Differences between Amp Head & Cab and Combo Amps

Whether you just bought an electric guitar for the first time or are a pro looking for a new sound, it's time to buy a new amplifier! This can be a fun process, but it can also be a little bit overwhelming. You'll have some important decisions to make. One of the first choices to make is whether you want to get a head and cabinet setup or a combo amplifier.

Both types of amplifier setup will do basically the same thing: project the sound of your electric guitar or bass. But each type functions a little differently and will give you a unique sound.

Below, we'll discuss the differences between the amp head and cab and combo amp and the benefits of choosing one setup over another.

Amp Head & Cabinet Setup

The amp head and cabinet setup is two separate pieces of equipment. The head is an amplifier by itself with no speaker. The cabinet is the speaker. If you're at a huge rock concert, the tall stacks of equipment are an amp head and cabinet setup.

Here are the benefits of choosing a head and cab setup over the combo amp:

  • Weight: Since the head and cabinet are two separate pieces of equipment, each piece may be lighter than a combo amplifier. Even though you'll have to make two trips to get the head and cab where you need them, you won't have as rough a time carrying something super-heavy.
  • Customization: There's a lot of variety when it comes to heads and cabinets. Since they aren't in the same piece of equipment, you can mix and match different heads with different cabinets. This lets you experiment with your sound and helps you find the perfect balance.
  • Venue size: If you're playing at bigger venues, especially ones that are outdoors, the head and cab may give you greater projection. You may get more power, meaning more volume, with this amp setup. 

If these perks of a head and cab sound appealing, it might be the best choice for you. 

Combo Amps

A combo amp has the amplifier and speaker, just like a head and cabinet setup, but everything is in one piece of equipment instead of two. These are some of the perks of a combo amp: 

  • Compact: Even though the head and cabinet may be lighter to carry, it's more inconvenient. With a combo amp, everything is compact in one piece of equipment and doesn't require more than one trip to haul.
  • Cost: Because you're buying one piece of equipment instead of two, combo amplifiers are often less expensive than an amp head and cab setup.
  • Open vs. closed back: With a combo amp, you'll also have the choice between a closed and open back. An open back lets the sound come out from both sides of the speaker while the closed back only puts the sound out from the front. Most combo amps are made with an open back.
  • Venue size: If you play mostly small local gigs, a combo amp may be sufficient. You can get a lot more out of this type of amp than you might think.

Now that you have more info on the differences between amp head and cabs and combo amps, you're better prepared to pick the right one for your own needs. If you can, test out both setups. See which one gives you the sound you like the most.

If you're in the market for a new amplifier, we've got a wide selection of both amp head and cabinets and combo amplifiers. For great deals and a great customer experience, shop Bananas at Large®.

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