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Hey guys.. Ive been playin for a few years and im looking into buying a stack.. I have a question though that I have never really understood. Can anyone explain stacks to me? like Heads and cabs.. what good is a bajillion watt speaker if u havea 15 watt head n all that .. its sorta confusing i find :( .. I've played many of stacks and dont find that big of a difference other then sound.. any thoughts?

Thanks!!
 

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the short version:

wattage on a speaker is how much wattage the speaker can handle.

wattage on a head is more about how much clean headroom you have. more watts = more clean headroom, less wattage, the sound breaks up faster.
 

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you want smaller wattage...trust me. even 50 watts is a LOT of wattage if you are using a 4x12 cab...insane...

unless you are playing huge rooms, forget the stack. Get a 2x12 and if you are really playing a huge room, just have the people mic it into the PA system. if you use a stack, you will be killing the people in the front row with your volume, while people in the back will barely hear you. well thats an exxageration, but yeah.

also stacks are a pain to haul around. Not fun at all. You could get a head and a 2x12 cab, which would also be very portable. but forget a 4x12 cab unless you are really playing large places.
 

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I would be careful in advising our friend not to get a 4x12. Why? Because it's all about the sound he wants. A 4x12 cabinet has a unique sound and certain thump to it compared to 2x12, open-back enclosures, etc. You can use that 4x12 with any amp just as long as you match impedance. I agree that portability is an issue

For instance, I'll use a 4x12 with a Fender Super Champ combo or my Traynor Bassmate combo. These are both tube amps that are < 20 watts and I am just using the amp portion of the combo. The sound is very full and a 2x12 doesn't really compare. It's important to note that the sound level is not ear-splitting either.

Klash, as for the explanation, here's my take. A 1/2 stack is a head and 4x12 cabinet. A (full) stack is a head and two 4x12 cabinets. I think you're looking for a 1/2 stack. It's important to make sure that the head and cabinet impedances are matched (IE: 8 ohm head to a 8 ohm cabinet). Most heads have a selectable impedance (4, 8 and 16 ohms). Cabinet wattage rating is how much power it can handle and is the product of # of speakers x lowest wattage rating of any individual speaker. (IE: 4 x 75 watt = 300 watt cabinet). Lower wattage equates to earlier breakup as mentioned in the previous post, but you have to be careful not to exceed the overall rating of the cabinet or you run the risk of blowing it. That's why cabinets have a higher power rating than heads.

Not to complicate things, but if you have mixed speakers in a 4x12, like 2 - 30 watt and 2 - 75 watt. The overall power handling is 4 x 30 (lowest wattage speaker) = 120 watts. Won't bother going into the theory, but that's what it is.

Make sure you know what sound you want and at what sound level you want to be playing it at. 50 tube watts through a 4x12 is seriously loud.
 

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I use a 50 watt tube combo with a 2 x 12 closed back cab, why? To get the tone I was looking for. I never have my volume up past 50% but the cab gives me more bottom, and depth to my sound. Watts and cabs are not always just about decibels.
 

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I agree about using ~20w heads into a 4x12, ( or 4x10 ) they sound great & the sound is very full without overpowering volume
 

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do you need a half stack?

get a head and an oversize 212 and thank me later.

also, there are some killer combos out there. bigger doesnt always mean better..
 

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"Vive le Loudenboomer!"

It's all about moving air!

One 12" speaker cone can push so much air, for a given amount of power.

Two 12" speaker cones will push twice as much air!

Four 12" speaker cones will push A LOT of air!

Of course, adding speakers consumes power in itself so it's not straight addition but still you can see that a 15 watt head could sound surprisingly loud if feeding a big stack of speakers. It's fun to take a small Champ and feed it into a stack of two Marshall 4-12 cabinets.

I've always thought that a full Marshall stack consisted of the two cabinets and a head. The top cabinet has a slope to the top and the bottom is just straight flat. So it's obvious they're made to stack one on top of each other. This puts the head just above shoulder level (or the top of your head if you're as short as "Keef" Richards!), making it comfortable to see and adjust the controls.

:food-smiley-004:
 

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It's all about moving air!

One 12" speaker cone can push so much air, for a given amount of power.

Two 12" speaker cones will push twice as much air!

Four 12" speaker cones will push A LOT of air!

Of course, adding speakers consumes power in itself so it's not straight addition but still you can see that a 15 watt head could sound surprisingly loud if feeding a big stack of speakers. It's fun to take a small Champ and feed it into a stack of two Marshall 4-12 cabinets.

I've always thought that a full Marshall stack consisted of the two cabinets and a head. The top cabinet has a slope to the top and the bottom is just straight flat. So it's obvious they're made to stack one on top of each other. This puts the head just above shoulder level (or the top of your head if you're as short as "Keef" Richards!), making it comfortable to see and adjust the controls.

:food-smiley-004:
1. the top of a straight cab is wider then the top of a slant cab so that you can stack them, good luck screwing that one up :p.

its fairly easy to see the controls on most amps IMO. i can see them fine when im running 1 cab or 2.
 

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do you need a half stack?

get a head and an oversize 212 and thank me later.

also, there are some killer combos out there. bigger doesnt always mean better..
But a 4x12 will always sound fuller than a 2x12. And any cab will always have better bass response than most open-back combos. +'s and -'s on both sides.

This is such a personal taste thing; Klash has to really decide on exactly what sound he's after and what he's willing to compromise on and how much $$ he's willing to spend.
 

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This was my solution to this type of situation. A 1x12 combo switchable between 50w/100w and a 4x12 for those times when you need to peel paint.

 

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This was my solution to this type of situation. A 1x12 combo switchable between 50w/100w and a 4x12 for those times when you need to peel paint.


NICE!

I was going to do that when I saw a 1x12 Silver Jubilee for sale last year. That Strat looks like it's ready to rip with that Marshall setup.

Just in time for a blues gig, eh? :wink:
 

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that is a good way to do it.

a 412 will push more air and have the Possibility of sounding fuller, if that's what you're going for, but an oversize 212 with the right speakers, or even a good-size 112 closed back will have some Serious Thump.

buddy just has to take his time and figure out what will suit him best.
 

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if you can find an old Boogie halfback cab from the '80s-90's they are great, the backpanel is split so you can have a sealed 2x12 bottom + open 2x12 top in one cab

I like the sound of open back combos for getting the sound out & *around*, more than the deadly beam of a closedback 4x12
 
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