Speakers: 8 ohm & 16 ohm sound different?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by brewhound, May 19, 2006.

  1. brewhound

    brewhound Member

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    I heard somewhere that the 8 ohm and 16 ohm models of most speakers sound different, with different resonance frequencies and efficiencies. The specs on the Eminence site now seem to bear this out. I’ve also heard that people tend to prefer the 16 ohm models. I suspect this is where the mythology comes in, but I wanted to hear some informed opinions. Can you hear a difference, and if so, which do you prefer – the 8 or 16 ohm versions? I’m interested in the typical mainstream speakers (Chinese Greenbacks, V30’s, G12H30’s, Eminence Wizard, etc.).
     
  2. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    i seem to recall a thread about the differences in the tech column...if it wasn't lost in the tgp meltdown...
     
  3. SQUAREHEAD

    SQUAREHEAD Supporting Member

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    Well...
    I don't know if it's the speaker itself that sounds different.
    I think it's the amp set at 8ohm vs 16ohm that makes the difference.
    I have many old Marshalls and they all seem to sound best @ 8ohm.
    They sound tighter, more even response, better clarity etc...
    So, yes, I believe old Marshalls sound best at 8ohm. Maybe this is because they were originally designed to drive two 16ohm cabs and the 8ohm setting is optimal? I dunno.
    I do have a few newer amps (three Bogners, 5150, Wizard Metal 100) and I cannot "hear" any difference in tone between the 8ohm and 16ohm settings.

    Hope this helps!

    Keith
     
  4. SQUAREHEAD

    SQUAREHEAD Supporting Member

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    What amp are you using?
     
  5. Braciola

    Braciola Silver Supporting Member

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  6. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a newer Marshall JTM45 clone with a Mercury OT, and it sounds great at 8 & 16 ohms, although I suspect (like SQUAREHEAD) that the ohm setting is the real difference you're hearing in the amp tone.
     
  7. brewhound

    brewhound Member

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    I asked specifically about speakers because I'm trying to come up with a decent budget cab for my Peavey ValveKing, which needs 16 ohm. I can either go with a single 16 ohm speaker, or with two 8 ohm speakers in series.

    From Avatar, for example, the price difference between a 1X12 & 2X12 isn't that much, so the 2X12 seems like a better deal. Since I would have to wire the speakers in series, though, that kind of takes away mixing speakers as an option as I see it.
     
  8. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    According to the Eminence data sheets, there 16 ohm and 8 ohm speakers have different resonant frequencies, which *should* have an effect on tone, but they still don't break down any sound differences. I don't know about any other manufacturer.
     
  9. thegame

    thegame Member

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    I have read the following in a guitar magazine AND have found this to be true from personal experience:

    8 ohms speakers have a bit more midrange, lower mid focus/darkness and less 'air' or sparkle on top. They feel a tad tighter or stiffer to me as well.

    16 ohms of the same type are slightly more scooped, & more sparkle on the top. IMO they sound like they're voiced slightly higher and they feel a bit more alive or resonant. For extreme gain 8 ohms may be better.

    All these differrences must be directly A/B'd to notice, its not a big difference at all.

    I have A/B'd an 8ohm and 16 ohm UberKabs (V30s, G12T75s) to hear this difference. I've also played tons of 8 ohm and 16 ohm V30 cabs from different makers and always found these findings to be consistant. However, with different amps the relationship may change!
     
  10. redtoploader

    redtoploader Member

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    How are these cabs wired? Are you sure you aren't hearing a change in speaker damping, ie series vs. parallel wiring, etc.? Damping has a role in how a speaker sounds. Also, If you use say, an old marshall head...using the 8ohm tap vs. the 16 is going to yield slightly different tones- also which tap the negative feedback wire is connected to will have an effect. Lots of variables here! I'm not doubting that there is a difference but it's got to be tough to do a true A/B comparison.
     
  11. thegame

    thegame Member

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    I see what you're saying but I've tried using different ohm settings (4 ohm setting into 8 ohm cab, 8 ohm setting into 16 ohm cab) and the relationship is the same. The cabs were wired the same way, four 8 ohm speakers wired at 8 ohms and four 16 ohms speakers wired at 16 ohms.

    I agree different amps can produce different results, but so far I noticed the same results with approx a dozen different amps (all high gain) over the years.
     
  12. redtoploader

    redtoploader Member

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    10/4, gotcha. :AOK
     
  13. granite

    granite Member

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    This question interests me since I asked a similar question over at the Orange Amp forum without a lot of responses that shed any light on the subject. Orange amp combos and cabs are wired in series. I recall reading that one of their design engineers said it was a conscious choice to use series wiring and 8 Ohm speakers in their 2x12 cabs.

    I own an Orange AD30R 2x12 open back combo and it is a dark sounding amp. As far as I know, Orange is the only mass produced amp manufacturer that uses series wiring as a standard. I've owned 12 combos over the course of many years and every single one was wired in parallel except the Orange. Why would Orange go against the grain. Is there a sonic benefit or another explaination?
     
  14. JMP2203

    JMP2203 Member

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    its depend on the amp, speakers and personal preferences, but to me there is diferences between ohms. i usualy like 8ohms better :dude
     
  15. bscepter

    bscepter Member

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    When I asked this prior to buying my Hayseed, several people told me to go with a 16-ohm setup (two 8-ohm Blues in series) because it "used the full winding of the output transformer." Really, I did it because that's how the original AC30s were wired, but it does sound good.

    I suppose the only downside is the series wiring - meaning, if one speaker goes, the circuit is interrupted, removing the load from the OT, which can fry it, from what I understand.
     
  16. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    This is from the Weber Q&A page. From the last part of this answer, I get the feeling that series connections might actually sound a little more raw or organic (taking 'textured' as a euphemism).

     
  17. brewhound

    brewhound Member

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    I emailed Dave at Avatar asking whether the G12H30/Vintage 30 combination he sells so many of sounds good wired in series, and he said that there is no problem wiring those two speakers in series, and that they still sound great together.
     

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