Is it worth it to re-cone a vintage speaker?

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by Milspec, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,703
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I have often wondered about this for probably 20 years and really don't know. It always seemed to me that once you re-cone a speaker, it will never sound the same, so you might as well replace the speaker.

    I do run some very nice vintage speakers, but only because they were already in the amp. I have always been skeptical about buying someone's vintage speaker and even more so if it has been re-coned.

    Am I wrong here? Can a re-coned speaker sound as good as the original or is it really an unreal expectation?

    In full discosure, I did just buy a vintage speaker cabinet containing a pair of Oxford 12T speakers and although they sound pretty good, the cones are dry and have several glue repairs to them already. Date codes indicate a late '60's production.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  2. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

    Posts:
    3,868
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    Lansing, MI
    Reconed can sound just fine. The same? Well...it's new paper that hasn't been around for 60 years, stiffer spider that hasn't been flexed a billion times, so maybe not the same, but maybe more how it was intended to sound in the first place.

    Unless the speaker is valuable I usually recommend just getting something new. Cost usually ends up being about the same either way.
     
    muscmp, FenderGuy53, Flakey and 3 others like this.
  3. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,703
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    That is what I have been telling myself as well....costs as much to re-cone as replace with a modern speaker and if the sound is going to be very different than original then why bother?

    I don't think these old Oxfords are all that valuable of a speaker to begin with. My Altec speakers might be candidates down the road, but so far I haven't been able to kill any of them.
     
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.
  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,805
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Godzone
    I'd recone anything decent. There's still some original kits around for CTS speakers and some repros are just fine. A quality speaker with good voicecoil and former is still a quality.

    Floppy old speakers turned into new ones will sound different - better usually.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,499
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    It depends on if you like it. Or if you want to retain it for a vintage amp etc. Some reconer's stick real close to original, other's not. Some parts (like vintage Jensen cones) are not available so the speaker may be subletly different.

    Orange County Speaker did vintage Fender speakers for me and they were superb. (CTS and Oxford) The guy who used to do them for them is still around.
    I had two Oxfords done for a Pro Reverb to original spec and they were great after. Big and bold, not your typical worn out Oxford sound at all.
     
    Fretting out, ocduff and Milspec like this.
  6. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,909
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2016
    Location:
    Crawfordville, FL
    I really bugs me when I see a vintage amp that pretty much mint except that it has an Eminence or Celestion speaker in it.

    Why not recone? The recones I've had Weber do sound great.
     
  7. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,683
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Lewes De.
    Is there a spray to rejuvenate speakers ?
     
  8. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,968
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Location:
    Maine
    Maybe this would work: :eek:

    tone spray 2.jpg
     
    Fretting out, since71 and Dacious like this.
  9. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,134
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    Earth
    I have some reconed vintage alnico and Celestion Greenback 12” speakers that sound glorious. They are among my favorites. I would not hesitate to get a blown or damaged speaker reconed.
     
    Chipss36, SnidelyWhiplash and Milspec like this.
  10. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    14,763
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kimberton
    Dean Zink
     
    Milspec likes this.
  11. 39martind18

    39martind18 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    926
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Location:
    Spring TX
    Several outfits offer rebuild kits for speakers. I used one to rebuild a JBL E120-8 a couple of years ago. Because the kit is about 75% assembled, the rebuild is quick-takes about 3 hours over two days, allowing for curing glue. Step-by-step instructions and online videos make it easy. I also rebuilt a K120 JBL. Both sound great.
     
    dented, telemnemonics and Milspec like this.
  12. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,993
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    MV, CA
    Yes, OC Speakers was the best you could find for re-coning. The company is gone but you might be able to shake down the guy who used to do them as stated. They did a fantastic job on my 81 Vibrolux and they told me a few years back that my speaker would be one of the last they finished prior to shutting down this service. Today, I would look for a used pair to match or just something new that worked.

    (Update) Ok, just did some research and it turns out the guy who used to do the OC speaker re-coning has a new company called Speaker Repair Pros in Garden Grove, CA.
     
    ravindave_3600 likes this.
  13. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,703
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Thanks for all the advice....maybe the other question I should ask is this: Mid-'60's Oxford 12T6 speakers good speakers or not worth keeping re-coned or not? Or maybe that isn't a fair question as the re-cone may never sound like a stock speaker in the first place?

    I guess I am a little torn as to re-cone or just upgrade? I really just wanted the cabinet, but a part of me hates to let old things go like these speakers...especially when me and the speaker were created in the same year.
     
  14. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    331
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2017
    Location:
    Maine USA
    A friend blew up the 2 !0" ceramics in my '69 Vib Rev one night back in the 90's (friend, you say?), I got them reconed back then and they look like he did a good job but I've never tried them since to hear them, as I replaced them with Mojotone alnicos. Lately been thinking of putting them in a cabinet.


    IMG_2146.JPG
     
    Wally likes this.
  15. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,703
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    We think alike, I have several speakers laying around that I pulled out of various cabinets over the years that I have never really tested because they were never viewed as being all that good by forums like this one. Right now out of some curiousity, I have been trying them out.
     
    Fretting out and Old Plank like this.
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    19,679
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    My feeling is that only some particular speakers are worth reconing, given that for less money we can buy a new speaker that will be better in every way aside from vintage looks.

    The few would be mostly determined by their value exceeding the cost of the recone, or maybe the value of an amp with original speaker making it worth the cost.

    I have an orange county reconed 1960 alnico P12N, and an orange county reconed alnico EV SRO, both of which sound as good as you might hope.
    I have and have had reconed Greenbacks that sounded dull and lifeless, presumably due to some generic cone.

    The heart of a ceramic speaker is in the VC and cone assembly, the magnet and frame have no mojo.

    Weber seems to do fine recones but does not specialize in replicating vintage.
    More like ballpark with their own spin and methods.

    One niggle is of course two ways at $20 shipping on top of the recone on top of the purchase price.
    A recone kit ships once and cheaper, might be the better option.
     
    Milspec likes this.
  17. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,187
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    My reconed Altec 418 is wonderful. A good recone tech can make a speaker better than new in my opinion.
     
    Milspec and telemnemonics like this.
  18. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,373
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I'd rather buy a vintage amp with a re-coned original speaker than a vintage amp with a replacement speaker.

    The only mod ever done to my '68 Princeton Reverb is a speaker re-cone in the early '90s. I inherited the amp, and I'm glad that when my late father finally decided that the speaker had had enough, he had it re-coned instead of replaced. It makes the amp much "cooler," more original, and more desirable, and IMO, it's still a great sounding little amp. If I can't get it sounding good enough, it's on me, certainly not due to a speaker re-coning.

    IMO, speaker re-coning is standard long-term maintenance on any equipment that you're with for the long haul, and put a lot of miles on. It's like getting the timing belt preventively replaced every 150,000 on the car that you love, and intend to own for 20 or 30 years.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
    Fretting out, Wally and Milspec like this.
  19. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ballard
    Is there a common rate for re-coning, or a rate aplicable to size or brand?
    I foolishly burned up a freshly re-foamed 8" JBL 2115 by not understanding the importance of matching impedence and need to re-start.
    Estimated re-coning fee?

    Peace - Deeve
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    19,679
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Between $40 and $200!
    Plus shipping...
    There has been a supply of original recone kits and parts for popular speakers and that supply is running out or gone.
    Some of those kits were plentiful ten years ago and totally gone now.
    Not every vintage speaker has a good kit available, like the EV SRO.

    Celestion spent maybe five years trying to replicate the old pulsonic and mueller cones because they did not make those cones and there was no record of the paper formulas or manufacturing methods.
    Available substitution or generic cone kits vary and many do not sound good.
    Paying more for a better reconer seems worthwhile.
     
    Deeve likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.