half stack vs combos? technical and audible differences

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by rhys_wtb, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. rhys_wtb

    rhys_wtb New Member

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    hi guys
    i was just wondering (i know it may seem a simple question)
    what are the technical differences between a half stack and a combo
    cause when i was speaking to a sound technician at a gig ages ago, when my amp was feedbacking life crazy, he told me that stacks suffer less soundback, is this true?

    if theirs anything i should know, please let me know :)
     
  2. Jesstaa

    Jesstaa New Member

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    Combos may get more interference because they're so jammed together, but I doubt it. Other than tube microphonics they're fine. But in my opinion, combos are for pussys, they've never appealed to me, they look small and crappy and I'd much rather carry around a halfstack in 2 parts.
     
  3. Grandturk

    Grandturk New Member

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    One hug benefit of a half-stack - or any head + cabinet combination - is the fact that you can swap out individual components very easily. Switch the head, switch the cab, etc. With a combo - yeah, you can change the speaker(s), but that's about it.

    That said, there's nothing like carrying your guitar and head into a club and leaving them there unattended in order to go back out to your car for your cab.
     
  4. thrawn86

    thrawn86 Well-Known Member

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    If you're referring to modding, I'd beg to differ. You can easily access the head in the combo to work it over. And my combo has an impedence selector and can disconnect the internal speaker, making cab changes as easy as with a head.
     
  5. American Viking

    American Viking Well-Known Member

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    combo or half stack... neither


    FULL STACK FOR THE WIN!
     
  6. 357mag

    357mag Member

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    You can get a larger sound with a cabinet. A little more depth. But combos are certainly great amps. Carrying around a stack of amps when a combo can get the job done is a testament to the player's intelligence.
     
  7. thrawn86

    thrawn86 Well-Known Member

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    The Sailor from Greenland has it again!!!

    :headbanger:
     
  8. Gtrman58

    Gtrman58 New Member

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    I agree with this statement. Bigger sound with a closed back cab. The sound disapates differently with a combo. Not that I have anything against them.
    I own several.

    The 4-12 closed cab throws the sound better in front of its self as oposed to the sound getting out all around a combo. Lots of tricks to combat this though. A good tech/sound man can pretty much give you what ever you are looking as well as a players intelligence but if everyone else has a half stack.....
    it really depends what you are looking for. kind of music you play. Lots of variables here.
     
  9. Grandturk

    Grandturk New Member

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    No, I didn't mean modding, and yes, most combos have a jack for their internal and additional jacks for external cabinets.

    Yeah, sure you can hook up your combo to a 4x12, but then you have to carry a combo and a 4x12 around.
     
  10. Grandturk

    Grandturk New Member

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    Including, what kind of combo you're talking about - 1x12, 2x12, 4x10 etc...
     
  11. 00jett

    00jett Member

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    Ive owned 3 Marshall combos and 1 half stack. There is no comparison.. That Marshall sound IS from a closed back 4x12. Open back just doesn't treat the low end the same (its science, not my opinion) or for that matter any frequencies. As far a controlling feedback and other noises goes heads and cabs seem to be the better option for being less prone to noise issues due to the way they are built. I love some combos, but nothing quite sounds like a Marshall half stack. IMO
     
  12. Keefoman

    Keefoman Member

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    The combo has the obvious advantage that you carry both the amp and speaker in one unit. If needed, hook up a cab to the combo and and you get the advantages of the stack as well.
     
  13. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    Live the stack rules. It pushes a lot more air and live they sound big and dangerous and it's nice to use the stack as a monitor.

    Recording is backwards though....I like combos. They often sound small and tinny live in a loud band but recorded they sound airy and huge. Of course you could mic a combo through the PA but in small rooms where 50 watts is plenty I prefer a stack. And should I ever play a big room, 2 stacks!

    Ken
     
  14. rhys_wtb

    rhys_wtb New Member

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    im saying for example 2x12

    i own a combo at the moment, and it feedbacks like theirs no tomorrow :(

    do half stacks suffer less feedback problems then combos then?
     
  15. nofearfactor

    nofearfactor Member

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    Half stacks or go home. But then just like Mr Viking put it,full stacks win. Even though I set my 2 4x12s up side by side.

    Ive only owned one combo my entire life and still have it. A 5150 combo. The thing I worry about the most is same as when seeing heads on top of cabs and not in a shockmount rack- the tubes vibrating from the speakers. Other than that just maybe a little difference in sound projection. My 5150 combo sounds slightly different than my 5150 head/cab setup.
     
  16. rhys_wtb

    rhys_wtb New Member

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    visually i prefer the site of a half stack, and if i had more money, a full stack ;)

    the reason i asked the question mainly was for better sound quality, as i would get a half stack if it meant the sound would be better :D

    hopefully by jan ill have one sitting in my house ;D
     
  17. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

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    No doubt 1/2 and full stacks for the total Marshal experience. Also, technically, most combos are just head chassis upside down in a speaker box. Its the wrong way up for heat and the tubes cook themsleves!

    But theres something intimate and direct about jamming blues on a juicy all-tube combo. Also, if you play rockabilly on a full stack, you just look silly!

    John
     
  18. Sir Don

    Sir Don Well-Known Member

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    I find the sound of my combo to be too 'flabby' for me. What I have done in the past is hook up a 2x12 with vintage 30's to it which seems to give it a more gutsy sound but that really defeats the purpose so I just use a head and one or two cabs instead. Of all my amps the combo is the one I least play. Maybe I should dig it out again and fire it up!
     
  19. TPR

    TPR New Member

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    Well, as Bob says on the eurotubes site, combos are a torture chamber for tubes because the tubes are pounded by the back waves from the speaker(s). I imagine the higher incidence of feedback is from open back cabinet, but I could be wrong about that.
     
  20. gtr1963

    gtr1963 New Member

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    it really depends on what you want. I'd try both combo and head + 4x12 and see which one you like. It's YOUR ears that will decide. I wouldn't get a 4x12 and head just for the sake of getting one IF a combo will do the job for you. That being said, I used a crate combo for years. I wasn't crazy about the sound(even though it has a 12" EV in it) but it was 150 watt combo and could match pretty much any stack out there in volume.

    I eventually got a marshall 4x12 and used the crate as a head and this IMPROVED the sound dramatically... mainly due to the celestions in the 4x12. I personally was going for the sound.. not particularly the volume.

    Later on I got a JCM900 head to go with my cab and just went stereo out of my fx(boss gt6) to get a stereo sound--Marshall head and 4x12 on one side and a 150watt 1 speaker combo on the other.

    Because I didn't like the 'sound' of my crate combo, but needed it for convenience--I eventually got another Marshall(Park) 4x12 with G12-L speakers(similiar to greenbacks) and hooked my combo up to this cab and so thus am pushing 2 4x12 celestion cabs in stereo. A MUCH MUCH better sound now....

    I say try both types out and let your ears decide..not your eyes... So many guitarists want a head and 4x12 to impress everyone but you really only need that kind of equipment if your playing clubs or venues. A powerful combo will do almost (and I stress..ALMOST) give you the same sound.

    A while back at a music store here locally in the Birmingham AL area, I saw a guitar playing through a Mesa 2x12 combo and he had it cranked.. the sound, all tube sound was just as loud as I have ever heard...and sonically.. it sounded great....

    Good luck on your search... remember let your EARS decide....

    Andy
     

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