REVIEW: Jet City ISO12

Before I get into the Jet City JetStream ISO12, let me give you a bit of background on how I usually record guitars. Often I use an older-model AxeTrak isolated speaker cabinet by JLH Products. It’s a neat little unit and I’ve got a lot of use out of it, and I do recommend it (especially later versions which have more features), but it has a few limitations that I have to work around. First of all, it has a small 6-inch speaker which, though carefully voiced, is still, well, a tiny speaker in a tiny box. Secondly, its internal mic is inaccessible and immovable (later models have a moveable mic via a thumbscrew, but that doesn’t help me!). Thirdly, the only way you can change the sound is via a removable bass port and a passive treble roll-off button. The AxeTrak needs some decent EQ-ing before it stops sounding honky, and you just can’t get much tonal variety out of it the way you could if you were to move a mic around to find the sweet spot for that particular amp, song or solo. So although it’s served me well, it has some limitations and if you’re considering an AxeTrak I would recommend that you look at more recent models than mine.

The Jet City ISO12, by contrast, offers a few things that the AxeTrak just can’t deliver. First of all, it features a full 12 inch speaker, by Eminence, no less. The speaker is custom-made by Eminence for Jet City, and it handles 100 watts RMS. 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.

And then there’s the mic: there isn’t one. The ISO12 instead gives you a gooseneck mic stand and an internally-attached XLR cable, so you can use your own mic – or, if you’re particularly adventurous, various different microphones. You can achieve a good degree of movement inside the cabinet, and whether you like your mic placed right up against the speaker, or 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 ISO12 will accommodate you.

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