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Barefaced Audio Reformer 112

Guitar Speaker Cabinet
By Dave Lockwood

Barefaced Audio Reformer 112

Surely there is nothing new to be done with the design of the humble guitar speaker cabinet? Well, actually, it turns out there is, and our reviewer doesn't think he'll ever want to use an 'ordinary' cabinet again!

Electric guitar players are a notoriously conservative bunch, with so many of the 'classic tones' seemingly thought to reside exclusively in the guitar and amp designs of the 1950s and '60s. But whilst some of that outlook may be slowly changing with the advent of ever-improving digital technologies, the design of the humble guitar speaker cabinet — still often the ultimate generator of the actual sound — has remained largely unchanged for half a century. The performance of bass-guitar speaker cabs has been vastly improved in that time, and PA speaker cabs have been reinvented beyond recognition, but the design of guitar cabs, with a couple of honourable exceptions, have remained a choice simply between open- or closed-back.

Experienced guitarists have an innate understanding of what each configuration offers, and often a preference for one or the other, but neither could be said to be really optimised for the task at hand, both having arisen out of pure pragmatism. The open-back configuration of all classic combo designs was adopted primarily to offer ventilation for the integrated amp chassis and easy access to the tubes for maintenance. But the sound coming out of the back of an open-backed combo is 180 degrees out of phase with the sound coming out of the front of the cab, and...

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Published January 2020