Randall Isolation Cabinet Review
This is my full review of the Randall Isolation Cabinet that I purchased.
I recently purchased a Randall Isolation cabinet after watching some reviews of them on YouTube as well as reading about them on Forums. I record and film loads of pedal, amplifier, and guitar demos on YouTube. My ideal solution was being able to still get the full 12″ speaker sound while being able to cut the volume way down.
A Fair and Balanced Review was NOWHERE Online
What sucks about YouTube to some extent is that I am quite certain there are paid positive reviews going on. This can be very misleading to the buyers or audience at large. One of the problems is the video with the most views on this product didn’t list any of the issues and criticisms of the unit that I have experienced. These issues are very obvious and I really think before you buy a Randall Isolation cabinet you’re aware of the pros and cons. Either the people reviewing them didn’t know better or they were paid reviews.
What do I think about the Randall Isolation Cabinet?
Firstly let me say I now love this unit, but it took some time to get right. I really thought I’d be able to bypass any amp speaker I’d like and run my amp on 10 while not hearing much of anything. Let me say, this is not the case at all. I wanted to write a review before I post a video review of it online to make sure I cover all the information someone like myself would want to know before purchasing the Randall Isolation Cabinet.
Randall Isolation Cab Build Quality 7/10
I am giving the build quality a 7/10. The box itself is, it’s sturdy, it’s heavy and strong. The downside of the cabinet is it has metallic hinges on the lid and also metallic handles. Sadly, these can vibrate loudly when you crank your amp. The sad state of affairs is this. Your goal is to cut down guitar noise but you substitute speaker noise for cabinet rattle noise.
I found if the lid was closed and the latch on the front was folded down then that would also make noise. If you have the latch hinge facing straight it doesn’t make noise. Keep this tip in mind if you own this Randall Isolation Recording Cabinet.
Ideally, if you’re good with tools and know that you won’t have to move it around much replace the hinges on the lid and remove the handles. I now record with my Deluxe Reverb or Blues Deluxe no louder than about 3-4 before the rattling starts. What’s great though is the rattling never gets picked up on the microphone, this is all external noise.
Randall Isolation Cab Sound quality 9/10
I’ve seen some people whine about where the mic handle is placed on the inside. I think it’s in a great position that allows you to easily mic up the center of the cone or off to the edge. I recently changed the SM-57 mic clip and put on my Rode M3 Mic clip because those mics to my ears sound nicer than an SM57.
The cab records brilliantly. It works even if you have the amplifier up around 5-7 on volume. By this stage, the Randall Iso box is beginning to rattle and make quite a lot of acoustic noise externally, but internally you get nothing but a great recording.
This box makes recording for me a breeze and I much prefer this over the old AxeTrak I used to own which I ended up selling. You won’t hear a difference if you record with the lid open (loud) or closed (quiet) on the recording. They’ve put some thought into this and I really dig it.
Randall Isolation Cab Noise Cancellation (7/10).
So here it is the all-important feature of this amp. My rating for noise cancellation is a 7/10. it does reduce about 70% of the volume of the speaker with the lid closed. This is great but as I mentioned above you end up with “another noise” that might be too loud to work with depending on your living situation.
if you’re running an amp at lower volumes it’s awesome but once you start to really turn up the cabinet shakes and vibrates. I found putting a blanket over it stops the handles rattling and putting a 10 Kg / 22 Lbs weight plate on it helps the other noise coming from the hinges. During the daytime, it’s fine – I can wind up the amps and it and have no problems doing my thing, but there’s no way I could use this at night and not wake up someone sleeping in the next room for example.
If you want a dead silent option the AxeTrak will be a better choice but it doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as the Randall Isolation Cabinet.
Randall Isolation Cab Mods
I made some changes to the cabinet 2 days after I got it home. Adding some really thick foam in the roof of the lid as well as lined the walls and floor under the speaker. To do this, you will need to take out the speaker but doing so is very easy. I used 5cm thick foam on the lid, 3cm thick foam on the floor and the regular wall-style acoustic foam on the walls of the unit. This made a HUGE difference to the sound both internally and externally. It helps cut down the external noise and rattle on the amp as well as making the recording more tight and warm.
Another mod worth making is to add a bracket in the cabinet and replace the 12″ speaker with a 10″. The different speaker size will drastically cut down the amount of ambient noise and cabinet rattle. This mod will make a positive improvement to how much cabinet noise and ambient noise you will experience. The smaller the speaker the easier it is to cut down the noise, but you do sacrifice some tone.
What other options are there?
Instead of buying a Randall Isolation cabinet you have a lot more options at your disposal. I ended up selling this unit and getting a Two-Notes Torpedo Live. This did exactly what I hoped it would do and it sounds dead quiet and much better than the Randall Isolation Cabinet. If you really want an isolation box this will work but the technology has come a long way since I first posted this review that the Two-Notes Torpedo Live (or a Kemper) would be a much better option albeit, more expensive.