ISP Vec­tor FS8

ISP TECH­NOLO­GIES TACK­LES THE PROB­LEM OF GET­TING YOUR DIG­I­TAL PRO­CES­SOR’S SOUND INTO YOUR EARS ON­STAGE. WORDS BY PETER HODG­SON.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

With seem­ingly half the pro­fes­sional gui­tar world us­ing some form of dig­i­tal pro­ces­sor for their live tone th­ese days, we’re see­ing more and more prod­ucts on the mar­ket which seek to let gui­tarists have that flex­i­ble dig­i­tal tone gen­er­a­tion, while also pro­vid­ing some­thing of a fa­mil­iar play­ing experience in terms of things like feed­back, sus­tain and good ol’ fash­ioned ‘hear­ing your­self’.

There are more than a few com­pa­nies with this in mind right now: Sey­mour Dun­can has the Pow­er­Stage 700 rack-mounted preamp, de­signed to plug your pro­ces­sor into a gui­tar cabi­net. Line 6 has a se­ries of pow­ered cabs de­signed for this very pur­pose, but with some ex­tra tricks thrown in. And now, ISP Tech­nolo­gies has en­tered the fray with their Vec­tor FS8 sys­tem.

I HAVE THE POWER

The Vec­tor FS8 takes a new ap­proach to the gui­tar sys­tem by com­bin­ing a pow­ered gui­tar cabi­net with the Full Spectrum Gui­tar cabi­net and floor mon­i­tor. It’s a su­per light­weight box with a 175-watt RMS bi-am­pli­fied power am­pli­fier sec­tion de­signed with a dual use in mind.

This pro­vides amaz­ing tone for play­ers us­ing today’s dig­i­tal gui­tar pro­ces­sors that in­cor­po­rate a Speaker Sim­u­lated out­put or, with the flip of a switch, a gui­tar cabi­net for play­ers who pre­fer us­ing a ped­al­board or gui­tar preamp.

The unit in­cludes an eight-inch woofer with clas­sic gui­tar-friendly midrange and a smooth roll off of fre­quen­cies above four kilo­hertz. To use it in cabi­net mode, sim­ply con­nect the out­put of your ped­al­board or preamp di­rect to the FS8 in­put.

The unit has a 40 de­gree up­tilt, so the sound is di­rected up­wards to you as your mon­i­tor, not at the au­di­ence (as iwould be the case with a typ­i­cal gui­tar cabi­net).

The idea with this is that your sound is al­ready be­ing fed through the PA sys­tem from your pro­ces­sor, so you just need some­thing to sound great for you, and have you play­ing at your best in the most com­fort­able sonic en­vi­ron­ment.

When used with a preamp or head, the FS8 is tuned to pro­vide deeper bass re­sponse and smoother high fre­quency re­sponse than you would get from a four-by-12-inch gui­tar cab, which helps it to sit nicely in an on­stage mix while also mak­ing it per­fectly voiced to mic up as well.

Switch it into Full Spectrum mode for a nice, full-range re­pro­duc­tion of your dig­i­tal pre­sets, with a one-inch silk dome tweeter giv­ing you the ex­tra high-end clar­ity.

The Vec­tor FS8 also in­cludes two in­puts, al­low­ing it to dou­ble as your vo­cal floor mon­i­tor by con­nect­ing a send from the front-of-house or mon­i­tor mixer. It’s the per­fect bal­ance of clev­er­ness and flex­i­bil­ity.

I CAN HEAR CLEARLY NOW

I tested the FS8 with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent set­ups, in­clud­ing my trusty old BOSS GT-8, my even trustier (and older) Korg AX1G, and

a Pos­i­tive Grid BIAS Mini Gui­tar head. I also tested it out with a line-out from my record­ing setup us­ing IK Mul­ti­me­dia’s Am­pliTube 4 as my vir­tual amp, and I tried it out with an MI A udio Me­galith preamp pedal.

ISP sure ain’t ly­ing when they say this thing is de­signed to sound com­fort­able and fa­mil­iar to gui­tarists. It took the high-end fizz out of m y Am­pliTube pre­sets, pro­vid­ing the miss­ing magic link to mak­ing them feel like a real amp.

It made my AX1G sound bet­ter and more so­phis­ti­cated than it is, it re­vealed the true depth and nu­ance of the GT8’s decade-old mod­els, and it made the BIAS sound ev­ery bit as ‘real amp-y’ as it aims to be.

The kick-back an­gle of the speak­ers is also great not just for on­stage mon­i­tor­ing, but also for at-home play and for giv­ing you a more hon­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your sound than a reg­u­lar straight cabi­net would af­ford, should you ever need to mic it up.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

Is any­thing miss­ing from this unit? Well, some might say an EQ sec­tion might help to fine-tune the sound of the speaker to the room or stage you’re per­form­ing in. Most pro­ces­sors will let you shape the sound as it leaves the unit and heads to the out­put, but it sure would be nice to be able to just reach down and tweak the bass rolloff or add more mids for a fussy stage. But that’s pretty much it.

The vol­ume, the over­all sound, the flex­i­bil­ity, the weight – or lack thereof – it’s all pretty much per­fect. Sans the omis­sion of that global EQ, the Vec­tor FS8 is hard to fault. Com­pet­i­tively priced and packed with fea­tures, the cabi­net/mon­i­tor combo is an easy choice for any per­former that cares about their on­stage sound.

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