I have a friend who has a problem. He asked me if I had a solution but I’m not that clever, I’m afraid! He uses two different amps on stage, one a Marshall and the other a Hughes & Kettner, with a 2x12 and 4x12 cab, respectively. Is there any way he can just use one cab for both amps, changing amp at the flick of a switch? The music he plays is quite diverse and he swaps several times during a set. I have spoken to a couple of people and they started talking about dummy loads and exploding amps! Any advice would be appreciated.
Owen Armstrong, via email
SOS Reviews Editor Matt Houghton replies: Assuming we’re talking about tube amps here, what you’ve heard about dummy loads is relevant: never switch on a tube amp without a load connected.
I only know of a couple of companies (though I’m sure there are others) who make products designed specifically to do what your friend requires. The first are Radial, whose HeadBone comes in three varieties: one that’s configured for switching between two solid-state amps, another for switching between two tube amps, and a third for switching between one of each. The other company are Palmer, who offer the Tino system, which can cope with any combination of tube and solid-state amps.
The thought occurs, though, that if portability is the problem, perhaps your friend could look at an alternative amp as well — a Kemper Profiling Amp, perhaps, with which he could ‘capture’ the sound of his existing setup?