Top 5 New Cabs & Speakers from NAMM 2018

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This is no secret for any guitarist: regardless if we like tube amps, solid-state amps, or even digital amps, we generally need a cab with a speaker to use them.

But somehow, that’s very often ones of the most overlooked elements in the whole signal chain when it comes to guitar tones. We will spend our time talking and testing new guitars, new pickups, new pedals, new amps, but very often we just completely ignore cabs and speakers — even thought they can have an enormous impact on the tone, just as much as anything else.

So, since we did an article for the Top 5 New Amps from NAMM 2018 , we couldn’t leave Anaheim, CA without writing this Top 5 new Cabs & Speakers from NAMM 2018:

 

1) Orange – PPC 212V Cab

Maybe I’m biased on that, but if you tell you 4×12″ Cab, the three big names that come to my mind are: Marshall, Mesa and Orange (not in any specific order). I obviously know they’re not the only ones to make 4×12″ Cabs, but somehow it seems like Orange gain their place amongst the top brands on that market.

Their PPC 412 could be seen in many studios and on many stages around the world. However, the new trend for the last decade is: Smaller and Lighter. It is true for Amps, but it’s also true for Cabs. That’s why, lately, we started to see more and more Vertical 2×12″ Cabs. So it was just a matter of time before Orange come with their own version, the PPC 212V.

The PPC212V is Orange’s first vertical cabinet. It’s equipped with two Celestion Neo Creamback speakers — to contrast with the Vintage 30 generally used in the 4×12″ model. The PCC-212V is also an open back cab and has been designed to be as light as possible without compromising tonal response.

By using a Vertical 2×12″ configuration and 15mm Birch Plywood, Orange could get the overall weight down to 44lbs (20kg) — in contrast to the 102.5lbs (46.5kg) of the PPC412 — making touring so much easier now. It’s also the perfect companion for the new Rocker 15 Terror.

 

2) Amptweaker – O12J65 Speaker

Have you ever heard about James Brown? Of course, I’m not asking about the great singer but the electronics genius and founder/owner of Amptweaker — If you already saw the Amptweaker name, but you’re unfamiliar with their products or history, I highly recommend you to go read the article about James Brown, the man considered by many as The Godfather of Modern Amplification.

It would already be a great life accomplishment for having designed the original Peavey 5150 for Eddie Van Halen, one of the most iconic amp of history — or the Peavey JSX for Joe Satriani as well as an entire line of pedals. But that’s apparently never enough for James Brown that keeps developing more and more  awesome new products every year. It will be no different this year — at Winter NAMM 2018 — Amptweaker is introducing the new O12J65 Speaker.

But that makes sense since one of the easiest ways to make dramatic tone changes to your amplifier is with a speaker upgrade. The O12J65 speaker bridges the gap between American clean and British crunch speaker tones — and is assembled in the USA by WGS exclusively for Amptweaker.

 

3) HeadRush – FRFR 112 Cab

When we mention the name HeadRush, we typically think about their new digital modeler pedalboard with the great touchscreen interface. If you haven’t see it yet, The Tone King did review it during a special HeadRush Live Stream. However this year — for Winter NAMM 2018 — HeadRush is introducing a new addition to the pedalboard: the FRFR 112.

The FRFR112 is a Full-Range, Flat-Response powered cabinet that perfectly complements the HeadRush Pedalboard or any other digital amp/modeler such Fractal, Kemper, Helix, Bias, you name it.

Even if it does share a familiar look with the Alto TS-212 cab (another brand of the inMusic Brands group), the FRFR 112 cab has been completely revisited to include a 2,000-watt amplifier, a gugged 12″ 2-way speaker and an impressively wide array of input/output options and EQ capabilities.

The FRFR-112 will easily exceed the performance and utility requirements of even the most demanding musicians. The specially-voiced 12″ woofer and high-frequency compression driver deliver — a precise full response across the entire frequency range (46-22kHz) without any artificial coloration — and 2,000 watts of peak power (1,000W continuous) for an outstanding clarity and punch capable of 127 dB SPL.

 

Line 6

4- Eminence – EM12N Speaker

 

This is no secret for any beginners — due to a very large choice, it could be confusing and overwhelming to go through all brands and products available out there for a guitarist — to the point we don’t even know where to start. However, we only have to learn a little bit of history to discover some legendary brands. Eminence is definitely one of them.

One of Eminence’s big seller speaker is the Legend EM12. It’s a high power 12” guitar speaker that features ultra-clean tone with big, round, punchy lows and warm, smooth mids and highs — a more neutral tone so you can hear more of your amp and guitar. The Tone King did an unboxing and full blast video about it to show you how to run your amp on 11.

Following in the footsteps of the popular Legend EM-12 — for Winter NAMM 2018 — Eminence is introducing the new Legend EM12N Speaker.

The EM-12N takes the weight out but leaves the performance in. Rated at 200 watts, the neodymium EM12N delivers the same neutral tone so you can hear more of your guitar and amp, but with even tighter, more responsive and dynamic characteristics.

The new Legend EM12N weights only 6.6lbs (2.99kg) — a massive improvement in comparison to the 16.3lbs (7.39kg) of the Legend EM12. That’s definitely a good news for many guitarist’s back.

 

5) PRS – Mark Tremonti MT 1×12 Cab 

If you already read the Top 5 New Amps from NAMM 2018 article, you know PRS introduced the new Mark Tremonti MT-15 Amps. It’s definitely one of the hottest news of the moment. However, this little and affordable 15 watts head beast is not the only news PRS introduced at Winter NAMM 2018. Also coming for 2018 is the new MT 1×12″ Cab.

The MT-112 is a stealth 1×12″ Closed Back Cabinet — made of Birch Plywood — with weave black grill cloth and black piping. It’s equipped with a 60 watts 16 Ohm Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker.

It weights 40lbs (18kg) and will be available in store for $389.

 

Special mention for the Two-Notes – Torpedo Live & C.A.B. Update

I know this is not directly a Cabinet or Speaker news, but this is something that is massively use today to replace the Cab & Speaker, both on stage or in studio with the Torpedo Live and/or C.A.B. The Tone King has been successfully using the C.A.B. for most of the recent live streams.

At Winter NAMM 2018, Two Notes just announced they would release — by the end Q1 2018 — a firmware update for the Torpedo Live and C.A.B. as well as their remote software (Wall of Sound). The new update will allow users to place two mics on a single cab. This is a significant update because that’s the kind of recording technics that most sound engineers do to capture the full spectrum of tones from a cab.

Did you ever wonder why there’s two mics placed in front of a single cabinet —  even on a cabinet with a single speaker? Here’s why: the whole purpose of using two (different) mics — and to place them in different spots — is to capture two different tones to blend them together to get the final tone.

It was already a feature available for the high-end Torpedo Studio model. Pretty soon, it will also be available on the more affordable Torpedo Live and C.A.B. models. The update will also double the resolution of external IRs, up to 40ms (WAV format). The software will also receive a new refreshed design.

 

 

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About the Author: French by birth but Texan by heart, I had different careers in multiple areas that don’t really make sense when they’re all laid down on my resume. Amongst them I’m a former military officer (mainly confidential stuff I can’t talk about) — I’m a former network architect (the stuff with switches, routers, optical fibers, satellites and wireless things that allow people to be connected) — I’m a former R&D engineer and product designer (mainly for electronics instruments in the Music Industry) — I’m also a former sound engineer that worked in professional recording studios (but nobody cares about that anymore) — and I even thought once in my life I was someone almost important doing things almost awesome... Now I’m just a professional amateur spreading my 2 cents online about anything and everything to anyone with too much time in their hands — and if you’re reading this bio, you might be one of them that just wasted 2mn of your life you will never get back. Sorry...