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Powercab vs Monitors in small studio space


mbtainton
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Curious what the experiences are from people here. For use in a small studio space (bedroom sized) with volume levels between 80db - 90db, is there much benefit in using a Powercab vs a good set of studio monitors? Other than being able to use the speaker models in the Powercab of course. Is the Powercab worth the cost for this kind of use?

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The answer really depends on what else you intend to do with the stuff, if anything... if none of the gear will ever leave the room, then get a decent pair of studio monitors and call it a day. However, if you intend to play elsewhere, and/or with other musicians, then the monitors won't help you much. It's also entirely possible that if you intend to do both, you might need more than one way to hear yourself... especially if you intend to do any home recording. You need a stereo set-up to do that properly, in which case just one Powercab won't cut it either. Needs and usage scenarios dictate the gear...

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A good set of studio monitors will reproduce Helix well in an appropriately sized room. And they can be used for lots of other things.

 

I wouldn’t use a Powercab 212 as a studio monitor though. Although its a FRFR, any FRFR is optimized for a set of usage scenarios, and Powercab is optimized for guitar. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for a keyboard amp, or for solo acoustic gigs. But I’d probably never use it for a stereo speaker or mixing. 

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I should probably clarify. It’s not an either / or scenario. I have some studio monitors already that are my main playback device for the Helix. I’m curious about using the Powercab instead of the monitors to give me the “traditional cab” option as well as the mic’d cab option from the Helix. I wouldn’t ever be using the Powercab for traditional studio monitors usage (eg playback of recordings or mixing etc).

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Try out the powercab before you buy it.  I have a powercab 112 plus and I think it works great as an FRFR and for IR loading but I don't really like the speaker only option as much.  This is where the Powercab is supposed to sound like an amp without any microphone simulation.  It just sounds strange to me. I've used plenty of real amps and I prefer the sound of the FRFR or IR sims.  They actually sound amazing and it's what I use with a live band.

 

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  • 1 year later...

I highly recommend using a powered monitor versus the powercab.  I have a Helix Floor and if you want a consistent experience across the spectrum of most situations, a Powercab may not be for you.  If you must have an amp feel, Disregard and go for it.  I have owned the 112, 2 - 112s in stereo and a 212.  They are cool, they are nice looking, they also have advantages for an air pushed feel, or have speaker sims; however, a powered monitor is the way to go.  Powercabs will color your sound and provide inconsistent responses in different sized rooms.  I have tried all of the Tutorials on flat response setups, but I still got inconsistent results .  I took all of my cabs back to Guitar Center  and now use a powered EV wedge monitor with my Helix.  Why?  For several proven reasons:  I can establish a front of house preset perfectly because most venues use similar speakers.  When I go to a gig - it’s perfect.  I get consistent results when going from a a small studio to a rehearsal to a gig by only adjusting a volume knob.  At my gig I have a perfect backup if no PA, or a perfect wedge to monitor me and the band in a live setting going front of house.  If you gig long enough you know that front wedge monitors work much better than a powercab behind you since you have to blend the powercab to cut through the competing instruments.  So for that reason alone, it’s a no brainer.  Oh one more important item, my EV monitor blows away the volume on a Powercab.  Powercabs sound totally different at gig volume than home studio volume.  I use the EV ZLX and it can also be lifted on a pole as a backline amp outside, nice.  The price is also 60% of the cost of a PC so you can buy more Line 6 toys.    

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