Princeton Reverb/What does 'warm' mean?

hafizimran

Member
Messages
226
Ladies & Gents,

I've issues with the word 'warm'. So I need to be schooled on what it really MEANS. Here was my experience:-

I ordered a Blackface Princeton Reverb (PR) clone with a 12" speaker. When it came down to speaker choice, the builder recommended me a Weber 12-V, (Celestion Vintage 30 copy) as he preferred it to be 'a little warmer, more responsive and articulate.' The other choice was a Weber California (JBL D-120 copy).

I was pleased with the build quality of the amp but in all honesty couldn't bond with the tone. I felt that there was 'too much going on' when playing chords. It wasn't 'sparkly'. It was 'mushy' and the note separation on chords wasn't all that 'crisp'. I'd bought the amp based on my experience with the Fender PRRI which, apart from the shoddy construction in the one they had at the local guitar store, was absolutely fantastic.

So going on memory of what I thought the Fender PRRI sounded like, I used a BOSS EQ pedal and found the tone I like to have a slight 'U' shape. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this means that I'm inclined towards a mid-scooped sound, right?

To keep it short, I'd appreciate if you can school me onthe following:-

1. Is 'warm' basically mid-full? Which mid - lower-mids, middle-mids, upper- mids?
2. Is 'sparkly' basically mid-scooped + pronounced treble?
3. The Fender PRRI has Jensen C10R speeks. Would the C12R be a good choice? Or should I go for the C12Q/N. Or can you recommend me something else?
4. Are there any difference in tubes selection with regard to mids? The current one has JJ ECC 83S preamp tubes, 6V6 S power tubes and Ruby 5AR4 rectifier.

I'm not trying to make it metalzone-mid-scooped, but just tame some of the mids without having to use an EQ pedal. Thanks!
 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,165
I don't know what "warm" means to anyone else and everyone's probably got their own idea. Same with "sparkley", "chimey", etc.

A Vintage 30 speaker tends to emphasize upper midrange and has a pretty strong bottom end too, particularly when used in a larger, closed back birch-ply cabinet. It tends to have a somewhat "strident" sound which probably won't work well with the Princeton's tone circuit. We all have our own tastes, but it would be one of my last choices for a Princeton, in a small open back pine cabinet.

But a regular Princeton should indeed have lots of top end and lots of bottom end...that's the way Fender designed that tone circuit. I like my Princeton (a silver faced '79) with the Eminence Ragin Cajun, which has a ceramic magnet. And I think the small cabinet and 10" speaker contribute to the uniqueness of the Princeton's sound. Here's a clip of my Princeton, FWIW:



If you want the sound of 12" speaker, a Deluxe Reverb might be a better choice (IMO). But if I was going to use a 12" speaker with a Princeton, I think the best speakers--which seem to bring out the essence of great Fender tones--are the Eminence Cannabis Rex and Swamp Thang.
 

pageburst

Member
Messages
965
I have an all original 68/69 Drip Edge Princeton Reverb which is essentially a black face PR. Amazing amp. I've probably been through 30 or more boutique and vintage amps and it along with my BF Vibrolux and Carr Rambler, are the ones I kept.

My PR's tone is warm shimmery and articulate and very responsive to the guitars input. It does have a mid scooped perspective that lends itself perfectly to most guitars which tend to be midrange rich anyway so I never feel like I'm loosing any mids. Most tweed amps and other midrange rich amps to me sound boxy, one dimensional, mushy and too in your face compared to the depth I get from my BF flavored amps. Of course their are exceptions the Victoria "tweed" Bassman had marvelous sounding cleans.

With my PR and my CS 58 Strat I can nail Frusciante's clean to edge of break up tones at low volumes. Think Scar Tissue, Soul to Squeeze, Under The Bridge with all that beautiful whistle and chime. Now part of the equation is definitely the Strat because with my early 56 Ash Masterbuilt Strat it's a bit more mid scooped toned with a bigger bass which some might call warmer. This guitar can really get the John Mayer Slow Dancing, Gravity, and those type tones and is perfect for jazz.

So you see part of the equation is the amp part is the guitar but a mushy BF style amp doesn't sound right at all to me. A small tweed amp maybe but not a BF. I would definitely have a chat with your builder.
 

hafizimran

Member
Messages
226
@Leonc: Thanks for your views and video! Tight playing, man. I was smiling through the Robben Ford tune (You did play a Robben Ford tune, right? I can't remember the title).

I'm particularly interested when you were playing the chords at the end bit. It sounds to me that the Ragin Cajun (and maybe the combination with the humbuckers) still has quite a generous amount of mids. I re-checked the freq. response curves for the RC, and it does seem to jive with the story that the C10Rs have less mids than the RCs.

The kind of sound I'm aiming for is more 'sparkly'. I agree with you, different people have different ideas of what 'warm' or 'sparkly' are. I think this video comes quite close to what I'm meaning. If the vid loads from the start, click here or go to 5m06s, once he uses the Strat (which is the guitar I use).
.

So is it the speakers? The pickups? A combination, of course. But I guess you know where I'm trying to go. And just within these walls, not a single day passes me by where I don't regret not sticking to 10s, and C10Rs, to be specific. You're right - you want 12s? Get a DR. I've put in too much money into this amp, though.

---
@pageburst: Awh, man! That's exactly what I mean. I tend to go for my 2 and 4 positions on the Strat to compensate for the mid-yness because in my opinion it has more of this 'scooped-mid' character. I think the tunes you give as examples are what I consider 'sparkly', and not 'warm'. I've got early 60s Slider pickups and I've played through a mate's D-style amp and it sounded good. So I'm pretty sure it's the amp.

Let's say I can't have a talk with my builder, because he is across several oceans. May I know what kind of speakers you have in your PR?

---
@Structo: I think we both kinda have the same understanding. And since I understand that there's an overlap between bass and mid frequencies, I guess it makes sense.

---
So from the above observations, is it generally correct to say that 'warm' means an emphasis on upper-bass / low-mid frequencies? And that I should get a speaker that's relatively scooped in those regions? I'm trying to approach this as methodical as possible, because 1. I want to understand these things so that I can make better judgement in the future, 2. I don't want to be blindly buying stuff and regretting it later, and 3. My pocket isn't as deep as some.

Thank you all, and awaiting more response, if any!
 
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Geetar_Will

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,598
The cannabis rex is great in small cabs. Had one in a blues jr, it changed the amp for the better. Might suggest trying a celestion G12H or a hellatone 30 (same thing but broken in) from avatarspeakers.com. I've always loved the G12H speakers in anything I've tried. Both of those are on the warmer/low to low mid-range side to my ears and could compliment the princeton.

I have a Weber 10F150T (50 watt/light dope for pedals) in my '74 princeton. I love it. I've gigged with it and will continue to do so mic'ed or not. I use 12s (celestion gold and a hellatone 30) with my '64 tremolux for the larger stuff. It's hard for me to imagine a princeton with a 12, but I would like to hear it sometime.
 

pula58

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,663
Try a WGS g12C. I just tried a G10C in my POR and it sounds very nice...quintessentially Fender!
 
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Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
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18,165
hafizimran - Yes I was playing part of Robben's "He Don't Play Nothin But the Blues" - good ears :).

The Rajun Cajun does indeed have good midrange response but I'll say it's much fuller sounding than the Jensen reissues. More low end and a smoother, less spikey sounding top end too.
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,768
hafizimran,

Speakers that have more mids have an in-your-face type sound and do not sound warm to me. I do not care for Weber speakers as all the ones that I've tried have to much midrange.

I prefer the classic scouped mids Jensen/Fender type sound. Like you, I really like the Jensen C10R speaker that comes in the Fender Princeton Reverb reissue. If you want that same sound in a 12" speaker I recommend the Warehouse Speakers G12C. It has good low end and it lets the Fender "sparkle" come through. I like it better than the Jensen reissue C12N.
 

FiestaRed

Member
Messages
21,419
Get rid of the V30. You want a more Fender-y speaker in there, like a Weber 12F150 or a WGS 12C
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,365
I've got a couple princeton reverbs (one being reconstructed right now). Both are silver face. The first has the original baffle. I tried a bunch of speakers... And for quite a while really liked the scum back H75... Sort of a g12h 70th anniversary. That is a nice bright but still warm speaker. Then I tried a JBL e110 and it's over. Love the crisp cleans in that amp.

In the second amp I am set for a twelve. Have a cannabis rex, g12h historic, weber 12f150, and an old J12R to try. It should be fun.
 

Joe L

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,338
I have a PRRI and experimented with a Tone Tubby 10 " 40/40 ceramic as well as a Weber 10F150 and ended staying with the stock Jensen C10R which I find to be a very open sounding speaker with Fender sparkle which fits the PRRI perfectly. I also use a EH 12AY7 in V1 as well as JJ 6V6s. I found that this combo tends to smooth out the tone. As far as warm tone, for me it is having the Fender sparkle, clean, and smooth (rounded at the edges and not spiky) It's very hard to describe what one personally hears verses someone else, hence, the subjectivity in describing "warm". You will need to dial in each guitar ( ie. humbuckers, single coils) differently to achieve this. But it is there in the Princeton.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,365
Am I safe to say ... Anything but a V30 :facepalm I hate those speakers by themself
Lol... I have bought and sold a couple pairs of them trying to like them. Apparently they really have to be well broken in. I now have a absolute beater 4 ohm V30 that sounds great... Especially at 8 ohm. No idea why, but it's really great.
 

hafizimran

Member
Messages
226
Guys thanks for the many great responses. I appreciate it lots.



I'd like to share with you the above. The freq response curves of 6 different types of speakers for comparison. The yellow region is where I've marked what I think are the 'mid' frequencies. The yellow ovals are between 100Hz to 1kHz, around about 90-105dB. The green region is anything above 2kHz, where I think the 'high' frequencies are.

So in essence it's fairly clear that the Jensens have this mid-scoop response, compared to the two Eminences + the V30 where it's quite 'flat' in the yellow regions at roughly about 100dB.

I know, I know. This may not be as scientific a comparison, or as practical a comparison, as some may argue. Frequencies overlap, and it's not very accurate to say, 'A-B Hz are mids, X-Y Hz are highs'. There are also a lot of external factors such as the inherent frequency response of the amp circuit itself, type of tubes, speaker-cab interaction, type of guitar pickups, yada yada. But just for the purpose of a graphical representation, I think this helps me quite a bit.

Hopefully someone will benefit from this. I mean, I didn't know what 'mids' really mean. Or how it relates to being 'warm'. Or how when you have too much mids, your chord definition get lost in the mix, although your solos cut through like Excalibur on a cold winter's night. I probably still don't know all the above. Haha! But the last thing I want is to say, "Man, I need new speakers to get better note definition on chords' and go out and buy a V30, y'know?

I'm purchasing a vintage 60s C12Q from one of
the members here and hope to test how it goes with the setup. Hopefully i'll have clips for comparison.

To those who recommended the WGS 12C, thank you. If funds allow, I'll check that out as well. I don't live in the US, so shipping is a bit killer, y'know?

Thoughts and comments on the above are welcome.

- - - - -
@Geetar_Will: I heard the Celestion G12Hs are less midrange-y than the V30s, and I've got a mate who has it. Will check it out.

@pula58: Yup, I hear ya. I want that 'quintessentially' Fender tone, man. I get my solo tone from the Tube Screamer.

@Leonc: Just got into RF about a year ago. Went to his clinic in Singapore last year. As much as people laud him for his solos, he's got insane rhythmic chops too. 'Crisp' would be the word, I think.

@Figaro & Joe L: It's funny, yeah? Given they're reissues, the Jensens sound really good in the PRRI if you're going for the Blackface Deluxe Reverb thing.

@FiestaRed: They're gone. Just sold it on a local website last night.

@pepi: Hahaha! It's safe to say, indeed. I hate 'em, too. No, that's too strong. I just don't need mids! What's with people and mids, eh? 'It depends on the application' would be my politically correct response, I guess. ;-)
 

hafizimran

Member
Messages
226
smolder, do tell us your findings on the 12" speaker shootout. It'd be great to know.

Anyone have experience with the more 'exotic' 12" speakers such as JBLs, EVs, Fane etc in the PR or elsewhere? Are the reissues of these 'good enough' or do they miss the mark? Trust me, I'm not into an all-out tone hunt.
 

zzmoore

Member
Messages
7,134
Warm = Dark
Sparkle and Chime = Harsh and Too Bright
Tight Bass = Stiff
Flabby and Loose = Wonderful Bloom and Sag like in a Five Thousand Dollar Fender Tweed
Articulate and "Organic" (WTF does organic mean) = Auto-Pilot and Modern sounding
Up = Down
On = Off
Brown Sound = Cannot describe what a color looks like, but apparently we know what color sounds like.
Quack = Sweet Home Alabama
Free Bird = Heckler
Hi-Fi = No color (color again). The sound that comes out is the same as the sound that goes in. And that is supposed to be bad for some reason.
Best
 

hafizimran

Member
Messages
226
Warm = Dark
Sparkle and Chime = Harsh and Too Bright
Tight Bass = Stiff
Flabby and Loose = Wonderful Bloom and Sag like in a Five Thousand Dollar Fender Tweed
Articulate and "Organic" (WTF does organic mean) = Auto-Pilot and Modern sounding
Up = Down
On = Off
Brown Sound = Cannot describe what a color looks like, but apparently we know what color sounds like.
Quack = Sweet Home Alabama
Free Bird = Heckler
Hi-Fi = No color (color again). The sound that comes out is the same as the sound that goes in. And that is supposed to be bad for some reason.
Best
ROTFLMAO! Enjoyed the 'Hi-Fi' bit. Sounds like a Hiwatt through a super-linear reference monitor to me.
 

Joe L

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,338
While I do like the Jensen C10R speaker in my PRRI, my '95 TRRI is loaded with a pair of C-Rex which sound best to me in that amp. They preserve the Fender clean and sparkle, but makes it smoother/warmer compared the the gold label Eminence that came stock in these amps in 1995. I have also read where the C-Rex work nicely in the Deluxe Reverb, which can tend to be inherently bright. It's all blackface tone desired in these amps, however it's all about speaker amp match up to the users ear.
 

snod911

Member
Messages
124
I'm very interested in folks' responses here--and little concerned too, as I have a Princeton Reverb style amp with a 12" speaker on order from (I believe) the same builder and received (and went with) the same speaker recommendation. Option 2 was a Weber California. I wonder whether that would be a better choice for the OP--and for me as well. I know Allen Amplification recommends the Eminence Red White & Blues in its 12" Princeton Reverb-style Sweet Spot. Anyone have any experience with either of these two in a Princeton? Any other 12" speaker recommendations for a blackface Princeton Reverb-style amp?
 




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