Austin Speaker Works - a long winded review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Mastervolume, Dec 19, 2009.


  1. Mastervolume

    Mastervolume Member

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    OK - I have been out of "reviewing" products for quite some time now. It seems like for every single product a guitar player can purchase there are 1000 different shades of grey that are marginally different from one product to another ex: it is like a tube screamer with more...insert description here....

    It is rare for me to be genuinely stunned or overly impressed with any piece of new gear. It is also hard for me to justify spending double the price on a piece of gear that is doing the same job as something that works well for me….. see the tube screamer argument again……

    This summer a customer sent me an ASW KTS70 to put in a 1x12 cab that he was having made. I couldn’t believe that he was willing to spend that kind of coin on a ceramic speaker but to each his own and who am I to Judge. When the cab was finished I was AMAZED at the tone. It literally destroyed a 2x12 loaded with my favorite combination of G12H30 and Blue. The 4 of us who were playing through it were awestruck.

    A few days passed and the cab was off to the new owner… I quickly discounted the tone I heard as the planets lining up at the same time as the chimay went down. It could have actually been new strings or perhaps I just WANTED to like it more.

    Fast forward a month or 2, another customer comes over with one of my 1x12s loaded with an elegante…..It made me want to cry. There wasn’t a bad frequency to be had. Everything sounded better. I had 3 other alnico cabs to compare it to and none were remotely close. It was after he left that I made the decision to only load my cabs with ASW. The difference in tone was something that just couldn’t be compromised. When I can justify 400.00 for a boost pedal that I will use 30% of the time is seems silly not to spend less than that for a component that will be used 100% of the time.

    Now with that said here is how I hear the speakers.

    Elegante – Big full and smooth with the right amount of low end and mid emphasis. Highs never get piercing but have a complexity that great alnico speakers need. They compress when driven hard in a way that is smooth and rewarding. Never brittle, never harsh. Good with cleans good with OD. A very tough speaker to beat and my fave with EL84 amps.

    KTS70 – Big and Punchy. Lots of low end and low mids. Loves to be overdriven and yet still gives complex cleans. It has a high end that is more American than the Elegante or the KTS60 and really sits in that full range get out of the way tone that you might find on an older EV. The difference is that unlike some of those big old ev and jbls these have a sweeter midrange that never makes you fell like something is missing. Great all around speaker for all styles. Perfect for the player that has to cover everything with one amp/ cab setup.

    KTS60- Aggressively laid back, this speaker is all about the midrange. I can see how they compare it to a G12H30. It cuts like a knife and likes to get up and growl. The mids are more present on these and with a higher gain amp they purrrrrrr. Super fun speakers to play and I think they work great in open or closed back cabs. I love this for Americana rock, roots and the like.

    I currently have an Absolute on its way to me and really look forward to hearing how this one compares to the Elegante.

    I know this is a stupid long post thanks for hanging in if you made it this far. I just think that these are some of the greatest tone tools being manufactured today and wanted to share that indeed this emperor is fully dressed and sounds stunning!
     
  2. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    So,
    The KTS70 for the Carr Rambler 112 combo?
    Handles the wattage (28 watts or so) without breaking up, yet gives up some nice assistance with the right OD pedal and humbuckers?

    S.
    j
     
  3. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    Yep.
    ASW are great speakers.:dude
    I've got a 70/60 mix in a 212 cab and a 70 in a 112 cab.
    Simply wonderful.:aok
     
  4. Mastervolume

    Mastervolume Member

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    that would be my bet
     
  5. ryhlick

    ryhlick Supporting Member

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    I have been running one in my Rambler for sometime and it is the best I have found so far. It has amazing cleans and wonderful overdriven tones. It is no cheap, but it has taken the Rambler up to another level.
     
  6. Mastervolume

    Mastervolume Member

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    It is a 25W Alnico.
     
  7. remocity

    remocity Supporting Member

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    I think I'm the only one who hasn't bonded with these.
    Had the Elegantes in a 212 Zits cab,,,,also had the KTS70 & 60 together in a 212 Glaswerks and Bruno cab.
    Tried with many amps and didn't find them to work that well for me.:confused:
     
  8. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    I really enjoyed your comments, and as usual it gets me excited all
    over again to get some of these speakers but I'll have to wait until
    after the holidays .

    I was surprised to hear that you feel the 60's sound good in an openback
    cab - it seems that everyone else has said they didn't work well in that
    application .

    Your review really makes me want a pair of each of these, and I have
    a feeling that the Absolutes are going to end my search for a pair of
    vintage blues .
     
  9. Mastervolume

    Mastervolume Member

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    Are you telling me that tone is SUBJECTIVE?

    :)

    I can understand where you are coming from. There are certian amps/speakers/pedal/guitars that others LOVe that leave me baffled.
     
  10. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Have you had a chance to check out any WGS speakers? Their 100W BlackHawk AlNiCo has more or less won me over from my previous attachment to the Gold and Fane AXA12.

    My current favorite AlNiCo speaker is an old original EV SRO, and the BlackHawk isn't far behind.

    I've also been curious about the Elegante, but haven't tried one yet - hopefully at NAMM 2010.
     
  11. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    Must be damn good if it has risen above the Fane AXA12 - I know you've
    sung that speakers praises alot, here .
     
  12. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Roky...

    Correct! I still love the Fane and Gold, and they are both excellent speaker choices, but when I go back and forth between the 4 of them, I find myself gravitating strongly towards the BlackHawk over the Gold and Fane - much to my surprise.

    The EV SRO stands on its own high ground. I've never heard another speaker quite like it, although the BlackHawk is closer to it than the Fane or Gold.

    With this level of speaker quality, it becomes a matter of personal tastes and styles, and how any of these speakers integrate with your amp and cabinets.

    IMO, the WGS BlackHawk deserves to be admitted into this upper echelon of high end AlNiCo speakers.

    FWIW, ASW gets its speaker parts from WGS. That doesn't mean they are similar, but it's an interesting fact to take note of.

     
  13. Dave

    Dave Member

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    I may be in for a similar experience. A client just had a KTS70 shipped to me for the 1x12 I am building him. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for the review, you've really piqued my interest.
     
  14. 3 Mile Stone

    3 Mile Stone Silver Supporting Member

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    Great review. Very interesting. Do they a model out yet that covers teh Green Back realm?
     
  15. ford

    ford Member

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    MV just sent me a KTS60 to put in my Morgan MV23 combo.... I just installed it today and got to spend about thirty minutes playing it..

    Great speaker... works just fine in this open back cab!

    And I do think it sounds much better than the Warehouse Green Beret that was in there.. not that the Green Beret was bad... and for the price of the Green Beret it is a contender for sure.... but the 60 sounds better all around.. really made the cleans of the MV23 stand out a lot more..

    rock

    bford
     
  16. fiddlefadel

    fiddlefadel Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the Tone report. They "sound" very interesting.

    Does anyone remember a thread about a year ago comparing the KTS speakers to Scumnicos? Mickey @ Soultone said he thought the KTS speakers sounded good through a open back cab but the Scumnicos were the speakers in a closed back.

    Have you tried the Scumnicos?

    thanks
    Dave
     
  17. J.T. Guitar

    J.T. Guitar Platinum Member Silver Supporting Member

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    A 60/70 mix replaced the TR-65/TR-65B set I had in my Two-Rock Sig 2x12. These speakers bring something special to the table. Kimock was right, they made my TR speakers sound broken.

    If it weren't for the cone-cry my 100-watt Carol-Ann gives them, they'd be in all my cabs.
     
  18. Steve_2020

    Steve_2020 Member

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    Thanks for the review.

    Besides the good evals, I liked the comparison re: spending $400 on a pedal which will be on some of the time vs. spending the money on speaker(s) which will be on all the time- and are so key to your tone.

    Love my KTS-70 in it's 1X12 ported cab. This cab always sounded very good with the 1265 type speaker, now sounds wonderful with the ASW. Currently my go-to cab for Fendery/D-amp sound.

    Will be buying some more ASWs for a 2X12 closed back, which is as big as I ever use anymore (the Marshall 4X12 slant has assumed 'furniture' status in my living room:))

    Will probably mix and match for the 2X12, still thinking about it. This cab is for more classic-rock Marshally sounds, though I would like a little chime in there. Depends on if I get the new head I'm thinking about, which apparently has vox-y cleans.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  19. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    Ron,

    Interesting piece of info. Do you mean the magnets, frames and plates or the soft parts? I think the cone is what makes the ASWs.
    special. Ron at ASW has told me they did lots of work with their cone supplier to get things "right".

    David at WGS .. his Dad used to own Hawley products which made lots of cones, even so, he said they get their cones from England.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  20. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I don't know. One of the guys from WGS mentioned this on another thread in passing. He didn't say which parts. It sounded like they get all their parts from them - obviously made to their specs.
     

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