Video Table of Contents:
- 0:00: Intro/Features
- 3:30: Demo of cab models
- 5:00: Clean sounds w/ Telecaster (cabclone vs mic’d cab)
- 5:35: Driven sounds w/Telecaster (cabclone vs mic’d cab)
- 7:01: Clean sounds w/Les Paul (cabclone vs mic’d cab)
- 8:47: Driven sounds w/Les Paul (cabclone vs mic’d cab)
- 10:05: Delay sounds w/Tele (cabclone vs mic’d cab)
- 12:15: JHS Twin Twelve (bigger drive) w/Tele (cabclone vs mic’d cab)
- 13:35: Swells w/Tele (cablcone vs mic’d cab)
- 15:30: Final thoughts
The MESA CabClone is one of my favorite pieces of guitar gear. It allows you to get your full electric guitar sound through pedals and an amp into a direct output, which you can then run into whatever application you want. No more mic’ing cabs (or ridiculously loud amp volumes)
What it does
The MESA CabClone is a guitar cabinet simulator and load box all in one. It is designed to sound like a mic’d electric guitar cabinet and allows you to run your electric guitar signal direct into a front of house mixer or recording interface. It also acts as a load box, allowing you to run your tube amp (up to 150 watts) directly into it without damaging the amp.
The CabClone is an all analog piece of gear that simulates three different cab types: Open Back, Closed Back, and Vintage. The ins/outs on the back include: Input (from the amp), Thru (allows you to connect to your cab and use both), XLR out, Line out, and Headphone out. You also get a phase and ground/lift switch. Finally, there is a level knob.
They come in 4, 8, or 16 ohm versions, so make sure to match the CabClone to the ohm rating of your amp as well.
How does it sound?
I’ve made this statement before, and I’m sure I’ll make it again: I’m never mic’ing a cab again. That’s a bold statement, and for the purposes of this video, I mic’d a cab :), but the CabClone is that good. I cannot imagine a situation, live or for recording, where I’d prefer to mic a cab rather than use the CabClone. It’s not to say that the CabClone sounds better than a mic’d cab – it doesn’t. But it sounds just as good (if not a bit different than your specific cab), and it’s a whole lot easier.
Check out the video above for a first hand experience of what this thing can sound like. In my opinion, it’s just as good as mic’ing a cab, especially with prosumer level gear.
There are many reasons why the CabClone or a similar product would be useful. Here are a few of the most important reasons, in my opinion:
- You get a consistent sound for recording or for live use. Mic placement, mic choice, etc can drastically alter your sound. This eliminates those variables.
- Volume – you have total control. How many times – especially in small church settings – are we guitar players asked to turn down our amps? Many times we’re stuck running our amps on 1, when we all know they sound best pushed a bit harder. With the CabClone, you can crank your amp and get all that tone out of it without peeling the paint off the walls.
- Practicing – you can practice with headphones and still get the full experience of your electric guitar rig. This can be a life saver, especially if you’re in an apartment or you play a lot with other people around that don’t need to hear your licks at a mind numbing volume.
There are some reasons why you might not want to use a CabClone:
- If you have a cab that you just absolutely love (and you have a way to mic it in a way that reproduces that tone in a way you love), the CabClone is probably not going to get that exact tone. Like I said above, it will get a similar tone, but not that exact tone. Cabs definitely have distinctive sounds, so if you have one you love, stick with it.
- Mic placement – you can get a lot of different sounds with different mic placement. If you like the sound of a particular mic off axis, or spaced away from your amp a certain distance, you won’t really be able to re-create that with the CabClone.
- Very high end gear. If you’re using a very high end ribbon mic paired with a great dynamic mic in a sound treated environment running into a pro studio level desk like an API, Neve, or SSL, you’re probably not going to get that great of a sound with the CabClone. I’d stick with your mic’d cab in that scenario.
One great feature of the CabClone, though, is you can use it in addition to your mic’d cab, which could give you a much bigger sound if you ran both.
I hope this is helpful in giving you some more ideas for getting a great electric guitar sound in a variety of environments. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.