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To recone or not to recone a vintage speaker

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by DMace, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    Pro and cons versus buying a new speaker?
     
  2. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

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    You doing it yourself, or hiring it out?

    Is the speaker some arcane/obscure model that doesn't have a reasonable modern analogue from Eminence inter al?

    The only time to do it (in my opinion) is when cost is a factor, and it's cheaper than buying a new replacement. This is mostly true for high power, precision pro stuff, e.g. JBL 2206, K120, certain EVs, etc.

    If it's an old Jensen or Celestion, I'd just go to Eminence for a new equivalent, or if you're more of a boutiquey/tone-chaser type, Weber.
     
  3. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    Have vintage speakers reconed by a reputable place (I use the Circuit Shop in Grand Rapids, MI). They are wortless if they don't work, but are typically better than current production speakers when repaired. Why are they better? Old speakers have tighter vc gaps which equates to better efficiency and sensitivity.
     
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  5. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

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    Really? Do you have any sources you can cite? Not trying to challenge you, but I wasn't aware that older speaker had tighter gaps in general.
     
  6. eugenedunn

    eugenedunn Friend of Leo's

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    I'd say it's warranted if the original speaker is either a quality vintage or high quality modern.

    It boils down to throwing good money after bad or not......

    I had a couple of 1966 Jensen C10N speakers reconed and loaded them in a new custom 2x10 cabinet..... they sound excellent and much better than I remembered from years ago.
     
  7. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 on reconing

    I have a reconed 1960 Jensen P12R speaker that sounds fabulous.....for far less than the cost of a new Weber 12F100T.


    Steve
     
  8. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Excuse me.....my mistake.....for far less than the cost of a new Weber 12A100T.

    Steve
     
  9. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    The speaker is a 1965 10" Oxford from a Princeton, that I love the sound of. That is, until it started distorting at certain frequencies. I was looking to send it to Weber for a recone, which, remarkably, is only $55: cheaper than a new Eminence or Weber.
     
  10. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

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    Legend 105s are cheaper than that. Still if you like your speaker, you like your speaker, and I wouldn't quibble over a few dollars.
     
  11. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    Well, re-coning is effectively a new speaker tonally. The cone and voice coil are new and will sound as such. A magnet does not have a tone... nor does the airgap or basket!

    New replacements of old speakers still in production are built to exactly the same standards as the originals (Celestion anyway) whether made in the UK, China or the Borneo jungle! Same materials and the same assy jigs!

    Purely down to cost.
     
  12. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

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    I was going to say the same thing, but again, he's wedded to the speaker.

    The truth is, if it's reconed with the right parts, it should wind up reasonably close to being within the range for that speaker as new, though with a new cone, surround and spider, it won't sound quite like it did before it started distorting at 40+ years old.

    If it were me, I'd get a Weber 10". It won't sound exactly like your Oxford, but neither will the recone.

    On the other hand, going to Weber for a recone is as good or better a bet at recapturing the sound you like so much as replacing the entire speaker with something purportedly similar. If there's something about the cosmetics of the speaker that you like, etc, then there's no reason not to do it. That speaker, once properly reconed, will be practically good as new.
     
  13. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I guess I'm just a sucker for that pretty blue 'Fender' cap and the aged metal. I figure that I can get a new Weber speaker- or, get a Weber recone, which will look, for the most part, like the stock speaker, but will have the substance of a new Weber. I'm just going to request a 'doping' that will basically sound as close to a 43-year old Oxford as possible: mellow and warm.
     
  14. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    Pretty common knowledge. It takes a lot more labor to mount the voice coil in a tight gap, which is bad for production. One classic example among guitar ampdom is when Oxfords opened their gap in the mid '60s (presumably to keep up with growing production demand from Fender). They've suffered a poor reputation ever since. Listen to an early '60s Bassman mated w/ a pair Oxford 12M6s vs a '66 or '67. The early ones sound very similar to the Jensen C12Ns, maybe a bit louder and brighter, the later ones are crap and the name Oxfart was coined. For me it is all about sensitivity. Give me an old P12N, reconed or not... or a '60s Celestion...or an SRO...etc...
     
  15. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    Haven't the vaguest idea what Tim is talking about from a technical standpoint, lol, but I've got to say that the '65 Oxford sounds amazing in the Princeton. I've been playing for close to 30 years, so I've played through just a few amps, and I can safely attest to the fact that those earlier 60s Oxfords are fantastic speakers.
     
  16. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

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    Interesting stuff. I promise to read up on it.

    To get me started, are you talking about Oxfords only, or are you saying that old Oxfords have a tighter VC gap than modern speakers, e.g. Eminence, Weber, etc?

     
  17. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    I'm saying there was a time (up until the mid '60s) when all speakers were crafted at a very high standard. In order to meet the increased demand and provide a competitive price, speaker companies sacrificed sonic quality by opening the gap, thus greatly reducing the time involved in assembly. It was a win-win-lose situation... the speaker companies win, the amp company wins, the player loses.

    I'm not a speaker expert, I'm an amp tech and player, so my reflections come from listening observations and discussions with speaker experts. I think some of the current offerings are incredible sounding speakers (certain Webers, certain Eminence and certain Celestions (blue and heritage). We are in the midst of a tube amp renaissance and there is more attention to detail than there ever has been, and thus maybe a new speaker is warranted, however, if you have blown an old speaker that had the magic/mojo, I'd get it reconed.
     
  18. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    Well, that doesn't really stand up chum... because the airgap tolerance is vital to the cooling process of the voice coil. If the gap was increased, then the speaker would not handle the rated power before frying itself - period.

    Farting is due to the cone not being unable to handle a lot off bass... and in my experience, a problem many US amps suffer with. Why? Because many produce too much low end output. Most Fender players have their bass controls set to 3-4, because the amps fart with any more! True for many others too, as they basically use the same ideas and parts.

    Many Fender amps (silver face) had the coupling caps between the preamp and phase splitter increased by a factor of ten when CBS took over. EG TWIN - 1000pf on BF, 10,000pf on SF... that's why the latter amps fart a lot at high volume. Change 'em back to 1000pf and... bingo! Nout to do wiv speaker airgaps!!! :)

    There's usually a simple explanation of most things... but musicians are artists and love their folf lore! Hey... break a leg feller! (That's a artistic rendering of a Good Luck Wish) ;)
     
  19. zook

    zook Tele-Afflicted

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    Anothe vote for the circuit shop. I've used them several times. I have a pair of 60s Jensen C12Ns that I got both in need of reconing. They did a beautuful job on them. The speakers now reside in my 66 ProReverb and sound simply great, not to mention the fact that they are at least period correct for the amp.

    Winnie
     
  20. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

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    I won't pile on, except to say that there's a great deal of mystique surrounding old gear, and I'm old enough to have profited (unfairly) from it, many times.

    All one need do is look at the visible parts of vintage (or many modern) speakers to see that they weren't necessarily made with a great degree of uber-precision.

    It's important to keep in mind what speakers like these Jensens, Celestions & similar were: adequate drivers made to a price point. The coloration that gave them the distinctive sound they're prized for today is mostly an unintended byproduct of their specification.

    If Fender & Marshall were shooting for precision, quality, durability, etc, etc, etc, in every case, they would have always specified JBL. <-- note the period at the end of that sentence.

     
  21. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    Pile on? You guys are reading way too much into my comments. All I'm saying is that when the demand for speakers rose exponentially in the mid '60s, there was a conscious decision to increase the gap size in order to meet demand.

    Oh, and to the poster who referenced me as "chum", there are lots of reasons for amps to fart out. However, if you have you connect two speakers to the same amp and one speaker is farty and one isn't you can't really point to the amp.

    Believe what you want, but as I mentioned previously, this is common knowledge. Since you obviously don't consider me to be a reliable source of information I suggest you ask someone who's reconed a few thousand speakers like Ted or TA at Weber - 765-452-1249 or Jim or Mike at the Circuitshop - 1-800-593-0869. But upon doing so, please post back here as to enlighten not only yourself, but others who also may lack experience/expertise in this area.
     
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