Record or gig with your favorite amp—minus the cabinet and mic.

Passive speaker-load boxes let you run your amp into a PA or recording input without miking a cabinet. They’re a great way to capture analog amp sounds without hassle—or broken eardrums.

Mesa Boogie’s new CabClone is a particularly nice load box/compensated D.I. at an equally nice price. It’s solidly built in a tabletop format. You can use it with or without a speaker connected to your amp. A wide-ranging level control provides appropriate output for most recording and PA gear. There are phase and ground-lift toggles, and both XLR and 1/4" output jacks. A specialized EQ stage with three voicing options mimics closed-back, open-back, and vintage-style cabinets. There’s also a headphone out for silent practicing or monitoring.

As with many products in this category, CabClone’s cabinet simulations are more like paintings than hi-res photos. They don’t convey the idiosyncratic resonant peaks and phase-cancelled dips of various miked speakers the way that, say, a good set of speaker impulse responses can. But CabClone’s solid, full-frequency tones work well in many contexts, and they respond well to downstream EQ.

CabClone requires no external power. It comes in 4-, 8-, and 16-ohm models, so be sure to get the one that matches your amp’s speaker-out specs.

Test Gear: ’63 Fender Stratocaster, “parts” guitar with P-90s, Ceriatone blackface Champ clone.

Ratings

Pros:
Great connectivity. High-quality build. Nice price.

Cons:
Speaker emulation not as nuanced as some digital alternatives.

Street:
$299

Mesa/Boogie CabClone
mesaboogie.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

It's time for everyone's favorite giveaway, STOMPBOXTOBER! Enter here for your chance to win the just announced PRS Mary Cries Optical Compressor! Come back tomorrow for another chance to win.

Read MoreShow less

With its powerful speaker and long-lasting lithium battery, the Nomad is the ideal solution for portable premium tone.

Read MoreShow less

A line of stompboxes designed by PRS.

Read MoreShow less