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General guitar speaker/amp advice needed

 
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Babaluma
suffering 'studio suck'


Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 447
Location: Milan

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:10 pm    Post subject: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

background: i don't have a lot of experience with guitar amps. i play acoustic and electric guitar, mainly folky stuff, a lot of open chords etc. my electric is an unusual tele with 2 humbuckers (and coil tap for single coil sound), jumbo frets, set neck etc. (more like a les paul), which i currently play through a little fender champion 600 reissue. i really like the clean jangly chimey fender tone (and as such my coil tap is nearly always on).

my setup sounds good, but i think it could be improved, and i really want to a) have a go at building an original 5f1 champ circuit from a kit (little 5 watter), and b) send this through something bigger than the 6" speaker in the champion 600.

i would use this combination at home for practice and recording. low volume with nice clean tone is what i want (in a japanese apartment). i have absolutely no need or desire for high gain or high volume etc.

i've decided that i'm going to build the amp myself, and go with a pre built cab from earcandycabs.com.

here are my questions:

1) what size speakers are recommended for a 5F1 champ circuit? i'd really like to go for a 10" or a 12" for wider frequency response, but am not really sure of the difference, any ideas?

2) what make/wattage speakers are recommended for a little 5w tube amp? i'd love to go with something flash like a celestion gold or blue 10" or 12", but if it's going to sound crappy with a 5w amp, then that would be a waste. what are your thoughts on and the dangers (if any) of supplying a speaker with a wattage that is far below specified?

3) what about ohms? this just seems to add to my confusion! do i want low or high ohms coming out of the amp, and low or high ohm speakers? very confusing!

i know this is a huge can of worms, but i want to get it right first time. would a fender 5f1 champ powering a 12" celestion gold be a stupid idea?

thanks in advance for any advice!

gregg
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ררררררר
resurrected


Joined: 22 May 2006
Posts: 2390
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

5F1 is a great choice.

Going with a larger speaker is also a great choice.

10" and 12" are typical "guitar amp" sizes. What you need depends on your goals.

But before I get to the speakers, I want to say don't underestimate the cab in the equation. The size/dimensions of the cab, the type (open/closed back), and the cabinet material and construction style play a huge part... it's not just about the driver itself. A cabinet/speaker is a system with all parts playing a role. Part of the sound of vintage Tweed fender amps is the solid-pine finger-jointed open-back cab with the thin baffle (even thinner in Champs) hung from the top and bottom (but not the sides) so that it acts almost like a diaphragm/soundboard unto itself.

As for speakers, the size you go with depends on your desired application. Now these are not "rules..." just my opinion, and others might feel differently, but for me, for playing a guitar by yourself, solo, a single 12" speaker is very nice. It's a big, inviting sound with a lower resonant peak and a bit more low frequency extension that sounds really nice in unaccompanied applications. Its transient response is a bit slower than smaller drivers, which can flatter in unaccompanied situations.

Now this is only personal taste, but for recording, I really like 10" speakers. For playing in an ensemble, I really like multiple 10" speakers.

A single 10" speaker in unaccompanied performance can be a bit "boxier" than I prefer to hear on its own. And "faster" than a 12, too... punchy and bright. Kinda like your champion 600 is probably boxy-sounding, punchy, and bright... but a 10 would be slightly less so. A single 10 records great and sits great in a mix.

Multiple 10" speakers increase the overall surface area of all drivers, so despite the fact that each driver's resonant peak is higher, there is a bit more low frequency extension due to the surface area, which takes care of the 'boxy' factor. But the 10s with their lower mass individual cones still retain the punchy, fast quality with slightly more upper midrange/hf extension, which can be nice especially for overdriven sounds. Mic'ing a single speaker in a 2x10, 3x10, or 4x10 cab will give many of the same effects of mic'ing a single 10" speaker... which are effects I often like in recording certain types of electric guitar sounds.

For manufacturers, there are lots of good options and again it depends what you want.

For a 5F1, regardless of size, I would choose an AlNiCo magnet speaker. The flux in the gap reduces slightly the more the voice coil moves, which gives a gentle soft-knee compression that's very subtle and very flattering on guitar. AlNiCo speakers are a big part of the "tweed" sound so very appropriate. A Ceramic magnet speaker would be more aggressive and 'cold.' It's a cheesy comparison, but thinking about the difference between tape recording and digital recording gets you on the right track here.

Vintage AlNiCo Jensen is "the sound of Tweed," and in my opinion the very best manufacturer of speakers in this style is Weber Speakers, www.tedweber.com

They are also affordable considering the quality. The "Signature Series" is a decent, economical alternative, but the "vintage series" is really where it's at.

In my opinion, there is no nicer-sounding 10" speaker made today than Weber's 10A125 10" AlNiCo. I have four of those speakers total in various amps. I've not found a 10" I like better, especially for tweed sounds.

For power handling, double the amp's rated output. For a 5w amp you would want at least a 10w speaker. Remember the rated 5w is "5w clean power." The minute you have any kind of distortion going on, you are exceeding this level, occasionally by even more than double. But usually a speaker with double the rated output is fine. For multiple speakers, add the drivers' individual ratings together to get the total power handling capacity (two 25w speakers can handle 50w, and therefore are suitable for a 25w amp).

As for impedance, you want to match the speaker load to the amp's output impedance. For a 5F1 this is usually 4Ω which means one 4Ω speaker or two 8Ω speakers in parallel.


Last edited by ררררררר on Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Babaluma
suffering 'studio suck'


Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 447
Location: Milan

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

thank you so much brad for taking the time to reply to my question in such detail, and with such a lot of great info!

it was especially enlightening to hear your take on the 10" vs. 12", and thoughts on cab design and "the tweed sound". if i go with the earcandy cab i'll make sure it's an open back design.

still mulling over 10" vs. 12" vs. 2 x 10"...

re: impedance, got you! thanks for clearing that one up.

re: power, ok, so having a speaker rated around 15-25w would be ideal for a 5w amp? is going higher than that a silly idea?

anyone have any recommendations for nice pre-built tweed style cabs?
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roscoenyc
george martin


Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 1264
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

I have a cab on order from Mather Cabs in Nashville.

A guy I know on the Dr Z forum recently had a pretty not so good experience with Ear Candy Cabs. Guy paid in advance. Not so good comunication. Waited 6 months for a simple 2 x 12 cab.

I'd try to find a cabinet used or locally
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Babaluma
suffering 'studio suck'


Joined: 12 Dec 2004
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Location: Milan

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:22 am    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

thanks for the heads up!

all the speakers i want to try with my little fender champion 600 reissue are 8 ohm, but the champ has a 4 ohm output.

question: can i use an 8 ohm speaker from a 4 ohm amp output? i really don't want to have to buy 2 just so i can get the impedence right.
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RefD
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Joined: 28 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:54 pm    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

an impedance mismatch between a speaker and a tube amp can badly damage the output transformer.
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Babaluma
suffering 'studio suck'


Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 447
Location: Milan

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

thanks! i'll probably go with weber then, as they do do a 4ohm version, but unfortunately they don't have a japanese distributor so i will have to pay a lot of shipping for it.
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meldar produxshunz
gettin' sounds


Joined: 26 Feb 2008
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Location: seattle

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:13 am    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

you cant go wrong with a weber. if you like classic sounds, weber is the way to go. you def want to match up the ohms. unlikely you would blow your OT, but it WILL sound fuller. typically, the classic champs had a 8" speaker. great for getting some funky sounds when recording, but little else.

i second the 10" love. got a weber 10F150T in my headstrong lil king and it smokes. no worries keeping up with a 12, just a little snappier, and cuts the mix better than a 12". no muddiness.
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Babaluma
suffering 'studio suck'


Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 447
Location: Milan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: General guitar speaker/amp advice needed Reply with quote

Thread Necromancy Alert...

OK, nearly seven years later, and I have finally got the amp of my dreams! It arrived yesterday. It's based on the Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb circuit (AB763), with a load of changes (see below), custom built for me by Vyse Amps in the UK in a Tweed combo cab with a Weber 12A125A speaker (a clone of the speaker originally used in the 50's 5E3 Fender Tweed Deluxe amp).

It was designed with minimum noise in mind for recording purposes, and comes with the tremolo circuit from the Vibro Champ, additional Mid EQ and Master Volume controls, a Negative Feedback switch, tube driven spring reverb, and a tube driven parallel effects loop (with Mix control). Nine tubes in all.

Sounds incredible, very happy!

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all the people who chimed in years ago, especially Brad (ררררררר, are you still around?), whose advice I have referred back to many times over the years. I really couldn't be any happier with the Weber 12A125A, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Pic links below (embedding seems not to be working?)

http://hermetechmastering.com/Images/Guitar&Amp.jpg

http://hermetechmastering.com/Images/Guitar&Amp&FX.jpg
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