Rocktron Banshee 2 Amplified Talk Box
Rocktron, a division of GHS Corporation, rocktron.com
Originally published in Guitar World, Holiday 2008
While the wah pedal is a great way to add vocal-like inflections to your guitar work, only a talk box can put your guitar signal where your mouth is. Used by artists like Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith, Metallica and Disturbed, talk boxes have traditionally required that guitarists either modify their amp or devote a second amp entirely to the talk box in order to switch between direct and effected signals. Rocktron effectively changed all that with the original Banshee talk box, which featured its own built-in preamp, amplifier and horn driver. Now the Banshee 2 talk box adds new features that have never before been built into a production talk box.
The Banshee 2 features a vertical-firing horn driver that sends your guitar’s sound through a six-foot vinyl tube that you attach to a mic stand, with the end of the tube placed at mouth level. Put the tube in your maw and start mouthing off. Your microphone picks up the sounds emanating from your mouth, and the rest is oral history.
The Banshee 2’s gain, tone and output controls give the user unprecedented control over the talk box’s distortion, treble intensity and airflow. There’s also a mute button that makes silencing the Banshee quick and easy.
But the Banshee 2’s coolest feature by far is its effect loop, which lets you add effects to the talk box’s signal path, to your guitar’s signal or to both simultaneously. The Banshee’s amplifier and preamp are also powerful enough to make the unit a stand-alone practice amp, and a separate output is provided so you can send the Rocktron’s British-style tone to an extension cab.
I was impressed both with the Banshee 2’s ease of use and its neutral tone—it did not color my original signal in the least. The talk box itself sounds great and is very powerful, which makes it easy to achieve the effect without getting right on top of the mic. Of course, the onboard effect loop inspires players to think beyond the effect’s traditional applications. For instance, I used a flanger with the talk box to vocally effect classic Van Halen lines and created haunting organ-like layers on Malmsteen licks with a chorus and reverb. Anyone looking for inspiring new sounds will find a wealth of possibilities here.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Rocktron's Banshee 2 is a flexible and well-executed expansion of the classic talk box effect. Its numerous controls make it highly adaptable to any musical rig or style, and the effect loop opens a door to an imaginative new set of possibilities. The Banshee 2 takes the talk box out of the realm of novelty and makes it functional, so much so that it could become the centerpiece of your rig.
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