Tests

Iconoclast vs CabZeus

I had the opportunity to compare the GFI CabZeus and Neunaber Iconoclast. Thought I might share it with you
Im using a small direct recording setup build around a H&K Tubeman, with various boosters and speaker simulators around it.
Setup for the examples bellow: Guild SF4 > Effectrode Firebottle >H&K Tubeman >CabZeus > Iconoclast > RME Fireface UFX

Soundwise I was able to get very similar results.
When using the Iconoclast “High” with Filter Type C, it matches the CabZeus quite well.
Switching through the 12inch speaker curves – for some quick sound overview.

An Iconoclast „High“ sweep, with 2 different high cut curves (darkest to brightest setting)
Icono-type-B-High

Icono-type-C-High

In the examples below I didn’t try to match the sound of both units!
I rather dialed quickly, what I liked most. It would be possible to get more similar sounding results.

clean_CabZeus A 12 1

clean_Icono-type-C

Grid

Crunch

For clean and crunch tones I prefer the type C curve on Iconoclast. It gives a more open sound.
For overdrive sounds I also like the type B, which gives more focused (less fizz) trebles.

Overdrive

Here is an example of the stereo sounds:

Stereo Sounds

The CabZeus seems more natural to me in its ability to create stereo sounds by choosing different speakers for L/R.
I didn’t play much with the CabZeus delay features, cause Im not a big fan of the pseudo delay widening. If needed you can adjust such in your DAW in the mix, but I wouldn’t want to record it like this.
CabZeus offers very nice sounding Room/Reverb sounds.
Just one example (lots of reverb for demonstration )
CabZeus Reverb


Conclusion ?

I ordered both and wanted to keep one. But it turns out, that its hard to decide which one to choose. Both units have unique features and strengths.
Both provide very fast signal processing, the timing feels like playing through an analog device.
I measured 0,43ms for the Iconoclast and 1,25ms for the CabZeus.
My pure analog speaker simulators introduce around 0,11ms delay.

Iconoclast pro/con
+ realtime parameter changing knobs make it quick and easy to tweak
+ feels like analog hardware to me
+ very fast digital engine
+ flexible with different EQ types and lots of parameters in the software
+ Headphone out with level control
– no presets
– no direct through or bypass (I need that sometimes…)

I didn’t mention the Headphone output on the Iconoclast (with level control) – a good addition!
Also didn’t mention the gate, cause I never use it for recording. I tried it once and it worked very smooth and accurate.

Iconoclast wishlist:
If the “gate knob” could be assigned freely – to any software parameter
If one of the outputs could be used as a “direct through”.
Since I like to work with more than one speaker emulator…a “through” option is sometimes useful for me.

CabZeus pro/con
+ many different speaker types
+ 8 storable presets
+ very good Room + Reverb sounds
+ fast digital engine
+ Thru outputs
+ Can also work as a buffer/signal splitter/ DI Box
+ Input pads (though I miss the -10 dB option for my setup…)
+ Headphone out with level control
– Mic Position Knobs lock mechanism (it’s a feature…but I would prefer realtime adjustments)

CabZeus wishlist:
An “unlock” switch for the mic position knobs
some speaker curves with steeper highcut (less fizz)

Some kind of “post EQ”. So I can further tweak the given speaker presets.
A simple Low+High Shelf + 1 parametric mid band would be great.
Sure I can do those adjustments on my mixer or DAW EQs.
But since the CabZeus is working with Presets, it would be nice if I could tweak, finish, store and recall them.

I really like both units! and Im curious how/if Neunaber and GFI will further develop and update their software.