Aimed at taking guitar cabinet simulator performance to a higher level, we set out to address the needs of the professional studio, home and gigging guitarist or serious “silent” guitar practitioner. When given all options, a large percentage of guitarists still prefer the natural sound from their amplifier of choice and a mic’d speaker cabinet. And many of us would benefit if provided a way to capture true amplified guitar sound without the need for a mic or a cabinet, and often the resulting volume in noise restricted environments. The CabClone has been developed to meet this objective with pro studio grade sound quality and realistic feel, offering some unique features in this category and price range.
The CABCLONE™ is a passive Cabinet Simulator/Speaker+Mic alternative with a built-in Amp Load. It provides a direct interface of your guitar amp’s Speaker Output to the input of a mixing console, microphone preamp or even direct to your converters (recorder) with or without the need for a speaker cabinet. It’s also a Compensated Headphone Driver that delivers a great sounding, great feeling headphone-friendly version of your amp’s Tone that’s perfect for late night practice sessions or anytime you want to play without others listening.
Featuring an internal (resistive type) load that can also be defeated, the CABCLONE can be used to capture a direct signal either with or without a live speaker connected to the amplifier. The CABCLONE is designed for amps rated at 150-Watts or less and our standard format is for 8 OHMs. Also available are 4 OHM and 16 OHM versions (again for amps of 150-watts or less) that allow proper impedance matching with other MESA–as well as non-MESA–amplifiers. Using this internal load scenario, you can transform any amplifier into a powerful “silent” live, recording or practice tool.
The Front Panel features an adjustable D.I. (OUTPUT) LEVEL control that accommodates a wide range of destination input requirements ranging from MIC (-30dB) to INSTRUMENT LEVEL (-10dB) to Pro LINE LEVEL (+4DB) and anywhere in between. This adjustable pot allows you to fine tune the signal strength for virtually any kind of live or recording environment.
At the far right of the Front Panel there is a VOICING switch giving you three popular choices for the style of Speaker Cabinet simulated. The upper CLOSED BACK position scoops the midrange and also allows more of the upper harmonic region through, simulating the response of a 4x12 cabinet loaded with 60-watt speakers. This response is often preferable for heavily saturated rhythm and/or lead work where you want a midrange scoop and a huge sonic spread (width).
The center OPEN BACK position takes the lid off a bit so the upper harmonics can shine through and provide a more open, three-dimensional sound with accentuated top end. This position works well for clean work and overdriven rhythm applications where a brighter, “faster” response is in order. The lower VINTAGE CABINET position is the darkest, most compressed choice and offers the best response for single note soloing, especially when higher gain sounds are in use. This setting will keep lead work fat and round and free of “buzzy” gain artifacts. Within these three selectable Voicing positions you‘ll find the ability to tune the CABCLONE’s response to work well for almost any sound style.
In the CABCLONE’s simple Front Panel controls are the basic–but powerful–tools to control your guitar amp’s sound and get it to the Console direct with the least possible effort, time and “superfluous noise”. Now let’s jump to the Rear Panel and review the interfacing possibilities found there.
Starting from the far left of the Rear Panel we have the INPUT and this ¼” jack is where you will connect the SPEAKER OUTPUT of your amplifier. For the best Tonal results and to avoid damage to your amplifier’s output transformer from an impedance mismatch, it is always best to match the amplifier’s Output Impedance to a CABCLONE wired for that same impedance. The three Screened-On Boxes in the center of the Rear Panel indicate the as-built impedance.
Make sure your CABCLONE has the IMPEDANCE BOX checked that you intend to use most of the time and that it matches the SPEAKER OUTPUT IMPEDANCE JACK you favor on your amplifier. A correct match here will ensure the best Tonal results and remove the possibility (with some amplifiers) of shortened Output Tube life and/or damage to your output transformer.
Next we have the THRU jack and this provides the option of having a live speaker on your amplifier while taking the DIRECT OUT signal to your console and using the CABCLONE Direct circuitry for capturing the sound. When using this configuration you can also decide to mic-up the live speaker cabinet as well, giving you the choice of the CABCLONE BALANCED DIRECT OUT, the Mic–or both–for the ability to blend them (in real time or later) in a mix session. The THRU jack is a switching-type and inserting a ¼” phono plug (use unshielded speaker cable) automatically defeats the internal Load Resistor so that your amplifier is seeing the true impedance load of your chosen speaker cabinet.
In the center of the Rear Panel is the 3-Pin male XLR jack BALANCED DIRECT OUT. Here the microphone cable is connected to your mixing console, preamps or even converters and you are ready to press RECORD in the studio or Rock The House in a live venue. And depending on whether you’ve chosen to connect a live speaker cabinet to the THRU jack or not... Silently and with Great Tone! The signal level here is determined by the setting of the Front Panel D.I. LEVEL Rotary Control and as mentioned earlier, can be set to match almost any input destination’s requirement from -30dB Mic Level all the way up to a +4dB Pro Line Level signal.
A PHASE FLIP switch is provided to allow swapping of the phase 180 degrees when blending the CABCLONE signal with other sources in recording or live environments.
The Front Panel GROUND/LIFT switch allows you to lift the CABCLONE BALANCED DIRECT OUT XLR’s PIN 1 (GROUND), from the Circuit and Chassis Ground. In many cases this can remove annoying ground loops that can occur from “grounded” devices that have their own different ground reference when interfacing to consoles.
A ¼” LINE OUT has been included to capture the unprocessed (untreated) sound of your amplifier’s Speaker Output for various applications ranging from creating a Slave signal for additional power on amps that don’t incorporate that feature, to a Direct feed to a Console/Recorder. This signal is hardwired for the Pro LINE level +4dB signal strength and is not affected by the setting of the Front Panel D.I. LEVEL Control.
And last but definitely not least, we’ve included one of the best features of all on the CABCLONE... the HEADPHONES Output. This jack allows you to enjoy the sonic shaping and great feel of the CABCLONE’s DIRECT BALANCED OUT through a set of quality headphones for personal entertainment with your favorite amplifier. At last you can play through your amp (big or little) “silently” late at night when the rest of the world is asleep and still have that beautiful Tube Tone and a bouncy feel. Add some Delay and Reverb in your amp’s Loop and you’ll be lost in a world of fat, rich, expressive guitar-bliss for hours.
Whether for “direct” live performance, recording or just personal enjoyment of your favorite tube-amp with headphones, the CABCLONE is a great sounding and feeling tool for any guitarist needing to capture great amp sounds quickly and easily.