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Man...speakers sure do make a difference

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,231
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.
 
S

saros141

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.
 

Scumback Speakers

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,873
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
 

dbeeman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,943
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
 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,231
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.
 

melondaoust

Member
Messages
849
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!
 

dbeeman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,943
Hmmm. Well, I guess "dumbass" fits.
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
 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,231
Yep...All tone in Leon's world is governed by the simple equation:

HF* <> GGT**



* High Fidelity

** Great Guitar Tone


:p
 

Bajan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
607
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."
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
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.
 
L

LooksLikeBass

The speakers are at least as important to the sound of an amp as the pickups are to the sound of a guitar.
I have found that its the same for bass speakers too...
Although you are not looking at how the speaker breaks up.
 

fullerplast

Senior Member
Messages
6,781
Originally posted by John Phillips
The speakers are at least as important to the sound of an amp as the pickups are to the sound of a guitar.
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.
 

Blueser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,765
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
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
Originally posted by Blueser
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?
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.
 

Marcello

Member
Messages
1,633
Originally posted by John Phillips
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.
+1
 

gkelm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,753
Originally posted by Ed DeGenaro
Agreed...
case in point http://www.lordriffenstein.com/speakers.htm
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
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,360
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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