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Set Aside Original Speakers .... Or Not?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by mjrpieces, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. mjrpieces

    mjrpieces NEW MEMBER! Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    2
    Nov 20, 2016
    California
    I've just purchased my first vintage amp, a 1970 Vibro Champ. It has its original speaker and it sounds great. In a number of threads I've read recommendations to remove and set aside vs leaving the original 45+ year old speaker installed. Seems like there a number of arguments to both sides. Arguments for removing the original are having it intact for resale and the fact that it might not sound as good, in its old age, as it once did. Leaving it in of course allows you to play and listen to a true vintage amp. I'm leaning towards replacing it so at the very least I can compare the sound to the original. Just curious is there a consensus, do most of you leave in the vintage speakers or take'm out and set them aside? I haven't seen a thread on this subject, just comments here and there in threads on speaker replacement recommendations.
     

  2. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    I set them aside because I figure that eventually every must go, and would like to present whatever I have in its best light. When it comes to vintage, originality is the best light whether the speaker sounds any good or not.

    It also give you the chance to damage it or loose it, so there's that too.
     
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  3. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    59
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I don't have any vintage amps, but if I did I probably wouldn't gig them, or otherwise abuse them.

    I would probably just use them for recording and lower volume jams. If I was going to be gigging, diming, or otherwise putting undue stress on the speakers, and especially if I was thinking of resale value, I would probably put it away for safe keeping.

    It also depends on the condition and number of drivers. A 2x or 4x with drivers in good condition and just lower volume clean playing would not concern me. A single vintage Jensen driver with a dry, brittle cone, is another story.
     
    King Fan likes this.

  4. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I suppose it depends on what you're doing with the amp and whether you dime it a lot or not. If you gig with it or if you tend to crank it, I'd definitely get a new speaker and set the old one aside. However, if you're a home player and don't crank it all that often, you might keep the original speaker in if you like the sound. I had a 73 Champ and replaced the speaker for the reasons you mention. Just before I sold it, I put the original speaker back in (one of those blue foil-label Oxfords), and I thought it sounded a lot better! I wish I had kept the Oxford in the whole time.
     
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  5. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2009
    georgia
    If its the silver frame alnico with the blue foil Fender decal, thats the best sounding speaker they put in those. I would leave it in. I had 2 champs with that speaker and they were the best sounding of 5 or 6 Ive owned.
     

  6. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone

    +1. It's a Champ not a museum piece - they're not rare and people view hem as working amps. Little alnico 8's sound great and a single 6v6 isn't going to push it that hard. If you want to try something else by all means. I bought av78 Silverface with the wrong speaker (8ohm hifi cheapy) installed so a Weber Sig alnico 8 was a no brainer. But the 68 I'm getting has the original Jensen and if it's OK I'll keep it in. There's people who can cone them. It's not going to affect the value of a 1970 amp if it's got a reconed functional speaker.
     

  7. noname_dragon

    noname_dragon Tele-Meister

    181
    Jan 13, 2010
    North east coast
    If your original speaker is nice and sounds great to ya, and you aren't going to abuse it, use it! A replacement speaker is the way to go if you are going to turn it up loud or gig with it.
    My 72 Champ came with a cheapo radio speaker of the wrong impedance someone put in, and the surround was cracked, so into the trash it went. Since then I've tried a RI Jensen alnico P8R which sounds great to me with bright clear sound... a keeper. Also tried the WGS 8" ceramic offering which compared to the Jensen was darker with more low mids... here I missed the sparkle, but at high volume there was a little more body to the sound.
    I'd like to try the Eminence 620H 8" 4ohm too.
     

  8. 71Tele

    71Tele TDPRI Member

    93
    Dec 5, 2014
    Virginia
    I recently changed the speaker of my 70 silverface Princeton Reverb that I bought almost 30 years ago. First time I changed a speaker in one of my amps. I chose a Fat Jimmy speaker (C1025), and my first thought after 5 mn of playing was that I should have done it a long time ago.

    Now, to answer your question simply, I would say, if you are happy with it, don’t look further, use it.
    If, like me, you feel your amp deserves another speaker, then why not give it a try? Lastly, you have companies who restore vintage speakers. So if you like the original speaker and want to play it until it’s worn out, you can.
    Re-lastly: If you prefer putting your original speaker aside, then you might want to consider putting also aside your old Strat so you keep it intact for resale.
    Oh, and BTW, your Vibro Champ must have had a caps job done already. If not, it must need it anyway; so if it’s still “intact”, it won’t be for long. ;)
    Hope this helps.
     
    BobbyZ likes this.

  9. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Yes, the one alnicopu mentions here is the Oxford 8EV--the same one I was talking about up in post #4. I agree with his assessment.
     

  10. fender_freak

    fender_freak TDPRI Member

    Age:
    21
    91
    Jul 13, 2017
    La Crosse, WI
    If you like it, use it. I just swapped the torn OE one in my Vibrochamp for a Weber 8S ceramic and it's very close in sound to the stock one, just a bit louder and cleaner sounding.
     

  11. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    Put a Weber F125 something or other in my Vibro Champ. It's alot louder and cleaner than the original. If I used it at home and wanted to crank it for distribution I'd probably go back to the original. (really don't use it at all)
    Personally I don't have a problem using old speakers and tend to like the lower efficiency, with some amps. But some amps can use the volume boost. Just depends on what your doing.
     
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  12. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2009
    georgia
    Im not sure if that amp was made for that speaker or vise versa. IMHO its a pairing made in tone heaven by a higher being.
     
    theprofessor likes this.

  13. mjrpieces

    mjrpieces NEW MEMBER! Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    2
    Nov 20, 2016
    California
    Thank all for the replies. Kind of what I was expecting to hear but helped me nonetheless. I am a home player so I'm inclined to leave in the original speaker based on your responses, but.... My amp has the "blue foil" AlNiCo speaker so it's likely that any other speaker will not sound as good. Of course what sounds good is subjective, just say'n I'm hopefully hearing something close to what the amp was made to sound like. But I think I'll swap it out, at least temporarily, just to hear what another speaker might sound like. Makes sense to try this considering 71Tele's experience after 5 minutes with a new speaker. I understand that keeping the electrical components in good working order is actually an acceptable/desirable mod to a vintage amp. Not sure my question about a speaker is analogous to a guitar though. If it were possible say to "blow out" your vintage pickups and you were told you could just have them re-wound, then maybe it might be a fair comparison. Still curious if others want to share their thought process into deciding what to do with older original speakers, not necessarily with my specific situation. Even if you consider what you do a "no brainer", I think it could be an interesting look into the TDPRI population on this subject.
     

  14. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Totally makes sense. It might sound great, too! The good thing is that 8" speakers aren't too expensive, and there are some great modern options, including Weber, WGS, Jupiter, and Fat Jimmy (@King Fan can tell you about the FJ 8" in a Vibro Champ). Rock on!
     

  15. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Holic

    562
    Jul 1, 2008
    california
    both my 75 vibro champ and my 76 champ have that speaker. as others have said, if you gig with it and dime it a lot, there is the possibility that you MAY blow it. especially if it hasn't been used for a while. my champ had sat in a closet for 30 years so i played it at only moderate volume for about a week prior to cranking it.

    if you take it out and swap in a new one, not only will it not sound exactly like the original but it will take a while to break in the new one. however, you may end up liking the new one better. subjectivity!

    i'd conservatively play the amp to get used to the original setup. then, swap in a different speaker, wait a while and see if you like it better. note that it is fairly easy to swap them in and out.

    play music!
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  16. 71Tele

    71Tele TDPRI Member

    93
    Dec 5, 2014
    Virginia

    Sorry it wasn’t clear, the analogy between speaker and guitar was supposed to be a joke about collectors who buy gear as mint as possible with no intention of using it. :)
    And I had pre-CBS pickups in mind, yes. Not that they can’t also die without the guitar being played, mind you. I got no problem with a rewound pickup as long as it’s rewound the right way. Same for a speaker. ;)
     

  17. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's

    Jan 9, 2010
    virginia
    I would leave any speaker in any amp (except maybe a really valuable pre 1960's Fender or something really rare) if it sounded good...its kind of like putting plastic over the sofa or covering a nice piece of wooden furniture in layers of poly...what are you saving it for..the guy who buys it after you?
     
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  18. King Fan

    King Fan Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    Wow -- I've seldom seen such a great thread where although folks suggest opposite views, they both justify their reasoning and acknowledge reasons to go with the other choice. Geez, maybe TDPRI should replace Congress wholesale.

    Side note: In mine, the blue-label was a Jensen, so check the company code. Jensen = 220, Oxford = 465, but they're both good speakers in this amp.

    Reading this thread, a smart answer might be 'both.' As Prof says, 8" speakers aren't spendy, so a Weber Sig (alnico or ceramic -- both may be the classic 'Champ' speaker) or a Fat Jimmy (or very similar WGS) ceramic would allow you to a) decide which you like better for your use and b) have the *option* to set aside the vintage speaker. I don't like quick-connect speaker spade lugs (though I think many smart folks do). Even so, soldering some vintage white/black cloth speaker cable and a jack to each speaker allows you to switch them with a wrench in about 2 minutes.

    Oh, the Fat Jimmy? I love it -- it seems to give the amp a sweet-hearted personality that sings and sustains. I may switch mine monthly (or every 6 months, to be realistic) just to have the pleasure of hearing the difference.

    But in actuality I still value the 'original speaker' resale thing myself -- it was one of the reasons I got this amp -- and I'll probably let Fat Jimmy do most of the work most of the time.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  19. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Age:
    64
    565
    Jul 5, 2010
    West Michigan
    I don't have a Champ so take this with a grain of salt (I'm thinking in terms of my '54 Deluxe): it only sounds like itself with an old Jensen in it, just like it rolled out the factory door. The original finally disintegrated, I found another one, installed it, reconed the old one and so I fortunately have a spare.

    I tried a handful of other potential replacement candidates during the above process and, for me at least, It confirmed that the speaker is an important part of what makes these old amps special.
     

  20. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    59
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    So does your recone sound the same as the original?
     
    thegeezer likes this.

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