15" Speakers: Explain to me the tonal characteristics vs 12"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by chunkwedge, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. chunkwedge

    chunkwedge Member

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    I know that each speaker will have it's own voice and that the amp that it is going into will also have a large impact, but, in general terms, what sort of tone/response will a good quality 15" speaker have versus an equivalent 12" speaker.

    To provide the musical context, i have a superb tweed deluxe clone with celestion blue 12" speaker. Love the sound but am looking to get an amp with just a little bit more headroom and a tiny bit more clarity in the bass. The 3 options i am considering are: tweed bandmaster, double deluxe and lastly i have had a tweed pro recommended to me. (5E5A but cathode biased) Styles are largely blues, blues/rock.
     
  2. es137p

    es137p Supporting Member

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    how bout the trem de la trem from Victoria. Its basically a tweed deluxe with a 15" speaker, and great tremelo. The 15" should have a little more headroom, bigger bottom end, and generally a bigger sound. I recently got a 35115-5e5a, and am liking quite much.
     
  3. chunkwedge

    chunkwedge Member

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  4. es137p

    es137p Supporting Member

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    yeah, the 15's give you that big sound. I had the Victoria 35310, which is the tweed bandmaster, same circuit as the 35115 tweed pro, just different speakers. The 35310 was quicker responce, more headroom, the 35115 is thick and swampy, still plenty of cut. I've been really digging 15's for the last year or so, especially as I play a Tele. Makes it bigger and thicker.
     
  5. m@2

    m@2 Member

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    in my experience..

    10" speakers = punchy, cuts through the mix well
    12" = mid range/loud, classic sound
    15" = fullest range, "big" sounding.. generally my favorite
     
  6. Brien

    Brien Member

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    I don't think you'll get more clarity in the bass, but you may like the quality of the bass more-just a broader sound. You lose a little bit of high end sparkle, but you gain girth and a throaty midrange. Great speakers for the right amps.
     
  7. timmers

    timmers Supporting Member

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    I'm a huge fan of 15" speakers. I prefer a single 15 to almost any other speaker config. To me, a good one in a properly built cab will have the same punch as a pair of 12's, the same cut & bounce as a pair of 10's, but also something more, thicker in the mid's/low mid's. They add nice girth to guitars that could be a little thin by nature, like a Tele, but retain enough clarity to still cut with something traditionally pretty fat sounding, like a Paul.

    A 15" speaker also feels a little "slower" to respond, to me, to one's playing, and I mean that in a good way. I'd compare it to the voltage 'sag' of an overjuiced amp, if that is relate-able. It's something I really dig from a speaker, & is a big reason why I've been gigging with only 15" cab's for a few years now.
     
  8. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    What surprised me about 15"s was how clear the highs are. I expected them to disappear - I thought 15"s were for old bass amps. But there's a real sweetness to the 15"s I've been hearing and playing through. A 1-15 is a lovely thing for the right amp.
     
  9. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    OF course, different 15s sound different. An alnico Jensen from the 50s will have a ton more bass than an alnico 12, plus the same sweet top end. A ceramic 15 will have more bass than the alnico at the cost of a little sweetness. The JBL that Fender used in some Pros and the Vibrasonic gives much firmer bass, with the extended top end that JBLs are known for. They're also significantly louder at the same amount of distortion than a Jensen. If you're looking for better bass and overhead, I'd go with a JBL D120,K120 or EV alnico SRO...
     
  10. chunkwedge

    chunkwedge Member

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    Thanks all for your responses. Does anyone care to comment on the overdrive/distortion characteristics of the two different size speakers?
     
  11. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    :agree

    always suprised how nice the high ends are in amps that come with a 15" had a Fender Pro Reverb that came with a single 15" really nice sounding amp, had several friends who got 15s to replace their 12s they ended up with some horrid sounding amps that way.

    if your looking for tighter bass, go to a sealed or ported 2x12, you will be a lot happier, if the amp you like comes with a 15" enjoy it. Just replacing 12s with 15s aint going to get you more bass, it will probably just sound bad.

    one interesting amp for me is Lindy fralin's amp, I have his pups in a guitar and really love them his amp uses a custom Emminence 15 speaker, not what you see in a typical 15 watt amp.

    http://www.fralinpickups.com/amp.asp
     
  12. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    15s are by far my favorite these days. There's a depth and richness there that I find addictive. Lots of good comments here. I agree that it's not really an issue of more or less bass. It's how wide the entire range of tones feels with a 15" speaker that impresses me. They can also get astoundingly swampy.

    It is easier to cut onstage with multi-10s. My Clark Tyger does that with no apparent effort. The Tyger sings sweetly, then screams up high, while the Sewell Wampus Cat 1x15 roars and howls. (It's hard to comment on speaker alone; I'd love to hear the Tyger through a 15" speaker ...)
     
  13. Laheart

    Laheart Member

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    I had a custom Tweed Deluxe (5E3-14 Watts) built for me and had an original Jensen 15 (1956) rated at 15 watts installed in a oversized cab. Sound is amazing. Better headroom, defined thumping bass, sparkling highs and a very creamy overdrive. It actually sounds like it has a built in reverb.
     
  14. guitarslinger21

    guitarslinger21 Member

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    darnit, now I want some 15's.

    ANy opinion on 15"s for higher gain>??
     
  15. Calloway

    Calloway Supporting Member

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    I love the Big Ben. It is like 275 watts, so it can handle just about anything. It makes my rig sound huge.
     
  16. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Running two Big Bens now, in the Sewell and in an Ampeg Gemini II. Excellent speaker. No high gain for me, so can't comment. Otherwise, tonally, it's one of my favorite speakers of all.
     
  17. gtraddict

    gtraddict Member

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    I miss my 15" Bassman combo, it had a Weber California in it. Awesome sounds to be honest.
    Nice mids and lower bottom ends
     

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