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Eminence Big Ben 15" Speaker Sounds "Funny"

davegardner0

Member
Messages
112
I've had an empty 1x15" guitar cab for forever, and finally decided to get it up and running. Since I had a Peavey Delta Blues ages ago that sounded wonderful, I ordered an Eminence Big Ben speaker (supposed to sound similar). I also did a bit of fixing up of the cab, which involved making a frame for a grille cloth, plugging up two 2" ports in the front baffle with some hardwood, sanding/refinishing the cab, and adding the appropriate hardware. You can see one of the plugged up ports on the lower left in the photos below.

The problem is, the cab just sounds "bad" in a way that I'm struggling to describe. Sort of like somebody sucked the mids out of it along with a decrease in volume. I don't *think* this is due to the speaker not being broken in yet (especially since I did use this cab at one very high volume, several hour long session so far). Additionally, while the cab sounds bad in the room compared to other cabs I have, it actually sounds fine when close-miked. So, I'm wondering if I've got something weird going on with the size of the cab, size/shape of the open back, etc. I'd always thought that the cab design doesn't matter too much when you've got an open back, but maybe I was wrong?

Anyway, here's a link so you can hear what I'm talking about, I played my Marshall JVM210 head first through a Marshall 1960A cab, and then through the Big Ben. I kept the mic a similar distance away from both cabs, so the volume difference you hear is real. Of course an open backed 1x15 wouldn't ever sound the same as a sealed 4x12, but I included both cabs in the recording just so you can get a point of reference.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwaVQGbC9sZfRDlpbUc5NS1QeWs

And here's the cab itself. The internal dimensions are 22" wide x 22" high x 9" deep. The cutout in the back panel is 19" x 12.5". The cab doesn't appear to have any internal supports, and both the front baffle and back panels are permanently attached to the cab. The wood is really good quality plywood with tons of plys. I don't think the cab's construction (joints and things, resistance to vibration) is the issue though as I recorded the demo above at "bedroom" volume levels.

Photos:
Thanks for the help!
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
Hmmm, cab looks decent. It's tough. How thick is the speaker baffle? I had a cab with a 3/4 baffle that I must have tried a dozen speakers in. I just could not get it to sound good. It was fingerjointed pine like I usually use but had that 3/4 ply baffle. Seemed indistinct sounding, just hard to nail down why.
However, I had a Big Ben and found it kind of lack lustre for my ears.
 

davegardner0

Member
Messages
112
I thought that initally too, but the Big Ben just sounds so quiet and weird, it's really well beyond the normal open/closed back difference. I just did a second demo to see if I'm crazy, here's the same Marshall head first plugged into the Big Ben cab, then into the speaker in my Fender Deluxe Reverb RI. It's definitely closer sounding, but the DRRI still sounds a lot more full, and louder. Plus according to the spec sheets, the Jensen C12k in the DRRI has a sensitivity of 99 dB, while the Big Ben is 101.3 dB so the DRRI should NOT be louder.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwaVQGbC9sZfdmFjenpsMm9rSzg
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
That's interesting. The Big Ben clip is definitely very scooped sounding. Very 80's-90's -ish! It would be interesting to hear a C15K in the same cab and see if it sounds like the C12K. The Ben didnt sound quiet to me but the mids are very gone. I think it may be just the Ben. But as I said, I had a 3/4 baffle that really didnt produce sound I liked, although I changed speakers multiple times. Got any other 15's around? I've had a C15K laying around a couple years I bought for a project that went away. The baffle is definitely part of a cab's tone.
 
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6,931
Could it be the proximation to the rear wall or somthing? Then some 15":ers are known to exhibit a scooped quality, mainly because of their ample low-end, and have to be chosen wisely. I could see how plugging those ports may just have prevented some cancellation in the lows, actually.

Couldn't say about any similarities between the two drivers but I was aware of the scooped sounding tendencies of the Big Ben - e.g. the Emi Legend 15":er seems way more balanced and present, whereas the BB seems more chopped of in the highs. Perhaps a smaller and/ harder material for the dust cap could lift it slightly, but likely not sufficiently.
 

Ronnie J

You were meant for me. Perhaps as punishment.
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
709
That's a pretty big rear opening. Have you thought about partially closing it?
 

davegardner0

Member
Messages
112
That's interesting. The Big Ben clip is definitely very scooped sounding. Very 80's-90's -ish! It would be interesting to hear a C15K in the same cab and see if it sounds like the C12K. The Ben didnt sound quiet to me but the mids are very gone. I think it may be just the Ben. But as I said, I had a 3/4 baffle that really didnt produce sound I liked, although I changed speakers multiple times. Got any other 15's around? I've had a C15K laying around a couple years I bought for a project that went away. The baffle is definitely part of a cab's tone.
My other data point is that I had a Peavey Scorpion 15" in the cab for a while and it also sounded weirdly scooped sounding, which makes me think the cab is the issue... I agree though popping in a C15K would be a nice test! An expensive test, but a good test :)

Could it be the proximation to the rear wall or somthing? Then some 15":ers are known to exhibit a scooped quality, mainly because of their ample low-end, and have to be chosen wisely. I could see how plugging those ports may just have prevented some cancellation in the lows, actually.

Couldn't say about any similarities between the two drivers but I was aware of the scooped sounding tendencies of the Big Ben - e.g. the Emi Legend 15":er seems way more balanced and present, whereas the BB seems more chopped of in the highs. Perhaps a smaller and/ harder material for the dust cap could lift it slightly, but likely not sufficiently.
It's funny you say that about the BB being scooped. When picking my speaker I considered both the Big Ben and the Legend and based on the sound clips on the Eminence website I thought the Legend was more American/scooped sounding which is why I went with the Big Ben...
Also the wall could cause an issue, I'll try moving the cabinet around in the room. I'm also going to get some silicone glue and make sure those ports are really sealed, as I thought blocking them would help the sound, not hurt it.

That's a pretty big rear opening. Have you thought about partially closing it?
This is definitely on my to-do list of experiments, good thinking!
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
I doubt it's the opening. Many Fenders are very open. A Super Rev has plenty of Mids. But anything is possible! The cab I mention with the 3/4 baffle had the closed / one third open back option. It didnt change a ton either way, although sealed backs are always more compressed sounding .. A Emi Legend might be a better test than a C15K. The Legend is loud and bright with plenty of mids IME.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
That's a lot of cabinet mass, 3/4 everywhere, even the back looks like 3/4? If you think of a heavy Stereo speaker, they are often pretty hi fi/ scooped sounding also. So, maybe it is the cab.
I'm thinking... what if you built an acoustic guitar out of 3/4 ply? or even just the top and back? It wouldnt be loud and the strings would produce sound, but the wood wouldnt project much sound.
 

J M Fahey

Member
Messages
2,929
Cabinet has a great influence at lowest frequencies.

Mids and highs radiate from cone straight out into the room, don´t even *notice* the cabinet.

Compared both datasheets: this one and Peavey´s Celestion G15V ... VERY different beasts:

Legend: large 2 1/2" voice coil, huge magnet, unusually **thick** plate (9.5mm), very probably a long voice coil, 225W rating (so thick wire, thick heavy former, lots of adhesive), probably thick paper cone: everything points at a PA (or Bass) Woofer design.

It can be used with guitar, of course, but sound will be muffled and lack punch.
That said, most woofers have a mid-high frequency peak but in general it´s perceived as annoying and in PA use they are crossed over *lower* than that peak to avoid it.
Guitar cabinets are single unit (or many alike) full range of course, no crossovers.

This speaker has a large 2 kHz peak: https://www.eminence.com/pdf/BIG_BEN.pdf

Celestion: smaller lighter "guitar type" voice coil, 100W rating, very probably thinner paper cone, way more extended range, this one reaches easily 4500Hz, more than an (important) octave above the Legend.
http://celestion.com/product/153/g15v100_fullback/

Sensitivity: not dissing anybody, but Celestion has consistently met (and surpassed) rated efficiency, while Eminence systematically adds around 2.5 to 3dB to their own when writing brochures.
Mind you: they do state that (or did, lately that information has been left out, read older datasheets):"measured in 2 Pi space" , only it´s Engineer slang and regular buyer ignores that and just reads "the number" prominently displayed at the beginning.

Ever noticed that those numbers usually have a couple *** by them, which lead you to small print "but .... if ...." caveats at the bottom of the back page?

Combine this and Celestion´s "fast and nervous" response (low mass) and extended range (more than 1 extra octave) and I can easily understand while Celestion´s 99dB surpass Eminence´s "101 dB" (PMPO dB? o_O )
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
Cabinet has a great influence at lowest frequencies.

Mids and highs radiate from cone straight out into the room, don´t even *notice* the cabinet.

Compared both datasheets: this one and Peavey´s Celestion G15V ... VERY different beasts:

Legend: large 2 1/2" voice coil, huge magnet, unusually **thick** plate (9.5mm), very probably a long voice coil, 225W rating (so thick wire, thick heavy former, lots of adhesive), probably thick paper cone: everything points at a PA (or Bass) Woofer design.

It can be used with guitar, of course, but sound will be muffled and lack punch.
That said, most woofers have a mid-high frequency peak but in general it´s perceived as annoying and in PA use they are crossed over *lower* than that peak to avoid it.
Guitar cabinets are single unit (or many alike) full range of course, no crossovers.

This speaker has a large 2 kHz peak: https://www.eminence.com/pdf/BIG_BEN.pdf

Celestion: smaller lighter "guitar type" voice coil, 100W rating, very probably thinner paper cone, way more extended range, this one reaches easily 4500Hz, more than an (important) octave above the Legend.
http://celestion.com/product/153/g15v100_fullback/

Sensitivity: not dissing anybody, but Celestion has consistently met (and surpassed) rated efficiency, while Eminence systematically adds around 2.5 to 3dB to their own when writing brochures.
Mind you: they do state that (or did, lately that information has been left out, read older datasheets):"measured in 2 Pi space" , only it´s Engineer slang and regular buyer ignores that and just reads "the number" prominently displayed at the beginning.

Ever noticed that those numbers usually have a couple *** by them, which lead you to small print "but .... if ...." caveats at the bottom of the back page?

Combine this and Celestion´s "fast and nervous" response (low mass) and extended range (more than 1 extra octave) and I can easily understand while Celestion´s 99dB surpass Eminence´s "101 dB" (PMPO dB? o_O )
Did you mean Big Ben in lieu of Legend...?
 

davegardner0

Member
Messages
112
Legend: large 2 1/2" voice coil, huge magnet, unusually **thick** plate (9.5mm), very probably a long voice coil, 225W rating (so thick wire, thick heavy former, lots of adhesive), probably thick paper cone: everything points at a PA (or Bass) Woofer design.

It can be used with guitar, of course, but sound will be muffled and lack punch.
That said, most woofers have a mid-high frequency peak but in general it´s perceived as annoying and in PA use they are crossed over *lower* than that peak to avoid it.
Guitar cabinets are single unit (or many alike) full range of course, no crossovers.
This does not describe the Legend's sound AT ALL.
It doesn't describe the Big Ben's tone either, right? Everything I've ready about both the Legend and the Big Ben (not sure which one was meant to be described) is that they are 100% purpose-designed guitar speakers. NOT a PA driver / woofer, right?
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
35,010
It doesn't describe the Big Ben's tone either, right? Everything I've ready about both the Legend and the Big Ben (not sure which one was meant to be described) is that they are 100% purpose-designed guitar speakers. NOT a PA driver / woofer, right?
I nave not heard a Ben. I think it is supposed to be a bit duller with a more prominent midrange than the Legend.
Pull it out of the cab and try it.
 

J M Fahey

Member
Messages
2,929
I called the Big Ben "Legend" because I thought it was under that "umbrella"; if not, my bad.

I have not listened to it personally (YT videos don´t count much ) but I am trying to understand davegardner0´s strong comments:
The problem is, the cab just sounds "bad" in a way that I'm struggling to describe. Sort of like somebody sucked the mids out of it along with a decrease in volume.
the cab sounds bad in the room compared to other cabs I have
and commented what I see in Eminence´s supplied datasheet which could explain that.

I also linked it so anybody can look at it and draw own conclusions.
 

davegardner0

Member
Messages
112
Ok I had some time to try some different ideas suggested on here:

I sealed up the port plugs, as well as the cabinet's seams and corners, with some silicone glue, which didn't seem to change the tone at all.

Then I tried altering the cutout size on the back of the cabinet by clamping on a piece of plywood to partially or totally cover the back hole. In general the cab gets a bit tighter with the back closed (expected) and with the back partially closed it has more bass vs. completely open (also expected). The harsh treble and scooped mids didn't really go away though.

Also there's no audible change with the cabinet against a wall vs. in the middle of the room or on the floor vs. on a stand.

I also connected the speaker to my PA mixer and power amp and plugged my phone in with a signal generator app. When sweeping with a sine wave I can hear some peaks, around 225Hz and then I think in the 700-800 range, as well as the 2kHz peak that's been mentioned. But I couldn't really hear anything super obvious like a crazy resonance.

So all that's got me wondering if maybe I'm still pretty far away from having the speaker broken in?

I think what I'll do next is swap back in the Peavey Scorpion 15" I have sitting around, and then play it some plus repeat the signal generator test, to see what differences I can hear.


On another note, I've been reading about breaking in speakers. I don't think I have the noise tolerance at home to leave the speaker playing loud music all day. One other strategy I saw was to run the speaker at 20 Hz at enough power to get the cone moving, which is conveniently silent. :) Since I have my PA amp set up I thought I might give this a try. Has anyone done this? I don't want to blow up my speaker OR my PA power amp (Carvin DCM2000L) and I know bass frequencies are taxing on equipment. I tried it briefly and had the cone moving maybe 1/4" with about 3-4 Volts on the speaker as measured by my multimeter.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
I've not found most Emi's to need much break in compared with say... Webers. I think Weber uses a very tight VC clearance, which may be the reason....
 

jcs

Member
Messages
8,093
I own a 15 Eminence Legend 151....its been in my 67 Ampeg Gemini II and used with other amps....it fits the Chicago Jensen C15N voice pretty well but its louder than my original Chicago Jensen C15N or P15N which both are reference 15" speakers for me.

I own 70's Fender/Utah 15s as well....again, the Fender C15N type but bigger magnet....nice speaker overall and loud like the 151 and WELL broken in to say the least!

I have never used a Big Ben but know several folks that found it very amp and cabinet dependent.

I would stick with the Legend 151 or some other.....70's Eminence smooth cone alnico, EV15L i have a pair but are currently used as bass speakers in TL606 ported cabs but can do guitar duty.

I DO have a 15 Scorpion......i need to pull it out, but i remember the screw holes are a different pattern so i was never able to use it in some cabs.

I am wondering if the Big Ben doesnt need some more breaking in?.....Eminence uses a LOT of doping and likely stiff soft parts as well.
 




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