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Old 16th February 2013, 07:43 AM   #11
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Hi bear,

Yes, I agree the speaker is critical. I don't know what you use them for, in a guitar rig you have the chain: guitar - pickups - amp - speakers, each of which can make or break. Actually, the last step should be cabinet, but to be honest I'm not clear how the construction of the cab affects the sound.
You clearly know more of the separate components than I do, but all in all for guitarists, I think that alnicos are good speakers and I'll explain why I feel that way.
When I tested the Soldano they first gave me a Bogner cabinet, which didn't work at all. I think it had some kind of resonating tone wood. Then they gave me a cab they had made themselves, but with the speakers I intend to buy and it sounded great.
I knew nothing about speakers at that point, but when I did some research it started to make sense.
The thing with my amp, is that it has a signature sound in the lows and mid-lows and regular speakers in a regular cab don't capture that, for instance the Celestion G12H, which I have in my 4x12. Soldano's own cabinets do capture it, with avarage quality speakers, but then 90% of the price goes into the empty cabinet. They give you Russian birch.
If I buy the alnicos I pay 60% of the Soldano cab and it works in any cab. The thing with alnico is that it's smooth. I don't know if you can say that it gives more detail, but if you have a distorted guitar sound, it does give more usefull detail in the low. The Soldano works very well with a clean, almost undistorted guitar sound in combination with the Celestions, but the distorted highs worked much better with the alnicos that I tried. Which supports my suspicion that the smoothness of alnico works well with the distorted guitar. in other brands I can discern better lows only (while listening online), but with Eminence I find certain alnicos altogether better. But then, in expensive products, manufacturers are more likely to throw in other higher quality components too.
There are a few Eminence alnicos I think are very good, but they are voiced "British", which is the most popular sound for guitar. In Celestions that sounds natural, but the American sound has a certain sweetness (compare Fender) that makes the highs of American modeling of "British" somewhat kitsch, actually. The classical Soldano and the British voicing are opposites anyway.
There a guy named Eric Johnson comes in, who has his Eminence signature speakers, and has had them voiced in a largely flat, transparant way. In the beforementioned chain every element puts in a color of its own (not counting any effects devices), so what I don't want is the last step adding yet another style, so the EJs are the best for me. I also think that with unbiased lows you can drive them harder, important to the lows-oriented Soldano sound.
So there you go, my Rube Goldberg way of explaining a simple thing

What do you use your speakers for and do you have a background in electronics?

Thanks/regards
Guitarski
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Old 17th February 2013, 12:25 AM   #12
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I hear what you are saying, and I'd say that given two *identical* speakers, except for one having an alnico motor and the other ferrite, you might prefer the alnico. But that is for otherwise *identical* speakers. If you are not comparing identical speakers than imo the magnet has perhaps the least effect on the sound.

Try to find out what cones (dustcap, surround, etc), T/S parameters and frequency response the speakers you seem to like have first. Then see if there are other less expensive drivers with virtually the same specs. Chances are they will sound essentially the same.

I use speakers for hi-end hifi and for guitar/bass. Different speakers, different applications.

You can look at my sig file and click on my now antique website and your other question is pretty much answered in some detail.

You can doubtless find a less expensive version of the Eric Johnson speakers in the Eminence line, if you look carefully. I don't know for sure, but I'd expect so. Do they show the freq response of the EJ drivers, or is that not shown?

The cabinet will effect the sound. Sometimes rather significantly. Open, closed, stuffed, unstuffed, etc... different. The highs too can be effected by reflections and standing waves...

I'd not trust the clips on the Eminence site. They're a bit misleading. They show relative differences between their speakers, but in actually hearing them, I found the clips not representative due probably to the recording technique, mics etc...

_-_-bear

PS. there is zero guarantee that name brand mfrs will use more expensive or objectively "better" parts or speakers than you buy aftermarket...
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Old 18th February 2013, 10:34 PM   #13
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Hi bear,

Your website is very interesting and what a background you have. That you were a Chic roadie is cool. Those guys were my heros back in the day.
You're right, a manufacturer's sound clips are always flattering and manipulated. What doesn't help either is someone playing the same lick over and over on different speakers. What does help is guys noodling spontaneously. To my utter amazement, even on your mobile phone's speaker, youtube videos can give you an accurate impression of a product. Over the past couple of years I've bought a guitar, amps, pickups and some effects and they were exactly what I thought, compared to the youtube videos.
I have to work that way, because shops in my country hardly sell the somewhat more arcane brands. The EJs aren't carried by any shops in Europe.
But the quest for tone is a fascination journey.
As for alnico, I use Dimarzio pickups, which give a detailed, rather harsh sound. Especially on the 5th and 6th strings I'm having trouble with overtones on the crunch channel, that is, the gain amplifies overtones that sound interesting on the clean channel, but appear to be unstable when amplified. My Carvin guitar's stock pickups would filter that out. I find ferrite speakers also rather harsh, while the alnicos do their own filtering, apparently. Maybe it's best for the filtering (of frequencies, I don't know if I'm formulating this correctly) to take place at the end stage (the speakers), than right on the guitar, so the amp can do its thing on a full spectrum.
You're right in that speaker quality is in the overall craftsmanship, alnico v. ferrite is a matter taste.

Thanks/regards
- Guitarski
Http://rocking.mobi



Thanks/regards
- Guitarski
Http://rocking.mobi
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