Speaker cab emulation for pedalboards is a common tech these days, but it’s still a good thing that Mesa Boogie packs its CabClone from the large box format to the pedal format. CabClone IR and CabClone IR Plus can be fed directly from the amp head and have one important difference. And the system has a caveat that might put you off…
Cabinet simulation for your pedalboard
These days, emulating real speakers has long since become de rigeur. Especially now that we have many transportable solutions based on impulse responses (IR) with almost identical sound to the original. The many advantages include being able to use it to record with without the hassle of micing a cab or waking up the neighbours.
CabClone IR vs. CabClone IR Plus
Both versions of CabClone IR have controls for output, presence and input plus a CabSelect control with 8 presets and two banks (Live and Studio). The CabClone IR Plus has an attenuator for the output power and volume of the amp. Although it has a Reactive Load and can be used without a speaker attached, the CabClone IR doesn’t let you attenuate the volume. The Plus version gives you far greater control over the output volume.
On the back panel we find MIDI IN and Thru (MIDI Program Change) ports letting you control the presets or gain. There’s also a Line Out, a XLR-DI-out and a headphone jack. Highlighted in red are input socket from the amp and the output socket to the optional speaker cabinet.
There are 8 default box IRs from the factory that can be replaced via USB if you prefer to load your own:
- 4X12 RECTO STANDARD with Celestion V30s – 8 ohms
- 4X12 RECTO TRADITIONAL with Celestion V30s – 8Ohm
- 2X12 RECTO HORIZONTAL with Celestion V30s – 16 ohms
- 1X12 RECTO 1X12 with Celestion C90 – 8 ohms
- 1X12 THIELE with Celestion C90 – 8 ohms
- 2X12 LONE STAR with Celestion C90 – 16 ohms
- 1X12 LONE STAR 23 with Celestion C90 – 8 ohms
- 1X12 CALIFORNIA TWEED 23 with Jensen Alnico “Blackbird” – 8 ohms
4, 8 or 16 Ohms?
Now here’s the thing: when you buy the CabLoader IR, you have to decide on 4, 8 or 16 ohms. There’s no way of changing that later. It’s a pity that no switch is included because the unit would be that much more flexible. If you want to swap our your amp someday, then you may also need to swap the CabClone IR. Incidentally, the load is enough to handle 150 Watts RMS, which should be plenty for most tube amps.
Mesa Boogie has not yet published any information on the prices. I think these will be more expensive than their previous CabClone. It seems a shame that Mesa Boogie chose not to go with a multi-Ohm version. I think this could affect the sales of these products. On paper, I’m not completely convinced by CabLoader IR. I’m not sure about the need for two variants. I would have preferred one ‘do it all’ multi-Ohm version as that would have been more flexible.
RRP – TBC