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Instruments and Amps Everything that makes music, Especially including instrument amps.

What to look for in a guitar amp speaker?
What to look for in a guitar amp speaker?
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Old 15th July 2017, 04:12 PM   #1
nRm is offline nRm  Argentina
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Default What to look for in a guitar amp speaker?

Besides efficiency, of course.

I am not interested in brands, but characteristics, like types of cones and magnets, the tin caps or foam surrounds, etc.
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Old 15th July 2017, 05:34 PM   #2
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Actually, I think brand is a valid factor. As in you might find a couple specific speakers you like, then we might be able to add some light on why that is so.

It is not so simple as just speaker. Compare the Marshall often played through the closed back 4x12 cab, versus a Fender, often played through a 2x12 open back combo. The same speaker would sound very different in those two cabs, let alone through those two amps.

Your countryman Fahey I hope will add in here, as he manufactures speakers.

All the factors you list and more contribute to sound. But there is no list showing any one factor as being best. Cones can be smooth, ribbed, rough. They can be stiff or flexible, they can be simple cones or more like parabolas.

Voice coils can be short and in short magnet gaps. Or they can be long and have lengthy gaps, meaning in the former, the coil can be driven past the main magnetic field in the gap, the latter meaning that even at high excursions the coil can continue to drive.

A bass speaker might be designed to allow greater excursion than a guitar speaker, and that might affect the surround choice. Maybe rubber for greater flexibility, on the other hand you might want a sturdy cone support so the thing won't flap on bottom end.

Making a prediction for you is hard, because all the factors work together. The stiffness of the spider and the nature of the voice coil say. Or the shape of the cone might affect whether the speaker tends to beam out the front or spread the sound around. Do you intend the speaker to be heard at wide angles, or do you want it to project out the front?

If I look at factor A, then I also have to look at how A interacts with B,C,and D.

It is much like beauty in women. DO I prefer blonde or brunette? Tall or short? Plump or thin? Blue eyes or green? And even if I prefer buxom blondes, I will see examples of petite brunettes who look even better. And then specifically, I may think Anne Hathaway is terrific looking in one film, and not so hot in another. Just as one speaker I really like in one amp may not sound so great with another.
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Old 15th July 2017, 08:22 PM   #3
Printer2 is offline Printer2  Canada
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The big question is what kind of guitar you have, what kind of amp you have and what do you want it to sound like, as in what kind of music do you play? (well maybe four questions) If you want to play metal then a speaker that people use to play metal is one to look at. If you play country you can go for speakers more suited for that style of music. Go online and find a recording that you like and use that as your goal, at least as a starting point.
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Old 15th July 2017, 10:01 PM   #4
voltwide is offline voltwide  Ireland
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After a lifetime of lurking around guitar speakers I would say it is a matter of trial and error. Even frequency plots published by the manufacturers are of little help. Says one who preferably relies on the numbers of measurable data.

Generally I would prefer a stiff suspension, a short voice coil for highest efficiency and a powerful magnet.
But on the other hand, my battery driven practice amp is driven by a 6inch Jensen - whith a weak magnet, low efficiency and a nice tone - so what!

Last edited by voltwide; 15th July 2017 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 16th July 2017, 07:45 AM   #5
nRm is offline nRm  Argentina
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I want it for a battery portable amp. I've made a portable Fahey "clone" in the past, the first elliptic speaker had an intermitent vibration, it happened only in the guitar amp, driven with a radio, at the same Vpp in the oscilloscope that vibration was not present. The guy in the shop sold me another, less expensive one; it worked fine. All this years later neither the shop or the brand exists anymore, and the shops are just dispatch points without knowledgeable personnel.

My idea is to get a walk by the electronics shops neighborhood and buy a 6" or an elliptic 3x5".

What to look for? What to avoid?
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Old 16th July 2017, 08:59 PM   #6
PRR is offline PRR  United States
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> for a battery portable amp.
> What to look for?


The bigger the better. You can't smack air "well" with anything less than a few feet across. That is awkward, so we compromise. But in a *battery* job, you want your compromise to favor a big air-paddle for best use of limited battery.

Next you want to avoid mass. Woofers are often loaded-down to extend bass. You want to trade-away deep bass for good midrange efficiency.

Heavy magnet is usually good, though a battery rig will be low electrical power and may not need a lot of magnet if it is used well.
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Old 17th July 2017, 01:01 PM   #7
voltwide is offline voltwide  Ireland
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For battery application I recommend Jensen MOD15. Its diameter is 6.5 inches, it is light, and not expensive. Efficiency is mediocre, but it sounds nice. A 4 Ohm Version is available as well, which gives a slight boost with battery amp.
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Old 17th July 2017, 09:16 PM   #8
Gnobuddy is offline Gnobuddy  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nRm View Post
I am not interested in brands, but characteristics, like types of cones and magnets, the tin caps or foam surrounds, etc.
I agree with almost all the posts in this thread (which is rare!).

I will add that I have had good luck with inexpensive speakers designed for P.A. use - true P.A., i.e. voice, background music, paging, and not sound-reinforcement.

The common characteristics of these types of speakers are: very thin and light paper cone; designed for full-range audio (i.e., not designed to be a woofer or midrange); high efficiency (above 90 dB/W @ 1 metre).

(By the same token: avoid plastic-cone speakers, woofers, midranges. In my experience, all these sound awful as guitar speakers.)

Keep an eye out for the fundamental resonance frequency of the speaker. If it is too high (above 100 Hz), you will get very little bass, and your guitar will sound thin.

Cheap speakers like this may not have any data sheet or specifications available, so how do you find the fundamental resonance frequency while you're in the store looking at the speaker? In that case, and assuming you have a good sense of pitch (you're a musician, you probably do!), you can use your ears: hold the speaker up close to one ear, and very gently tap with one fingertip on the edge of the dustcap, where it meets the cone.

You will hear a soft "thump". If that "thump" sounds deep and low (lower than the open low E string on a guitar), the speaker will be okay. If the "thump" sounds more like a thin "plink", with a much higher pitch, then it's not going to work well for guitar.

I know you mentioned using some pretty small elliptical speaker sizes. Usually, bass will be very lacking with small speakers like this. But only you know how much bass loss you are willing to tolerate.

As someone said, it is impossible to be sure how it will sound till you try it, but these rough guidelines have worked for me. I hope they work for you as well!

Just for reference, here is a link to one speaker that worked well for me:
GRS 8FR-8 Full-Range 8" Speaker Pioneer Type B20FU20-51FW (Actual resonance is 53 Hz for this one, more than enough for guitar.)

And here is a P.A. speaker which I have not tried, but I think it has a very good chance of working well for a small guitar amp: Atlas Sound SD72 8" 5 Watt Loudspeaker

(This Atlas speaker comes with a 70V audio line transformer, which you do not need; you can just remove it, or perhaps you can find a similar speaker without the attached transformer in Argentina.)

-Gnobuddy
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Old 17th July 2017, 10:00 PM   #9
Printer2 is offline Printer2  Canada
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I have used the 8" public address speaker for guitar amps. I also collected a bunch of 'hifi' speakers from the 60's and early 70's out of console and radio units. Early built car speakers (all these being single cone speakers, or sometimes with a token tweeter) built for 4W is not a bad idea.
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