portability vs. tone

Big John

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I recently started debating myself over this. I have two little 20w Mesa combos that have been working out great for my blues band. Great tone at decent volumes, fast set-up & tear-down, and easy on the back. Was even thinking about running both in stereo if I could find a good Leslie sim for cheap.

Last night I fired up my Bassman piggyback rig for the first time in a while. Pure eargasm. Big, clear, warm, fluid, yada, yada. The cab has casters so going A to B on flat ground is no biggie, but stairs are a pain. The tones pretty much make the little Mesa's cringe.

fvck, here we go again :hmm:
 

kuhboom

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I haul around my Landry 100w LS100 head and a Bogner 2x12 cab everywhere. I don't care about easy portability anymore, I'd much rather have the tone I love wherever I go. :yesway:
 

mmd

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I always go for what sounds best and find ways to move stuff around. I recently bought a 1x12 combo for "portability" to take to gigs. Used it at one gig and wasn't happy with my tone. The next I was back to using a head and a 2x12 cab. I was happy with my tone once again...
 

LesPaula

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I love my Mesa 1x12 combo, but I plug it into my THD 2x12 and the magic happens. I think any tiny little cab has it's plus's and minus's.
 

SteveC

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You reach a point where the difference isn't worth it. My days of hauling heads & cabs to/fr rehearsals & gigs are over. I jut got a nice little Mesa RV-25 and it works very well for my needs. No, it's not a stack, but no one (besides me) really cares.
 

mudfinger

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I'm lucky, I spose. My favorite sounding amp is easy to carry. Deluxe Reverb.

I'd get a dolly for something unpleasant to carry.:thumb:
 

jimmer_5

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Part of the reason I sold my Mark IV combo was that it was so damn heavy (coupled with it being so damn loud). So what did I do? I started buying heads and 2x12 cabs. I like the fact that all the sensitive electronic guts are contained in a much more compact package, with the heavy parts being fairly rugged.

My point is that even if you have a portable head (Tiny Terror, Mini Recto, DSL15, etc) you negate that convenience with anything bigger than a 1x12 cab. I am personally not happy with less than a 2x12 these days, but I am still young and dumb enough to horse it around. If I was gigging frequently, I might have to re-evaluate my priorities.

So I guess I am saying, go with tone over portability. Although I just got a Rockerverb 50 MKII head, and I am not sure I want to take that 46 pound behemoth anywhere..... :D
 

KP11520

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Just about every combo will sound better when plugged into a nice separate, well done cabinet.

All heads should be in a Standard 19" rack format with enough height that all can fit in the same footprint and each quality cabinet should have an area for these heads without compromising the sound of the cabinet. Just change heads based on the venue.

Totally Modular Man!

If you choose the "Tone" route. Find a nice folding hand truck that will make even stairs easy. Forget casters. That is where the innovation to achieve your goals lies!

I hope this helps! Good luck!
 

DrewGR

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There are many great options out there that cover both portability and tone.

Speaker-wise I have chosen to lug around the an oversized Orange ppc212 just because I prefer it to a 1x12.
But the days of accompanying that with the rockerverb are very much behind me. After some months with my trusty dark terror it has become my main gigging amp.

Is it "better" than the RV50? For my use it certainly is, yes. I don't do clean stuff so there is no need for a clean channel and it has the always-required effects loop. Plus I love loads of creamy gain for leads and the little terror delivers.
Sure the rockerverb is louder but at every gig I showed up with it and got it to my sweetspot, the sound guys were all like "can you turn it down?....a bit more....bit more... bit more? Thanks great" and at that point is sounded like s***.
Mesa has loads of great offerings with tons more versatility than my beloved terror so I wouldn't think that you have to sacrifice either tone or portability.
 

NYC LP player

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I recently started debating myself over this. I have two little 20w Mesa combos that have been working out great for my blues band. Great tone at decent volumes, fast set-up & tear-down, and easy on the back. Was even thinking about running both in stereo if I could find a good Leslie sim for cheap.

Last night I fired up my Bassman piggyback rig for the first time in a while. Pure eargasm. Big, clear, warm, fluid, yada, yada. The cab has casters so going A to B on flat ground is no biggie, but stairs are a pain. The tones pretty much make the little Mesa's cringe.

fvck, here we go again :hmm:

Bassman head or replica with only the one side if you only use it.

Light 2x10 with efficient speakers to make up for the loss of the other two speakers.
 

JMV

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A good 5e3 will take care of both very well.
 

musicmaniac

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That's why I never plug into anything bigger than my combos. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. :D
 

BuzzHaze

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Best of both worlds. I can bring just the Mesa Roadster combo, or include the extra cab for massive tone or just grab the Orange and the 2x12 cab. It all fits into any car. The big question is "which guitars" haha



 

cybermgk

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To me, the question is, are the Mesa Combo's tone, "good enough"?

I.E. Do they sound good enough for the gig, in the mix, to the audience? Because, they may not hear the difference that all that extra exercise and injury risk will provide.
 

LPV

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The "I only gig a combo now" or "I always bring a half stack" rules are a sure path to tonal dissatisfaction. If you're gonna play guitar for fun in a band, you've gotta have options. No way will I sell my halfstack because for those times that you don't need to compromise, its really fun not to have to. Different tools for different jobs.
 

SteveC

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To me, the question is, are the Mesa Combo's tone, "good enough"?

I.E. Do they sound good enough for the gig, in the mix, to the audience? Because, they may not hear the difference that all that extra exercise and injury risk will provide.

Yes. They are more than good enough, IMO.

I auditioned quite a few amps, looking to replace my old amp, without going back to hauling heads & cabs. I stopped looking when I played through the RV-25.
 

mmd

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The "I only gig a combo now" or "I always bring a half stack" rules are a sure path to tonal dissatisfaction. If you're gonna play guitar for fun in a band, you've gotta have options. No way will I sell my halfstack because for those times that you don't need to compromise, its really fun not to have to. Different tools for different jobs.

This is SO true.
 

SteveC

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I use my half-stack to hold my capo, picks and slide - along with a few other goodies in the home studio.

NFW that I will ever take that out to gig with again. That li'l thing on the left is just as good. And, I don't break my balls hauling it around.

 

Soul Tramp

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I think it depends a lot on the tone you desire. I've found that one of my amps, the Rail Rider, sounds best with a small open back 2x12 or 2x10, and appropriate speakers of course. Where others of my amps sound better with the larger closed back 2x12.

There's no doubt a Bassman with a closed 2x12 will move a lot of air and produce thunderous low/mid freqs which may give the allusion of better tone. Definitely ear and room filling, but more different than better.

The point I'm trying to make, but babbling, is that the big Bassman tone may have better suited your mood at the time. But having said that, I'm a 2x12 closed back guy. My favorite cab being an old Bandmaster from the 60's, but with better/different speaker than Fender used.
 

Big John

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...The point I'm trying to make, but babbling, is that...
99% of the crap I post is babble. :slap:

... My favorite cab being an old Bandmaster from the 60's...
Same cab that's under my Bassman, just with a recently installed pair of Brit V30's. :thumb:

I think I'm going to haul the Mesa's and the Bassman rig over to my bud's studio this week and iron it out. I'm not in a mad dash to sell, which sometimes happens when I get in this mode. I just want to wring it all out; really, really, really listen to everything. Even before BFG tweaked it, that Bassman used to hide in plain sight among the latest and greatest in the stable. Then I'd fire it up. Shortly thereafter, the latest and greatest would be on the block. Anywho, the Mesa's aren't going anywhere. I just need to sit down and dial.
 

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