HeadRush jumped into the market a few years back as a serious competitor in the digital modeling effects market with its popular HeadRush Pedalboard. Utilising technology from Avid’s Eleven Rack, and indeed some of the personnel behind the unit, the pedalboard can be used for both live and studio work giving you tons of sounds, parameters and processing.
The usability factor is great with these types of units as you can plug directly into a preamp or DAW for recording, or FOH system or power amp for live use. While this offers plenty of I/O options one scenario is often missing for live guitarists—the feeling and sound of having an amp on stage. Yes, foldback or in-ears can work, but that’s also dependant on the engineer/type of foldback/in-ears and can be very different depending on the gig. Enter FRFR (Full Range, Flat Response): cabs intended to handle the nuances of your modeler in live settings.
Of course you can use the HeadRush pedalboard with a normal tube or solid state amp. The idea with FRFR is that it gives you increased fidelity and frequency range with a flat response to maximise all those sounds you’ve spent hours programming. Looking very much like a PA speaker, the HeadRush FRFR has a useful handle recess on the top edge meaning you can grab it out of the car or move it at a gig fairly easily. Rated at 2000 watts, it contains a 12” woofer and 3” high frequency driver with a tilt back design to sit on the ground like a conventional wedge, upright if you wanted to sit something on top of it and even pole mounted like a PA speaker.
The rear panel is very straight ahead with two XLR inputs and volume controls, an XLR output if you wanted to run the cab into another FRFR, a ground switch and a contour switch which has a programmed +3dB low and high emphasis if you need some help cutting through the mix. A power button is located at the bottom of the back panel, otherwise it’s as easy as plug and play.
The HeadRush FRFR cab looks slick—like a modern PA speaker with a cool HeadRush logo plate on the front grille and the 2000 watt rating gives you plenty of headroom. I found the cab to be clean and pristine, which is really what you want when running a modeler. The issue here is then if there’s something you don’t like, it's actually your patch setting—realistically not the cab, as it’s just reproducing the tone you’ve programmed. The beauty of this is that you can really tweak your sounds and get them fully honed in.
To add some space and warmth you might have to add some mids and verb on your patch to really give some vintage body to your tone, and of course the HeadRush FRFR can handle it with aplomb. Likewise, to really get your brutal chuggah tones happening you might really have to dig into the EQ settings on your modeler to recreate the serious scooping or notching of certain frequencies. Never fear, the HeadRush FRFR seemingly handles it all, is built tough and is a worthy match for the HeadRush Pedalboard.
Hits and Misses
Clean and clear with plenty of headroom
Cab design offers setup flexibility