Jet City Amplification JCA12S

January 14, 2011

I got something cool!

Jet City Amplification JCA12S – $129, I got it new at

No clips yet, since I actually get to write this one up for FrugalGuitarist as a guest contributor. I’m pasting the following bits (edited for context) from an ongoing discussion I’m in over at KVR, where the cab was first pointed out to me and where some pretty knowledgeable folks are discussing the relationship between Soldano and Jet City Amplification.

The tonal balance of the cabinet is impressive. The speaker itself, I have on good authority, is actually pretty dark – darker than a Greenback. That makes sense of my observation that the cab has a surprisingly even frequency balance compared to 1x12s I’ve used in the past. It is big for a 1×12; I think the same cab could be used with a different mounting setup to make a diagonal-configuration 2×10, if somebody felt like messing with a good thing for some reason.

And it is a good thing. I have to say, I did not expect this 1×12 cab to sound as big and massive as my prior 4×12 oversized V30 cab. I know I said before that I’d probably replace it with a Greenback or something, but whatever they’ve got going on in this thing is just perfect. I have played worse sounding big cabs that cost a grand. This has much, much more impact and “chug” factor for gainy stuff (but still represents my amp’s sound and cleaner pedals’ sounds quite well). If anything, it’s like my Univalve handles this one speaker more easily than the 4×12, but I had 100W’ers into that big sucker too, and none of them sounded better than this. Amazed at how nice it sounds.

So, yeah, it’s $129 for a full cab and a Jet City Eminence custom speaker, and I’m leaving it totally stock. The more I play with it the more I like its inherent sound and responsiveness. I’m guessing they picked the speaker for the 1×12 intentionally to offset the way that smaller, single-speaker cabs can tend to sound either boxy or ice-pick shrill (or both, ugh, I’ve had some bad experiences with 1×12 combos). I’ve heard some conflicting reports as to how involved Soldano is in the current Jet City Amplification lineup. I’ve heard more confirmation of involvement than denial, but that’s not really proof, even if the “Yea” votes come from people who deal amps for a living. If it is indeed basically a slightly adjusted Soldano cab design with a speaker that’s matched up perfectly, I just don’t see a downside. Or maybe there isn’t a downside. It sounds great. Doesn’t really matter who decided what ratio the dimensions of the box would be, the end result is mighty fine.

Its construction quality is great, screws in all the right places, and even the purely cosmetic stuff is well put together. More expensive cabs that are still in the affordable range (thinking specifically of Randall’s middle of the road cabs, here) aren’t any apparently better constructed. If there’s an area where they must be cutting corners, it has to be in the wood itself. Higher end cabs would feature higher end wood, but the construction quality, dimensions and nature of the wood in the JCA12S still provide an excellent product. The construction is all 3/4″ hard ply, which is pretty much the best you could reasonably expect at the price range. I’ve cranked my amp and while it only pushes around 17W with my tube configuration when fully engaged, it is still extraordinarily loud. The cab doesn’t lose any of its nice qualities. It keeps up very well. Maybe if you ran it closer to the speaker’s output limit it would start to sound strained, but full blast from the Univalve, if anything it sounds better than my old cab, at less than half the price I paid for that one used (and when the 4×12 I owned was new, it was one of the around-a-grand types).

I don’t have direct experience with anything Jet City apart from this, but based on my experience with the JCA12S I would feel very comfortable buying the 2×12 version if I were running a higher wattage setup. This is cab engineering and production done very well. The price is ancillary to the quality, frankly. I keep coming back to this, but I’m just used to paying WAY more for good gear than this, and I’m pretty blown away by the quality of the cabinet and the sound. I know it used to retail for $200, so maybe the $129 is a clearance thing. Still, even at $200, it’s probably the best cab deal going.