Man...speakers sure do make a difference

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Leonc, Apr 28, 2005.


  1. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I've been diggin my new (old) Ampeg Reverb-o-Rocket II since I got it about 8 or 9 months ago. I had one of about the same vintage back in the lates 70s/early 80s that I loved but eventually sold of with a bunch of other gear before going to grad school. I'd been itching for that sound again for the last year or two and eventually found one that was near "cherry" and snatched it up.

    Fredric Taccone went through it for me and the thing sounded damn good, but I was never a fan of the cheapo alnico speakers they used...not for my style. So I talked about it with Fred, who loves G12H30s, as do I and I figured that might work (though neither of us had ever tried one in this kind of amp before).

    So I popped a G12H30 in there and boy...big improvement. I've had it that way since shortly after Fred went through it. But lately, I've noted that the highs were a little brittle/harsh, the lows were very present but there wasn't as much midrange crunch...and it wasn't breaking up as easily as I remembered my old R-o-R doing. I thought maybe what it needed was something a bit less efficient and a little darker. I just popped in a used Greenback and bingo--exactly what I've been looking for. Smoothed out the highs and breaks up a little earlier. Also quiets the amp down a few RCHs.

    Very cool. I attribute this to having hung around here long enough to be exposed to the concepts of efficiency and different speakers' personalities. And since doing so over the last few years, I've diddled with enough speakers, with a pretty analytical mindset, to have been able to make this prediction.

    But man...if you're not quite satisifed with your amp...you've GOT TO experiment a bit with speakers.
     
  2. saros141

    saros141 Guest

    I totally agree - much bigger difference than swapping tubes. A little more laborious (and a collection of speakers tends to take up a little more space) but well worth the effort.
     
  3. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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  4. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Yup, I found out all of this the hard way, too, Leon. And it's why I wound up spending about 40k on speakers in the last five years, too. They make the biggest difference you can hear in an amp, and without a whole bunch of screwing around.

    Although, yeah... you do tend to get a few in your gear pile...





















    (looks over shoulder to view 80-90 boxes stacked to the ceiling full of old Celestions, new Scumbacks, etc, etc....)
    :D
     
  5. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, my wife wonders why I need a closet full of speakers and 5 cabs. You really do need to match the speaker with your amp (and guitar)

    For instance
    I find JBLs and Weber CA s to be great with Blacface type amps. Can''t recommend them with a Trock or marshall type


    I like EMI Tonkers with my Tele -smooths the highs a bit


    Blues go with a Vox or UG30 well ....


    and on it goes
     
  6. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yah, waaaaaay back in the old days, I was really un-analytical about this kind of issue. In my mind, there were okay speakers (maybe Jensens or Altec Lansings), good speakers (EVs) and great speakers (JBLs) :p! (Celestions weren't even on my radar screen. :eek: ) If you wanted to "sound better", you just had to use better speakers. hahah! What's the word I'd use to describe that?? Hmmm. Well, I guess "dumbass" fits.
     
  7. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    I agree with this.

    Have used an All Tone, an Emi Legend and GB12 through my Hellhound, and each one was a world of difference!
     
  8. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    I have you beat on that one Leon.

    I had analyzed all sort of thing about speaker construction - edge wound voice coils, gap tolerance, stray magnetic fields , voice coil size, frame type .....

    Of course this meant JBLs were the best - celestions must be crap since they had these cheesy stamped frames, were not as efficient .....

    I somehow did not realize that with guitars it is not about accuracy or lack of distortion
     
  9. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep...All tone in Leon's world is governed by the simple equation:

    HF* <> GGT**



    * High Fidelity

    ** Great Guitar Tone


    :p
     
  10. Bajan

    Bajan Member

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    I remember seeing a quote from Dr.Z on this from an ToneQuest interview, so I dug it up.

    "[TQ] Can you take a stab at describing the hierarchy or rank of various components in determining and influencing the tone of an amp?

    [Dr.Z] It’s kind of hard to say, but resistors probably the least, filter caps next, tubes…well, yeah, they’re pretty important because different manufacturers’ tubes have different responses. Output and power transformers are a very critical part—the heart of an amp, and speakers are the single most important component in an amp. They’re the final transducers. If the speaker isn’t right for the amp, no matter how great that amp is, it’s not going to sound that good because that’s what you’re going hear. The speaker has to be tweaked and designed as part of the system when you design a combo amp."
     
  11. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    The speakers are at least as important to the sound of an amp as the pickups are to the sound of a guitar.

    It's funny how I hear so many people going on about the special pickups they've put in their guitar and how great they are - or how they've gone through loads of different ones and can't quite get "that" sound - but when you ask them what speakers are in their cab, they often don't even know, let alone have thought about whether they might be the best choice.
     
  12. I have found that its the same for bass speakers too...
    Although you are not looking at how the speaker breaks up.
     
  13. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Absolutely. They are perfectly analogous to each other as the point of conversion to/from an electrical signal at each end of the signal path.
     
  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    I KNEW that was you playing!! VERY cool! Always puts a smile on my face. THANKS, I needed it today! :) By the way, the middle Eminence speaker was my favorire. VERY alive sounding, even compared to the G12H30, which I love.
     
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan Member

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    Very interesting - I didn't expect such a big difference between a new and used speaker (the CL80's) - they almost sounded like completely different speakers.

    The V30's were my favorite.
     
  16. Blueser

    Blueser Member

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    I liked the used Classic Lead 80s best (Vintage 30s a close second along with the GBs). The new ones sound so much darker. Do they actually get brighter as they break in?

    Ed,

    I am trying my SLO through some Fanes today, so you will be getting my cab order next week, as soon as sort all of the listening stuff squared away!

    Thanks,
    B
     
  17. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I don't think it's so much that the new one is darker as that it's tighter. The old one sounds so much more open and lively. Is the used one British and the new one Chinese though?

    The old 80 is my favorite, but the V30 is a very close second - my 'perfect' tone would be somewhere in between the two (like a Mesa/Celestion 90, perhaps...? ;)) - the 80 is a little too grainy at the top, the V30 a little too smooth. I like the Greenback too, but you can really hear the lower sensitivity and the tendency to mush out. The G12H-30 sounds too neutral and flat.

    I don't like any of the Eminences, they all sound too nasal and harsh to me.
     
  18. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    +1
     
  19. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    That's pretty cool...now if this could be reproduced using multiple amps, that would be dandy. :D

    It's been lately for me too on the speaker swapping thing...amazing how what sounds great with one amp stinks with another! Already have a few speaks in the closet, 3 combos with different speaks, one 2x12 cab, and another on the way.
    Greg
     
  20. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I totally agree!

    If you read about my newly acquired '64 R12R, I'm going through the same thing
    trying to figure out exactly which speaker to go with.

    It's tragic how many fine amps are sold simply due to the wrong choice of driver.

    In most cases a problem that can be fixed for the price of a good pedal, but time and time again we hear the amp was too loud or the tones were to harsh, so they sell a
    perfectly good amp without trying different speakers and cabs.
     

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