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Cone Cry... Is it the cab's construction, or the speaker itself?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by daryle, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. daryle

    daryle TDPRI Member

    Dec 13, 2009
    Hi everyone.

    I run a tiny terror head into a home made 2x12 cab.

    This morning i plugged the head into only one of the speakers (eminence governor which is on the left side) and started playing at a slightly higher volume, and i noticed cone cry when playing on many positions, especially on the lower strings.

    Now, i'm very sure its cone cry because i CAN hear buzzing from surrounding items vibrating, but on top of that, i also hear a very different type of buzzing coming from the speaker itself.

    When i rest my fingertips on the rim of the cone, the distinct buzzing appears to subside, and then quickly come to an end as my sustained note dies out soon after that.

    At the same time, i also noticed another strange occurence: After i was done playing, i switched the amp back onto standby and turned my guitar volume to zero, however, i heard the last note that i played on the Low E String actually still ringing for 10 to 15 seconds more!

    When i plugged into the speaker on the right (Eminence Cannibis Rex), i didn't actually notice this buzzing, or notice my last notes still ringing even after switching off the amp.

    I don't run the two speakers in series (even though they are in the same cab) because -- yeah you guessed it. The Governor is british-voiced while the Cannibis Rex is american voiced. I just bought these two to experiment.

    My questions are these:

    1) Was the conecry caused by mistakes i could have made in building my cab?

    2) Or was the conecry caused by the speaker itself?

    3) I've read numerous reports of conecry problems with V30s, Governors, Wizards and so on. It appears that if i were to run two governors in series, the conecry would be eliminated, how true is this?

    4) I'm about to sell off the Cannibis Rex, and replace it with an Eminence Wizard. I've heard people getting good results when they pair a Wizard and a Governor. Will this possibly eliminate the conecry too?

    5) Is the occurrence of my last note still ringing in the speaker even after turning my amp off a problem that i should fix?

  2. I can't answer all your questions, but this might help understand what's going on better:

    All speakers connected to an amp with an 'output transformer' (note I did not say a valve/tube amp, because an OPTX driven by transistors will have precisely the same effect) will produce electromechanically generated harmonics when driven fairly hard. Different models are designed to create various harmonics. Guitar speakers are NOT at all accurate and never have been intended to be! They are 'instruments' in their own right which contribute to the overall sound you hear. Speakers are far more important than pickups or tubes as 'tone' generating devices!!

    Output transformers have a high output impedance - typically 4 ohms - that enables the amp to power the speaker, but does not tie the speaker to reproducing accurate interpretations of the amp's output signal. This happens at higher output levels generally.

    Modern transistor amplifiers are equipped with 'current feedback' which does the same job as far as harmonic generation is concerned. So this harmonic generation is no longer unique to amps with output transformers (which are commonly tube amps).

    The geometry of the speaker - back plate, magnet diametre/thickness, coil weight/length/diametre/etc, all influencing factors in the speaker's harmonics ranges produced by its paper cone. The output tubes contribute absolutely nothing to this effect on the tone - only the OPTX and the speaker(s) create these effects.

    The design of the cabinet can also have a strong effect on the speaker's performance. The cabinet puts a load on the speaker cone, so the geometry of the cabinet will alter the harmonics generated by the cone. So, putting your finger on any part of the cone is like a load and will, of course, affect the sound you hear.

    Other common issues that can affect a speaker's harmonic generation include the fact that many DIYers, out of ignorance, overtighten or unevenly tighten the speaker down onto the baffle. This can cause a distortion in the mounting rim and cause all kinds of odd performance mishaps. Make sure your speaker is not overtightened!!

  3. Donnie55

    Donnie55 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 31, 2009
    Jacksonville , Fl.
    If its cone cry , just dope the speaker.. I dont know about the other stuff..

  4. donh

    donh Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2010
    Oh Aich Ten
    I am under the impression that cone breakup is considered a feature of a british-voiced speaker, rather than a bug.

  5. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Tele-Afflicted

    Inspect the edge of the cone, the area where it rounds over and meets the suspension. You are looking for tiny wrinkles in the paper they may look like small tears. You'll know you're onto something if you can see the wrinkles articulate when you gently and evenly push the cone in.

  6. BiggerJohn

    BiggerJohn Friend of Leo's

    Jun 1, 2009
    +1. Thin some contact cement with acetone and brush it on.

  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    Buzzing ain't cone cry. Cone cry is more like a yowl or a ghost note. Buzzing is usually a voice coil rub. How tight are the mounting bolts for the speaker? They should be just hand tight, not cranked down. I usually use a socket without the handle. When it's tight with just your fingers, that's good enough.

  8. Barfly

    Barfly Tele-Meister

    Are you sure the baffle in your homemade cabinet is perfectly flat,mounted tight in the box, and hasn't warped or twisted?.Like Fezz stated in my experience cone cry doesn't sound like a buzz it sounds exactly as he decribes it.If I am understanding you correctly these speakers sounded fine at one time in that cabinet?

  9. daryle

    daryle TDPRI Member

    Dec 13, 2009
    You guys are right. it's not cone cry.

    last night i took The Governor out and put it into a 1x12 cab that had been kept quietly in a corner for years. no buzzing at all. this 1x12 was made of voidless birch ply, and the four sides were glued together with proper joints. the baffle was well fastened too.

    my 2x12 cab was made out of... marine grade ply. there were voids in the individual sheets themselves, and i actually put them together purely with drywall screws. i think i left some voids in the corners when i had to make allowances for my baffle, which was also put in the wrong place.

    either way, i'm going to re-do the 2x12, and make sure i can overcome this cab construction problem. i don't know if this can be done with the kind of plywood i used, but if it can, i will derive a certain sense of self-achievement. i also want to see exactly how much of a difference there is between cheap plywood, and the baltic birch that everyone is using nowadays.

    I might also experiment with MDF boards.

    obtaining that voidless baltic birch is almost impossible where i am. in southeast asia, all you can get is cheap, rough plywood that is mostly used to make temporary structures to aid in construction.

  10. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Tele-Afflicted

    MDF is insanely heavy for music gear. Perfect for home audio, but heavy and not all that strong for traveling. You already found the advantage of the baltic birch ply, you don't have to chase voids. Any grade of "void free plywood would be better than what you used.

  11. Whilst it is understood that you have now found your problem to be poor cabinet construction, it ought to be realised that tremendous sound pressure and vibration levels are generated inside a speaker cabinet. Therefore, anyone should screw and glue all joints supported by adequate bracing (unless you have access to professional clamps to ensure good joint contact).

    Many guitarist do not understand that the unique tones of a guitar amp are mainly made by the speaker... not the tubes! So any 'messing' with the cone will destroy the speaker's special performance as designed by the engineers at the speaker factory. Paint or dope increases the weight (mass) of the cone and will make it slower (darker toned) and restrict the generation of electromechanical harmonics. These harmonics are created by the action of cone vibrating and ARE NOT created by the amp!

    As friendly advice, unless you know exactly, or can predict, what the results will be, don't do it is my advice (speaking as a guitar amp designer since 1967)!

    When a speaker is tired or worn out, just buy a new one. After all, they're not that expensive... certainly no where near the cost of a new set of pickups, which most regard as an acceptable upgrade cost.

  12. The only thing is that different materials can add small tonal (resonance) differences. Marshall mainly use ½" material (mostly MDF) for their cabinets (except 4 x12" which is usually 18mm birch stock). Thinner sheet can add some very pleasant overtones, which such stiff (perfect) thicker material cannot contribute. I have even converted IKEA 12mm baltic birch storage boxes into small 1x 12" cabinets and they have sounded awesome! Depends on what you're looking for, I guess.

    I don't really understand this 'voidless' business! I think it's all a little 'in search of the holy grail', but misguided IMO. I have found you can usually use any material you like; and experience will enable you to build any kind of tone you want... providing you have the courage to experiment and believe your own ears.

    Us designers have to bend the rules quite a bit to find new ways of creating stuff. We don't simply copy the tried and tested conventional thoughts. Otherwise, there would be nothing more than Telies, Strats, Les Pauls, Fender or Marshall amp clones.

    MDF, chip board, birch ply, Indonesian ply, shuttering ply, pine board, 1", ¾", ½"... it's all good when used with good experience to create certain tones. And we have to accept that many of the great sounds are happy accidents... certainly the Marshall sound was, in spite of what Jim claims! We in the trade call it 'Beneficial Defects'. And our art is to exploit those imperfections. Just the opposite of what many on forums attempt! You don't want too much that's perfect, or you lose the vibe that founded the classic R 'n' R sounds! Those sounds came from trying to make stuff cheaply and maximise profit!

    Hope this 'from the other side of the fence' view does not offend anyone too much. :)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010

  13. daryle

    daryle TDPRI Member

    Dec 13, 2009
    thank you for sharing your wisdom. it will take me a long time to fully understand speaker cabinet construction and the acoustic behavior of speakers in a wooden enclosure, but i think i would eventually, when i have enough money.

    rest assured, i will not do anything silly to alter the speakers themselves... I understand that on their own, they are little instruments too, and changing anything inside them without extensive knowledge in the field would be plain stupid of me.

    having only played 6 strings for 4 years, i am only just beginning to wake up to the equipment that really matters in my rig.

    Like every other teenager, i've been through my fair share of pointless instrument changes, pickup changes, and distortion pedals. it was only after years of trial and error that i realised the amp (with the speakers) influences your sound more than anything else.

    hopefully after rearranging the baffle in my 2x12 and making the relevant adjustments, results that are favorable to my ears will be produced.

    once again, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. :)

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