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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Guitar Amps

4. Stack Or Combo?

Since the Fifties, two basic types of amplifier setup have been available - the separate amp or ‘head’ and speaker setup (known since the Seventies as a ‘stack’), and the combination amplifier or ‘combo’, where both are housed in a single unit.

Most amp manufacturers make both combos and stacks - the same design is often released in both forms. The main reason for separating the amp and speaker cabinet is a practical one – guitar amps contain some pretty heavy components. Guitar cabinets usually use ten or twelve-inch speakers. 2x12” is generally the practical limit for combos, whereas most stacks employ one or more 4x12” cabinets. Picture Jimmy Page or Eddie Van Halen on stage, and your mental image probably features a Marshall stack with two 4x12” cabs. Escalating volume levels among stadium rock bands in the Seventies and Eighties led to the common sight of a whole row of these on stage, though these days it’s not unusual for one cab to be miked and fed to the PA system, while the rest of the cabs are empty and there purely for show!

There is something about the sound and feel of playing through a stack that you don’t quite get with a combo – not just the sheer volume level (some combos have more than enough volume for most gigs), but the sense of solidity and ‘chunkiness’, particularly in the bottom end, which results from the amount of air that four or more speakers can move.

Combo amps have their own distinct advantages too. These include relative portability (though some, particularly valve amps, are still rather heavy) and ease of setup and use. Small combos are generally more suitable for more intimate venues, and styles other than rock. Where the big names such as Marshall and Laney dominate the stack market, many smaller companies maintain their own loyal user bases among combo users, which tend to be grouped in terms of musical style - many jazz players would never consider using anything other than a Polytone amp, for example.

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Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
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    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
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      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
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      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
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  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
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Guitar Amps overview

Elektron Digitakt tc electronic Flashback 2 Delay Vox Adio Air GT Harley Benton CST-24T Ocean Flame Gator G-PG-335V Bag Harley Benton HB-40B 2017 Millenium ST-95 Denon DN-300C MKII ADJ Pro Event Table Presonus Studio 26 Boss GT-1B Bass Multi-FX Pedal Mooer Baby Bomb 30 W
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Elektron Digitakt

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tc electronic Flashback 2 Delay

Effect Pedal for Electric Guitar Delay, The new TC MASH technology turns the foot switch into a pressure sensitive expression controller, New Ethereal Delay algorithm, For mono use, the stereo input can be used as a Tap Tempo input...

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Vox Adio Air GT

Modelling Electric Guitar Combo Power: 50 W, Equipped with: 2x 3"speakers for a wide stereo sound, Bluetooth allows wireless playback of music and remote control via app, VET Modelling technology for authentic amp sounds, Up to 23 amplifier models,...

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Harley Benton CST-24T Ocean Flame

Electric Guitar Deluxe series, Body: Mahogany, Top: Flamed maple, Set-in neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Roseacer, 24 frets, Pearloid Dot fretboard inlays, Scale: 635 mm, Nut width: 42 mm, Pickups: 2 Wilkinson WHHB Alnico Open humbuckers, 1 Volume control, 1 Tone...

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Gator G-PG-335V Bag

Gator G-PG-335V Bag, ProGo Ultimate series, semi-hollow and v-style e-guitar gigbag, front and side handles, removable and adjustable backpack straps, micro-fleece interior, internal block Shock Absorber, padding: 25 mm, ultra thick paddes, Tablet-compartment, big accessory compartment with cable management and...

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Harley Benton HB-40B 2017

Harley Benton HB-40B 2017, compact electric bass combo amplifier, 40 watt, 10" custom voiced speaker, TEC tube-emulating circuit, instrument input, gain control, integrated compressor with LED indicator, 3-band equalizer (bass, parametric middle, treble), volume control, headphone output, aux-input for play-along...

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Millenium ST-95

Standing Aid Ideal for keyboardists, guitarists and DJs, Seat height, backrest and footrests individually adjustable, Seat upholstery and backrest with cover, Seat height adjustable from 545 - 965 mm, Padded seat, Weight: 6 kg, Material: Steel, Colour: Black, Suitable...

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Denon DN-300C MKII

Denon DN-300C MK II, CD/USB Player, Slot-In CD - Drive, USB Audio Player, USB plays MP3 audio file formats, 3,5 mm Jack Input, Display, symmetric XLR Output, stereo RCA Output, adjustable speed ±15%, Random, Repeat and Power-on-Play, IR Remote, 10-key...

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ADJ Pro Event Table

ADJ Pro Event Table, Compact and collapsible, Lightweight, around 18 kg, Functional and professional looking, table height: 880mm, dimensions table 1200x580mm; Dimensions (LxWxH): 50” x 24” x 45.5” / 1270 x 610 x 1155 mm, Dimensions for own Logo (WxH):...

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Presonus Studio 26

USB audio interface 2 x 4 USB 2.0 audio interface with 192 KHz, 2 Combo inputs: Mic/Line/Inst (XLR/jack), Jack inputs switchable from "Inst" (high impedance) to "Line", 2 Low-noise XMAX-L microphone preamplifiers, 48 V phantom power can be connected,...

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Boss GT-1B Bass Multi-FX Pedal

Boss GT-1B Bass Multi FX, effects pedal, Bass Multi Effect, 90 effect types, 32 seconds looper, approximately 7 hours of operation time with batteries, 99 Presets, 99 user patches, 3 Footswitches, 1 expression pedal and 1 additional footswitch/expression pedal input,...

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209 €
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Mooer Baby Bomb 30 W

Mooer Baby Bomb 30, guitar power amp, complete amplifier power stage in the size of a micro pedal, 30 Watts maximum output, suitable for direct amplification of effects pedals, delivers smooth post stage overdrive at higher settings, Master volume control,...

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