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10" vs. 12" Speakers

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by markesquire, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. markesquire

    markesquire Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 20, 2008
    Which do you all prefer and why? To me, the 12" has a bigger, deeper bass response while the 10" has a quicker, tighter bass response. After discovering Jim Campilongo only two weeks ago (I must have been living under a rock), I'm thinking of buying a Princeton Reverb and lots of people go back and forth on whether to keep the 10" or to substitute a 12". I've heard that some 10"'s actually have a huge bass response similar to 12"'s, which would be the best of both worlds. Any suggestions?

  2. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Speakers are kind of all over the place.

    In general terms, you'll get more bass extension from a 12", and more highs from a 10".

    To compare the sorts of things guitar players prize ("quicker, tighter bass response" as in your example,) it pays to look at the spec for the driver itself. There are 10" drivers that go below 70 Hz cleanly with smooth response across their entire range, and 12" drivers that flap like laundry at 70 Hz.

    My preference is for a better 12" driver. The good ones are as tight as many of the cheaper 10" commonly used as guitar speakers. The only thing that would push me toward 10" would be that I wanted more SPL and had a cabinet where I could fit 2 10s and not 2 12s.

    In a cabinet like a Princeton where we're limited to a single driver of either size, and we're picking the speaker from the aftermarket, I'd go with a single high-quality 12" every time. Apples to apples, you get more LF extension. Others will doubtless disagree, but consider what a common swap the Princeton 12" became.

  3. markesquire

    markesquire Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 20, 2008
    Thanks, Chris. I'll take a look at some speaker sites to try to figure out their specs. Jim Campilongo told me that he now uses Celestion Vintage G10's, so he has stuck with the 10s, must be a personal preference for everybody.

  4. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 21, 2006
    Vienna, Austria
    The Eminence Legend 105 is another option for a speaker that has a fuller sound more like a 12".

    That said, for me the main difference between 10" and 12" speakers is not the bass response, buth the quicker attack of the 10" - more "in your face" than the more laid-back 12" attack.

  5. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    G10 I think is Celestion's latest Vintage 30 clone. It's going to have a more honky/UK voicing than a Jensen or clone.

    Nothing wrong with any of these speakers. Comes down to taste, mostly, in the end. Personally, I tend to prefer cleaner, heavier-duty speakers (e.g. D120) FWIW, because I'm no Joe Campilongo, that's for sure.

  6. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire

    That would probably be my choice for a Princeton. Priced right, and sound right.

  7. Bob Arbogast

    Bob Arbogast Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    When it comes to a Princeton or Princeton Reverb, I'm not so sure that a 12 will give you a fuller sound than some of the 10s available these days (e.g., Ragin Cajun, Copperhead, 10F125, 10F150T). My sense is that a Princeton cabinet lacks the volume to allow a 12 really to breathe. It's sort of the same thing with a 5E3. That cabinet is on the small side for housing a 12. But for a 10, it's ideal. (Recall how people rave over the big sound of a tweed Tremolux with its Pro-sized cabinet housing a 12 rather than a 15.)

    Caveat: I am partial to 10s. In fact, all three of my amps feature 10s (5E7, 5F11, Sweet Spot). And the next build I'm contemplating, a Suprolux (think 6L6-powered 5F11 in a 5F4 cabinet), will feature a pair of 10s.

    Bob Arbogast

  8. markesquire

    markesquire Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 20, 2008

  9. Doug Ferguson

    Doug Ferguson Friend of Leo's

    Jan 3, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I like the 12" because they have a fuller sound, better low end, and better articulation of overtones and undertones. I have to say, though, that the Fender Designed 10" in the G-DEC 30 isn't shabby -- and that's in a closed back cab, and it's a solid state amp! My least favorite amp preferences all in one package. But, jeez, it sound fine! I'd've never believed it of me :D.

  10. Darcy Hoover

    Darcy Hoover Tele-Holic

    My BFPR has a 10" Weber Vintage alnico in it, and my BFDR has a 12" Weber Vintage alnico in it (I really like those speakers!) but I've tried plugging the 12" into the Princeton. Yes, it sounded a little fuller, but it lost a fair bit of top end sparkle and snap, and perhaps got a little muddier. That 12" sounds heavenly in the DR but my PR far prefers the 10".

  11. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I've heard plenty of 10's that I swore were 12's and vice versa. It's easy to make sweeping statements, or hear with your eyes, when you know what size speaker you're plugging into.

    Lotsa 12's out there that are mighty bright and weak on bass if in the wrong cab.

    While there are plenty of 1X12 config. amps, the standard with 10's seems to be at least a pair, the PR notwithstanding. IMO, this is what 10's were intended for with guitar amps.

    Some of my favorite amps are the Vibrolux Reverb, Super Reverb, and 5E7 Bandmaster. I love 10's, but I prefer at least a pair of them.

    I have a love/hate relationship with 12's. I can get the extra conal surface area to make horrendous noises that I don't get from 10's - cone cry, ghost notes, edge yowl, etc. I should make a video of the visible cone ripples that I get from 12's sometimes. It sounds and looks like something from the X Files. I can't get 10's to do the same thing, for the most part. Probably because they have a similar driver mechanism, but a smaller basket and less cone surface. That equals a more stout setup, generally speaking.

    In the end, I find that a 2X? setup is typically minimal for me, unless it's a little SE amp or something.

    My Vibrolux Reverb currently has a Weber ceramic California 10 and original alnico. The Cali completely drowns it out. The C10 also will easily overpower quite a few of my 12's. Put a C10 in a PR and you could inflict some serious damage with that little amp.

    I prefer to pick a speaker by it's individual characteristics. There are so many to choose from now that you don't have to go by just the diameter.

  12. Doc

    Doc Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 20, 2003
    South Dakota
    I tend to play mostly 1x??'s. In that context I like 1x12's. C-Rex is one of my general purpose favs. IN amps it is hard to beat a 4x10 bassman or other 4x10 fender if you can run some volume.

  13. gaddis

    gaddis Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 22, 2004
    New York
    I've got a PRRI and I've got no problem whatsover with the 10" speaker in there. The amp sounds amazingly full and open, and with plenty of bass response.

  14. tele0053

    tele0053 Tele-Holic

    Aug 29, 2003
    Wash. DC.
    No contest... 10's all the way...more pop, tighter bass, not boomy and wobbley (for lack of a better description) as 12's can sometime be...
    They just seem to be more defined and articulate than 12's. The midrange jumps out and socks you right in the gut, not to mention they cut through the live mix better, especially when put in a closed back cab.

  15. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    This may sound silly......

    If I can have one speaker.....I'll take one 12"

    If I can have two speakers.....I'll take two 10"

    I love 2 x 10 cabs. I built a 2 x 8 that sounded pretty good.

    Some of the single 10's that I've had broke up too soon.


  16. Doug Ferguson

    Doug Ferguson Friend of Leo's

    Jan 3, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I'm pretty much with you on this. Two 10" sound pretty good; a quad even better. Overall I prefer dual 12's, but dual 10's aren't bad at all.

  17. mistermullens

    mistermullens Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 3, 2007
    Atlanta Area
    I'm kinda new to this speaker thing even though I've been playing a while. My first real amp was a DRRI, great amp, but I eventually got tired of the sound. Plus I like to plug straight in and I can't seem to do that with Blackface amps. Anyway, it would have never occured to me to even swap the speaker. I sold the DRRI about a year or so ago and sometimes I still wish I had it. Next up is my Epi VJr head. Started out with a 1x10 and got lucky with my choice of speaker. I went with an Eminence Ramrod which sounded great with my Epi. Shortly thereafter, I got a Champion 600 which also sounded great with the 1x10. I was concerned about the impedence mismatch, and I shouldn't have been, but I just didn't know any better at the time. For whatever reason I got it in my head that I needed a 12in speaker. I ordered a 12in Lopo Cab, and a Jensen MOD. Hated it. I mean HATED IT! Nothing sounded good through that speaker. I was so frustrated, because I wasted all this money on a new cab & speaker, and I sold my 1x10, and wasn't pleased with the outcome. I sold the speaker and the 1x12, I saved my original Ramrod, and my search for a 1x10 or a 2x10 cab was on. Got a deal on Craigslist for a 2x10 and I dropped another Ramrod in there for my Epi. Sounds really, really good. With that being said, I've also recently run my Epi through my BJr speaker and it sounded really good too. Enough for me to seriously consider getting the matching cab. The wife bought me the Epi so I can't sell it. The speaker in the BJr is stock, and while it sounded good, I'm looking to upgrade in the next week or so.

    Bottom line is, we can all give you advice, but you gotta go with what sounds good to you. Finding the right speaker won't happen over night unless you get lucky. Case in point, I bought a Jensen C12N because thats what Fender puts in the NOS Tweed BJr, and it sounds awesome. Sounded harsh in mine. Up next to try is an Eminence Red White & Blues.

    Sorry for such a long post, but we're dead at work today.

  18. Encinitastubes

    Encinitastubes Tele-Meister

    I have a Sewell Wampus Cat with a Copperhead and a Rajin Cajun. Those speakers sound great together.

    I love the sound of 4x10s cranked. However, it's hard to find a place where I can crank them. Although 2x12s sound fuller by themselves, I find that 2x10s have their own place in the mix.

  19. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Which cab was it, and which MOD was it? I have a 12/70 that sounds fantastic in an open back cab about the size of a DR. The 12/70 actually cuts a bit of the upper mids, so it tends to smooth things out. If you go to a closed back cab or a bigger one, the 12/70 may sound unpleasant. Mine got really dark and MODern sounding in a c/b setup.

    The 12/50 and 12/35 are supposed to have much more prominent mids, but I understand if you're done with the MODs. Now that the prices have shot up, I think I am, as well. It's hard to beat the Emi 105 in that regard.

    So how bright are those Ramrods? I've never had one long enough to make up my mind. And I really want an affordable alternative to the new G10M.

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