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4×12 guitar cabinets are perfect for metal guitarists who need to get the most power from their rig.
4×12 guitar cabinets have been an integral part of metal and rock music for decades. These powerful devices made large-scale gigs possible, projecting the sound of electric guitars into stadiums, arenas, and festival crowds.
The roaring sound of a metal guitar playing through a 4×12 cab cannot be matched. They allow you to reach volume levels that standard amplifiers can’t come close to.
This guide includes the six best 4×12 guitar cabs for metal and similar genres. We’ll break down the specifics of each cabinet, and provide you with expert tips on how to choose the best one for your style of metal guitar playing.
In a Rush Roundup
How We Tested
To accurately rate these 4×12 amp cabinets, we put them through a series of tests. This involved firstly assessing their compatibility with metal and related genres, based on the high-gain tone they could produce.
Next, we tested how well these guitar cabs handled popular metal effects pedals, like distortion, fuzz, and modulation. We then scored them based on their build quality, and the quality of their components such as the speakers, circuitry, and chassis.
Best 4x12 Guitar Cabinet for Metal Reviews
Marshall 1960A 300-watt 4x12” Angled Extension Cabinet
Marshall 1960A 300-watt 4x12” Angled Extension Cabinet Review
When musicians think of Marshall, the first thing that comes to mind is power. Since the 1960s, the brand has supplied guitarists with some of the loudest, most reliable amplifiers on the market.
The Marshall 1960A is designed to recapture the magical sound of vintage Marshall stacks, which have been used by some of the world’s most prominent bands in their live shows for many decades.
With its classic black design, this angled cabinet retains its clarity even when pushed to the upper limits of its volume. It is arguably the best 4×12 cab for metal, and can be switched from mono to stereo, making it a versatile option for metal guitarists who like to use rack systems.
Compared to most straight 4×12 cabinets, the 1960A has a slightly brighter tone. This is due to the slightly raised angle of the two top G12T-75 speakers, creating separation between them and the bottom pair.
Each 75-watt speaker combines to blast out a clear, transparent sound that can reach incredibly high volumes.
There’s a reason that Marshall 1960A cabinets are amongst the best selling of all time – they deliver power, clarity, and a tone that is very difficult to match.
- 4 x G12T-75 speakers
- Angled design
- Brighter tone than a straight cabinet
- Huge, powerful sound
- Roadworthy and durable
- Very heavy
Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Standard 4x12” 240-watt Straight Extension Cabinet
Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Standard 4x12” 240-watt Straight Extension Cabinet Review
The Mesa/Boogie Rectifier consistently ranks amongst the brand’s top sellers, especially amongst metal and heavy rock guitarists. In addition to its massive sound, this speaker cab is also extremely durable.
Made from roadworthy baltic birch, the cabinet shields the speakers and other inner components from damage when in transit. While this is a heavy cabinet, it comes with a set of wheels to make transportation more practical.
The Rectifier 4×12 is capable of operating both in mono and stereo, so it will slot into any metal guitar rig seamlessly. It has four V30 speakers built-in, which project your guitar tone with accuracy and transparency.
This cabinet provides a low-end boost that is subtle but makes a significant difference. It can easily fill a large gig venue, and no matter how much gain you throw its way, it will handle it.
In addition to the onboard wheels, the amp also has handles on either side so that it can be placed in the optimal position onstage.
The understated black design is ideal for metal bands that like to maintain a dark color scheme.
- Mono or stereo operation
- 4 x V30 speakers
- Ideal for gain-heavy amp head settings
- The wheeled design makes transportation easy
- Crisp sounding midrange
- Lacks the wattage required for the largest of venues
Orange PPC412-C 240-watt 4x12” Straight Cabinet
Orange PPC412-C 240-watt 4x12” Straight Cabinet Review
The Orange PPC 412-C encapsulates everything that makes this British manufacturer so popular amongst rock and metal guitarists – a defined tone, crisp highs, and a tight, punchy bass.
Guitarists often find it frustrating when their tube amplifier won’t reach the levels they require to hear themselves when performing live, or the headroom they need to sculpt their desired tone.
This 4×12 cabinet by Orange makes that issue a thing of the past. It includes a quartet of Celestion Vintage 30 speakers, renowned for their transparent, accurate sound, and their ability to produce gain-heavy tones.
Orange’s amplifiers are incredibly durable. The build quality of this PPC412-C is of the highest standard. It’s made from birch plywood, with a density of 18mm, ensuring that it will stand the test of time.
The cabinet is designed in Orange’s signature way, with its logo imprinted on the center of the grille, and two useful black handles on each side. These handles make it easier to maneuver the cab when using it on stage.
Metal guitarists will love the energetic tone that this cabinet produces when you feed an overdriven signal from your amp head into it.
- 4 x Celestion Vintage 30 speakers
- Straight design
- Classic British tone
- Highly compatible with gain and overdrive
- Smooth clean tones
- Lacks some high-end clarity
Line 6 Spider V 412 MkII 320-watt 4x12” Slant Extension Cabinet
Line 6 Spider V 412 MkII 320-watt 4x12” Slant Extension Cabinet Review
Although this 4×12 ampcabinet is designed to work most effectively when partnered with the Spider V head, it can be used with almost any other device. Affordable and reliable, it is a great choice for metal guitarists on a budget.
Capable of running in both stereo and mono modes, this guitar cab is flexible by design. Like most Line 6 amplifiers, it produces a strong, prominent midrange, which is ideal for metal-style rhythm guitar.
Furthermore, if you like to play riffs and solos in the upper registers of your electric guitar, this speaker will project the notes with detail, clarity, and power.
With four Celestion speakers installed in the cabinet, you can expect high volumes, with the capability to handle lots of fuzz, overdrive, or distortion. The cabinet also responds well to other effects, like modulation or delay.
Compared to many other 4×12 cabinets, the Line 6 Spider V 412 MkII is lighter in weight. If you’re likely to need to move it around a lot for gigs, recording sessions, or practices, then this lightweight design will make things much easier for you.
- 4 x Custom Celestion speakers
- Mono and stereo operation
- Slanted design
- Solid output across the frequency response
- Suitable for heavy rock and metal guitar
- Powerful low end
- May require some EQ to avoid sounding muddy
Friedman 412 Vintage 100-watt 4x12” Extension Cabinet with Vintage Cloth
Friedman 412 Vintage 100-watt 4x12” Extension Cabinet with Vintage Cloth Review
4×12 cabinets should have a huge impact on dynamics, without overly altering your existing tone. The Friedman 412 Vintage does exactly that, in a manner that is typical of this boutique manufacturer.
At 100 watts, it is less powerful than most 4×12 cabs. However, this isn’t necessarily a negative – as many guitarists find that too many watts can be redundant, as they never play large enough venues to utilize the max volume.
Installed in this cabinet are two sets of separate speakers, which combine to create a rich, deep tone. Firstly, you get a pair of G12M Greenbacks, known for their ability to produce warm overdrive.
Along with the Greenbacks are two reliable Celestion Vintage 30 speakers on the bottom row, which beef up the low end and prevent the sound from becoming too treble-heavy overall.
In terms of build quality, Friedman hasn’t cut any corners when designing the Friedman 412 Vintage cabinet. The chassis is made from thick baltic birch, which can last for decades without degrading even if used extensively.
With a closed-back design, all of the cab’s resonance is projected through the four speakers, which results in an abundance of crisp power that is perfect for rock, metal, or heavy blues guitar playing.
- 2 x Celestion V30 speakers with 2 x Celestion Greenback
- Straight design
- Lots of headroom
- High-energy British style tone
- Stable and rugged plywood design
- Best suited to Orange amp heads
Orange Crush Pro 240-watt 4x12” Closed-back Speaker Cabinet
Orange Crush Pro 240-watt 4x12” Closed-back Speaker Cabinet Review
One surprising thing about this guitar cab is that it moves slightly away from the stereotypical vintage Orange sound, offering a more cutting, modern tone that is better suited to heavier styles of playing.
Orange amps and cabs know how to handle gain and saturation, and the Crush Pro is no exception to this rule. With four Voice Of The World 12 speakers installed, you get a well-rounded output with some noticeable sweet spots.
The low-end output of this cabinet is tight and refined, while the midrange is smooth and not overpowering. The high-end flourishes, especially if the cab is combined with a good quality amp head.
Another great thing about this Orange 4×12 cab is that it is fairly compact and lightweight, which is rare for a 240-watt device. This means that loading it into the van at the end of a show won’t be overly exhausting!
- Straight design
- 4 x Custom Voice of the World speakers
- Lots of headroom
- High-energy British style tone
- Stable and rugged plywood design
- Best suited to Orange amp heads
6 Best 4x12 Guitar Cabinets for Metal Buyer's Guide
When an electric guitarist first starts to learn the instrument, they most commonly purchase a combo amplifier that includes the amp head and the speaker all in one. This makes it easy to plug in and practice without too much effort.
However, as we progress as guitarists and start to think more about different aspects of our sound, tone, and dynamics, we start to look for ways to make our rig as effective as possible.
This leads to many guitarists learning about cabinets. These devices are used with a separate amp head or combo amplifier, and they are designed to provide us with more volume, a better tone, and significantly more headroom.
Here are some of the most important things to look for when choosing yours.
Things To Consider When Buying
Choose between straight or angled
4×12 guitar cabinets come in two varieties – straight, and angled. Straight cabs project your guitar sound directly in front of the speaker, while angled cabs project it slightly upward at an angle of around 20 degrees.
Consider closed vs. open back
While the vast majority of 4×12 guitar cabinets for metal have a closed-back design, some are open-back. The former delivers a tighter, slightly more compressed sound, while the latter is likely to provide more resonance and increased treble output.
Think about amp compatibility
The 4×12 speaker cabinet that you choose must be compatible with your amplifier. FRFR cabs are designed to be used with solid-state, modeling amps, while standard cabs work well with tube amplifiers.
Identify the wattage you need
The wattage of a 4×12 guitar cabinet impacts its maximum volume, headroom, and tone. If you’re likely to play huge venues, opt for a higher wattage amp. For medium-sized venues, you probably won’t need the highest wattage.
The Power of 4x12 Guitar Cabinets
Guitarists have three choices when they decide to integrate a cabinet into their rig. Firstly, they can choose a 1×12 cabinet, which is ideal for practicing and can be used for small-scale performances.
Then, there’s the 2×12 variety of guitar cabinets. These devices are commonly used by musicians who need a cabinet but also need some portability to quickly transport the device from location to location.
Finally, there’s the largest, most powerful, and most impressive guitar cabinet – the 4×12.
As the name suggests, these guitar cabinets consist of a quartet of speakers, each of which has a radius of 12 inches. They’re used by guitarists who play in the world’s largest gig venues and can reach incredibly high volumes.
The 4×12 guitar cabinet is a must-have for any electric guitarist who wants to maximize their dynamics, tone, and headroom.
These devices are capable of things that combo amplifiers and smaller varieties of cabinets simply cannot achieve.
Headroom and 4x12 Cabinet Designs
4×12 guitar cabinets are renowned for producing the most volume of any speaker type, but another important thing that they provide is headroom.
Headroom is something that many guitarists overlook when choosing a cabinet or amplifier, focusing instead on the onboard effects or the other features that are more easily noticeable.
Generally speaking, the higher the wattage of the 4×12 cabinet, the more headroom it will be able to produce.
Headroom put simply, is the maximum volume that the 4×12 cabinet can reach before it is pushed into overdrive. A 1×12 cabinet would be pushed into saturation by a much less powerful signal from the amp head compared to a 4×12 cab.
One of the reasons that headroom is so important, is that it affects the way that your effects pedals sound. If you have a lot of headroom, then your cabinet will be able to soak up more effects before it sounds distorted or harsh.
Lower wattage 4×12 cabinets are suitable for guitarists who aren’t too interested in using gain and predominantly use a clean tone.
Angled or Straight?
In addition to the sonic and dynamic qualities of a 4×12 guitar cabinet, whether it is angled or straight is something you need to be aware of.
The physical design of the cabinet has a significant effect on the ways it sounds. If the cabinet is angled, this means the speakers are pointing upwards and straight ahead, which results in a fuller sound that is better suited to playing in large, open spaces.
Straight guitar cabinets produce a slightly more pronounced low-end, which is preferred by some guitarists who play heavy metal or heavy rock.
4x12 Guitar Cabinets for Metal FAQs
How Do You Connect an Amp Head to a Cabinet?
Connecting your amplifier head to your guitar cabinet is simply. You need a ¼ inch speaker cable, which is plugged into the output on the amplifier head and into the input on the guitar cabinet.
You can then use the settings on the amplifier head to alter the volume and sound that is played out of the guitar cabinet’s speakers.
Can You Use a Combo Amp as a Head?
You can use any combo amplifier, or any guitar amplifier for that matter, as a head to go with your cabinet. All that is required to do this, is an output that can be sent from the amplifier to your cab.
The advantage of using a guitar amplifier with a cabinet is that you can benefit from the tonal aspects of the amp, while using the cabinet to enhance these and make the whole rig significantly louder.
How Heavy is a 4×12 Cabinet?
4×12 guitar cabinets are not all the same size or weight, but they are certainly considerably heavier than 2×12 cabinets. This is because they contain double the amount of speakers, which are poretty heavy components.
On average, you can expect 4×12 cabinets to weight somewhere in the region of 30-40kg depending on the materials and dimensions.