If you’ve ever needed to mic up a guitar amp in a noisy environment, or if you’ve used an amp that really needed to be cranked to achieve its optimal tone and your bandmates for some bizarre reason value their continued ability to hear, perhaps an isolated speaker cabinet is for you. The idea is simple: a speaker inside a box that’s more or less soundproof, with a microphone inside. Plug your amp into the speaker, plug the mic into a mixing desk and you’re off and rocking.
NOW YOU HEAR IT, NOW YOU DON’T
The Jet City JetStream ISO features a full 100 watt 12 inch speaker custom-made by Eminence for Jet City. Unlike some iso cabs with smaller speakers, the ability to have a full-sized speaker means there’s more area for the microphone to sense, and therefore more tonal variation to be achieved by moving the mic to different positions or angles. As for the mic: there isn’t one. Unlike many others on the market which have a mic built in which you’re pretty much stuck with for better or worse, the ISO12 instead gives you a gooseneck mic stand and an internally-attached XLR cable so you can use your own mic. You can achieve a good degree of movement inside the cabinet whether you like your mic placed right up against the speaker, back a few inches for a little more sonic depth or at an angle to achieve unusual phase-cancelled sounds and what have you. The cabinet is made of void-free plywood, and the only inputs and outputs are the 16 ohm 1/4” amp input and an XLR microphone output. Part of the front of the cabinet unlatches and opens outwards so you can access the mic (and see the cool soundproof padding), and there are a couple of rubber handles on the side. The whole unit is super-simple.
ALL BY MYSELF
I plugged my Marshall DSL50 into the ISO12 and attached my Shure SM57 mic. The first thing I noticed was that the length of the gooseneck is such that you have only a little room to move the mic backwards if you’d like a little distance. If you’re going for an off-axis sound you have a little extra room to play with, but it’s still pretty close. Having said that, the ISO12 sounds great. It’s nice and crisp on clean and lightly overdriven tones, and it positively screams on high gain stuff. It’s also free of the ‘boxy’ sound that plagues certain other iso boxes. When you seal the cabinet up and crank your amp it’s still quite loud, but probably not loud enough to upset your neighbours.
YOU REALLY ARE AN ISO
The JetStream ISO is a no-brainer for those wanting to record a roaring tube amp without getting evicted, or who just want tighter control over their live sound. You could quite easily plug in your favourite mic, take the ISO12 and an amp head to a gig, and never be at the mercy of an unsympathetic soundie again. Jet City has really got it right by providing a high-quality full-size speaker and leaving the micing up to the artist.
Hits and Misses
You can use any mic
Not that much room to move the mic around
• Inputs: 1 x 16 ohm – ¼”
• Outputs: 1 x XLR microphone level output
• Power handling: 100 watts RMS
• Cabinetry: Void-free plywood
• Drivers: 1 x 12” Jet City Custom Eminence driver
• Dimensions: 86.5cm (H) x 46cm (W) x 46cm (D)
• Weight: 25kg