A Mesa-centric cabinet emulator offers a straight-ahead and simple solution to top-box needs.
Superb construction. Full collection of Mesa cabinet/speaker IRs. Stores 16 IRs onboard. Traditional MIDI I/O jacks. Supports third-party IRs. Continuously adjustable attenuation levels.
No switchable ohmage. No editing software. No effects. Only includes Mesa IRs (but you can load third-party IRs).
Mesa Boogie CabClone IR+
Mesa Boogie's CabClone IR+ is a major upgrade on the company's original CabClone (which I reviewed here in 2016). The original was a load box and attenuator with an old-school speaker emulation, which was actually a speaker-like EQ curve rather than a set of impulse responses. The CabClone IR+ is available in 4-ohm, 8-ohm, and 16-ohm models.
(Mesa also offers the $599 CabClone IR, minus the plus sign. It's a load box/IR speaker emulator similar to its pricier sibling, but it omits speaker attenuation. If you seek a device primarily for direct recording or gigging, but don't need to lower the volume of your amp, you can save $200 with the non-plus version.)
The CabClone IR+ is a hefty chunk of hardware measuring approximately 7.5"x 6.5" x 4". It's as rugged and road-ready as most Mesa gear, and it sports the company's signature industrial vibe. Yup, it would look pretty sharp perched next to a Mesa head and cab.
… and Nothing but the Boogie
In fact, CabClone IR+ is specifically targeted toward Mesa amp users. The included IR library is not a grab bag of popular cabs from multiple manufacturers, but a collection of eight Mesa cabs impulses: two 4x12s, two 2x12s, and three 1x12s. The four Recto IRs, the two Lone Star cabs, and the 1x12 Thiele cabs feature Celestion speakers. The 1x12 California Tweed cab has a Fender-favored Jensen.
The CabClone IR+ stores a generous 16 IRs onboard in two banks of eight. As shipped, Bank A includes the eight cabs captured through dynamic and ribbon mics, while Bank B features the same cabs recorded via condenser and ribbon mics. Meanwhile, you can load third-party impulse responses to expand the IR gene pool
The attenuation function is uncommonly versatile. While some products merely toggle between preset attenuation levels, here there are four levels and a -16 dB trim pot. That means you can dial in precise speaker levels ranging from full volume to silence.
With the presence control set at noon (as heard in demo Clips 3 and 4), tones are bright and stringy, with more high-end content than you typically get from a miked speaker. Lowering the presence knob softens that edge for a more naturalistic sound, but that extra treble is always there if you need it. It could be especially useful with ultra-high-gain tones, which can lose treble impact.
Hold the Bells and Whistles
The CabClone IR+ excels at its core tasks. You can master its streamlined controls in minutes. But the flipside of that simplicity is a lack of extended features. There is no editing software other than a minimal IR loader. (Your computer "sees" the connected device as a hard drive. Just drag the desired IRs into the single-level directory that appears on your desktop). You can't, for example, alter the relative mic levels of the dual-mic IRs, shift virtual mic positions, or add effects. But the CabClone IR+ offers full MIDI functionality via full-sized MIDI I/O ports.
Withits focus on Mesa cabinet sounds, the CabClone IR+ is an obvious choice for players who pledge allegiance to the brand. (Mesa has been integrating CabClone into its recent amp models—a darn good idea.) It's dead simple to use, but it offers minimal editing features. You may not want or need those features, but consider your likely use scenarios before buying.
- Mesa/Boogie California Tweed Review - Premier Guitar ›
- No Mics, No Cab, No Problem! - Premier Guitar ›
- Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Badlander 50 Review - Premier Guitar ›
- No Mics, No Cab, No Problem! - Premier Guitar ›
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Fender honors the indie-legend with signature pickups and accessories.
Fender announces the J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster Pickups, an ode to one of alternative music’s most prolific shredders. Throughout Dinosaur Jr’s twelve album discography and his rich solo career, Mascis has established himself as one of guitar playing’s most tone-savvy and ferocious players.
At the heart of his genre-defining, nearly four decades-long legacy is the Fender Jazzmaster. Not only does the bold and angular design of the Jazzmaster lend itself to a player as subversive as Mascis, but there is no instrument that sounds quite like it. That is, until now.
Compared to the tones on the Fender J Mascis Signature Telecaster and the Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster, Mascis notes,“The new pickups have a sweeter more vintage sound,” and as his hopes for what people might feel when they test out the new pickups, J Mascis adds, “I hope they feel like playing their guitar, ideally they could make a song that could be my new favorite record!”
Key Features Include:
- Neck Pickup: 7.27K and Bridge Pickup: 7.31K DC Resistance
- Neck Pickup: 3.6 Henries, Bridge Pickup: 3.7 Henries Inductance
- Enamel-coated magnet wire delivers warm vintage-style tones
- Alnico 2 rod magnets for warm, sweet output
- Flush-mount pole pieces produce even string response
- Installation hardware include
Exploring the J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster Pickup Set | Artist Signature Series | Fender
The pickups are being released as part of a larger collection of signature J Mascis Accessories which include J Mascis Magenta Flower Strap, J Mascis Yellow Burst Strap, J Mascis Coiled Instrument Cable and J Mascis Dinosaur Jr. Pick Tin.
For more information, please visit fender.com.
Charvel unveils its new collab with guitarist Marco Sfogli.
Charvel unveils its new collaboration with PFM and Icefish guitarist Marco Sfogli. To pay homage to a guitarist whose sonic capabilities seem to know no bounds, Charvel has sought out to create a signature instrument as limitless as the player who inspired it. A pair of active EMG SA single-coils in the middle and neck positions effortlessly evoke classic Stratocaster bell tones, while an EMG ‘89 bridge humbucker provides a powerful bite. The signature model’s bolt-on maple neck has received a unique “caramelized” heat and drying treatment that imbues the wood with a warmth and comfort that is usually unique to expensive vintage instruments.
- Alder body with quilted maple top
- Scalloped lower back bout and cut heel
- Bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement, 22 jumbo frets, and Luminlay side dot inlays.
- EMG SA single-coil neck and middle pickups, EMG ‘89 humbucking bridge pickup.
- Floyd Rose 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system
- Five-way blade pickup selector, tone control, and volume control with push/pull coil splitting capabilities for the bridge pickup.
Marco Sfogli Presents His Signature Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR QM
- Signature S1-style guitar designed in collaboration with Marco Sfogli
- Classic alder body with an unmistakable California sound
- Quilt maple top for added tonal depth and a premium look
- For more information, please visit charvel.com.
A highly versatile sonic tool, the pedal can deliver a broad range of tones – everything from mild, wonderfully organic overdrive to medium-gain crunch with a richly satisfying midrange kick.
The pedal is a collaboration between Shnobel Tone and guitarist, songwriter, composer, and record producer Frank Simes. Based in Hollywood, Simes‘ long list of credits includes work with A-list artists such as Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Warren Zevon, RodStewart, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, and Martha Davis from The Motels. Additionally, Simes was the musical director for The Who for many years.
Its touch sensitivity makes it a perfect choice for guitarists who rely on precise right-hand technique, and it cleans up nicely when you roll back your guitar's volume knob.
Frank Simes Overdrive features include:
- Three knobs: Volume, Gain, and Tone controls
- True bypass foot switch
- Top mounted power and in/out jacks
- Hand-built with through-hole components
- Crinkle-coated diecast aluminum enclosure, dimensions 4.7 x 3.7 Inches
- Standard 9v center negative power – no battery compartment
Frank Simes Signature Overdrive
Shnobel Tone’s Frank Simes Overdrive has a suggested retail price and MAP of $249.
For more information, please visit shnobeltone.com.