NAD - Lab Series L5

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Ex-riverman, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Ex-riverman

    Ex-riverman Tele-Holic

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    It ain’t pretty. And it smells like it lived in someone’s kitchen. But I got it for almost nothing.
    The guy that sold it to me said he thought it was a little dull sounding so he plugged it into a 5150 4x12 and said it sounded good. He sent me some videos and fiddled with the EQ and what-not. I’ll post the videos. It’s not me playing - he’s much much better than me.
    I figured I’d have to replace the speakers but I plugged in today and they seem to both work. The seller probably has a better ear than me but I wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with them just listening to them. Ive never played one of these or anything louder than my AC15. Not sure if the compressor works - the light doesn’t come on. Didn’t play with it enough to try to see if it was working but didn’t seem to do much if anything. Both channels worked and the eq worked.
    So, I have questions.
    What were the original speakers? I’ve read EV and someone even referenced Made in Mexico when discussing them. One is MIM but it doesn’t have a brand on it. Maybe the sticker came off when someone was frying chicken.
    If they are original - should I replace them? Is there some age limit to speakers?
    Any suggestions? I like the idea of making it as original as possible. So 12” 16ohm ceramics? What wattage?
    Finally, the corner pieces and handle have rust on them. What’s a good source for these?
    Thanks!

    5B59179C-3241-498C-B8DA-7AE9B6619A97.jpeg i 0B7F91CB-F087-4845-B105-8FEF4714BA95.jpeg 29F4BB04-65F8-4A68-8108-38880BF348E3.jpeg
     
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  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    The original speakers were CTS IIRC, ... the black one. They are 16 ohm? May not be too hard to find one. They either sound good or they dont. Not sure about finding that handle, I'll look and see i I happen to have one, have some oddballs out there. The chrome corners should be fairly easy to find except maybe the front top slanted ones. Pretty cool amp, I used to have a couple.
    I have a CTS 16 ohm speaker that is near new looking condition, but it's not that specific speaker. It has an aluminum dustcap.
     
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  3. Ex-riverman

    Ex-riverman Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the reply. On closer inspection the finish may have just worn off the corners. Showing some brass color.
     
  4. Ex-riverman

    Ex-riverman Tele-Holic

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    Sorry. The video was too large.
     
  5. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I have a vintage LAB Series L5. Here is a photo of one of the original speakers - they are Celestion G12T-75 - 12" @ 16 ohms.

    IMG_5541.JPG
     
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  6. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Had a friend that played through one for years.
    He was a very gifted guitar player/violin/drums.
    That Lab Series amp became his signature sound.

    He has since passed but his sound can still be heard in the halls of my memory.

    This cat would play Hendrix, Santana, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Jeff Beck etc.
    all with his Lab Series amp. That compressor and multifilter setup was rad sounding!

    I do remember it being a bit on the muffled side but that's what gave him that smooth lead sound.
     
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  7. Ex-riverman

    Ex-riverman Tele-Holic

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    Thanks!
     
  8. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    Nice amp...always wanted one back in the day...had the ad from a guitar magazine on my wall. I'll bet that thing weighs a ton! Good luck with it!
     
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  9. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Cool!
    Enjoy it!
     
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  10. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    While I was looking at L5 demos, I stumbled upon this:

    Pretty interesting.
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I am going to think that those Celestion speakers in archtop’s amp are not original. At least, the Lab L-5 I bought new in 1978 and sold about 2 months ago were not Celestions...but rather were Made in USA speakers....Eminence or CTS.
    Ex-river man, the CTS in your picture may well be original as it is from 1980.....137 8002...2nd week.
    I have never seen a vintage American amp with OEM Celestions in it. Fender did use spec’d custom Celestions in the Pro Sonic, which was built from 1995-2002....but I am old enough not to consider that ‘vintage’ yet.
     
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  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can probably polish the rust off and keep it original. Naval Jelly works wonders. I would be concerned about its electronics, being an old SS. Wally, what likely needs attention?
     
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  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Chris, as with any amp of that age, one might be concerned about the electrolytics. These are amps that I do not delve deeply into....solid state and certain PCb’s are things I try to avoid working on. I did repair the reverb on mine after I got it back from a friend’s estate. That is the extent of my experience working on these amps. That entailed replacing an IC. He talked me out of it because he was a big B.B. King fan. I got it back when he passed.
    Ex-river man, as I understand it there is a fellow in your part of the world that has a large collection of Labs and does work on them...lot of experience. If you need contact info, PM me. I know a young keyboardist who is having the dilapidated L5 he bought resurrected.
     
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  14. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Holic

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    I think the "137-8002" printed on that speaker frame is code for CTS speakers made in the second week of 1980.

    https://www.tedweber.com/speaker-codes-application/

    If you wanted to replace those with something more like a Celestion, but not a Chinese-made new Celestion; I've had good experiences with the British-voiced 16 ohm speakers that Eminence and Warehouse make.
     
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  15. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've not seen a Lab Series with those. Pretty sure they are not original.
     
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  16. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    Hmmm. I purchased this from a friend who was the original owner. If he replaced the speakers, I guess I'm not aware of it. I can ask.
     
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  17. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    My vote would be Eminence, but didn't they make those square magnets back then for guitar speakers?
    Or was that just a one off deal?
     
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  18. vanr

    vanr Tele-Afflicted

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    I have to agree with this assessment. I bought a brand new L5 when they first came out and it had the stock black Eminence/CTS. A few months later I added a Lab Series 4X12. Same speakers. I don't think I ever saw one with Celestions although my buddies Lab Series L9? did have an EV 15". Now that's a great sounding amp.
     
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  19. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I did find this in the Celestion history: Is your L5 pre 85?
    "The G12T-75 first appeared in 1985, as the new version of the G12M-70. Curiously enough, this speaker is in production until today and is found almost everywhere, also being used in the current Marshall 1960A and 1960B cabs. It’s offered in both 8ohms and 16ohms."
     
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  20. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    An update - I talked with my friend and he actually purchased it used himself (he wasn't the original owner after all - my bad). So the speakers may very well have been swapped out, although that must have happened a long time ago as they look rather old to me.

    I don't know the date of manufacture of the amp but I can check the serial number and see what I can find out.

    At any rate, the amp sounds good especially on the gain side (has a great overdriven tone). However, it has two practical problems: (1) it's REALLY heavy and (2) I can't put the Master Volume control much above 1 without it getting ear-bleeding loud! :eek: Too bad there isn't any power scaling, but it is what it is...
     
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