Speaker suggestions for modding/making new amps

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by JWK, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. JWK

    JWK Member

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    I've always had too many guitars and not enough amps. Since the internet, I've managed to get WAY too many guitars, too many amp heads and not enough speakers. I'm getting more of a balance now. I'm selling some guitars, selling some amps and I'm getting back into messing around with tube amps again. I've got an '69 SF Bassman I want to fix up (no major mods, just the usual replacement stuff and grounded power cord) and a few circuits of my own I want to try out on some transformers and chassis that I have.

    Right now the only working speaker I have is a '96 Celestion V30 in a single Mesa cab that measures about 18.5" x 17" x 14". The speaker is broken in nicely. I've blasted all sorts of stuff through this thing. A Soldano HR50, THD Flexi, Freyette Sig:X, the list goes on. I have lived rurally for a long time so this speaker has had all of these amps opened up. However, the cab has always sounded "boxy" to me. Maybe it's the press board it's made from, maybe it's just too small for the speaker. I don't know if I don't like the speaker or just the cab it's in.

    Now that I'm messing with my amps again and have time, I want to get the speaker(s) that will serve my purpose. My thought was to make some inexpensive cabinets out of $30 plywood sheets from Lowes or Home Depot. Have one or two of them being closed back and the same with open back. Then I thought I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, not realizing a basic question: What should come first, the speaker or the amp? For the sake of *some* simplicity, all will be single 12" in its own cab. I realize (or think) that some speakers really shine paired up or in quads, but I will be using mostly single 12" speakers anyway, so please give input about speakers you think are really good in a 1x12.

    So I'm asking for opinions and suggestions. A couple of approaches seem obvious.

    1. Get a EVM 12L and use it for all amp testing. When the amp is the way I like it, then find a speaker that might fit it better. The idea being proposed by some that the speaker is so neutral and uncolored that it will be good with any good amp and a "better" speaker will only be icing on the cake. Sort of like finding the "best" pickups for a good guitar, I guess.

    2. Choose three different speakers with a 30 - 60 watt rating in the three "standard" types - British, American and neutral (12L, SRO, JBL). Except for my Sig:X, all my amps are 40 watts or less. Even my Sig:X is usually set to 40 watts with the 5U4 tube. The testing will be done clean to just breaking up. A 30 watt speaker could be paired up with another cab turned away just to be safe if I'm pushing it at all.

    I'm really inexperienced with the way speakers are paired up with amps and how that all works. I've had 4x12, 2x12 and 1x12, but all at different times and I never had more than one cab at any time. No, I've never owned a combo amp. I really don't know whether people just find the type of speaker they like and use that for everything, or if certain speakers really only match up with certain amps. I know an awful lot of people like a british type of speaker in Fender amps. OTOH, not many people choose a Jensen C12N for say, a Dumble type of amp. FWIW, I will not be making or getting any kind of Dumble type of amp in the forseeable future, nor any kind of high gain amp. I like things played really clean up to a bit of crunch. I love cleans and just going into the crunch the most; where it becomes really harmonically complex. Total gain of preamp and PI would be on the level of the old standard amps (AC30, 59 Bassman, etc.) or less. Other than that, I'm not trying to copy any of those. I'll just be looking for sounds and responses that I like.

    Given all that, what would be your thoughts, suggestions, opinions on how I should set myself up with speaker(s)?
     
  2. J M Fahey

    J M Fahey Member

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    I answered this somewhere else.

    The basic suggestion is that your speaker/cabinet should be generic, similar to the average speaker many Manufacturers use.

    Great Pro speakers such as EV or JBL or the PA type Eminences, although excellent, aren't "the typical guitar speaker" , and V30 has its own brash and bold sound; point is that tweaking an amp with any of these might not be the best with most cabinets out there.

    I suggested a 50 to 75W Eminence Legend, which are actually the "house brand" speakers for many mainstream manufacturers (think Peavey/Fender/Crate/Randall/even some Marshall/etc.) in a somewhat larger cabinet (think Twin Reverb size) and with 3/4 back , the middle point between open back and closed back.

    Whatever you tweak there won't be too far away in most other cabinets out there, while if you use a very flat speaker most typical guitar speakers will sound harsh.

    And if you EQ with a JBL most others will sound dull by comparison.
     
  3. TimmyP

    TimmyP Member

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    My favorites are the G12M25 and the D120F/K120.
     
  4. JWK

    JWK Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions. I like JM Fahey's concept and think I will go with that along with a 12L type of speaker for reference. I think that will be a good, sound base from which to start. I think I will also build a bigger cab for the V30 to see if I like it or not. I think it's the too-small cab sound I dislike more than the speaker. I guess I'll find out!
     
  5. DeaconBlues

    DeaconBlues Member

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    The Legend series consists of American and British flavored speakers, so you might want to get one of each flavor. The GB128 is a very nice sounding speaker with a British accent. There's not a Legend with an American voice that I really care for other than their 10" Legend 1028. Too, bad they don't offer that speaker in a 12" version.
     

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