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2nd speaker for TopHat Club Royale 2x12 - suggestions?

subtomic

Member
Messages
375
I’m the happy owner of a 1999 TopHat Club Royale 2x12 amp. This is the version with the solid state rectifier and none of the boost switches. Currently the amp has a ceramic Weber Blue Dog and a Celestion Gold in it (the latter replacing the Greenback that originally came with the amp)

Save for a handful of pre-Covid jams, I have used this amp almost entirely at home for recording. While the Weber Blue has worked great for this, neither the Greenback nor the Gold have worked well. The Greenback was simply too much quieter than the Weber and also had a slight rub, while the Gold is all harsh upper mids (I’ve had it for 10+ years and ran louder amps through it so it should be broken in by now) that just don’t sound good in the room or “on tape.”

So I’m thinking about finding a new partner for the Weber. My first choice - if I could find one - would be a TopHat branded Celestion like the ones that came in a similar era King Royale that I would owned briefly before returning due to a bad hum issue. I’ve also given consideration to the following:

Celestion blue
Weber silver bell (Alnico or ceramic)
Weber 1230-55 (Alnico or ceramic)
Celestion cream (I have an 8 ohm one that I use in a 1x12 cab with my other amps and I love this speaker)
Avatar Alnico25

But before picking one and running with it, I wanted to see if the fine folks here on TGP could either endorse one of these options or suggest something else. I’d like the speaker to work well with a variety of guitars (telecaster, Hamer Newport, Hamer Anniversary with firebird pickups, Gibson SG) and be capable of sounding good from just on the edge of breakup cleans up to Band of Horses-level drive. I don’t use many overdrive pedals (just an original Tim) and actually am just fine using a boost and a Tone Bender for the really distorted stuff.

In any case, let me know what’s worked for you. Thanks in advance.
 

Khromo

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
957
Hello, subatomic!

I've got a ceramic Blue Dog, and I really like it. That big magnet (along with the other design elements) make for a pretty efficient driver. I wouldn't expect it to balance well with most alnico drivers, even the more efficient ones with larger magnets like the Silver Bell.

That is the responsive part of this post. Now, I will offer directions to Boston, when you asked for directions to Buffalo! This is, after all, The Gear Page!

I've got a 2005 Club Deluxe, with a tube rectifier and the normal/fat/bright switch. I love this amp! I can use it with no pedals, it is always loud enough, and I love the cleans and the overdriven tones. It took me a while to get used to the controls, probably because they are so different from my black and silver face Fenders, but once I got used to setting it with my ears rather than with my eyes, it became one of my all time favorites.

Mine has a 2x12 cab like yours. When I got it it had two 8 ohm speakers in it, which Brian told me was probably okay, but not recommended. He suggested two 16 ohm Vintage 30's, and that worked beautifully. It sounded sweet, solid, and lush.

I left it that way for years, until I started to tire of the weight. Most 20 watt amps don't need casters! My solution was to install one of the 8 ohm Top Hat-branded Celestion G12C-30's, and to cut a disc from 12 mm. Baltic birch to seal the other hole in the baffle!



With one driver in that wide cab, I can fit a PedalTrain Nano board in the back for one-trip load in/out!



It sounds perfect, the power handling is still perfectly adequate for my purposes, and it saves enough weight for me to take it to market without a hand truck.

I think the practice of blending speakers is highly overrated. And don't get me started on horizontally aligned speakers! It is too early in the morning!
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
19,767
Do yourself a huge favor and track down a Made In England G12H30 Anniversary from the late 90s. I've owned 8 CRs, and 19 TopHats in total, as a point of reference. I've used various CRs on stage, in the studio, at band rehearsal, at home, etc.
 

subtomic

Member
Messages
375
Just a little more info to clarify things - the blue dog is technically a Weber C12TH-16 which I assume means it was made specifically for TopHat. Anyone know the power ratings for these (or a way to tell?)

Also, anyone notice that the TopHat website is down? Did Brian Gerhard decide to shutter the business?
 
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KarlH

Member
Messages
936
I had one of those in 1999, what a coincidence. Great amp, sounded like "sting me" from the Black Crowes when I cranked the volume, but also got voxy tones when set right. Got it for 800 bucks on harmony central, i think! Sold it because I began playing with louder drummers and bigger bands, but it was killer, wish i still had it. Mine had the weber blue dog and a UK 30 watt anniversary celestion, never thought to change that up. That's what I recommend.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,470
I had the Weber alnico blue dog and alnico silver bell at the same time. Two very different speakers, I would not mix them.

When I had the alnico blue dog I had the Scumback M75 small dust cap. I though their voicing in the highs was quite similar, so they probably mix well. I thought the Scumback had a more modern vibe ... IMHO.

The obvious consideration is always another ceramic blue dog. A wild card is always the Eminence Reignmaker, which can be dialed up in volume to add a lil' something to the existing speaker.
 

ProfG

Member
Messages
2,575
My '98 scripty has the Weber Blue Dog and Greenback, and I've never had any inclination to change either. Balanced volume, complementary tones. YMMV, but no matter the speakers the Club Royale is a classic.
IMG_5385.jpeg
IMG_5387.jpeg
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
19,767
Just a little more info to clarify things - the blue dog is technically a Weber C12TH-16 which I assume means it was made specifically for TopHat. Anyone know the power ratings for these (or a way to tell?)

Also, anyone notice that the TopHat website is down? Did Brian Gerhard decide to shutter the business?
I think your Weber is likely 30 watts.

Brian is happily working as a one-person shop these days. Last I texted with him - about three weeks ago - he had just received 9 or 10 new orders. He is as/more creative as/than ever and kicking out great products.

He has a whole new group of low wattage amps based on the Emplexador front end - but kicking out 10-12 watts using 6V6s. I've also talked with him about doing a channel switcher - about 25 watts based on my incredible Embassy head from 2016.

I think Brian let his website expire because the majority of his biz comes in through Instagram or FB.
 

Alan Wolf

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
268
I’ve got that same amp, dark green, just killer. Got it a few years after it was new. Mine has the Blue Dog and a G 12 M in it. I wonder if your original greenback had a problem. (You mention the rub.) might be worth trying a Heritage in it, or ( if you still have the original) seeing if it can be rebuilt. I like that combo.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
19,767
I’ve got that same amp, dark green, just killer. Got it a few years after it was new. Mine has the Blue Dog and a G 12 M in it. I wonder if your original greenback had a problem. (You mention the rub.) might be worth trying a Heritage in it, or ( if you still have the original) seeing if it can be rebuilt. I like that combo.
I have a fantastic script logo King Royale that was signed by Phil Jamison, who worked for Brian after the initial Matchless closed its doors. My King had an original Weber Ceramic Blue Dog in the original 6-psoke gray basket, and a Made-In-England Greenback. In that amp, the Weber developed some cone cry; this was back around 2005 or so.

I reached out to Ted Weber - who emailed me back in about 6 minutes flat. He asked me to send the speaker back to him, which I did. A couple weeks passed and I heard nothing. A third week passed and still nothing. Not a peep. All of a sudden, one day (about 3 1/2 weeks after I originally sent the speaker back to Ted) the doorbell rings, and the FedEx (or maybe it was UPS) guy hands me a box ... from Weber.

I opened the box, and my original Weber had been completely rebuilt using the same gray spoke basket. I emailed Ted and asked how much I owed him and let him know I wanted to get a check in the mail to him that day. He said, "No charge." I told him I HAD TO pay him something. He flat-out refused to accept any money for the re-build. What a prince of a man ... RIP.

I wound up re-installing the Weber. And then I took out the Greenback a few years later and replaced it with a MIE G12H30. The G12H wound up being a much better fit - about the same DB response - and a much better complement to the Weber. The amp was great before - but it really came alive after mating the G12H with the Weber.

I have a 2016 CR with a 20 year old pair of G12H30 Anniversary speakers in it. They were Made In England -- which was confirmed for me by Celestion. I bought that pair from our TGP brother "ericb" - and Eric drop-shipped them directly to Brian. Upon installing them in my CR, Brian said it was the single best sounding pair of G12H30s he'd ever heard. I am also running all NOS glass in my CR - and the amp sounds monstrous...as well as dead silent at idle (even with both volumes nearly maxed out). With those speakers and tubes, and Brian's masterful build quality, my CR is just about as loud as my script logo KR.
 

Bobbyoso

Member
Messages
380
I'll second Teleplayer's Brit G12H30 recommendation. My 2003 Club Royale is a 1-12" with that particular speaker, and it works wonderfully for the entire tonal palette of the amp, clean-->dirty. I've also seen, heard, and played a number of CR 2-12s that had (and possibly came oem with??) one Cele Blue and one Brit G12H30; that combo is stellar, as well.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
19,767
I'll second Teleplayer's Brit G12H30 recommendation. My 2003 Club Royale is a 1-12" with that particular speaker, and it works wonderfully for the entire tonal palette of the amp, clean-->dirty. I've also seen, heard, and played a number of CR 2-12s that had (and possibly came oem with??) one Cele Blue and one Brit G12H30; that combo is stellar, as well.
Around 2006 or so, Brian outfitted (as an upgrade) the 2x12 CR with a Heritage G12H and a Blue. Sounded good.

His favorite all-around speaker, though is the G12H30 Anniversary model. Once broken in, it's a great speaker for the CR.
 

Kleio

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
408
I've got a 99 Club Royale. I've got two two G12H30s when I want it to sound open and "clean" but my favorite combo is a G12H30 with a Celestion Blue. I also go with one 8ohm speaker when I want to go light, works great.
 
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ericb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,262
I have a fantastic script logo King Royale that was built and signed by Phil Jamison, who worked for Brian after the initial Matchless closed its doors. My King had an original Weber Ceramic Blue Dog in the original 6-psoke gray basket, and a Made-In-England Greenback. In that amp, the Weber developed some cone cry; this was back around 2005 or so.

I reached out to Ted Weber - who emailed me back in about 6 minutes flat. He asked me to send the speaker back to him, which I did. A couple weeks passed and I heard nothing. A third week passed and still nothing. Not a peep. All of a sudden, one day (about 3 1/2 weeks after I originally sent the speaker back to Ted) the doorbell rings, and the FedEx (or maybe it was UPS) guy hands me a box ... from Weber.

I opened the box, and my original Weber had been completely rebuilt using the same gray spoke basket. I emailed Ted and asked how much I owed him and let him know I wanted to get a check in the mail to him that day. He said, "No charge." I told him I HAD TO pay him something. He flat-out refused to accept any money for the re-build. What a prince of a man ... RIP.

I wound up re-installing the Weber. And then I took out the Greenback a few years later and replaced it with a MIE G12H30. The G12H wound up being a much better fit - about the same DB response - and a much better complement to the Weber. The amp was great before - but it really came alive after mating the G12H with the Weber.

I have a 2016 CR with a 20 year old pair of G12H30 Anniversary speakers in it. They were Made In England -- which was confirmed for me by Celestion. I bought that pair from our TGP brother "ericb" - and Eric drop-shipped them directly to Brian. Upon installing them in my CR, Brian said it was the single best sounding pair of G12H30s he'd ever heard. I am also running all NOS glass in my CR - and the amp sounds monstrous...as well as dead silent at idle (even with both volumes nearly maxed out). With those speakers and tubes, and Brian's masterful build quality, my CR is just about as loud as my script logo KR.
Hey, cool reading this! Glad you guys loved the speakers. If I remember right they were some of the early 70th anniversary releases. I had them for many years. Still have a few left that I use :)

p.s. I had an early 2x12 Club Royale, and I had the Weber/Tophat Bluedog and a Greenback that came stock in mine and they sounded just fine with that amp

Eric
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
19,767
Hey, cool reading this! Glad you guys loved the speakers. If I remember right they were some of the early 70th anniversary releases. I had them for many years. Still have a few left that I use :)

p.s. I had an early 2x12 Club Royale, and I had the Weber/Tophat Bluedog and a Greenback that came stock in mine and they sounded just fine with that amp

Eric
Hey Eric. Yes, they were early 70th Anniversaries. Perfect for my 2016 CR.

Helped the amp to sound broken in from Day 1.
 

subtomic

Member
Messages
375
Thanks for all the responses. It looks like the G12h30 Anniversary is a consensus favorite. How big a difference is there between the UK ones and the Chinese ones? I’m not sure if the 90s UK versions pop up all that frequently, so if the newer Chinese ones are problematic, would the Heritage G12H or a Weber 1230 still sound good?
 

Bigsby

Member
Messages
1,239
I've got a Scumback S75-PVC Alnico in my ('97) Club Royale 112 which sounds perfect when I'm running the combo alone. I have a matching extension cab with a Red Fang in it, which sounds extra middy in isolation, but helps the amp cut through on a muddy stage and ends up sounding balanced in context. edit: If I was going to try something else in that extension cab, it'd probably be a BlackBack BH75 or whichever Scumback they recommended for maximum stage cut.

My Ambassador 35 has an old ceramic Weber Blue Dog and a Vintage 30. Those go together very well for that particular amp. Never taking them out.
 
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