Mesa Black Shadow Speakers

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by kgmessier, Jun 26, 2006.


  1. kgmessier

    kgmessier Member

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    Hi,

    What can y'all tell me about Mesa's Black Shadow 12" speakers? How are they in and of themselves, and how do they compare to Celestion Vintage 30s?

    - Keith
     
  2. lespauldude

    lespauldude Member

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    They are 90 watt Celestions, and I believe one of the few still made in the Enland factory (from what I've heard). I have them in a Mesa open-back 2-12 cab, and the sound fantastic. The sound better than the V-30's in another cab that I have, IMO.
     
  3. SFW

    SFW Member

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    THe C90 is by far my favorite speaker.
     
  4. kgmessier

    kgmessier Member

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    Is "C90" synonymous with "Black Shadow"?
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    No. Confusingly, Mesa call all their custom speakers 'Black Shadows'. It's been put on EVs, Celestions (though not the V30 for some reason, even though their version is no longer the same as the standard one) and Eminences.

    It's based on Celestion's old G12-80 model from the 1980s - as is the Classic Lead 80, but the MC90 and CL80 aren't the same thing and don't sound the same (or the same as the old 80).

    The MC90 is also my favorite speaker. It's very even, chunky-sounding and defined, without the upper-mid peak like the V30. The low end is deeper, the top end clearer and if there is a peak it's in the lower mids. It's definitely not a 'sweet' vintage-sounding speaker but IMO it works really well for most styles while maybe not being the definitive one for any, if that makes sense.
     
  6. kgmessier

    kgmessier Member

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    Makes perfect sense to me, John. Thanks!

    BTW, I'm assuming "CL80" stands for "Classic Lead 80." Is that correct? Also, what does "MC90" stand for, and are the "80" and "90" each respective speaker's wattage rating?

    - Keith
     
  7. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Yes, Mesa/Celestion and yes, in that order :).

    The interesting thing is that not only is Mesa's speaker 10W higher-rated than the CL80 and the G12-80 it was based on, their (also still UK-made) Vintage 30 is as well - 70W not 60. Original V30s were rated at 70 too. I've heard that the difference is due to the cone doping or a different type of glue used - which would make sense, if it's a bit more heat-resistant - but whatever, these Mesa speakers don't sound the same as the regular Chinese-made Celestions... IMO they're much better.
     
  8. 8lbs8k

    8lbs8k Member

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    John P, your posts are always extremely informative and useful. Thank you.

    Are the MC90s as efficient/sensitive as V30s? I ask because I have a JTM45 clone that sounds best through (my girlfriend's) little open-back mesa cab w/ v30s. I want to pick one of these cabs up but I've been holding out for one with v30s. For the tone, sure, but mostly for the volume and the mid peak. For this particular application, anything quieter or much flatter wouldn't really cut it. There's plenty of Black-Shadow-equipped ones floating around, but few with v30s and if the Black Shadows would do the job, I could save myself time and money. A bump in the low mids might be just as good as the v30s' bump in the upper mids for my purposes.

    Thanks!!
     
  9. orangekick

    orangekick Member

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    I have a 4x12 with 2 MC90's and 2 V30's in it. I'm thinking of ditching the V30's because I tend to mic the MC90's instead of the V30's. The 90's also just sound better to my ears, not as "stabby."
     
  10. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I've had Mesa's C90 Black Shadows in several Boogie cabs I've used over the years, starting in the early '90s. First in a couple of Satellite combos, then in the top of a 4x12 (with the 200W EV "Black Shadow" speakers for the bottom two 12's), and then in two wide-body 1x12s.

    In my experience, they are best suited for players who run their cabs very, VERY loud! Here's why: they've got rolled off high and low frequencies, so they're suited to what our ears like to hear at high volume (can you say Fletcher-Munson?). The EVs provided the tight lows and brighter highs that the C90s did not, but they sure made my 4x12 heavy.

    A few years ago, I replaced the C90s in my stereo pair of widebody 1x12s (semi-open back). I put a WeberVST Silver Bell in one, and noted the auspicious increase in midrange clarity, with tighter, fuller low end. Then replaced the other with a Weber Blue Dog, and noted the sweet upper-mid clarity that I'd never experienced with the C90s. I'm playing with much less buzzy distortion now than I did in my youth, and the C90s don't work as well as the Webers for the clear, articulate cleans and more mild overdrive sounds I use these days.

    I've sold my C90s, and wouldn't go back. But I still might recommend C90s for Boogie's high gain sounds (especially if using stock tubes) - just make sure to play 'em LOUD to get the best out of them.

    - T
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I'm also a fan and user of the Black Shadow 90. It's edgy enough for rock and roll but still ok for other styles.
     
  12. Doug

    Doug Member

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    The CL80 in my Bogner Shiva 1 X 12 combo had some serious cone cry. Bogner/A-Plus Guitars sent me a Black Shadow 90 to replace it with. Big difference, no more cone cry and sounds great. Thanks guys!
     
  13. kmanick

    kmanick Member

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    I've got an Avatar 2X12 traditional cab I bought empty and loaded it with C90's. I run together with my recto 2X12 cab. I like the mix of them together.
    the C90 is definitely smoother than the V30 has a bit more bottom end and more treble to it than the V30 (mesa's V30's).
    I agree with timbre_Wolf, the more juice you feed into these speakers the better they sound. at low volume I prefer my recto cab, but when I turn up the C90's really start to kick. When playing loud both cabs together (thru my Mark III) give me a real thick heavy tone but still nice and sharp and chunky sounding.
    I'd love to try on of those old EVM black shadows that they originally sold with the mark series combos. I'd like to hear what the difference is.
     
  14. jaycee

    jaycee Member

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    I have an F50 combo with the MC90 and an avatar cab with the hellatone 60. Two very different sounding speakers combine for a nice big sound!
     
  15. 3 Mile Stone

    3 Mile Stone Silver Supporting Member

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    Mesa C90 = great speaker. Used those for many many years. pretty much what everybody said. They do a good job if you need a small cab to get a big sound.
     
  16. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    Question for MC90, CL80, etc. experts (John Phillips or others):

    I think the Eminence Red Ryder was designed to sound similar to one of these. Has anyone hear compared this speaker to CL80, MC90, or G12-80 to note the differences? IMO, Eminence versions of Celestions often sound better than the Celesitons in 1x12s or 2x12s, but not as good in 4x12s.

    The Red Ryder was discontinued, I think, because it was tonally close to the Tonker, which grabbed all the early attention, but I don't think it was any better.

    The Red Ryder is probably my favorite 1x12 all purpose high power speaker. It seems more toneful than the CL80 to me while also not coloring the tone.
     
  17. Andre357

    Andre357 Member

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    the c90 black shadow is a great speaker. I've used it with mesa's fenders and buddas....

    All sound great using that speaker...

    Rich, full sounding speaker with no accentuation of any particular frequency. Just full spectrum high quality sound, without ever sounding brittle or harsh.

    The fender supersonic i had for a while sounded VASTLY better with a c90 IMHO...
     
  18. Deville2Rocket

    Deville2Rocket Member

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    My Black Shadow is a 200 watt EVM-12L
     
  19. serviviente7

    serviviente7 Supporting Member

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    I have a mesa black shadow in my 50 caliber + and i think they sound fanstastic. They are perfect for me. They are little more dark than the celestions but still very balanced and they break out very nice. No complaints here!
     
  20. Deville2Rocket

    Deville2Rocket Member

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    It'd be easy to answer the OP's question if the Black Shadow was consistently the same speaker. But the point is rather moot, now that we know that the Black Shadow label is applied to several different speakers.
     

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