Posts tagged ‘Markku Pietinen’

06/04/2018

Review: TOOB 12J & 12R

Some of the coolest inventions tend to make you go ”Geez, this is so obvious! Why didn’t I think of this?”

The truth is, though, that the basic idea usually is only the first impetus for going on an exploratory journey. You have to have the inventor’s drive and perseverance to grab the idea by its throat, and hold it there for as long as it takes to hew and mould it into its final shape.

Finnish guitarist/inventor Markku Pietinen had become increasingly frustrated by the weight and size of traditional speaker cabinets for guitar. Modern technology – like Class D power amps – has lead to ever smaller amplifier sizes, yet cabinets were still cumbersome and angular.

Then one day, a few years ago, Markku passed by a building site, where he spotted a leftover piece of corrugated plastic pipe (normally used for drainage) on the ground. The proverbial lightbulb went ”ping”, and Markku started pursuing his quest for a lighter speaker cabinet.

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Here is the finished product, called the TOOB™ (current price in Finland: 369 €), which stands for ”Thinking Out Of the Box”.

The TOOB is available in two guitar versions, the 12J and 12R (as reviewed), which come loaded with a 12-inch Jensen speaker. A bass version – the TOOB 12B – is also available, and it sports a Celestion unit.

Standard colours for all TOOBs are black and cinnamon, but you can also order custom options with a painted or covered veneer overlay (you can see a few examples in the opening picture).

The TOOB’s cabinet consists of a length of Uponor IQ drainage pipe. This is an extremely lightweight and strong corrugated tube made from double-walled polypropylene. The mounting rims are a proprietary design, injection moulded from ABS plastic specifically for use in the TOOB cabinets.

Clip-on stainless steel feet come as standard, but if this looks too spartan for your taste, you can always order your TOOB with a magnetically-attached wooden stand.

The main difference between the TOOB 12J (left) and the 12R (right) is easy to spot:

The 12J (stands for Jazz) is an open back cabinet, while the 12R (= Rock) uses a ported back wall. The 12J is also a few centimetres shorter than its brother.

Both guitar versions sport two parallel jack connectors, allowing you to daisy-chain two (or more) TOOBs.

The cabinets are equipped with painted wooden mounts for use with a micro-amp of your choice (professional velcro-type adhesive strips are provided). A top notch angled plug speaker cable is also part of the package.

Both guitar TOOBs come loaded with a lightweight 12″/8 Ω Jensen Jet Tornado neodymium speaker.

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Testing the TOOBs with two different valve amplifiers – a Blackstar HT-1R and a Bluetone Shadows Jr. – it became clear very quickly that both cabinets are focused on delivering tonal clarity and getting the job done with a minimal amount of fuss.

A TOOB isn’t meant to be an esoteric boutique-style speaker cabinet, full of voodoo-like mystical timbres. These are straightforward musical tools, made to withstand the occasional knock or two, and meant to lighten your load (both physically and psychologically).

Both TOOBs offer a very focused tone that is clear and bright, but not nasty or brittle. The mid-range also stays rather well-defined and uncoloured.

I think one shouldn’t get too hung up on the supposed Jazz- and Rock-connotations of the 12J and 12R models, especially as the 12J also performs well with acoustic-electric guitars, but the differences in sound are easy to hear. The TOOB 12J is the airier and more ”acoustic” of the pair, while the TOOB 12R offers much more low-end punch and overall focus.

CLEAN STRAT

Reference speaker (Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo with a 10″ WGS Green Beret; Shure SM57):

TOOB 12J:

TOOB 12R:

OVERDRIVEN LES PAUL

Reference speaker (Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo with a 10″ WGS Green Beret; Shure SM57):

TOOB 12J:

TOOB 12R:

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Any way you look at the TOOB™, you will have to concede that this new type of speaker cabinet is an ingenious solution to an age-old problem. The TOOB is just as rugged and roadworthy as it is lightweight and compact.

These unique cabinets sound great, with more than enough power on tap for most of us working stiffs, who play small to medium-sized indoor venues.

Combine a TOOB with one of the current micro-amps, like Vox’ MV50-series for example, and what you get is a powerful rig that’s hard to beat for ease of use and transportability.

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The TOOB

Lightweight guitar speaker cabinet

TOOB 12J: 369 €

TOOB 12R: 369 €

Contact: TOOB

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Pros:

+ made in Finland

+ ruggedness

+ weight

+ power handling

+ soundSave

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