Guitar cabinet or studio monitors?


Recently I showed a few friends and also family that I could play the guitar (somewhat reasonably), however, I mostly play electric and I don’t have everything to amplify it.

What I do have:
Orange Micro Terror mini-amp.
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4.

That brings to my question: should I buy a guitar cabinet (to connect my Micro Terror to) or a studio monitor (Scarlett + DAW)?
I’m thinking the latter one as with a DAW (eg. Reaper) I could have access to a lot of effects, while the Micro Terror only gives me overdrive with the gain control.

Also, as a second requirement: I would like to record myself, currently for practice purposes. With the cabinet I would have to get a mic (or two, depending on the cabinet). But that would also allow me record acoustic (I have a resonator guitar too).

Is playing via studio monitor a good idea? Strictly for home playing purposes.


The Orange is a 20w valve head, what do you do with it now, headphones?

Fundamentally the answer lies with where you will use it, a small cab together with the orange will be more portable so you can go places and play.

If you are just playing at a PC then the (powered) monitors will be good.

If you want to record for practice purposes you already have the 4i4, throw in an sm57 clone wont be too bad?

Strictly at home, I have no plans moving it to anywhere.
I bought the Micro Terror do practice with a headphone. Later came a friend with the idea to let’s play some songs.
I’m thinking going with the studio monitors and probably sell the MT.

Well if the MT is just a headphone amp anyhow you may as well use the PC

But if I bought a cabinet with eg. an Eminence Legend 12" speaker? Do amp sims in a DAW come close to its sound?

Almost but not yet, definitely not the cheaper ones. In a few years I’m sure they will.

Studio Monitors are great (I have a pair), and after buying them, I hardly use my tube amp.

However, most of the time, I do not bother with setting up daw, simulators, etc. I just use the direct monitor option of the interface and practice with the raw guitar sound. If I’m learning a song, then I’ll open the daw and use some pedal and amp sims (I purchased full set of Bias FX2 at $90 on a Christmas discount). They are perfectly OK for practising, playing for friends and family etc.

However, it is no match for an actual amp sound. If I’m recording, or alone and want to have some fun, I’ll go for the tube amp. That’s the best sound I have.

Amp sims can be very good, (i.e. kemper sims etc) a lot of what you hear recorded is recorded dry and sim’d later but all using pro tools so it depends on where your budget is etc.

Similar crossroad for me about a year ago.
Ended up settling on some decent monitors/ headphones, Scarlet 2i2 interface, Reaper, and S-Gear amp sim, which has incredible tones. Couple of mics and some other sundry stuff as well.

One huge plus is that everything in one place for practice/ playing makes it a highly efficient setup for me. More time practicing/ playing, less time fiddling about.
Am very happy with this setup.
Have an amp plug if I wanna play the electric away from the music room. Hardly use my amp anymore.

Cheers, Shane

As a general rule, amp sims don’t sound like an amp.

They sound like a recording of an amp. Which sounds different from an amp in the room with you.

Many people don’t care, and you may be one of them, but many others do.

Bear in mind also that guitar cabs and monitor speakers are designed for different things.

Decent monitors (as opposed to cheaper computer speakers) are also quite expensive, typically costing $300 upwards for a pair.

A cab for the Micro Terror will cost from about $100 depending on what you get. I have the matching Orange PPC108 for mine with an 8 inch speaker and it’s decent.

I also have a Harley Benton cab with a 12 in Celestion speaker which didn’t cost much more and the Micro Terror sounds really good through that. Although, it takes up a lot more space and kinda needs to be cranked a bit to get the best from it

There’s a role for both in my view. The ideal would be to have both, but your budget may not stretch to that.



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I prefer playing through an actual amp, so if it were me I’d start off with a cab. I’d eventually get the monitors, too, but more for a home recording setup than for playing through.

FWIW, I have a 1 x 12 cab with a Creamback, and also multiple combo amps, as well as a Boss GT-1000 Core and a pair of Yamaha HS-8 monitors (and other gear, of course). So I’ve played with amps and I’ve played through amp sims + monitors. Both approaches work. My preference for actual amps is just that: a preference.

My advice would be to get both, eventually. Start with a cab, then a dynamic mic, then a condenser mic, then a pair of studio monitors.

Just my $0.02.

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Thanks for the all the inputs. Not an easy choice.
I’m kind of leaning towards using a cabinet because, well, it’s not simulated but the real thing. And I can move it around the apartment, while the audio interface + studio monitor is tied to where the PC is.
For recording, I’m thinking about buying a Rode videomic since I already have a MILC camera and I can use the mic for other purposes too. I am still just practicing so I’m not looking for studio quality recording equipment, not currently at least.

Now, I just need to decide on which cabinet to get for the Micro Terror. I would have liked to see a cabinet with Eminence speaker but I don’t see any locally.

I got an empty 1x12 cabinet from Seismic and put my own speaker in it. Might be an option worth considering.

Which Eminence speaker are you thinking about? I put a Cannabis Rex in my Blues Jr. and I’ve been happy with that one.

Those are good reasons.

I’m wondering a little why you are being so specific. Is it because you’ve tested Eminence speakers against others, or because you’ve just heard anecdotally that they are good?

I’m not saying they aren’t good, or that speakers don’t make a difference (they do). I’m just thinking that if this is your first “real amp” experience (I’m guessing it is otherwise you probably wouldn’t have started this thread) then I would suggest it’s probably not that important.



Some years back (10+) I had a Vox Lil’ Night Train with an Eminence Cannabis Rex and I really digged that sound.
I’m more fond of southern rock sound than British rock, so I lean towards Eminence more than Celestion.
Though I did hear an awesome Celestion combination on YT: V30 + G12T-75 Creamback.

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To play a valve/(tube) amp without a speaker attached is a VERY bad thing. How do I know?

I have a tiny terror but I think the Micro might be solid state rather than valve. Eitherway there is little point in having the Micro Terror without a cab. The larger the speaker, the more air it will shift and the louder it will be. But you really won’t get any benefit from a 12" speaker at home level - they really need to be cranked.

My logocal brain says stick with the PC but my emotional heart favours the tone of a proper amp.

Amp sims are trying to emulate the sound and tone of an amp cranked i,e. at 11 not 1. But would never sound anything like the real thing. But if you played a Marshall Plexi at home, for example, at 11 it would likely blow the windows out. Those things are painfully loud but that’s how the tone is achieved. There is also an element of speaker distortion at that volume that adds to the overall bliss.

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Preamp is tube, power amp is solid state in the Micro Terror. I never said I play it without an output.

Speaker size affects sound also, notably in the lower frequencies. There’s a reason why everything is larger in the bass world. You can check the specs of a 10" and a 12" speaker, check the frequency range:

I don’t see a massive difference there. I have a greenback in my Blues Junior. The Orange cab has a Celestion Vintage 30 and I also have a Celestion 100w 8” bass speaker in another cabinet. Plenty big enough for bass but all too loud for home use.

There’s a very inexpensive Harley Benton 1x12 cab available. At its price you could buy it and swap the speaker with something else and still come out ahead. I think they also offer it loaded with a Celestion V30 (more money, of course, but still quite reasonable).

That’s the unit I have, that I mentioned above, with the Celestion V30.

It’s amazing value for money and sounds great. I have used it with both my Bugera G5 head and my Orange Micro Terror.



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