Is there any piece of a stage musician's gear more important than the amplifier? The instrument, maybe, but there's a catch: electronic instruments aren't so loud on their own. They go hand-in-hand with an amplifier as a performing team. The truth is that it's not really fair to your amps and instruments to think of them as separate things. Instead, think of them as two halves of the tool that you use to make music. And when you think about it that way, it's easy to understand why it's important to choose your combo amplifiers carefully.
So, why a combo amp instead of a head and cabinet? There are plenty of reasons. For starters, combo amps are easier to handle. With fewer pieces of equipment to manage, setting up for a gig is faster and simpler. Let's be honest: for the majority of venues, a combo amplifier is more than powerful enough, so there's no need to make extra work for yourself. And even in larger spaces, your combo amp will still come in handy since it makes a great on-stage monitor. It's not all about gigs, either. Combo amplifiers are the perfect amps to bring to practices and studio sessions, where you're in and out quickly and it's great to have something that you can grab and go.
For most instruments, you'll have the choice between tube and solid-state combo amps. There are plenty of opinions out there when it comes to these, but there's no need to take sides - each type has its own specific strengths. Solid-state amps, like the Fender Champion series, have no tubes in them. The result is an amp that's clean, precise and technical, as well as reliable. Modeling amps, which simulate the tone of classic amplifiers, usually use solid-state electronics due to their versatility. On the other hand, vacuum tubes have been considered the kings of tone for decades, and if you're looking for warm, rich sounds that can handle some seriously impressive distortion, a tube-based combo amp is probably the way to go.
The usual suspects for combo amplifiers are the electric guitar and bass, but it doesn't stop there. You can also get acoustic guitar combo amps, as well as keyboard amps and monitors that work great for a variety of other instruments besides. No matter what you play, the right combo amplifier is sure to bring out the best of its sound, so take a close look at all the options here until you find the amp that truly appeals to you.