The Guitar Signal Chain: Speakers and Cabs


In the world of guitar and amp technology, the age-old staples of our speakers and cabinets play a critical role in shaping the sound. Whether it's a 4x12, a 2x12, open back, or closed back cab, each comes with its unique characteristics. We took a deep dive into understanding different cab and speaker types and their impact on tone. Here's a glimpse of what we found.

The Heavy Hitters in Speaker World

From the vintage 30s to G12s, and beyond to Creambacks, Greenbacks, and Blue Alnico's, the spectrum is vast. But what do these terms really mean, and how do they affect the sound?

The Experiment

To unravel the mystery, we embarked on an experiment. We recorded a riff through a JCM 900 with a Chapman ML-1 guitar, taking a DI of clean and dirty sections. This allowed us to compare the same performance, guitar, and amp rig through different cabinets, giving a true representation of what each cabinet sounds like.

In the Control Room

Our setup consisted of a close mic on the speaker, matched to each cab, and a room mic to hear the overall context. We performed this with both dirty and clean tones, through different speaker types such as the Marshall cab and the Panama 2x12.

Notable Differences

What we found was significant, especially when we compared the sounds from different speakers in the same cab. The top speaker sounded a little bit brighter, revealing that even identical speaker models can produce different tones.

Context is Key

One of the key takeaways from our experiment was the importance of context. What might sound great in isolation may not cut through in the mix. So, it's essential to try different sounds in context with the track and play along to see what feels right.


The world of speakers and cabinets is full of surprises. It's not just about going with what you know; it's about exploring and understanding the different options available. It's about listening with an open mind and a follow your artistic intuition. Next time you're in the studio, don't just stick to your go-to setup. Experiment, explore, and find what works best for you.