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Old 17th August 2014, 02:14 AM   #1
diyAudio Member
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Location: Chicago IL, Long Beach CA, Vienna VA
Default Need replacement speaker advice for 4X12

I don't know how to shop for guitar speakers anymore if flat ain't where it's at for guitar. The resonance peaks and breakup characteristics seem to be coded in marketing guitar-speak. If a 'texas' tuned speaker is perhaps supposed to remind you of SRV, and maybe a 'swamp' tone more like CCR, what's a "patriotic" or "acoustinator" speaker? Is a "Red Coat" supposed to sound British in a Fane Sound City / HIWATT way? I doubt I want drivers that only handle 25 watts, the spry sprite of a voice coil making light cones flap like a flag in the wind won't make my unskilled hands sound like Hendrix merged with BB King.

Getting down to the question, I've got a rather large empty heavy Fender 4X12 cabinet, I assume from the era when Fender acquired SUNN because it's not typical of Fender at all. It has a front baffle with a prow that bends on a vertical line so that 2 speakers point left a little and 2 point right a little. I like that idea a lot if it spreads the treble left and right even a little at a distance, instead of all drivers beaming. The black and white cobra-skin tolex is so outrageous it's cool. Like a Marshall bottom the cabinet has thick edge lips around the baffle which make it look like it's all made of thicker material, a visual trick borrowed from Marshall perhaps. No model number, just a Fender serial number.

But, like anything that looks outrageous, it has to be able to back it up with performance.

It has sufficient cubic feet of volume to back up 4 12's and go low enough for guitar and lead-slap bass, even by itself. I doubt I could ever find another.

I don't think I want to spend outrageous sums for alnico speakers that only handle a few watts. I don't like the sound of bass guitar speakers, I prefer guitar 10's, 12's, and 15's for guitar and for bass. I like 12's, I like sealed boxes. I do know that I love the power and efficiency of JBLs and they used to be my go-to drivers, but technically inferior stock Fender speakers had (qualitatively) "better" treble for having less moving mass. I owned a big Marshall stack, and got rid of it because I didn't really like the sound of greenbacks. I do like the sound of an SVT 8x10 bottom for either guitar or bass...

I had a quad of Peavey Blue Marvel 12's to use, but one has a rubbing voice coil. I could replace it, but looking at them I'm not impressed and would consider them probably not even as good as the original speakers (whatever they were).

Unfortunately I can't say what head I want to use this with 'cause I have several now, from 5 watts to 350, and I want to build some more kits. If I had to characterize my tastes, I'd want speakers on the clean end of the spectrum rather than much break-up, but I'm uncertain what guitar characteristics specific speaker resonances may articulate (or may not).

So, since this bottom is already heavy, I'm looking seriously at the neodymium drivers. I'd love to hear any opinions, personal experiences, or enlightenment. I don't really have a clue. I know that early-on there were concerns about whether neo magnets would survive the heat.
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Old 17th August 2014, 03:14 PM   #2
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Location: Chicago IL, Long Beach CA, Vienna VA
Sorry to even ask something that's obviously personal preference. I'm just feeling overwhelmed. I've been listening to a lot of you tube clips, and many sound like they differ only a bit in their resonant frequency, though the specs are radically different. Can't get a feel for efficiency, output, etc. from youtube.

Still, anyone using drivers with neodymium magnets for guitar, and have any relevant personal experience or advice to share?

Maybe this really belongs in the speaker forum, except guitar use lives under but ignores all the rules. Sometimes it's hard for me to eve imagine the use for some of these speakers until I ask around. Apparently, some a purposely made to be inefficient and handle a lot of power, to create a power soak effect. Others use teensie voice coils and flimsy paper for extreme efficiency and to break up on purpose. Weird field, where I could definitey invest in something I hate later.

Last edited by cyclecamper; 17th August 2014 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 17th August 2014, 04:19 PM   #3
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I'm a bit in the same situation, but mine is a lot less complex.
I have a Marshall 1960a box that has been in a damp cellar for years. The speaker cones are damaged by mold and unusable. The cabinet itself was molded, but could be saved.
So now I'm after some speakers.
The choice is overwhelming and there's a lot of differences in sound. Fortunately there's one specific kind of sound I'm after, instead of finding speakers for both guitar and bass. I play a Gibson SG with a tubescreamer into a 50W Marshall DSL head with the clean channel slightly overdriven. Style is speedrock.
Celestion has for most of their 12" guitar speakers soundfiles online. Guitar - Celestion - Guitar, Bass & Pro Audio Speakers And I've narrowed it down to The G12H and Vintage 30. I like the powerful attack these speakers give. The V30 is a bit more clean than the G12H imo.

But if you need decent bass sound to, then you may be asking to much. You could go for 2 different kind of speakers. One for guitar and one for bass. Put the bass speaker below and the guitar speaker above. The BN12-300S seem to be what you want from a bass speaker. Pair them with a guitar speaker you like the sound of.
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Old 17th August 2014, 04:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I guess what I want is guitar speakers that have the excursion to make bass when pushed into that role.
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Old 17th August 2014, 04:57 PM   #5
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Maybe some modern equivalent of the EV12L that came in some Mesa Boogie amps?
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Old 17th August 2014, 05:01 PM   #6
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I'd never even heard of WGS...all over youtube and ebay now. So...what's their story?
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Old 18th August 2014, 01:30 AM   #7
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I have been using the Cannabis Rex a lot lately, for the money I think it's a great speaker!

Did I mention it's made from Cannabis
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Old 18th August 2014, 02:43 AM   #8
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I see Weber now makes a neodymium magnet speaker designed to sound and work like an old alnico JBL guitar speaker. But at the moment they only make a 10", not a 12".
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Old 18th August 2014, 09:20 AM   #9
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Dear cyclecamper, Iīm afraid you havenīt yet decided in your mind or taste what kind of sound you want, so itīs sort of impossible to offer good suggestions.

The problem isnīt choosing, say, between wimpy 20 W paper voice coils glued with Momīs nail polish and nuclear proof aluminum rectangular ribbon edgewound ones glued with NASA type adhesives and so on, thousands of possible combinations, all different, but getting the sound you want.

Please define type of Music, head, guitar, etc. first
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Old 18th August 2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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Of course you're right. And it's getting more difficult than I anticipated to find something that will do it all. I like the sound of bass guitar played thru guitar speakers (not bass speakers) that can handle some excursion, like EV or JBL. I was just hoping to brainstorm and see what other people had for favorite speakers.

Southern rock, on the clean side, to blues where I ride the clean / dirty line.

Fender Super Twin (in a head cabinet), or Peavey VB-2, or Peavey Classic 100 (can turn off 6 of 8 EL84's), champ, and a super-champ.

A Gibson L6-S, and a Kramer aluminum-neck bass.

Sealed 4/12 cabinet (large).

What I really want is some 12's that I can play bass thru with the 225-watt VB-2 head, and also use for clean guitar. I don't want bass speakers that roll off early. I don't want guitar speakers that roll off early. I want all that treble, or I'll subtract it other ways.

Real early alnico JBL D120F would work. On the down side, they already had less treble than the Jensens of the era. The later JBLs got heavier and heavier cones, and handled lots more power but didn't sound as good. The Jensens sounded like they had better treble for guitar in open-back cabinets until you pushed them too hard.

I want the power handling and excursion and cloth suspension surround of EVs and JBLs, but not a huge heavy voice coil and heavy cone that remove the highs. If they don't weigh a ton that's another advantage when there's 4 in the cabinet. The worst-sounding, to me, are the guitar speakers that purposely remove all the highs and purposely break up. I want more of a one-way hi-fi speaker.

I may have to give up on trying to get it all, and just install 4 good EVs that will handle a bass guitar, even if the treble isn't great. I have other open-back cabinets with 10's for guitar.

Weber makes a 10" with neodymium magnets that's comparatively light, handles a lot of power, and is voiced like the early JBL D110 and D120. If they made a 12" version, that's what I would buy.

If I put in real D120F, 4 would cost over a thousand dollars, and I'd never be quite sure what cone was installed. For 8 or 9 hundred I could buy blown ones and have them reconed, but first I'd have to investigate what cones they're using now.

I might just defer the issue. I was using the cabinet as a box to protect those Peavey Blue Marvels. I thought I'd connect them as long as they were in there, and discovered one has a really bad voice coil rub. So that's what brought this up. But finances are a consideration right now, so I just deferred the decision by buying another Blue Marvel. These are not what I wanted at all, but I suspect I will learn a lot from them. For a US-made Eminence, they are supposed to sound similar to the Eminence Legend and Fender Special design. But...'fender Special Design" could have been a lot of different speakers. What I don't like is that they're very inefficient, especially compared to JBL or EV.'s a kinder, gentler quieter era. I am making a nice Aiken reactive soak that will handle considerable power...

I guess for now the issue is closed as I bought another Peavey Blue Marvel soley because it was cheap, only $25, and I might like 4 for guitar for a while. I still don't have any bottom for bass...but it might work for practice.

Last edited by cyclecamper; 18th August 2014 at 02:15 PM.
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