Since the 1960s it has been popular for guitarists to have separate amplifier heads and speaker cabinets. Some argue that this configuration provides a better sound penetration and spread - particularly when more than one cabinet is used. During the 1970s and 80s some of the biggest guitarists in the music industry would create huge stacks of speaker cabinets driven by racks of amplifiers.
Guitar amplifier heads have evolved significantly from the basic models produced in the early 1960s, and although many of them still use valves as the preferred technology this is where the similarity ends.
The Vox and Selmer guitar amplifiers of the 60's had simple treble and bass controls with perhaps a tremolo effect that could be operated by a footswitch. The sophisticated amplifiers of today bear little resemblance to those early models and utilise the latest generation of electronic components and switches.
Speakers too have evolved into a much more efficient constituent, able to handle much greater sound pressure levels and with a richer tone and wider frequency range.
The latest material to be used in speaker technology is Neo dymium magnets, these magnets are incredibly powerful and one no larger than a penny can lift a 10kg weight. This means that smaller magnets can be used in the production of speakers so that speaker cabinets become much more lightweight.