I’ve always been a big proponent of making good speaker choices for your amp and your style. I think way too many people are unaware what a huge difference speakers make in their overall sound. As a result, I’ve ended up a big fan of head and cabinet set-ups. I do feel that there are some speakers and amps that definitely go together better than others but to limit one amp to one speaker seems akin to only being allowed to use one guitar with one amp. Anyone would tell you that’s crazy, right? So that said- I like having a bunch of cabinets available that are loaded up with different speakers for a variety of options.
There’s a couple of problems with that- first and foremost, the cost. I realize that every company has their own motives for their price points. I’ve bought good wood and I’ve tried to tolex a cabinet once or twice (and man, is it miserable work…) so I realize you’ve gotta make money on them but the prices that most amp companies charge for their cabinets is absolutely outrageous highway robbery. I’m sorry. It’s true. They always have some claim about the exact dimensions of their cabinet being the perfect dimensions for the best sound in every single situation, yadda, yadda, yadda… I have compared the same speaker in different cabinets and yes, there is a perceivable difference but it’s way slighter than every cab company out there would have you believe. It’s certainly not more of a difference than a different speaker or spinning the amp knobs would make. Cabinets just need to be made of good, solid, resonant wood that holds the speaker well, sturdily jointed, attractively covered, and devoid of rattles and buzzes. It’s never seemed to me to be rocket science.
Enter Avatar cabinets. They are making the best, most affordable, no-nonsense speaker cabinets out there. From their shop up in Idaho, they make models for all combinations of speakers in closed and open back designs for guitar or bass and with a myriad of tolex and grill options. They also stock a huge variety of speakers and you can get your cabinet with any mix of them you want. I’ve used their stuff for years and never had any problems or complaints. The wiring and speaker mounting is solid so I’ve been able to switch speakers a bunch of times with nothing wearing out or stripping. They’ve always sounded great to me and worked reliably. I have an Avatar Traditional 2×12 out with Hunter Hayes right now (it’s painted to match the set but it’s an Avatar!) and a couple of their 1×12’s at home for club gigs and sessions. I find myself hard-pressed to think of why I would use any other cabinets out there and I’ve never heard a good reason from anyone else.
As a final note, I recently got to meet Avatar founder Dave and his son Eric while on a gig in the area and I can tell you that when you buy from them, you are supporting a really cool family business that takes pride in what they do. Who doesn’t dig that?