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BassBreaker 15 Head: speaker choices

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by anthrotony, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Hi everyone, long-time lurker here, but just beginning to post.

    The BassBreaker 15 combo comes stock with a Celestion V30 or, in the tweed edition, a G12M greenback. I picked up a BB15 head at Christmas and have since been playing around with it at home, gauging it against my late 1990s HotRod Deville 410 (I can get tones from the BB remarkably close to the HRDv). I've tried running the BB15 through the HotRod cab for a huge sound, but in order to maintain flexibility between my amps, I generally run it through one of the 12" Eminence speakers in a vintage Crate 2x12 combo (according to Anthony at Eminence, the closest speakers to these would be today's 1258 series), but these are very ice-picky and not pleasant with any drive.

    I'm about to build a cab for the BB15 and have spent a lot of time listening to audio clips (I know it's not ideal). Given the Marshally/Tweed characteristics of this amp, logically I'd stick with a British voiced speaker, but I'd like something that also retains some of the Fendery cleans that the amp is capable of. I play mostly clean or with mild overdrive/crunch, blues and classic rock, with Tele, SG, and ES-335.

    My personal preference at this time is leaning towards the Celestion A-Type (nice American sound with some Brit flavour it seems) or the Emi GA-SC64 Alessandro which has a really nice vintage vibe, and seems to be really pleasing to the ear when used with British amps as well as with BF styles. I am remaining open to the idea of pairing such a speaker with a greenback/Private Jack/Green Beret to add some of that British shimmer in the highs. I don't like shrill highs or in-your-face mids, and do like a round, fat bass. Note articulation is very important. Surprisingly, there's very little discussion about BB15s and speakers on the web, but I'm sure that some of you must have tried many different speakers or cabs. I'd really appreciate your thoughts -- note, I'm in the UK, so many speakers from great companies like Weber, Scumback, MojoTone and so forth are not easily available here, and shipping from the States makes them prohibitively expensive :)
     
    bgavin335 likes this.

  2. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I've tried mine with several different speakers and it sounded good with all of them.

    I actually like the stock V Types just fine with it. I can plug in my AlNiCo 2x10 if I want a more vintage sound, or my Maverick if I want to change it's volume level.
     
    anthrotony likes this.

  3. MMARSH

    MMARSH Tele-Meister

    354
    Jun 21, 2015
    CA
    You might try a WGS ET-65; I have a cab with one that sounded really good (but different!) with the BB15
     
    anthrotony and JustABluesGuy like this.

  4. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    That was my experience as well. It sounds really good, but different with every speaker I have tried (and I have "several" to try!).

    I just finished playing with it through my 2x10 with Mojotone labelled eminence alnicos, and it took on a very nice, slightly more vintage tone, but with "cajones" obviously! ;)

    I tried it a few times with 2 2x10s and it was amazing!

    It hasn't sounded "bad" with any I have tried. I originally bought it because I couldn't find ANY bad tones in it, just different ones! :)

    Of course, It also sounds just fine with the stock V Types as well, and I'm really more of an Eminence/CTS fanboy.
     

  5. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Thanks for the replies.

    As I understand it, the ET-65 is a greenback style speaker, probably close to the G12 65 right?

    Believe it or not, here in the UK, I've one some price checking (for new speakers) and WGS and Eminence are both more expensive than the equivalent Celestions. In your experience, if the price were equal, would you go Celestion or still prefer your WGS speaker? Just curious, but one opinion is better than none. Well, maybe ;)

    As per my comment about pricing in the UK, this is equally true for alnicos. So bizarrely, I can get the Alnico Blue or Gold for about 5-10% less than the other brands. I had thought about this, but the price is a little high.

    I think that despite starting to play electric guitar in the early 70s through Selmer, Wem, and Marshall stacks, and although I know an awful lot about guitars, I feel I am a real novice as regards speakers. Perhaps I ought to go with the least expensive (for me) reference speaker, the humble old greenback, and then start to consider alternatives after getting to know it. Does this make sense?

    I know that from listening to live bands, I generally don't like the V30s and I really haven't heard enough V-types to have a sincere opinion.
     

  6. VintageSG

    VintageSG Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Huddersfield, UK
    Curve-ball time.

    Hotrox stock Jensen speakers. Their prices are OK. I've got Jensen MOD 10-50 speakers in a 2x10" cab and frankly, it sings!. Tight, controlled bass, excellent mids and clarity from here until the cows come home. None of my amps generate enough whumph to cause the speakers to break up, so can't comment there. They do sound rather good with the amp on the edge of being rather angry and the cleans are delicious. The spread and coverage compared to my 1x12" make it worth the little bit extra to build and equip. If you don't fancy building the cab, Lean-Business do a well priced, well spec'd 2x10" cab ( they also have a good range of drivers, look them up if you haven't already ). I replaced the driver in my Cub 10 with a MOD 10-70 and couldn't be happier.

    Have a look at some Jensens. They do a range of ceramic and alnico drivers that might be up your alley.
     
    anthrotony likes this.

  7. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    The V30s have an upper mid peak that sounds nasally to me. Apparently they do fit through a mix well. They seem to be most popular with metal and hard rock guys.

    Greenbacks are pretty much a standard used for many different styles.

    What I did when I started down the speaker rabbit hole was to decide if I was looking for a more modern, or vintage sound. American or Brit voicing? Roots music, metal?

    You also need to consider your volume needs as well. Having a good idea about these things will help narrow down the search a lot.

    Then try to watch comparisons of those on your short list and decide which sounds better. I did it one speaker at a time. V30s came highly recommended but I was able to rule them out for my styles and taste.

    Certain speakers definately suit certain styles and situations though in the end any speaker can be used for any style of music if you aren't too picky.
     
    anthrotony likes this.

  8. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Indeed, the Emi GA-SC64 seems to be most often compared with very good vintage Jensens, so you're right to suggest looking at them, and the prices are very reasonable compared to the other major brands. I will try listening to some of them, taking into account JustABLuesGuy's general advice for style/tone etc. I would stay away from 10" speakers at this time, as I've played through them for so many decades (and love their focus and tight feel). I think I'd like to give 12 inches a go :) I have thought about putting some new speakers in my 4x10 HRDv cab though...
     

  9. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    All good advice here. Thanks. When I go to bed these days my wife swears that my eyes look like speakers! I've been doing a lot of internet checking, being cautious of course to the inherent compression, different amps and so forth. For example, I did find some excellent videos for Morris amps in Canada, a 15/18 which is apparently a cross between the AC15 and the Marshall 18 -- sweet but VERY expensive, and sounds rather like a BB15. His videos give a good rendition of the GA-SC64s and the V-Types for what it's worth, but again, it's not my amp or my playing style.

    The American/Brit voicing is my biggest challenge. I grew up on British vintage speakers, but have only played American ones for so long now... my ears keep telling me that I prefer the American sound, but I'm wondering if British voicing would give me something so very different that it would be whole new learning process! Not to worry, though, as I will get my first speaker shortly, and then I'll just have to hope that I don't go through a money-losing period of buying and selling speaker after speaker in the quest for the tone Holy Grail! Oh, to your generic questions, there, yes, I do prefer vintage tones, and probably more towards Roots music if I picked any particular style -- that cross between blues, country, folk, and rock.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  10. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    HaHaHa! I've had weird speaker dreams, so I understand! As far as "auditioning" speakers via YouTube it isn't ideal or course, but if a speaker sounds good even on video, it will surely sound better in person.

    I found it best to focus as much as possible on just two of the candidates at a time. Eliminating some and advancing others tournament style.

    It's obviously best to hear them in person, but few of us are actually able to do that.
     

  11. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    That exactly what I'm doing! But then going back to revisit speakers I'd already discounted -- Like the WGS Reaper (though probably not the ET65) :)
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  12. MMARSH

    MMARSH Tele-Meister

    354
    Jun 21, 2015
    CA
    I don't have much experience with Celestions except for the V-Type Specials that come with some Fender amps (including the BB15 combo). Those speakers are OK, WGS is much better, IMO.
     
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  13. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Yeah, I get that. The problem is that I've not heard WGS speakers live, and there's so much "advice" on the internet that it's a challenge to know what to go with. I've been recommended the ET-65, but from my own web-listening (through studio headphones) it seems that the Reaper HP (for example) has better presence which might help retain a little of the Fender vibe when using the BB15 as clean as possible. Do you have any experience with this?
     

  14. warthog

    warthog Tele-Meister

    240
    Aug 5, 2011
    Slovenia
    To throw in my 2 cents. I've got an Eminence Red Coat Tonker in my ext. cab and that thing is Loud! I can't compare to other speakers, but I like it for rock and roll.
     
    anthrotony likes this.

  15. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Thanks for the replies so far. What is apparent is that British-voiced speakers seem to be the first choice for the BB15. And that's what the dark side of me is telling me ;) But I'm still hung up on the Emi GA-SC64 -- if you haven't heard it, it's worth a listen, the Emi site's own video shows it off through Fender and Marshall style amps and it sounds amazing, but it still has that very vintage American overtone. I've given myself another few days to make a decision before I step down into the rabbit hole!
     

  16. Twang Banger

    Twang Banger Tele-Meister

    196
    Apr 7, 2011
    Jacksonville, Fla
    I have a BB15 combo 1x12 and, because it is a tight space (similar depth as a Blues Jr) i dropped a Weber NeoMag12 in it. It is designed to be a JBL D120 clone ... and it sounds great to me! Also leaves some extra breathing room in the amp since it is only 3.5 inches deep.
     
    anthrotony likes this.

  17. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    It would help me a lot if you could describe how you hear the sound/tone different from the stock V-Type speaker -- obviously your personal style, guitars, and so forth will also impact the result.
     

  18. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Well, I'm still undecided, but I have been giving a lot of thought to the Eminence and WGS British-voiced alternatives.

    The WGS ET-65 gets a lot of general recommendations, but I've read that it isn't the best with a generally dark amp. And although I can control that darkness, I'd have to agree that it is still an important characteristic in the overall tone. MMARSH: can you please comment on your experience with this speaker, and in particular how you found it "different"?
     

  19. MMARSH

    MMARSH Tele-Meister

    354
    Jun 21, 2015
    CA
    It's what I would call more of a full range speaker. It reproduces most frequencies pretty well. What that means in my experience compared to other speakers is that it is bright, which complemented the darkness of the BB15 very nicely. Much of that darkness is the speaker, I think. It certainly had me going back to the EQ. One other thing: at 65 watts, you will not get the BB15 to distort the speaker at all.

    One way to explore how different speakers sound with this amp is to use the Line Out and defeat the built-in speaker sim, then use an IR of the speaker you are interested in. I'm sure there is an IR of the ET-65 out there somewhere...
     

  20. anthrotony

    anthrotony TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    26
    Oct 23, 2017
    UK
    Thanks so much for this. It is very helpful, as after reading and watching hundreds of opinions/demos and so forth, there had been a few (from Vaughn Skow actually) which implied that the ET65 might actually emphasise that amp darkness -- this is one of the main reasons I was hesitating, and was beginning to consider the Reaper instead, although ordinarily I'd consider that speaker too bright for my tastes (for the same reasons I dislike the V30 in live situations). Part of me still wants to try out that Alessandro Eminence speaker as it seems to have such a great vintage Fender vibe, but for the moment, I've just ordered an ET-65 to get me going :) The lack of speaker distortion doesn't worry me, as I much prefer to hear just the amp overdrive.

    Your idea of trying the amp out direct with some IRs is great. Thanks -- I'll try to get my old computer interface working again and give that a whirl. It would be fun at least, and would also give me an idea of the amp for silent practice. I have to admit, the only time I ran the XLR straight into a mixer, I found the tone to be very fizzy and distasteful, so in a live situation, I'd imagine that to do this it would be essential to have a good DI box.

    Thanks to everyone who has provided input to my post: for those of us who don't live in the States, a speaker swap is not necessarily an easy financial proposition -- I've seen prices of WGS speakers in the States that are probably 60% of the price here in the UK! And equally as frustrating is that the prices of Hellatone speakers is considerably less than our local price here for the original Celestions, even for the UK-made speakers. Ah well, perhaps I should have stayed there instead of coming back to Europe!

    I'll report back on the progress with the new speaker as soon as it's installed and then once broken in..

    Cheers!
     

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