Other Amps

Lightening the load.


Not thinning the herd, mind you - which I should do. (In fact, anyone got a hanker for a nice MusicMan RD65-112? Silvertone 1484 and 2-12 cab? 80s Fender Concert?)

And it's not about being practical and going light; I already have a 1-12 Tech21 Trademark 60 which, at 36 lbs, isn't a heavyweight. And even my default "main amp," the Classic 30, is only 39 lbs.

It's not about going cheap, either; I have all the gear I need. One of the challenges of my golden years is thinking of stuff to want. That doesn't mean I want to blow money, or that I need the most expensive option imaginable; it just means this will all be new expenditure, and is not undertaken to save a buck.

This is mostly about trending futuristic to a tiny tiny 3 lb amp (or maybe two, I'm all stereo). I think any number of us are old enough for a 3 lb amp to sound like a good thing. Even in my hermetic isolation, I've become aware of the many small, very light high-powered amps meant either for jazz-clean playing (yeah right) or as a pristine palette for pedals - most of which can be pedalboard-mounted.

Since I'm already fascinated by Quilter's compact and capable amps, I'm pretty decided on the Quilter MicroBlock 45, which is the size of a single-wide Boss pedal - and by all reports, punches like a 30-50 watt tube amp.

My primary burden at a gig is carrying the pedalboard in and out anyway, because yes I'm that guy (make your judgment and move on) - so another 6 lbs wouldn't make much difference there. (Two MB45s, see, for stereo.)

We can all see where the dilemma lay: speaker cabs.

Which is what I came here to ask about. While I've used 2-12 cabs with heads in the past (we used to call them "piggyback"), I've been an open-back combo player for years. I'm comfortable with that format; it fills the stage nicely, blooms nicely if well placed near walls, and does the job out front for my purposes.

I'm good with 10" speakers, though in a small open-back combo package I miss the bottom (I'm sure listeners don't); I love to luxuriate in a single 15" setup - but by default, and for the safest intersection of sound and practicality, I gravitate to 1-12 combos.

Since the point of this experiment is how light I can make my rig (except for the pedal disease), I'm wondering how I'd do with 10s - but still thinking 12 may be the default.

Since I've never used small extension cabinets, what am I looking for here? How big do the cabs have to be? Still open-backed? Partially closed? Sealed? Who builds these things?

And howbout those neodymium speakers? I have no pre-conceptions or particular speaker biases. I like speakers that sound good.

I'm imagining picking up a pair of cabs with one finger each and giggling as I carry them in - then wrestling in the pedalboard, running speaker cables to the cabs, and being done.

So: the lighter the better - but not to the point of sounding light.

Any advice?


I'm exhausted. But so nice to have a good read late at night. Missed yas.


Quilter makes their HD 12 cabs, the Aviator is open-back (22 lbs.), the Mach II is a closed back (oddly, their web site points to the Mach II combo with that speaker in it when you click on the link to the HD cab; go figure), smaller and possibly lighter in weight. They both have neo speakers. The Aviator cab streets at about $699. I can also recommend their Frontliner 2x8 cab, more bass response than you'd ever imagine from a 2x8, and in stereo, whoa, two of 'em will be plenty loud. That also streets at $699, and weighs 25 lbs. You'd need strong fingers to lift any of these with one finger.

If only Aguilar made guitar cabs. I have a pair of their SL112 2-way bass cabs that sound fabulous and are like picking up empty shoeboxes when you lift them.

Neo magnets and ultralight plywood can make for a very light cabinet. Someone must make 'em for guitar.


Have you considered using a preamp into the PA?

If what you're looking for is to lighten the load, truly, eliminating the actual amp is a solution for you.

Of course, you have to make an adjustment somewhere on your pedalboard for a great preamp and eq.

By the by, I think your pedal choices are really cool. First time I got to play with some of Earthquaker's bizarre noise makers.


I have a pair of Celestion "Vintage" neos in a tweed Twin repro I built. They sound good but not as good as regular Celestion G12Hs and are ridiculously light. They sound good in this particular amp because I use it for vocals in my rehearsal space.

Celestion are now making a neo G12H Creamback I believe - and I suspect it would be pretty good. The regular G12H creamback is a great speaker and suits Gretsches very well. A neo in a pine (not ply) open-back cab should be very light and sound great.

And FWIW I recently got a J Rockett Majestic overdrive pedal, and it is the best sounding overdrive for my 6120 SSLVO I have heard. I doubt the 6120 was in their thoughts when they designed this pedal but it works so well with one that it seems as if they were meant to be together. I also have a slimline Tele with Filter'tron Classics in it and it is a beautiful thing to play through the Majestic. It does the clean to dirty thing so well. I am smitten.


I'm very interested to hear some solutions here. I'd like to find an option that just plugs into the band's PA system. Cant you do that with once of these Quilter micro-blocks?


I vote for OPEN back cabs -- better overall range of tones. Closed back cabs end up sounding brighter with less bass. Closed back cabs seem (IMO) best suited for hard rock/metal players.

Size is not important, according to Mitch Gallagher. In his book on Guitar Tone.... (don't remember the exact title) he said that both Jim and Leo sized their cabs to be as small as possible for the intended speakers to fit. Part of the objective was to cut costs by using less lumber.


Go solid state.

If you want cheap, light and good sounding, just buy a Behringer GM 110. Solid state analog....only $100 and it has a microphone impedance output for straight to the PA.


My brother has been raving about his Boss Katana Head. 2 of his bandmates were so impressed with it they went out and bought them too. I believe one of them bought the combo version.


I've got a GK 50 watt bass amp with a 15" neo-whatchamacallit speaker in it that is pretty light, considering. Sounds good too.

Maybe look into neo-dywhatchamacallit speakers. Carvin sells them.


I was just looking at those new Celestion Neo speakers this morning. I'd love to try one (but am solder challenged). The specs says under 5 lbs.

But I'm also interested in trying a different design. This Canadian fellow stays under the radar, but by all accounts he's brilliant. He has a 1x12 front vented cab with interior chambers. I just missed out on a used one recently: http://www.stephensonamps.c...

How about a neo in that cab, eh?


I purchased a Crate PowerBlock several years ago with same idea of lightening the load. However, I've never gotten around to buying a speaker cabinet because I can't make up my mind or am not sure which cabinet to buy. Consequently the PowerBlock has never been out its box! I look forward to wisdom of our community in this thread.


With an infinite baffle, cabinet size is irrelevant. I imagine a neo in a 14"x16" pine cab would come in around 15 pounds.

I like the idea of the MicroBlock thru lightweight cabs. I already have one in the works. I'll put a Jensen Neo in it and stick it on a scale.


I'll be bringing my Micro Block to the NorCal Roundup. I've never tried it through an actual speaker cab, only headphones (it's been my travel amp), and through that, it sounds like any other headphone amp. If it sounds like everyone says it does through speakers, two of them in stereo should be pretty impressive. Oh wait, I did try a Micro Block through a cab at NAMM, Yes, it does work, but I don't recall much else.


But Frank. I won't be at the NorCal. You're also bringing it to the Nashville Roundupbout a couple weeks later, right? You are signed up, no? How can you not have come to a Nashville Roundup? This seems a terrible oversight.


I'm imagining picking up a pair of cabs with one finger each and giggling as I carry them in - then wrestling in the pedalboard, running speaker cables to the cabs, and being done. - Proteus

I had a dream like that once. It never came true...

Meanwhile a very slight & momentary highjack with Protey's kind and tacit permission! I just dropped in for a moment, using my Bro's computer to see what's happening, and spotted this thread. Hi to all. Glad to see a few familiar and much loved faces still skulking around. Miss you all. I hope to be back online in the not too distant future. Well not too, too distant.

Very eventful (some good, some bad) spring/summer. Informative eh? But enough about me. Take care all. I now return you to our regularly scheduled program already in progress...


The finished speaker cab with a Jensen Jet weighs in at 16 pounds. I'd say that's pretty light. Might need two fingers.


The best 1x12 cab I've heard (by far) is the one that came with my pure 64 mean streets head. Here's one:


The custom 16 ohm stock speaker is most certainly part of why it sounds so good, but the cab itself is probably most of it. I generally don't care for closed back cabs. This ported cab is different. Very big sound. Reasonably light, modest size. Built with lower rubber feet in the back so it leans back slightly. The builder is still around should you want to ask about the best speaker for the cab.


Jensen Neo Tornado speakers are good all-round speakers, weigh very little, and price is reasonable. Celestion's Creamback Neo's are nice too.

Mojo's solid pine cabs are nice and not crazy expensive.

Re: Quilter - as you may know or not, I work at a guitar shop part-time, and we're a Quilter dealer, so I'm pretty familiar with most of the line. Get the 101 head instead. The Microblocks are nice on paper, but not nearly as nice an useable as the 101's, and the 101's are stupid small and light too.


But Frank. I won't be at the NorCal. -- Proteus

Whose fault is that?


MusicMan RD65-112,, now thats a good amp.


I have settled on a diminutive ZT Lunchbox (200 watts, 9 lbs) and it's 7 lb ext cab (when I really want to get flashy). My effects consist solely of an Adrenalinn III box with a controller pedalboard when necessary. The Adrenalinn features great amp models along with nearly every effect, and can go straight to the board if you like.

Or, you could go with a Dual Showman...


Surely you can make this work for you, Tim... the ultimate in portability.

Ooops... sorry, no effects loop jack on this one...


Lightening the load I understand. How many total carrying trips are permitted (1 guitar, 1 effects, 1 amps . ..)? Is a girlfriend/wife allowed to carry an amp and make more than 1 trip? Keeping an open mind here.

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