Fender Tube RI Amps

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jumpnblues, May 8, 2020.

  1. TheOtherNeill

    TheOtherNeill Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Everything he said, and I second the sometimes significant variance among examples of the same model. I have a TMDR, and I get to hear its tube cousin weekly. It's not exactly the same, but it's really good in its own right, the attenuator/master volume makes it really flexible, and it's *light*!

    One thing some others convinced me to try is an Xotic EP Booster as an always-on, zero-gain sweetener. The difference is subtle, but significant, and just adds an extra sparkle and fullness without really altering the overall sound. I've seen folks have also done this with tube DRs.
     
  2. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    Why do you say the new Jensen is a Jensen in name only, and are poor quality? Italian audio manufacturers are amongst the best in the world, and routinely win five star reviews for just about anything they produce. SICO Altoparlanti is one of those companies, and they have the original specs, which they use to make the vintage line. The fact that it's made in a modern factory in Italy makes no difference. In fact, it may well be an improvement!

    There is no way on earth that a original, stock P12Q, for example, could be compared to a brand new, fresh off the assembly line P12Q. Even if the original speaker from 57' sat on a shelf for 60 years it would sound drastically different than a new one.

    I'm big fan of the new Jensen speakers that I have had, and that includes the P10R and the P12Q. They capture the vintage Fender sound to a "T". They both sound fantastic, and there is nothing to suggest that the build quality isn't there. Never had an issue with the two that I've had. I did a Google search looking for reviews, and they are mostly very positive. More than anything, any speaker has to work with the amp its paired to, and the sound that you want.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  3. hotrodkid

    hotrodkid Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m in the minority as I actually like the reissue Jensens. I’ve had the C12N, C12K and the P10R’s. I wasn’t crazy about the C12K and found it mostly all highs and lows, scooped a bit much for me. But the C12N and P10R’s are my go to choices. Although not the best for crunch or being hit hard with OD pedals, they’re great for Fender cleans, sparkle and grit.

    With Fender, just like any large manufacturer, I’m more concerned about the Chinese parts being used. Speakers made in Italy don’t scare me off.
     
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  4. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    Im in the same position.
    I have slightly modded mine and found the right values and valves to make the most out of it.
    I actually made it into a head and use 2 pine cabs. That made a lot of difference.
    So far the pcb has held up. I only needed to change some filter caps since i bought it in the late 1990s.
    I think differences between amps really only become apparent when they are pushed to their limits for considerable time.
    I have a few point to point amps, no vintage ones and im biased enough to think i hear subtle differences.
    It could be the right combination of elements and pure chance.
    The magic formula? No idea. Ballpark figures are a matter of taste. And ive played a few vintage, well maintained amps owned by others i really liked but could not put my finger on why. You can put all the best components in an amp and still end up with a somewhat ok amp.
    As vintage goes, someone i trust once told me he could pick the best one out of a line of vintage amps based on his ears.
    He could not tell me the magic formula.
    So, all in all, it is still, after all, a case of try enough of them and pick the one that sings.
     
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  5. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    If you Google "Jensen P12Q reviews" you'll find a lot of favourable reviews from previous threads here and at the Gear Page. Naturally, there are nay sayers. I've read number of times that the P12Q needs time to break in. I found the P10R in my 64' Hand Wired PR sounded fantastic right out of the box, and that was about six months ago.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    1. The specific models do not have the same specifications as the original Chicago Jensens with the same model number. So "P12Q" doesn't indicate a speaker made to the same specifications as an original. THAT is a "Jensen" in name only, to answer your question. The rights to the Jensen name and trademarks passed through several hands to get where they are now, and specs changed several times according to Fender's amp folks.

    When I say the quality is not the same I'm addressing two issues: 1) From the first release of "reissues" voice coil tolerances were found to be wider and more inconsistent than originals, and did not appear to have the same level of quality control as the Jensen Company in Chicago. This has been a complaint by professional amplifier techs and high end amp builders for years - one reason you see them in mid and low-priced production line amplifiers but VERY rarely in high end and boutique amps. The tolerance measuring is factual information - not opinion - published on several amp tech and speaker websites.

    2) The raw materials used to make the modern speakers are not the same, specifically the paper and glues used for cones; spider material (some are evidently no longer made); and dopes are different in formulation due to modern VOC (air quality) regulations. Many components - spiders, baskets, "bells" and so on - have never been interchangeable with original Jensens, which is why many reconers would not touch them.

    Basically, the current owners can't make them the same way. Again - that's not an "opinion" it's a fact (I worked in the technical end of coatings and adhesives for almost 40 years). And accordingly, the "new" Jensen "assembler" makes speakers (using original model numbers) that sound good to *them* because they can't "clone" the originals. Even if they could it might not be cost-effective to make short runs of certain items.

    But regardless, they have no NEW 1964 speakers - in a time capsule, without glue aging - to use as benchmarks. ALL they have is what sounds good to them TODAY with no existing basis for"level playing field" comparison.

    And the same goes for the bulk of the players using them - those who buy new amps with new speakers - not full time professionals, or amp techs who work with them, or installers of replacement speakers (this "market segment" information came from Fender a few years ago). And among professional players I either know or have performed repair or maintenance service for, exactly zero use "reissue" Jensen speakers.

    The parts differences also caused another problem with reconing services - repeated complaints that they " didn't sound original" - meaning like the Chicago speakers did when new/broken in, when installed in vintage amps owned/used by players who played through Chicago Jensens in the 60's - or earlier!

    Of course there's a significant difference between the sound of a vintage P12Q and new one simply due to age.

    However, I was gigging with Fender and other NEW amps in the 60's, many loaded with new Jensens. Amps were essentially the same as a freshly serviced vintage one is today - but a "reissue" Jensen in a vintage amp doesn't sound like a fresh 1960's speaker, even after extended break-in time. I can state this as fact due to the significant differences in raw materials used to make the speakers and differences in magnet "charge" - another subject discussed over the years on amp tech-only forums.

    I resorted to periodically brushing acetone on the heavy dope coating on "reissue" Jensens while running them for 50-60 hours in an isolation cab to to make them what I would consider "usable" - until I stopped installing them altogether. I still test them in my own amps, but will not install them for others. Caveat - in the 60's we only used Jensens (intentionally) for clean playing. They did not respond well to output stage saturation and the "speaker breakup" was pretty harsh. In fact they were pretty much reviled by rock players for that reason.

    If players were using distortion in those days we steered them towards Celestions, a few Altec models and Heavy-duty Gauss speakers - the last two not for speaker breakup but for modified high-gain amp and pedal users. In those days Celestions were the only speakers that tended to handle speaker breakup without blowing. JBL's were, despite the number of players that wanted them, very unreliable with most models only handling 60 watts of CLEAN power when new, which hardly any players understood - and far less under distortion, which even fewer understood. And few STILL don't understand te diference.

    If I may ask - what are you using as your "vintage Fender sound" benchmark - and where exactly were you playing when vintage Fender amps were reasonably new? Or are you going by what you've read on the internet - or heard on Youtube or recordings - none of which are truly "raw/realistic" sonic information.

    Consider each of the following, freshly serviced: a '63 BF Twin Reverb turned up to 7 with bass at 3 or 4, other controls to taste? A '59 5F6A Bassman close to dimed with tone controls at 5? A '66 Deluxe reverb set just about any old way? A '62 Concert (with the "harmonic vibrato" preamp) with original GE tubes, volume at 6, treble 6, bass 5, presence 7 (which many players consider, along with the '62 Princeton at a lower output level, to be "Fender clean tone perfection" - yet with original OXFORD speakers?

    Or how about a '61 blonde Twin - bone stock except 3 prong cord, bias and filter caps - and 2 Tone Tubby custom 12" "Blue Sky" models developed over months with a household-name guitarist who decided those speakers, in a blonde, brown or blackface Fender 40-80 watt, non-hacked, original amp at medium volume, best defined the best of "Fender Clean Tone"?

    Again - those are "opinions". Please be careful to NOT state an opinion as "fact" (i.e. "they capture....to a "T"). I find that statement to be patently untrue because of the way you stated it.

    What - exactly - were YOU looking for when you found "nothing?" FWIW "finding nothing" to suggest a particular point is very easy - don't look. Or don't know WHERE to look, or what to look for - it's reverse reasoning and imposible to back up.

    Have you ever dismantled a reissue and a vintage Jensen and compared the two, or run one of each under a pair of calibrated oscilloscopes and signal generators, comparing the reactions to increased sine wave signal levels? I'm making a pretty confident assumption that you haven't, or THAT "factual" statement would either be nonexistent or stated very clearly as a personal opinion - and without backup technical data a rather weak one.

    Many players - most, I've found -were not actively playing in the 60's and never heard NEW/broken in (which took about 10 hours at mid volume...then.) Jensens. They have only heard OLD original ones, which have lost about 30-50% of their power handling if still original (and can sound a bit "loose")...or ones that have been reconed - and that's a crapshoot, as most reconers use commercially available mass-market materials and have not carefully researched how originals were made.

    Here's the "big picture": tone is subjective. Players who are happy with the sound of "reissue" Jensens in their amps should by all means go right ahead and use them, of course. They are also inexpensive, so experimenting with Jensens is a cheap way of going about "speaker chasing" (THE most expensive amp experimentation "hobby" you can find).

    The bulk of this post has just been taken up answering your questions in detail. The rest has been pointing out where "fact" and "opinion" are very different things.

    As far as reissue Jensen speakers go my opinion is if you like them - use them! I don't care for them and don't use them, and you might hate the sound of my blonde Twin - nothing wrong with that. All these differing opinions are what keep musical instrument/amp/effect companies in business.

    Just please be careful not to confuse opinion with fact.
     
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  7. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    [QUOTE="Silverface, post: 10222360, member

    Just please be careful not to confuse opinion with fact.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, great post!
    Most of us cannot do a fair comparison as we are simply unaware of the sound of the original speakers.
    To add, and if we find one it might display all kinds of issues because of ageing and would sound different from a new one.
    So, like for like is hard to get.
    If there really was some magic in the old speakers one might be fortunate NOT to have experienced them and be saddened by their 'inferiority' compared to the real thing.
    It's a good thing the speaker is only part of the chain albeit an important one. In the end one can tweak a system at any point to suit the ears. Suffice to say an amp will sound different in different environments, including fellow musicians.
    Bringing the wrong amp, including a great one, will get you into trouble. Using pedals, especially distortion/overdrive, will alter the frequency curve of your amp/speaker.
    So, everything IS relative, as the saying goes.
    That is a good thing..
     
  8. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    One of the things many TECHS will tell you, and this may be consistent with many brands, not just Fender. The PC BDs are not premium quality in production run amps. Since the 90's or so all of the amps are PC BD based, true the circuits may be the same or similar, but they are not the same amps INSIDE . You put just a tad hotter iron than needed on one of these new era PC bds and you can kiss the traces goodbye. The components used on the newer era amps are not premium, they are run of the mill probably due to cost per / thousand

    Just be aware is all I am saying. If your amp needs service you'd better bring it to a tech that owns and knows how to use a low watt iron !
     
  9. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    First of all, I don't need to be lectured by you on the meaning of opinion vs fact. Of all the arrogance. Wow.

    I've had the chance to play an original, stock 65 PR and a 58 Deluxe, and I owned a stock 74 Silverface PR at the same time I owned a 65 PRRI. In terms of tone, the two PR's sounded nearly identical, and there were 40 years between them. They also both suffered from the same flabby bass when the amp was turned up past 4. I sold both of them. That is not an opinion. It's based on fact. I had the chance to A/B a 58' Deluxe to a new one a couple or years ago, and to my ears, the new one sounded better, and it was outfitted with the P12Q.

    As for my experience with quality, I had the 65 PRRI for years and the speaker never gave any issues other than demonstrating that it had the same problem as the stock Jensen that was in the 74 amp. The current 64 Hand Wired PR, while still using the same Jensen P10R, it does not suffer from the flabbiness that the 74 or the 65 PRRI did, while still retaining that classic PR tone.

    The scores of jensen users here and on The Gear Page who claim to find the sound authentic enough are clearly not all delusional, as you would seem to suggest. But the way you blow your horn would suggest otherwise. There are dozens of users here and on the Gear Page who have years of experience as musicians using different gear. If these reissue Jensen's were as crap as you suggest, I doubt they'd still have the support. No one is suggesting they sound the same as a 60 year old speaker. Obviously, that is not possible.

    The scores of jensen users here and on The Gear Page who claim to find the sound authentic enough are clearly not all delusional, as you would seem to suggest. But the way you blow your horn would suggest otherwise. Keep blowing, I'm sure you've got an audience. As does Jensen.
     
  10. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    Yes, but, he gives his opinion on top of the facts based on personal experience, dealing w specific speaker construction details.
    There IS a hierarchy at play here.
    I do not have enough experience for my opinion to count more than his. And he does point out the difference between facts and opinion. That is paramount. It seems you have it the other way around. The wrong way, i might add.
    You care more for people's opinions.
    Your line of 'flabby bass' doesn't cut it. The comparison itself indicates you don't really know what you are talking about. And he doesn't call the new Jensens crap but harsh, something i agree with, and it gets worse the more volume you push through them.
    He clearly states an opinion. He calls it like it is. To you that seems arrogant and you have no come back other than other people's opinions.
    That is a weakness.
    Sometimes it helps to listen to folks higher up the ladder.
    I do, and ive learned a lot over the years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  11. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    My comment on flabby basses doesn't cut it? My ears and the ears of those people who had a chance to hear it tell a very different story. Yes, they sounded nearly identical, yet suffered the same problem. No opinion there: fact. I suppose that all those people who use Jensen speakers are wrong?
     
  12. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    you need a course in logic 101.
     
  13. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    Seems to be your opinion, not fact.
     
  14. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    right, you are in the same Logic 101 course, senor..
     
  15. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    I own two of the new Jensen P12Q speakers and have run them in a DRRI and a PRRI until well broken in. While the clean tone at lower volumes was nice, the flabby/farty bottom end was really bad, especially with overdrive. Since the music I play requires overdrive, I had to swap them out. I now run a GA-SC64 and 12" Celestion Cream alnico in those amps. No issues with farty bass, beautiful breakup tones, and a very big sound.

    Do I know what I'm talking about???
     
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  16. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    Your own ears are all that you need, no special scopes. I suspect that's the reason Fender chose to have Eminence custom build them a replacement speaker for the 57' Custom Deluxe. I've emailed Fender asking them why they chose to go with the Eminence Special Design. Hopefully, I'll get an honest reply. They aren't using the P12Q in the 64 Custom Hand Wired Deluxe Reverb either. They're using a Celestion Greenback. Why not get Eminence to design a alnico for the 64 Deluxe as they did with the 57'?

    I have the 64' Custom Hand Wired PR and it's equipped with a P10R. I can't imagine it sounding any better. The bass holds together perfectly, which was a issue with the 65 PRRI, which was using a Jensen C10R. A stock 74' Silverface PR that I had at the same time also had the same issue. I tried a Celestion Gold in the 65 PRRI and the issue was still present, so I suspect that it must have been more than just a speaker issue. I sold both of them.

    Too much hyperbole. Seriously. No one in their right mind would expect a brand new P12Q to sound the same as a stock original that is 60 years old. Whether or not it flabs out in the bass, that's another issue.
     
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