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JBL D120F--magic or myth?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by postjob62, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. postjob62

    postjob62 Tele-Holic

    Feb 19, 2007
    I have a pair of rescue D120F's that I took out of a beat old Fender 2x12 closed back cab-probably a Bandmaster cab or the like. I couldn't tell much about them before removing them because not knowing their condition I didn't want to put much stress on them. They're very close serial numbers, and after removal I saw that the cones were different so one has been reconed.

    So I'm looking to load up a 2x12 4 ohm cab (or maybe put them in a Twin Reverb), but I've never really heard these guys. They would have to be reconed in my opinion and that looks like about $300. each. Conversely, even with one already reconed I imagine they'd still bring a pretty good price on eBay-and for what they'd bring I could get a pretty nice pair of whatever I wanted.

    In this case I'm not all that interested in nostalgia or vintage correctness but rather sound. Are these things, once properly re-done, all that much better than other options out there? I think about things like Weber Cali's and the like. I don't mind the cost or weight (just this once) if the results are worth it.

    It would be easier to make a call if I had heard them.
  2. WickedGTR

    WickedGTR Friend of Leo's

    Jul 12, 2005
    Hillbilly Hollywood
    Speakers, like everything else, is subjective- you may like them (or not), the only way you will know is by hearing them.

    The do the bright /deep Fender amp clean sound well- if that's what you like.

    I would not recone them if the voice coil is not rubbing and the cones are intact. The original JBL recone kits have not been available for quite a while- and the current kits have mixed reviews. An original JBL will have more value (and better sound) should you decide to sell them.
  3. I just had a vintage grey D120F reconed by Weber and they did an amazing job. And it was only $95. Orange County is charging $248 per speaker right now.

    They were made for Fender amps and I am a fan of them!

    Johnny Isaacs
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  5. postjob62

    postjob62 Tele-Holic

    Feb 19, 2007
    Wow. That's a surprise. I didn't even check Weber thinking they would be the same or higher than the others. There's a guy in Gray, GA 90 or so miles from me that is supposed to use the correct kits and do a good job, but I think he's about $300./per also.

    But even at that I guess I am wondering about just selling them as is and getting some Cali's or whatever instead. Don't mind spending the bucks though if it's worth it.

    It's just one of those things I guess where it's difficult to separate reality from an internet-fueled legend. And yep, Wicked GTR, it is subjective. Just trying to see if there was a strong consensus.
  6. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    JBL service centers are supposed to use genuine JBL kits so they charge JBL prices. I'm moving towards the EVM camp because I can get excellent EVM kits for $70 each...

    Do you want money in or money out? You can spend money out to get them re-coned then you can decide whether or not they're for you. Re-coned plus shipping will cost $200-$250 for the pair, easy. That's money out.

    Or you can pick up $200 for the pair on eBay, easy. That's money in. That's what I got for my "last" pair of D120Fs in average condition. I started to miss them a little bit so I traded into a Twin with orange frame D120Fs. What goes around... comes around.

    My $.02: I'm leaning towards Weber neos for the D120F tone in Fenders. I like Twins, I don't like lugging Twins w/ D120Fs. A twin w/ neos... AHHHhhh!! :D
  7. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 8, 2009
    New York
    My 2 cents, FWIW.

    I have a 70's Twin that had 2 JBL K120's in it when I bought it -- the ones with the aluminum dust caps. They are super loud and efficient. I thought they sounded great for clean tones. Wonderful shimmering high end, great tight bass response, etc. They made a cheapo 12 string w/muddy humbuckers come to life. Teles sounded very bright -- usually in a very good way. On the other hand, I didn't like them at all for overdriven sounds. Too fizzy/shrill.

    I happened to get a couple of Weber Californias (ceramic, paper dustcaps) and installed them in the Twin. They are a bit less bright/more warm sounding, and do a better job on raunchy r 'n r. On balance, I like them better than the K120's. I've never heard the Neo's, but I like all the Weber speakers I have in my amps.

    Don't recone if you can avoid it. They're worth more in original condition. If I were you, I'd install them in something, and give them a good listen. If you like 'em, great. If not, someone will be happy to buy them from you! Good luck :)
  8. postjob62

    postjob62 Tele-Holic

    Feb 19, 2007
    Muchxs: were you aware that the Weber NeoMags weigh about twice what a "regular" neo weighs? Weber shows them at 8-1/2 lbs. which is only about 4 lbs. less than what my D120F's weigh. I just weighed one at 13 lbs. 9 oz. Not a lightweight but less than the 18-22 lbs. referenced on Weber's site.

    A Jensen Neo or a Lil' Texas/Tonkerlite weighs what, about 4 lbs.? I'd be inclined to think in that direction if I were going Neo. I hear good things about all 3 of those.
  9. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Jul 16, 2006
    Portland, OR
    My experience with non-JBL recone kits is not good - poor sound and "pingy" top ends. I've stuck with real JBL kits and just paid real money to get that sound.

    I personally prefer the E series over the D. They weigh even more (ugh!) but good lord they sound great, unbelievably bell-like and not at all harsh.

    Deluxe Reverb + E120 = OMG!
  10. WickedGTR

    WickedGTR Friend of Leo's

    Jul 12, 2005
    Hillbilly Hollywood
    The current JBL recone kits (from JBL) aren't original spec.
  11. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    what difference if any ...

    is there between the D120 series and the K120? They are both alnico correct?

    The E120 series are ceramic magnet speakers are they not? I'm sure they still sound good.
  12. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 8, 2009
    New York
  13. Like James said - JBL doesn't make a recone kit for the D120F. Weber does recone them with their own kit and I can tell you from the one I got from them last month, that they did an amazing job and my speaker sounds amazing in my amp.

    Johnny Isaacs
  14. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    I do not currently have any D120F's but do agree with WickedGTR's assessment. I currently do have an original D130F in a '64 Showman and it is operating just fine. Back in '68, I bought a new Fender Bassman for my bass needs in the band and after the first practice with the band, I destroyed the O.E. Utah's. Probably overheated the voice coils. They were just not up to the task. Got another pair under warranty and they had the same fate. We knew someone at JBL at the time and got a pair of D120's at cost and they were installed immediately. I can remember just how clear they sounded and how loud they would go without failing. Great speakers!

    Afterwards, I ended up migrating to a '64 Showman amp with an extension 2x15 Dual Showman D140F cab. That was the best bass rig I had for live work up through 1970.
  15. jcrobso

    jcrobso NEW MEMBER!

    May 27, 2010
    The JBL factory recone is a E120 cone.

    I have all 3 D120F, K120 and E120, the biggest difference is the weight of the E120 it weights about 10 pounds more than the D&K 120.
    But all of them have the JBL sound, if you like the sound you will like them. The E120 handles the most power.

    Beyma makes an E120 clone. liberty-1.htm
  16. BiggerJohn

    BiggerJohn Friend of Leo's

    Jun 1, 2009
    +1. Do not have a JBL reconed unless absolutely necessary.

    Weber does good recones, if necessary.

    Since the D120 is an alnico speaker, only send it to a reconer who can recharge the magnet. Weber can do it.
  17. postjob62

    postjob62 Tele-Holic

    Feb 19, 2007
    I'm the OP.

    After much deliberation I decided to go with a pair of the Weber NeoMags and I guess I'll just sell my JBL's on eBay.

    In the end they were lighter and supposedly made from the same parts (except magnets ad frames obviously) that Weber uses to recone D120F's with.

    Plus, in the end I'd still have a pair of recones if I went that way.

    Just ordered the Neomags so after they're in I'll try to remember to report in.
  18. Steve McGinnis

    Steve McGinnis Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I don't get it

    You have two JBL's and one has a different cone than the other, so you know one is reconed. Did you listen to them? Do you like them? Why would you pursue reconing at all if you liked the sound?
  19. Telebubba

    Telebubba Tele-Meister

    Apr 7, 2010
    Portland Oregon
    There are a couple of guys from your neck of the woods that loaded those JBL's into their Marshall cabs by the name of Duane and Dickey ;). I am seriously considering loading a couple of Weber Calis in my Marshall clone driven 2x12 to duplicate the tone. If I still lived in GA I'd say we could meet at the H&H for lunch and talk it over, lol, but unfortunatly I live in Oregon now. Try to get decent soul food up here :(.
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