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How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:35 pm

Got an all valve AC15 with standard Wharfedale 12" speaker. Would I notice a big difference if I switched to a posher speaker like a Celestion Greenback, for example. Lots of amp forum chaps think I would. But does a speaker make such a big difference?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby _ Six _ » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:00 pm

It makes a massive difference. Probably more than anything else. A good way to check is go to a guitar store and try a head with various cabinets. Amp simulators can be useful for getting some perspective too although not as well as getting hands on yourself.

I'm not a huge fan of Greenbacks.. I know they're revered by many but I much prefer the Vintage 30 which are more widely available. .
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:49 pm

The speaker makes a massive difference. But the classic AC15/AC30 sound is an Alnico Blue. It's a bright speaker, and when it's new it's quite piercing. The ones that you find in eg 60's amps have mellowed and they're worth a fortune for a reason.

I hear good things about Weber but I haven't tried them yet.

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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Madman_Greg » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:13 pm



I think I am right in saying in the 60s they used to take razors blades to the cones to get distortion sounds.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:58 am

I'm not a huge fan of Greenbacks.. I know they're revered by many but I much prefer the Vintage 30 which are more widely available. .


How would you describe the differences?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby matt keen » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:33 am

Huge Longjohns wrote:Got an all valve AC15 with standard Wharfedale 12" speaker. Would I notice a big difference if I switched to a posher speaker like a Celestion Greenback, for example. Lots of amp forum chaps think I would. But does a speaker make such a big difference?



AS has already been said it makes a huge difference
Also I think those Wharfdale's are fairly yuck anyway. Its easily the biggest mod you can do to an amp

I personally like the Celestion Heritage 30's (some dont) but also the Tayden's are good and the Vintage 30's are too middly for me
I put the Heritage 30 in my Tweed Deluxe, replacing a Jensen - but bear in mind the Heritage needs some breaking in as well
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby mick.n » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:16 am

Madman_Greg wrote:

I think I am right in saying in the 60s they used to take razors blades to the cones to get distortion sounds.

Thats what i heard. Apparently, thats how Ray davies of the Kinks got that sound in "You really got me".
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby CS70 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:39 pm

But does a speaker make such a big difference?


Yes.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:08 pm

THe main issue I have with the current speaker is a lack of tightness in the bottom end. Just gets a bit flabby and woofy when it should be tight and clean. But with all the usual VOx jangliness. I tend to back off the bass tone control currently more than I'd really want just to avoid this. Any thoughts?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Andi » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:12 pm

Sound samples on Celestion site; even if you don't like the speakers you can get an idea of the scope of difference.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:51 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of Greenbacks.. I know they're revered by many but I much prefer the Vintage 30 which are more widely available. .


How would you describe the differences?
Well, Son did not like his (cough!)-t20 into a V30. "Bit twonky" he said. He loves it thru a Greenback but then he is into jazz much more than out and out rock.

The V30 is perhaps THE rock speaker and is loaded in probably 50% of cabs on the market? It is also considerably louder than a Greeny, partly becasue of the 2dB higher sensitivity but also becasue of that midrange peak that you love (or hate!). Even louder, even tho the spec' is the same is the Celestion Gold. Supposed to be the sound of the Allyblues but with a 60W capability. Dunno, I'm mutton.
If that 15watter is up to snuff powerwise you could gig most pubs with a V30, certainly a Gold IMHO.
Ah! Now! Find a shop with (cough!) 30 and 15 combos respectively in it and try them out. The 30 has V 30's the 15 a Greenback and the basic amps sound enough the same to compare.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:01 pm

HI Dave, sorry I'm not getting the 'Cough' reference. Could you maybe give us a bit more of a clue, like F*****r or M******l?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:26 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:HI Dave, sorry I'm not getting the 'Cough' reference. Could you maybe give us a bit more of a clue, like F*****r or M******l?

Click on my U'name and all shall be revealed!

BTW, I am no longer retired. Was asked to help out a bit in the lab last year. Now they can't get rid of me!

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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Andi » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:21 pm

ef37a wrote:

The V30 is perhaps THE rock speaker and is loaded in probably 50% of cabs on the market?

Funny, I'd have said that the Greenback is THE rock speaker,though those V30s are indeed everywhere. I seem to remember finding them a bit shrill in the past in a standard sized Marshall straight front 4x12 but do like them more in a Recto cab. I'm looking to reload a 2x12 at the moment and for all that I thought I knew about speakers I'm pretty well crippled by indecision.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:42 pm

Ah B*******R! I knew you used to work there (and do again, clearly!) but didn't get enough of a pointer from the cough! What was the reason for putting different types in each combo if they amp sounds basically the same?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:09 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:Ah B*******R! I knew you used to work there (and do again, clearly!) but didn't get enough of a pointer from the cough! What was the reason for putting different types in each combo if they amp sounds basically the same?

??POWER! The 30 is a real kick A amp and that is what V30's do best. By "the same amp" I really meant that they are both EL84 OP stages, cathode biased so they are going to have basically the same core sound. The A15 is altogether a more genteel "jazzer" but plug it into a V30 loaded 4X12 and it will cover most venues.

Funnily enough I had a 15 come back from the continent loaded with a V30 (I put it back to UK stock). Apparently that is what was wanted over there?

We spend a LOT of time testing various speakers (they are one of the most expensive single components and you have to stay competitive)but tis a thankless task because 33% won't know or care. 33% will like it and 33% will hate it and say so!

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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:18 am

for all that I thought I knew about speakers I'm pretty well crippled by indecision.
I know nothing about speakers so imagine how I feel! I am leaning towards a Greenback though from all I've heard.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Andi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:57 am

There's no reason why my list would relate to your needs, but if it's of any interest, I've been looking into the G12H Anniversary(I have one in an Egnater Tweaker - it's possibly a little "spiky" for my taste with this amp but does cut well with a band), the G12H Heritage 55 Hz, G12M and G12M Heritage and the 65 W Creamback to use mostly with an old JCM800 and a THD BiValve. I have a 4 x 12 with Greenbacks (I think it's 2xG12Ms and 2x something else - it's been a long time since I rewired it) that sounds proper but it's well aged so not very useful. I like the idea of the Heritage drivers but you do need to watch your power ratings ini 1x12 and 2x12 formats. Best of luck.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:53 pm

Someone on another forum was recommending the Anniversary for an AC15, actually.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:30 pm

Where are you, Huge?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:24 pm

Near Cambridge, why?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:44 pm

I've got a few bits laying round if you were local. Cambridge is a bit of a walk though.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:03 am

Thanks for the offer but yes a bit of a stroll even with the clocks having gone back. Are you looking to sell?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby _ Six _ » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:24 am

Huge Longjohns wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of Greenbacks.. I know they're revered by many but I much prefer the Vintage 30 which are more widely available. .


How would you describe the differences?

That's a tough one! For me, guitar tones are organic and I need to get a feeling from my rig. I like the thump and woof I get from V30s and find that Greenbacks (that I've tried) don't give me the same satisfaction.

I think it's even more complex than that. The whole vibe of how I play, the settings I use and the detail I like in my sound. Then how the guitar and amp interact with each other via the speakers. I find Greenbacks nice (don't get me wrong they're great speakers) but Vintage 30's sound better to me. They seem to handle a broader range of tones from clean to all out balls to the wall drive. The Greenbacks seemed like I had to work harder to get the amp to sing.

Maybe I had a bad cabinet, maybe I'm just used to my sound or it just hasn't clicked for me yet! If it ain't broke don't fix it etc

I've been wrong before and I'm happy to be wrong again if the magic comes along one day
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:12 am

Celestion seem to describe Greenbacks as being a lot less agressive and sharp than the V30s, sort of like a humbucker compared with a spiky single coil I suppose!
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Frisonic » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:32 pm

As Jack said earlier you really should give an alnico blue a listen if you can. My amp, which is a tweed deluxe derivative has a Tayden alnico blue in it, rather than a Celestian one. They are said to sound a little less bright from new. As I understand it alnico blue's never exactly 'fell out of fashion' but because of certain source materials becoming protected for military purposes during the cold war they had to stop making them in about '65. To many highly respected guitar music names what came thereafter was second best. To me they have a glorious 'harmonic' quality but to judge from other guitarists opinions they seem to have become one of guitar amplifications best kept secrets. Check one out if you can.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby ef37a » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:31 pm

Do bear in mind that the Blue is only rated at 15watts.
Celestion speakers are noted for being conservatively rated and tough with it but an itinerate mistral with a 50W Boogie could probably destroy one.

To add to the pain they are expensive! I find them at the £200+ mark. If I had one or two in a cab I would fit a fuse. 500mA for 16 Ohms would be my starting point.

Yes! I know it does valve amps no good at all to drive an open circuit but it would not be MY amp that blew the fuse! You could in anycase shunt the fuse with a 10WR equal to the net impedance. A 50watter would then suddenly drop in volume.

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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:39 pm

To add to the pain they are expensive! I find them at the £200+ mark


Exactly. When you can get a V30 or Greenback for £70. Are they really worth that much extra?
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby Frisonic » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:53 pm

Well, if the cone is perhaps the most critical component of a combo and you are talking about a price difference of a little over £100... I'm just saying, check one out if you can.
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Re: How much difference does the type of speaker make in a combo?

Postby 4TrackMadman » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:45 pm

I actually like Eminence and Jensen speakers for tighter low end and overall more balanced sound. The Celestions tend to be a bit middrangey but that's also not a bad thing, depends on what you want to achieve. I find the Greenbacks a bit muddy when pushed with distortion. Right now I have Celestion G12s or something like that (70 watt ones) in 2x12 configuration with a Marshall JCM900 and they sound great with lots of distortion in front, think of Slayer's late 80s sound. The Eminence speakers I have on the other hand sound a lot more full range and better for clean tones.
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