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  1. #1

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    I wanted to get your experience in choosing speaker cones, and my question is, “how to do so without getting something other than what is wanted?” My sound range is warm jazz country in general, with a slight bit of tube like break up. Now I know that cones are not the only component in the chain, guitar, pu, amp and fingers all count, but I wish to stay with the cone aspect here. How does one quantify sound? And further, how does one chose or order a cone without having to try them all to find a suitable one?

    I get the fact that one can read off the cone spec sheet and get a feel for how level, or not, the cone will produce over the frequency range. Loudness can be read off through the sensitivity in db´s. Then of course there is no end to tech info to be had, and this part is Greek to me. I recall a cone I purchased some years ago which produced a scratchy sound to my ears and lasted in the amp about 15 minutes. This would be a good thing to avoid in the future.


    Do you have actual knowledge in evaluating cone performance? Please chime in. I am not looking for the, “I like this or that” type of response but rather info that can be used as tools in an eventual future purchase. Thanks in advance for your views, 0zoro

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0zoro
    I wanted to get your experience in choosing speaker cones, and my question is, “how to do so without getting something other than what is wanted?” My sound range is warm jazz country in general, with a slight bit of tube like break up. Now I know that cones are not the only component in the chain, guitar, pu, amp and fingers all count, but I wish to stay with the cone aspect here. How does one quantify sound? And further, how does one chose or order a cone without having to try them all to find a suitable one?

    I get the fact that one can read off the cone spec sheet and get a feel for how level, or not, the cone will produce over the frequency range. Loudness can be read off through the sensitivity in db´s. Then of course there is no end to tech info to be had, and this part is Greek to me. I recall a cone I purchased some years ago which produced a scratchy sound to my ears and lasted in the amp about 15 minutes. This would be a good thing to avoid in the future.


    Do you have actual knowledge in evaluating cone performance? Please chime in. I am not looking for the, “I like this or that” type of response but rather info that can be used as tools in an eventual future purchase. Thanks in advance for your views, 0zoro
    At the risk of exposing the root cause of my impostor's syndrome, let me try, drawing from my own experience. Basically, I believe that only a few guitarists ever engage in speaker swapping. Many change guitars and FX boxes like shirts, and several go through a number of amps and cabs over the years, but few start from the speaker and work backwards to optimize the signal chain. Yes, it's a jungle out there, and opinions abound. You have to rely on opinions - but whose?

    When I started my Odyssey into ultra-light cabs, I was fortunate to bump into two Finnish experts: Mikko Kankaanpää from Uraltone, a pro's pro when it comes to anything related to tube amps and speakers, and Harri Koski, the man behind the Mad Professor brand of amps and effects. Lo and behold, they were unanimous in recommending the Jensen Tornado speakers. The warmest in the Neo category, these were just what I needed. This was five years ago, and I have found no reason to change my views. That said, the Celestion Neo Copperback is on my to do list. On the bass side, I had become educated enough to appreciate the specs of Celestion's Neo offering. Again, a lucky strike. With the 6.5" Metros, I relied on the advice of the SICA/Jensen experts, whom I knew personally by then.

    The constellation of Neo guitar and bass speakers is a small one compared to the ceramic and AlNiCo universe. I'd be lost in space there. Much of the analysis available on the web (such as Kohlekeller) focuses on rock'n'roll, i.e. overdriven sounds. It's like judging a camera lens mainly by its out-of-focus or BOKEH character.

    Some Celestion dealers have a wall of speakers enabling you to listen to their differences. They are significant for sure, but how well does a listening experience travel to your quarters? I'm afraid there's no way other than experimenting and listening - trusting your own ears, and qualified advice.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Some Celestion dealers have a wall of speakers enabling you to listen to their differences. They are significant for sure, but how well does a listening experience travel to your quarters? I'm afraid there's no way other than experimenting and listening - trusting your own ears, and qualified advice.
    The problem with trying to compare speakers in a room full of them is that every one except the one through which you’re playing is a passive radiator that directly and indirectly affects the sound you hear. This is often dramatic, and it’s rare for an amplifier/speaker combination to sound the same in a showroom and in your home or on stage.

    Those in or connected to amplifiers are electrically as well as mechanically damped, and those with no load across their terminals are still mechanically damped. Each has its own resonant peaks, and even their positions in the room will change these. So you have to hear it in your amplifier in a setting in which you play.

    But I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. There are many cone materials available in the same frames with similar voice coils and magnets, from hemp and paper to aluminum and Mylar. Are you asking about the cone or the entire speaker?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    The problem with trying to compare speakers in a room full of them is that every one except the one through which you’re playing is a passive radiator that directly and indirectly affects the sound you hear. This is often dramatic, and it’s rare for an amplifier/speaker combination to sound the same in a showroom and in your home or on stage.

    Those in or connected to amplifiers are electrically as well as mechanically damped, and those with no load across their terminals are still mechanically damped. Each has its own resonant peaks, and even their positions in the room will change these. So you have to hear it in your amplifier in a setting in which you play.

    But I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. There are many cone materials available in the same frames with similar voice coils and magnets, from hemp and paper to aluminum and Mylar. Are you asking about the cone or the entire speaker?

    I am referring to the entire cone construction, frame, paper cone, coil etc. My question is how does one make a reasonable decision on buying a speaker for an empty cab, and have some assurance that it will fit my tone demands/wishes?

  6. #5

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    I am not an expert, nor am I competent in discussing the actual science behind speakers. However, I have tried many many speakers, and find them to be the single most important aspect of tone when deciding on an amplifier. Whether it’s a solid state amp, a Fender, a Marshall, or any other amp out there, it is my belief that the differences in sound are most impacted by the speakers we use.

    I think this holds especially true with “jazz” amps, which are voiced pretty neutral in order to reproduce the acoustic characteristics of the guitar. Nothing will change the sound more than a speaker swap.

    I am not a big fan of Neo speakers. There are some good ones, very serviceable, and practical.

    But nothing gives your tone “heft” like a big ass voice coil. Speakers like JBL’s have huge voice coils (something like 2 inches), which a lot of people say contributed to their tone.

    I tend to divide speakers into categories based on what I know. I associate blackface Fender amps with ceramic Jensen speakers. These generally add sparkle and accentuate the scooped midrange of those amps.

    alternatively, and Alnico speaker gives up the goods sooner, and matches well with a tweed amp.

    then there are the outliers like JBL, EV, Cerwin Vega, etc. These are the big guns, and really require a ton of volume to really shine. They tend to have a harder feel, stiffer, more immediate, and can sound clinical. A lot of steel players like these speakers because they are closer to full range than a Jensen.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    At the risk of exposing the root cause of my impostor's syndrome, let me try, drawing from my own experience. Basically, I believe that only a few guitarists ever engage in speaker swapping. Many change guitars and FX boxes like shirts, and several go through a number of amps and cabs over the years, but few start from the speaker and work backwards to optimize the signal chain. Yes, it's a jungle out there, and opinions abound. You have to rely on opinions - but whose?

    When I started my Odyssey into ultra-light cabs, I was fortunate to bump into two Finnish experts: Mikko Kankaanpää from Uraltone, a pro's pro when it comes to anything related to tube amps and speakers, and Harri Koski, the man behind the Mad Professor brand of amps and effects. Lo and behold, they were unanimous in recommending the Jensen Tornado speakers. The warmest in the Neo category, these were just what I needed. This was five years ago, and I have found no reason to change my views. That said, the Celestion Neo Copperback is on my to do list. On the bass side, I had become educated enough to appreciate the specs of Celestion's Neo offering. Again, a lucky strike. With the 6.5" Metros, I relied on the advice of the SICA/Jensen experts, whom I knew personally by then.

    The constellation of Neo guitar and bass speakers is a small one compared to the ceramic and AlNiCo universe. I'd be lost in space there. Much of the analysis available on the web (such as Kohlekeller) focuses on rock'n'roll, i.e. overdriven sounds. It's like judging a camera lens mainly by its out-of-focus or BOKEH character.

    Some Celestion dealers have a wall of speakers enabling you to listen to their differences. They are significant for sure, but how well does a listening experience travel to your quarters? I'm afraid there's no way other than experimenting and listening - trusting your own ears, and qualified advice.

    Thanks Gitterbug Being in the right place at the right time certainly has its merits. As I have an empty 12" cab I raise this question here , hoping for guidance based on objective data. You are hinting at the theory that speaker choice can be objectified is non viable. Allow me to cling to this a bit longer before I submit.

  8. #7

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    There are frequency response charts for many speakers which you can find on the Internet. However, interpreting with those in practice is difficult. The speaker interacts with the cabinet, for example, sounds different whether it's sitting on the floor or is on a chair, whether it's tilted back, etc.

    I find the sort of sound you describe with the Cannabis Rex 12 inch speaker in one of my amps, but it's also a 5E3 amp so you have to take that into account. I find it to be warm with a little bit of a lower mid hump and to work really well for jazz.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    There are frequency response charts for many speakers which you can find on the Internet. However, interpreting with those in practice is difficult. The speaker interacts with the cabinet, for example, sounds different whether it's sitting on the floor or is on a chair, whether it's tilted back, etc.

    I find the sort of sound you describe with the Cannabis Rex 12 inch speaker in one of my amps, but it's also a 5E3 amp so you have to take that into account. I find it to be warm with a little bit of a lower mid hump and to work really well for jazz.
    Yes, this is the crux of it. Player + amp + cabinet + driver + environment is a system heard by a subjective listener. It's very hard to look at just the driver part on paper (especially when the paper differences between drivers are mostly quite small) and predict how it's going function in the system and sound to a subjective listener. The OP seems not to want to hear this, but the method for picking a speaker is highly dependent on just trying things and asking other people (whom you hope have similar subjective perceptions to yours) what they think. I guess if you've built up enough experience with that spec sheets can be more useful, but not many of us are at that point, especially because the trial & error part is expensive and time consuming. So, I get a warm jazz tone with some tube break-up out of a Princeton Reverb with a Jensen C10Q, but you might not (especially if your subjective definition of "warm" is different from mine, and/or your playing style is different from mine).

  10. #9

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    If I were you, I would buy a generally very well-regarded driver for jazz (such as Eminence Cannabis Rex or Jensen C12K) and if I don't find it perfect for my taste, use a good EQ pedal and/or IR (thousands of IRs available out there) and/or other (analogue) speaker emulators to customize its tone to taste.

  11. #10

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    Honestly, the YouTube shoot outs are pretty helpful. If you find yourself digging the same speaker on several videos, you're probably on the right track.

  12. #11

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    I am slowly and gently being encouraged to dismiss the theory that sound can be quantified when choosing a new cone. I am putting up a bit of resistance, so if there is anyone else with a contrary opinion to please step forward. Otherwise it is high time for suggestions, as per above, for suitable 12" cones.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0zoro
    I am slowly and gently being encouraged to dismiss the theory that sound can be quantified when choosing a new cone. I am putting up a bit of resistance, so if there is anyone else with a contrary opinion to please step forward. Otherwise it is high time for suggestions, as per above, for suitable 12" cones.
    Honestly, listening to examples is the best thing you can do. Spec sheets are... let's just say less useful.

    It's especially helpful to be familiar with a particular common speaker you'll find in a lot of shootouts. If you know a vintage 30 well, it's easier to ascertain the differences in a comparison.


    2 things,

    1 - what amp are you using?

    2 - is the cab open back or closed?

  14. #13

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    2 things,

    1 - what amp are you using?

    2 - is the cab open back or closed?[/QUOTE]

    vl, I am using and open back 12" Toob cab which I purchased empty in order to try a cone I had at home, an Eminence Beta. As for and amp it is a Quilter TB 202. Does that help? The business of cones is completely new to me. I have thought highly of the Cannabis cones from the clips I have heard and which seem to get pluses here on the site. Very much in limbo though.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0zoro
    2 things,

    1 - what amp are you using?

    2 - is the cab open back or closed?
    vl, I am using and open back 12" Toob cab which I purchased empty in order to try a cone I had at home, an Eminence Beta. As for and amp it is a Quilter TB 202. Does that help? The business of cones is completely new to me. I have thought highly of the Cannabis cones from the clips I have heard and which seem to get pluses here on the site. Very much in limbo though.[/QUOTE]


    Hello again, I have a couple thoughts on that.


    In an open back cab, I am a fan of a speaker with good bass, my favorite is a celestion g12h-100. The H is important there. Hard to find as they're not made any more.

    I have really never cared for eminence speakers. Aside from the ones made for polytone amps, they have always struck me as stiff and dark sounding (which is kind of the poly tone sound ironically, I have tried lots of speakers in polytones, I like them all, and I do like what the original speakers do, but they are decades old and not their modern offerings). I put a Texas heat in an amp once, it was pretty terrible (IMO of course). This clip is a good example. The cannibas just sounds dark and stiff to me, and a v30 isn't my favorite clean speaker.




    WGS and Celestion, old Jensen, Yamaha made some really nice speakers too. There are lots, and they make a huge difference.

    With regard to your amp, here's the cool thing about it. If I were you, I would grab that and my guitar and take a drive to whatever the biggest music store you can get to is. I would then play through every speaker cab in the building, then buy the speaker you liked best. A simple google search should tell you what speaker was in a cabinet. Before doing so, you might want to watch a few videos on 112 verse 212 verse 412 to get an idea of how the cabinet size will also impact the sound. Ideally you could test out some open 112 cabs or combos. You might even do so under the guise of saying you want to try your amp with the same speaker as the amp in the combo to see if you want to "upgrade" or not.


    Hope that helps.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove
    vl, I am using and open back 12" Toob cab which I purchased empty in order to try a cone I had at home, an Eminence Beta. As for and amp it is a Quilter TB 202. Does that help? The business of cones is completely new to me. I have thought highly of the Cannabis cones from the clips I have heard and which seem to get pluses here on the site. Very much in limbo though.

    Hello again, I have a couple thoughts on that.


    In an open back cab, I am a fan of a speaker with good bass, my favorite is a celestion g12h-100. The H is important there. Hard to find as they're not made any more.

    I have really never cared for eminence speakers. Aside from the ones made for polytone amps, they have always struck me as stiff and dark sounding (which is kind of the poly tone sound ironically, I have tried lots of speakers in polytones, I like them all, and I do like what the original speakers do, but they are decades old and not their modern offerings). I put a Texas heat in an amp once, it was pretty terrible (IMO of course). This clip is a good example. The cannibas just sounds dark and stiff to me, and a v30 isn't my favorite clean speaker.




    WGS and Celestion, old Jensen, Yamaha made some really nice speakers too. There are lots, and they make a huge difference.

    With regard to your amp, here's the cool thing about it. If I were you, I would grab that and my guitar and take a drive to whatever the biggest music store you can get to is. I would then play through every speaker cab in the building, then buy the speaker you liked best. A simple google search should tell you what speaker was in a cabinet. Before doing so, you might want to watch a few videos on 112 verse 212 verse 412 to get an idea of how the cabinet size will also impact the sound. Ideally you could test out some open 112 cabs or combos. You might even do so under the guise of saying you want to try your amp with the same speaker as the amp in the combo to see if you want to "upgrade" or not.


    Hope that helps.[/QUOTE]


    Thanks for the thoughts vl. I find I am receptive for thoughts and impressions as to what to stay clear of and what to focus on. Do any other members have thoughts on the subject?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0zoro
    I am referring to the entire cone construction, frame, paper cone, coil etc. My question is how does one make a reasonable decision on buying a speaker for an empty cab, and have some assurance that it will fit my tone demands/wishes?
    No assurances in this crew world my friend. Many people choose speakers, choose wrong, and go away broken hearted, left in misery under the cruel sun.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRS
    No assurances in this crew world my friend. Many people choose speakers, choose wrong, and go away broken hearted, left in misery under the cruel sun.
    Hej DRS, wouldn´t it be nice to be able to avoid some of those pitfalls, perhaps with a little help from friends here.