The Headbone VT ($300 retail/$229 street) pulls off the seemingly impossible feat of toggling between two tube heads that feed a single speaker cabinet. Come again? You simply plug your guitar into either the VT’s buffered or non-buffered input, connect the Amp-1 and Amp-2 outs to your amplifiers, and then run each amplifier’s speaker output back into the Headbone. A single Speaker Cabinet jack on the VT feeds your cabinet. Using my 50-watt Marshall for some carnivorous grind, a Fuchs Overdrive Supreme for a clean tone, and a Dr. Z 2x12 cabinet, the class-A VT provided me with a sweet-ass A/B setup. The Slingshot Remote Switching function let me place the Headbone at the backline (keeping my stage area clean), and switch heads with a standard footswitch. If the power goes out unexpectedly, the Headbone automatically defaults to its Amp-1 output to prevent damage to either amp.
The Headbone isn’t not a load box in the classic sense. Instead, it uses a load resistor to provide a minimum safe idle load for the unused amplifier. Also, you can’t run both amplifiers simultaneously, and if one amp has a 4O output, and the other amp is 8O, you may be compromising tube life or tone. But as Nigel Tufnel would say, “That’s nitpicking now, isn’t it?”
The Loopbone ($300 retail/$229 street) offers two footswitchable effects loops, a variable +15dB Boost function, and a Tuner out. The dual loops allowed me to switch my most tone-sucking effects completely out of the signal path when I didn’t need them (imagine being able to finally gig with your dusty old Kent Bow-Wow Yoy-Yoy pedal!), while the Boost function easily pummeled my Fender Deluxe into overdrive. However, as with the Cab-Bone and Headbone, the Loopbone’s beauty lies in its Slingshot feature, which allows you to switch loops, turn on the Boost, and/or change your amp’s channels, all with one stomp. It can even tell a Headbone VT to switch amplifiers. Options, options, options! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rewire my pedalboard.
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