We're gonna use our next couple of blog posts to talk about some of our favorite gear. Today, Aaron will write about his amplifier and cabinet setup.
Around this time last year, I got my 2009 tax return. With a portion of that money, I chose to invest in a piece of art from Emperor Music, LLC
(Chicago, IL), which I first witnessed deployed by Young Widows
and Russian Circles
. A number of elements set these speaker cabinets apart:
- Thick, heavy construction (13-ply birch using super-strong, long lasting, and cool looking dovetail joints)
- Natural wood varnish, no Tolex (I went with dark walnut and a Fender-style silver grill cloth, to match my Music Man head)
- A poplar front baffle with rounded edges designed to minimize sound diffraction
Owing to their outstanding range of bass tone, Emperors are predominantly seen in metal/post-hardcore bands. However (as this review
pretty well sums up), the Emperor is a beautifully transparent instrument for all frequencies. We used it exclusively to record the guitar tracks for A Light in the Corner
. In the studio, we used an 18-watt amp head that Adam built out of salvaged parts from an old Hammond organ. At shows, I use a 1974 Music Man HD-130 head (similar to the HD-150 used by Aaron Pillar of The Appleseed Cast
), and an additional Marshall 2x12 cabinet (1936 Lead) for some extra punch. Since I utilize a lot of looping with different tones, my amp has to be a clean machine, with plenty of headroom and no gritty breakup. The Emperor allows these amps to ring like cathedral bells. When we get heavy, I employ a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 -- when it's boosted high enough, the crunch comes through the Emperor like an army of Ents marching on Isengard.I've heard great tone from other cabinets, but given the quality of their construction, the materials they use, and the overwhelming warmth of
their tone, I can't see going with any other cabinet any time soon. The only issue is the weight... with only two 12-inch speakers (70-watt Jensens), this thing still manages to be just as heavy as some 4x12s. Caveat emptor.