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Eminence Big Ben - how does it do in a blackface Fender amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by 63 vibroverb, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    I've been researching the Big Ben 15" speaker and it seems to get a lot of positive reviews in Tweed amps and Marshalls. Haven't seen much about it in blackface Fenders. Anybody here have any experience with the Big Ben in a blackface Fender amp or similar?

    As a reference, I think the latest version of the Eminence Red White & Blues is an amazing blackface 12" speaker. Big fan of the Weber F150's too. I'm looking for a similar tonal response and efficiency in a 15". The Weber California I have now isn't cutting it - too quiet and flat.
     

  2. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    I had (may still have, the Ben 15 out there) used with BF amps. Personally I didn't like it that much. In some ways very similar to the Cali 15. I just couldn't find a "voice" that got me going, kind of flat sounding while clean, but lacking a bite.
    I too like the RW&B and F150's... although the latter have been a turkey shoot for me. I've had 15F150, have you considered that? I didnt like the 15 I had but I didnt like some 12F150's either. Yet another 12F150 (old C12N one) was amazing...
    I use an EV15B for my outdoor gigs. It's a bass PA speaker but an amazing guitar speaker actually. Albeit a bit clean like the Ben , but it has character.
    Doesn't Emi have a 15 that is closer to the RWB? I've had a Legend 15, very clean and loud, a bit like the F150 style actually. It'll break your ear drums.
    The Weber Ceramic Silver Bell is a fave of mine. I think they make a 15...? I have found more consistent sound from the SB than the F150. Had a 75 watt, I loved.
    Later: I guess they dont make SB 15, I bet they would though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018

  3. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    Hmm, sounds like the Big Ben is too similar to the Cali 15. The F150 and RWB speakers are intoxicating to my ears and inspire me to play - I can’t put my guitar down. The Cali, although it can get some nice tones sometimes, has me kinda unexcited and doesn’t compliment the scooped BF tone well. Almost too sterile. And too inefficient - I feel like it must be around 97 dB or even less. It’s a shame, because despite being very articulate, there’s also a sponginess to the way it reacts to the strings that’s really nice.

    I’d go for the 15F150, but my amp is 100 watts. I may have to talk to the custom shop at Eminence about making a 15” version of the RWB, that would be perfect. The Legend 15 is pretty good, although I could use a little more mids in that one. I love the Silver Bells too, but they’re not what I’m going for in a BF. Thanks for the tip on the EV, I’ll have to check it out.
     

  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    A couple things.

    1) How does one sound in a blackface amp isn't really a question that can be answered. WHAT type of "bf" amp - reverb types sound vastly different from non-reverb types due to gain differences, regardless of the actual volume level.

    2) What style of music; at home or with a band; if gigging, how loud and mic'd or not; are you playing clean or using a clean type rig with distortion pedals etc etc. Need a LOT more detail.

    3) "My amp is 100 watts" is irrelevant unless you are turning it up to the point where full power is being pushed to the speaker OR you are playing with distortion (which changes everything about power handling and speaker selection - important!). If you are turning it up to "4" or "5" you might be pushing 5-10 watts, maybe a hair more.

    4) If you are not turning it up more than that you have "too much amp" IMO and are probably looking at the wrong type of speaker (i.e. you need a *lower* headroom speaker)....and...

    5) ....realistically you will get much better tone using an an amp with far less output and pushing it - and the speaker - harder. A high output amp used at low levels can rarely push the speaker(s) to full frequency response - especailly tighter speakers engineered for high headroom.

    So more detail will tell us a lot more about what you are doing now & you should get answers that are focused on your needs. Right now it's all guesswork.
     

  5. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    If you insist! I appreciate it

    1. To be exact, it's a Custom Vibrasonic Reverb. Mostly a tweaked Twin Reverb with the negative feedback loop removed. Gain is a bit hotter, less headroom, and a 15" speaker instead of the 2 12's. Amount of clean volume seems to be higher than a Super/Pro/Vibrolux, but less than a normal Twin Reverb. Starts to breakup around 6 with humbuckers.

    2. I gig out playing a lot of classic blues, with some jazz and spacey exploration thrown in. I prefer to move a lot of air and play very loud, but tastefully and thoughtfully - riding the guitar volume knob a lot. My band is very dynamic, especially the drummer. I tend to use a Barber OD with very little gain, just enough for the strings to sing when I dig in with my pick. That way, I'm not exhausting the tubes too much (I got tired of replacing a quad of 6L6's on a regular basis) I love BIG loud cleans and typically only play clean at home. I love having plenty of clean volume on tap.

    3. With the band, I'm usually around 5-6 on the amp volume. It's starting to get hairy at that point. I feel I lost a lot of volume and body with the Weber California. With the stock speaker, even though the tone wasn't ideal, at least I could command the band with volume at 4 without breaking a sweat.

    4. There are times where I'd like to be louder but clean, but it's breaking up at that point. My problem is the Cali is too inefficient. You may say "why not just get a regular Twin Reverb with 2x12's and NFB loop intact?", but the 1x15 combo is lighter to carry and behaves differently than 2x12s. And I dig the fatter tone from a lack of NFB.

    5. I think a Twin Reverb on 3-4 is a beautiful tone, especially for a clean player like me. I get that tone on my Vibrasonic, but I'd like it louder before it gets hairy. I used to crank amps with 2 6L6s for gigs, and although it's a beautiful sound, it's not quite enough clean headroom for me. And not just headroom, but there's a punch and clarity to Twin Reverbs you can't fake with the smaller amps.

    So the Big Ben seems to be one of the few, if not the only option for an efficient 15" guitar speaker being produced today that can handle 100 watts. Not to mention affordable also. Would be nice to know people's experience with it in a blackface Fender, especially a Twin or similar.

    I'm thinking I want a 15" that can give me the tone of a RWB/F150/C10N, bump up the volume a good amount (101-102 db), and can handle the wattage. The Weber Cali definitely does not do any of these things.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
    cbeatles likes this.

  6. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    best 15 speaker, especially in a bf environment

    I tried them all, or most of big and small names, old & new...- the only one I could live with is big ben
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018

  7. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    You won't know until you try. I've swapped various 15" speakers in and out of a variety of amps through the years. Seems impossible to predict the outcome. A Big Ben was the best choice (by far) in an old Ampeg Gemini II with 6L6s. Not a clear winner in any other amp or cab, including two cabs used with a rather BFVR like Allen Encore head.

    The Big Ben and Legend 151 seem about the same in volume. The Legend ends up being a more consistently great choice, at least for me, with the amps I've had. They're very different sounding. The Big Ben has this throaty howl when you wind it up. A very cool sound with the right amp. It might work very well with that vibrasonic. Certainly worth a try.
     

  8. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    It sounds as if the basic premise of the mod to the output section is what is preventing you from getting that headroom you want. Install a negative feedback loop with an adjustment pot in Series with the top resistor. Voila.....more headroom when wanted and more heat when wanted.
    For a speaker, EV....
     

  9. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    I bet Weber can make you a high power 15F150, ask CJ. As I said earlier the EV15B is great, and inexpensive, it is I think a 400 watt speaker. But it is pretty mid enhanced tone.
     

  10. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    Thanks guys

    As much as I'd love an EV, I feel the extra weight would keep me from lugging it out to gigs as much.

    The Emi Legend is kinda close to what I want, but the mids are too scooped and the highs are a bit too strident and fizzy to my ears. My concern with the Big Ben is it may be too tubby/mid heavy and flat like schmee mentioned. But I may just have to bite the bullet and try one.

    Either way, sounds like I'll have to get something modified or custom ordered:

    - Higher powered 15F150 from Weber

    - 15" version of the Red White & Blues from Emi

    - 4 ohm version of the Big Ben

    Adjustable NFB pot is a good idea, Wally. I don't think I'm up to the job, so I'll try a speaker swap first. Either way, I'm missing some volume with this Weber Cali!
     

  11. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    Big Ben is the Emi Legend with the right amount of mids brought back. The 151 sounds weird in the highs, not so stable or balanced. Big Ben is all there, but with character, and a bit of English.
     

  12. Maradona86

    Maradona86 Tele-Meister

    359
    Apr 7, 2008
    La Bombonera
    I have a custom made 16 ohm Big Ben in a Peavey Delta Blues and it has turned that amp into a pure tube BEAST! The overdriven tones it conjures up are heavenly and it really adds a nice Hi Fi quality to the overall tonal offering.
     

  13. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    What amp are you running your Big Ben in? How's it compare to the Weber Cali in your opinion?
     

  14. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    It's in a 115 converible cab which can be open or closed back. I tried it with all type of amps, fender bf style, Matchless, D style, you name it, always brilliant no boominess nor weirdness

    Don't know about the cali webers to be honest. But I have tried JBL, Altec, Eminence, Jensen, etc...
     

  15. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    Good to know, thanks. Is the Delta Blues more of a tweed Fender style circuit? My friend has a Delta Blues 1x15 that sounded wonderful with a Weber Cali.


    Thanks homesick - you're definitely pushing me to consider it. If it's anywhere close to the RWB, that would solidify my choice for sure.
     

  16. powerwagonjohn

    powerwagonjohn Tele-Meister

    278
    Apr 30, 2013
    minnesota
    Why go with a pretender when you can have the real thing. Sounds to me you like the EV in your outdoor rig. Go with a 15" EV. As I have said before I run a pair of 12" EV's in one cab and a pair of 15" EV's in another with my 1967 Bassman after trying several different cabs. I like Wally's idea too, an adjustable feedback can work wonders.
    thanks John
     

  17. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    Definitely close to the RWB, which is my main speaker. I have a very deep experience with the RWB, hundred of hours, the Big Ben is close and an interesting speaker indeed. To my tastes which are conservative and I really don't like weirdness
     

  18. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Maybe my Big Ben was a bad match for the time I had it or something. But I just didnt hear a nice "voice". I actually preferred the Jensen RI C15K to the Ben. That's an option that hasnt been mentioned. It's a big clean speaker not unlike the EV but a lot less weight.
    You could ask Weber for a 15F150 cone in a higher power speaker like a Grey Wolff or a Thames etc? Or just ask for a 100 watt 15F150. If Emi makes a 1.5" voice coil at 150 watts, Weber should be able to do it with a bigger magnet from their other big speakers.
     

  19. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    634
    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    Any differences between the RWB and Big Ben? I didn't think they'd be very similar considering they're categorized as American and British. The EQ and efficiency of the RWB is perfect for BF amps to me. The tight bass and lower mids are especially important to me. Thanks again man, you're getting my hopes up haha.


    I spoke to CJ today, and he told me they wouldn't be able to do a high powered version of the 15F150 - seems like they're moving away from doing custom orders. Not sure why, they build every speaker to order anyway.

    What amp and guitar did you use with the Big Ben? I've generally hated every reissue Jensen I've heard - but I haven't heard all of them.
     

  20. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    The Big Ben has the same mid stoutness & balance as RWB. Also it has tight bass - like the RWB, & just enough highs.

    It adds just a tad of high mids "there" to get that britishness going.

    Here is a good friend of mine playing it in an sf/bf environment

     

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