So, you’ve just forked out $1000-plus bucks on a shiny new floor modeler and spent hours crafting your dream tone, but when it comes to unleashing it on the rest of the world… it just doesn’t feel right. That visceral feeling of air wafting from your amp’s speaker isn’t there, and all the energy you’re used to with a traditional amp is gone. If this is you right now, then getting your hands on one of the best FRFR speakers will help you solve this common issue.
Whereas the speakers you’d find in a typical guitar cabinet are designed to be paired with specific guitar amp heads, they also have tonal characteristics all of their own that don’t always play nice with a modeled guitar amp. On the other hand, an FRFR speaker should have no such coloration. Standing for ‘Full Range, Flat Response’, an FRFR speaker won’t color your sound or add any unwanted frequencies, providing a true picture of your guitar tone.
If you’re looking at buying an FRFR speaker for the first time, make sure to check out our buying advice section for loads of useful advice. If you already know your stuff, then keep scrolling to see our favorites…
After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.
Best FRFR speakers: The quick list
Looking for the best FRFR speakers without scrolling through endless walls of text? Well here you'll find a breakdown of our favorites, with links to read more if you wish.
One of the best FRFR speakers money can buy, the HeadRush FRFR-112 packs 2000W of power alongside the ability to be used as a traditional speaker or wedge-style monitor.
The Fender Tone Master FR-12 for all intents and purposes looks like a Fender amp, which we're big fans of here. If you don't like the 'PA speaker' look of others, this one's for you.
Best for QC
It's not specifically designed for the Quad Cortex, but the Laney LFR-212 perfectly matches the classy aesthetic and killer tone of the QC. A superb looking, and sounding, 2x12 FRFR speaker.
Best for Helix
If you've got a Helix floor modeler, what better to match it than the Line 6 Powercab 112. The onboard speaker models free up a block in your patches too, super handy for more sounds.
Best for Kemper
For those who have Kemper Profilers, you'll want to match it with the Kemper Power Kabinet. It's got a custom-built Celestion speaker and matches the look perfectly.
Want to go all out with your modeled guitar tones? Well the Line 6 Powercab 212 offers stereo speakers with adjustable width, the ability to load your own IRs directly, and an LCD screen.
Best FRFR speakers 2023
You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Here you'll find full writeups and reviews of the best FRFR speakers available today. Our writing team has tested many of these speakers personally, so you can rely on our recommendations.
The Headrush amp and effects modellers are some the most popular out there and, as you might expect, they pair wonderfully with the matching Headrush FRFR speaker. The Headrush FRFR-112 is a lightweight 1x12” active speaker that will give your Headrush floor unit, or indeed any other passive modeller, the sound and response that you can only get from moving air with a speaker.
The specially-voiced 12” woofer sits alongside a high-frequency compression driver to bring all your saved patches and profiles to life on stage and, with 2000W of power, you can fill a decent sized room with ease. The design of the speaker cabinet is pretty smart too – you can use it as a kickback monitor for your own use, then take the XLR out to FOH, or you can pole-mount it to really be heard. You’ve also got two inputs with independent volume controls, EQ contour switch and ground-lift switch.
The Headrush 112 is one of the best FRFR speakers available right now, especially for the price. However, if you want something more compact, and even more budget-friendly, then check out their 1x8” version.
With Fender’s history of pioneering tube amplification, it’s hard to believe that it's stepped foot into the world of FRFR speaker cabinets – but we’re glad it has. Released specifically to pair with its Tonemaster Pro floor modeler, this speaker cabinet has been expertly crafted to deliver precision replications of your digital amplifiers and effects without any coloration.
With 1000W of power, this has more than enough volume to deliver at pretty much any gig, and the built-in EQ – featuring treble, middle, bass, and a high-frequency cut – is really useful for quick alterations, for example, if you’re in a venue which has a lot of boomy low-end. It is worth saying, the addition of this EQ does mean it isn’t truly flat response, and the DI results from your modeler may sound different from what you get on stage.
You’ll want to take this to as many stages as possible, partly because its lightweight plywood construction means it’s effortless to move, but mainly because this is hands-down the best-looking FRFR speaker on the market. Only the most astute audience members would notice that this cabinet isn’t one of Fender’s classic tube combos, as it’s been designed with all the cues we’re all used to – even down to the metal kickback arms.
Best for Quad Cortex
This might be one of the coolest powered speakers out there, and it’s made by Laney who are known for making some great amps, so it’s a brand you can trust. It looks just like a regular vertical 2x12 speaker cab, so if you want an old-school visual, then this could be the best FRFR speaker for you. To add even more to the look, there’s a really cool illumination light that you can switch on and off.
As well as FRFR mode, you’ve also got a couple of different cabinet emulation options that will replicate how particular cabs sound. You don’t have to use these, but they can be really handy for nailing a particular sound. The Laney LFR-212 is loaded with a pair of specially voiced 12” drivers and a 1” LaVoce compression driver. With it being vertically loaded, you’ve got one speaker closer to your ear when stood up, so it’s great for stage monitoring.
There is also a 1x12 version, that’s slightly smaller and cheaper, if you don’t need quite as much power.
Best for Helix
The Line 6 Powercab series has been around for a good few years now and has proven itself to be really popular. Line 6 made waves with the Helix, so you’d expect their FRFR speakers to live up to the same sort of hype – and they do.
The Powercab 112 is one of the best FRFR speakers out there for players that want a range of great-sounding options to complement their amp modeller unit. You can use the Powercab in FRFR mode, where the custom-made speaker and high frequency compression driver will deliver an authentic representation of your preset patch or profile. You’ve then got six onboard speaker models that replicate the same sort of sound and response that you’d get from regular guitar amp speakers, for a more ‘in the room’ amplifier sound.
There’s also a kickback stand on it, so you can angle the speaker towards your ears allowing you to reduce your overall volume – that’s definitely a good thing!
Best for Kemper
Obviously, the perfect match for your Kemper profiler. The Kemper Kabinet looks incredible, with a nice green tolex and brown leather handle – very classy. Of course, there’s a load of technology nestled away in that great looking box too.
The 12” speaker, or Kemper Kone as it’s called, has been custom-built by Celestion specially for this. The Kemper Kab gives you the option of 19 classic guitar speaker imprints, all of which have been designed to give you the sound and response of some of the most renowned and sought-after speakers in the guitar world. Of course, if you’d rather, you can just use the cabinet models in the Kemper itself. However you use it, you get an incredible experience; it’s just like playing through a ‘real’ amp, but with all the benefits that the Kemper brings to the table.
This powered version gives you 200W of power for your non-powered profiler, or the Stage unit. However, if you’ve got a powered Kemper, then you’d be looking at the passive Kemper Kab.
Best for versatility
This gives you all the same benefits as the above 1x12 version, however you’ve got double the amount of speaker models, plus it has two speakers that you can use in stereo (and actually adjust the stereo width). So, if you’ve got some cool ping-pong style delays set up in your modeller, you can use the Powercab 212 Plus to really make the most of them.
The 212 Plus has some other really neat features that help make it one of the best FRFR speakers for pro-level modellers. There’s an on-board LCD screen and menu scrolling knob which allow you to navigate the 128 preset slots. You can even load in your own impulse responses (IRs), making this the ultimate FRFR speaker for players that want to be able to tweak all of their gear to get their desired tone. Alongside this, you’ve also got more connectivity options for running it within MIDI set-ups and more.
Read the full Line 6 Powercab 212 Plus review
Hand made in the USA, the Friedman ASC-10 lives up to the brand’s sterling reputation and it truly is one of the best FRFR speakers available right now. In fitting with the brand’s aesthetic, the ASC-10 has a really cool look about it, and probably looks more like a boutique amp than a powered speaker, making it a great choice for those that want it to appear more traditional.
It’s got a 10” Celestion speaker – some people prefer the response and sound of a 10” speaker when compared to a 12”, saying that it’s a little sweeter. All we know is that this particular FRFR speaker sounds great with any modeller, offering true and untouched amplification of whatever’s being put through it.
Alongside its custom-made Celestion 10” speaker with 2.5” edge-wound voice coil that essentially helps it work more efficiently, it features a level control, ground lift, 100Hz low cut filter, an all-analogue, bi-amped class G 500W power section, PETP film compression driver and a clip-limiter.
The Boss Katana is of course, a great modeling amps in its own right, however the new and improved MKII version also has the option to be used as a powered speaker for your modeller or profiler. The speaker has been voiced primarily for the sounds built into the amp, so it might not be completely FRFR, but it’s close enough to do a good job.
Running into the Katana MKII’s power amp input bypasses all the controls on the amp, apart from the master volume knob and the power control section which allows you to run it at either 100W, 50W or 0.5W. It’s super easy to use, and it’s quite nice having the controls on the top of the speaker. If you plug the amp into your computer, you can use the Katana editing software to boost or cut the low end too, so you can really tune it into whichever modeller you’re using.
We’ve listed the Katana MKII 100 as one of the best FRFR speakers because it does that job really well. Plus, if your modeller or preamp unit goes down, then you’ve got a perfectly good backup ready to use.
Read the full Boss Katana 100 MKII review
Best FRFR speakers: Buying advice
Why use a FRFR speaker?
FRFR speakers are great for live use when you want your sound on stage to be the same as what’s coming out of the PA system. No more stepping out front in sound check, getting tangled up in your cables. You can play assured, knowing that what you hear is what the audience hears too.
If you are using it in a live context, think about how you’ll be sending your signal to the sound engineer. If you’re playing in smaller venues and you’ve got an FRFR speaker with a good amount of power, then you’ll probably be OK with just that and your modeller – you might not need to send a feed to front of house (FOH).
However, if you’re playing bigger venues, or you want to keep on-stage volume as quiet as possible (99% of the time, this will lead to a much better sound for everyone), then you’ll want to give FOH your signal. Some modellers might let you do this directly, however some of the best FRFR speakers do have a direct XLR output for this purpose. Of course, if you’re just playing at home, or jamming with friends, then you won’t need to dwell on this too much.
What speakers to use with an amp modeler?
The beauty with FRFR speakers is that – in theory at least – any should do an admirable job of replicating your digital amps and effects, as a true FRFR speaker cabinet shouldn’t color your sound or add any unwanted frequencies. What you should get with an FRFR speaker is the truest replication of your digital models, right down to the IR cab simulations.
The benefits of an FRFR speaker for your stage monitoring and a DI output for front of house is that the audience should get a near-identical sound as you are getting onstage – a sound that you’ve spent time making sure is absolutely perfect!
Compare this to an amplifier, which can sound wildly different depending on a million different factors, from the volume you’re running it at, to the micropositioning of the microphone on your speaker cabinet. Though we wouldn’t ever want to bash a live sound engineer – they’ve got a tough enough gig as it is – they may not get your absolute dream guitar sound when mic'ing up an amp; this shouldn’t be a problem with a DI.
Is a PA speaker an FRFR speaker?
Some guitarists may choose to use a powered PA speaker rather than an FRFR speaker, and this is a fine option that will typically deliver admirable results, and (often) can save you a little bit of money.
However, PA speakers are designed to reproduce a huge variety of sounds, not just guitar, and that means they are inherently compromised in producing truly faithful replications of your modeled/captured tones, which will often mean there is additional bass – which may sound quite nice on its own but is a recipe for muddiness in a band scenario.
Another big problem with a PA speaker is that it simply doesn’t cut it in the looks department. Whilst the debate will continue raging over whether digitally modeled amps are rock’n’roll at all, it’s hard not to agree that having an unsightly PA speaker on stage really doesn’t capture the spirit of anarchy that is often associated with guitar music.
Can I use an FRFR speaker for bass?
Don’t think we’ve forgotten about you bass players too! More and more bass players are using digital profilers like Kempers, and whilst even the most modest FRFR speaker should do a decent job – for example, the Headrush FRFR-108 is an excellent speaker in a tiny footprint – they may be pushed to the point of rattling when handling particularly loud, particularly low sound sources. Consider matching two FRFR speakers together, or look for larger speakers to make sure you get the absolute best sound reproduction for loud bass playing.
Finally, some FRFR speakers may not have their own power section – though all of those on this list do. If you haven't got a powered profiler/modeler, just be extra sure that you’re purchasing an ‘active’ speaker cabinet with built in power, rather than a ‘passive’ cabinet, which will need external power.
How we choose the best FRFR speakers
Here at Guitar World, many of our writing team are using floor modelers on our own rigs, so we recognize the importance of Full-Range, Flat-Response (FRFR) speakers, especially in the evolving landscape of modern guitar tones. When it comes to pinpointing the best FRFR speakers, our team combines experience from live stages, recording studios, and a personal appreciation for the nuances of tone shaping.
Selecting an FRFR speaker involves a nuanced understanding of clarity, response dynamics, and the ability to faithfully reproduce a wide range of frequencies. We've rigorously tested numerous speakers, pushing them through various scenarios to ensure they meet the diverse needs of guitarists exploring genres from pristine cleans to high-gain mayhem.
Whether you're sculpting ambient textures or delivering high-gain riffage, our guides cover a spectrum of FRFR speakers, from budget-friendly options to premium choices that cater to the demands of professional guitarists. Each recommendation in our guide has earned its place through meticulous testing, guaranteeing that whether you're in the studio or on stage, the selection of FRFR speakers from Guitar World will help you achieve the perfect guitar tones.
Find out more about how we make our recommendations and how we test each of the products in our buyer's guides.