Amped Review: Dragoon XS Single 12 Cab

Small, light and tight   02-Aug-11

    MP4 8:3 mins    

The Story

The first time I experienced the sound of a Dragoon cab was back in February of this year.  Legendary Italian prog guitarist, Gianlucca Ferro, booked in on his UK tour to do a guitar clinic at a studio I was engineering for. I turned up to set up their sound for the clinic and was greeted by two animated Italian engineers, Claudio and Lorenzo. Throughout the evening, which was a great success (Borat accent), we spoke about the classic pitfalls of modern guitar players' 'tone'.
Claudio and Lorenzo were doing the guitar tech work for Gianlucca, and had supplied him with two of their Dragoon 2x12 cabs. We discussed the tendency of guitarists to choose a very expensive guitar with good pickups, then perhaps he even buy a great amp-head, but then fall into the trap of spending very little on an effects loop, and paying no attention to what cab they buy.
As recording engineers, Claudio and Lorenzo had drawn from experience of miking up muddy sounding cabs, and having to cut through the boxy mids to get a sparkly sound.

Unfortunately my Italian language skills are non-existent, so my questions about the logistics and build of their Dragoon cabs usually resulted in answers such as 'yes please', and 'one milk, no sugar', but to answer all my questions about the sonic quality of the cabs, the Dragoon guys set up a simple sound test.
Blind Test
The amp I was using at the time was a Line 6 DT50, an amp I was leaning towards as it blended the sound of tubes breaking in the power amp, with the versatility and reliability of a digital pre. We hooked up the DT50 2x12 (which had Vintage 30 and a Heritage Celestion), to my guitar and effects rig, and I turned the other way. I did my usual trick, a couple of Hendrix riffs whilst they played around with the amp. Then they told me stop playing, they then did the sonic equivalent of the Pepsi Challenge. They gave me option A, B and C, one of these was the Line 6's celestions, one was a Dragoon 2x12 Classic Lead 80, and one was a Dragoon 2x12 Vintage 30.

Option B stuck out for me, it sounded like they lifted a blanket off the amp. The sound responded brilliantly to my dynamics, crescendos became crescendos, and there was a certain high-end chime to my playing. I said 'that one!', and turned around, sure enough I was plumbed into the Dragoon Classic Lead 80 model.

For once my Strat sounded like a Strat, and my overdrive sounded incredible. No horrible compression on the low-end, and immense clarity on the high-end. After some research, I now use an Egnater Rebel 20 and a Dragoon 2x12 Classic Lead 80 as my rig. And I wish I could afford the Dragoon 1x12 Greenback Heritage, as it chimes like hell's bells.
But that's the catch, for the incredible sound that these cabs somehow bring to my set-up, there comes a price. A price that is definitely at the higher-end of the market. You can only currently buy the cabs directly from www.Dragoon.It, and because of the lack of major distributor, the cabs do cost more than you would expect given the average prices in the market.

If you can afford it, and you’re looking for something that records brilliantly, is lightweight and easy to cart around in the boot (that's a trunk to our American brothers), then this is a good option. If you're on a tight budget, then you won't be looking at the Dragoons.

XS Cab
Celestion G12 Greenback, Classic Lead or Vintage 30:  £360
With Neodymium Century Vintage £410,
Alnico Gold: £570
Prices include VAT.


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