were like to deal with.

Thanks a lot guys, Mark.
 

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I'd rather carry a head and a 2-12 cab, yeah it's an extra trip, but a 2-12 tube combo is freakin' heavy. Anyone carried a 5150 combo up stairs? I'll take the 2 ~40lb loads instead of one 80lb load. I like closed back cabs too, most (excluding the 5150 or 6505) combos are open back. That said, I have been checking out Budda Superdrive 30s, head or combo, and the Framus Ruby Riot. In the end, the most important thing is the sound.

<$0.02,
Roger
 

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Carrying a 2x12 combo is nothing for me. I carried one to my friend's house once a mile and a half away before I got a car!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The F50 is 1x12 anyway. I tried lifting it at the store, and its really not that bad. I've had to lift a Fender Twin up and down stairs before, and I definitely don't want to repeat it. The F50 is much lighter than the Twin I found.
 

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Get a combo. They're just a lot easier to transport for gigging. I like slightly modeled amps, but tube amps great for gigs as well. A 100 or 150 watt amp should be loud enough. (hahaha) I still not sure what combo I'll be getting. Good luck anyway! :D
 

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jim777 said:
head/cab, it's easier to upgrade
+1

it ends up being cheaper in the long run if you just go ahead and get a head and maybe 2x12 cab .

if you buy a combo it is a little harder getting extension cabs and messing with it, it is easier to just go ahead and get the best you can to save from upgrading
 

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hey there L2L, nice to see u about!
it depends on your transport situe, stacks sound better, especially at max volume :) but theyre a pain in the rectum to move, but with a 7 string a 4x12 would def help with those big growls aswell! but then again, combos u just pick up and go!
if i had the cash, id have a stack!!
 

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well im buying a fender fm 412sl and a 100 woot head for it but i would have to say any thing is fine really like for metal marshalls micro stack but fenders combos are pritty good to!
 

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id have to say stack becasue they just look cool as hell, i mean why else would i use a stack if i could carry around a 2x12. its hard to lug around but you could pay your little brother or something to do it.
 

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i did a comparison when i bought my Mark IV.. i tried the head + 1x12 cab, and the combo which is also a 1x12. and i went with the head and cab.. i thought it sounded better even though it was the same amount of sound output, plus it's easier to upgrade. and not too mention each piece is lighter than the combo. only downside was it took more room.. not a biggy.. personally i think 4x12s are usless though.. unless you are playing stadiums. too freaking heavy and big for clubs or small venues.. 2 - 2x12s is pleeeenty if you really needed it
 
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