Peavey Black Widow 15" for guitar?

BoomTexan

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I'm getting a set of transformers from a guy on Reverb and he's also selling a 70s Peavey BW 15". I can probably get him to combine shipping on them, and after selling my Eminence Commonwealth Patriot 15" D130 clone, I need another 15" speaker.

Is the BW a good choice for a guitar-focused 1x15 cab? Its definitely loud enough for anything, and the cab has a built-in horn, so it gets louder than it would be with just the speaker alone. I'm just worried about reliability, tone, and resale factor. I can get it for around 90$ with shipping included.
 

W.L.Weller

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Reliability - among the best (but remember you can melt any voice coil with sustained DC voltage and you can destroy any speaker motor with hard square waves causing over-excursion)

Tone - as subjective a question as any ever asked. I think they sound good, I'm certain you could find someone to take the other side of that argument. Take a look at the data for the specific 15" Black Widow you're considering:


Resale - you're paying $90 for the bare speaker, including shipping?
 

RodeoTex

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A friend had two Peavey amps exactly the same back in the day, except one had a Black Widow and the other didn't (scorpion maybe, can't remember).
Anyway the one with the BW sounded muddy compared to the other, plus it weighed a ton more.
The sound difference is subjective of course, but the weight difference isn't.
 

BoomTexan

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Reliability - among the best (but remember you can melt any voice coil with sustained DC voltage and you can destroy any speaker motor with hard square waves causing over-excursion)

Tone - as subjective a question as any ever asked. I think they sound good, I'm certain you could find someone to take the other side of that argument. Take a look at the data for the specific 15" Black Widow you're considering:


Resale - you're paying $90 for the bare speaker, including shipping?
Yup, 90 including shipping.

I'm just curious as to how you would describe the sound characteristics with guitar. I've heard that they typically sound warmer than stock Fender speakers like JBLs or the later Eminence stuff.
 

Sparky2

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You can't go wrong with the Black Widow at that price.

As far as somebody's else's opinion on how it sounds?
None us us have your ears.
We're all going to have different perceptions of sound and tone, quite honestly.

Here's the real test;
Buy the speaker.
Install it in your rig.
Rock it at your next gig.

If the paying audience members smile and nod and give you a thumbs-up the very moment that you crank out some chords and riffs, and the ladies start tossing their hotel room keys at you, that is a good speaker.

If, on the other hand, the audience members shrug and turn to each other and start conversing about the latest episode of some nonsensical television show, and the bartender looks directly at you and sadly shakes his head left and right?
Not a good speaker.

😟
 

Telecastoff1

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It all depends greatly on which model 15" Black Widow speaker he has for sale. Find out which model # it is and do a little research. They are not all the same and will vary greatly per model. Each model was designed for a specific application. Personally, I really like the 1501-4 SB, short basket(4ohms) Black Widow. It's a very clean, punchy speaker. It has a paper cone (other models have Kevlar in them) and was designed specifically for the demands of pedal steel guitar, but I've run these in many Fender and Peavey amps and my Teles always sounded great thru these.
The Black Widow 1502 is another very good one, with more pronounced lows, but still very clean on the high side as well. Both are very good guitar speakers.
The Black Widow 1503 and 1505 are predominantly bass and sound reinforcement speakers...not very good for Telecasters, in my experiences with them.
....my early Friday morning .02 cents worth.
 
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BoomTexan

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It all depends greatly on which model 15" Black Widow speaker he has for sale. Find out which model # it is and do a little research. They are not all the same and will vary greatly per model. Each model was designed for a specific application. Personally, I really like the 1501-4 SB, short basket(4ohms) Black Widow. It's a very clean, punchy speaker. It has a paper cone (other models have Kevlar in them) and was designed specifically for the demands of pedal steel guitar, but I've run these in many Fender and Peavey amps and my Teles always sounded great thru these.
The Black Widow 1502 is another very good one, with more pronounced lows, but still very clean on the high side as well. Both are very good guitar speakers.
The Black Widow 1503 and 1505 are predominantly bass and sound reinforcement speakers...not very good for Telecasters, in my experiences with them.
....my early Friday morning .02 cents worth.
Thanks for the advice. He's selling a 350-watt 1502DT, which is listed by Peavey as a primarily bass guitar speaker, but which was designed for versatility with electronic drums, keyboards, and lead guitar.

I mainly play guitar and am planning to learn bass as soon as I can find a good lefty EB-3, but this is just gonna be a solution for the next 3 months. No way can I keep my 120 pound Fender Sidekick Bass 100 speaker cabinet, complete with horn and 4-inch thick reinforced plastic in my dorm room, so I'll probably give it to a bassist friend when I go off to college in a few months, as a trade for him making me a smaller 15" cab out of pine.

I'm getting more into sludge and stoner rock, and I'm realizing how good the 15" speakers sound for that, as well as my heavier style of blues, so that 1502 with the more pronounced lows sounds like the perfect one for me.
 

W.L.Weller

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"sludge and stoner rock"
"planning to learn bass"
"him making me a smaller 15" cab out of pine"

The TL606 was designed and tuned for the ElectroVoice EVM15L but I am here to tell you that you can use other speakers in this design to good effect. Consider asking your friend to build one, even though its dimensions necessitate sheet goods and not pine.


Weight and bass frequencies have to be balanced, too light a cabinet paired with too powerful an amplifier results in a speaker that wants to walk across the floor, buzzing all the while since the whole cabinet is vibrating enough to move itself.
 
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Mowgli

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A slightly bit off topic but Weller said something that needs to be repeated regarding “hard square waves.” What he said is very important to understand.

RMS values for amps and speakers are often rated based upon “sine” waves. But guitar speakers often receive distorted signals containing clipping which yields a good amount of square waves.

As such looking at the RMS values of square waves versus sine waves explains why a lot of speakers receiving distorted music can “blow” if their rated just slightly higher than above the amp’s max. output.

Looking at a sine wave, the RMS Voltage value is V(RMS) = .707 x V(peak).

But looking at a square wave, the RMS voltage value is V(RMS) = V(peak).

So, assuming currents are the same, the RMS power of a pure square wave is about 29% greater than that of a pure sine wave (again, the stated maximum output of an amp and the maximum rating of a speaker are usually based on sine waves.).

Take home message? If you plan on playing distorted tones with your amp set somewhat near or at maximum output make sure the speaker(s) are rated 40-50% higher than the amp’s maximum output in order to mitigate the chances of speaker damage from square waves.

Just thought a little basic math would help explain Weller’s excellent comment.
 

BoomTexan

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"sludge and stoner rock"
"planning to learn bass"
"him making me a smaller 15" cab out of pine"

The TL606 was designed and tuned for the ElectroVoice EVM15L but I am here to tell you that you can use other speakers in this design to good effect. Consider asking your friend to build one, even though its dimensions necessitate sheet goods and not pine.


Weight and bass frequencies have to be balanced, too light a cabinet paired with too powerful an amplifier results in a speaker that wants to walk across the floor, buzzing all the while since the whole cabinet is vibrating enough to move itself.

Wouldn't a pair of soft rubber feet mitigate that significantly? I'm not one to question the power of strong bass frequencies (my last phone actually broke after it danced off the top of my 2x15 cabinet while I was testing the bass response), but I'm not planning on playing one of those 10lb Markbass 500-watters, all my amps that can get to a sufficient volume to cause that level of rattling are well in the 50-80lb range. The speaker itself weighs close to 40 pounds, or so I've heard. I love bass frequencies as much as anyone else, but keeping a 50-watter on max bass and uber high volume isn't really my idea of good tone at the moment.

I will absolutely keep that cabinet idea in mind, that looks really cool!
A slightly bit off topic but Weller said something that needs to be repeated regarding “hard square waves.” What he said is very important to understand.

RMS values for amps and speakers are often rated based upon “sine” waves. But guitar speakers often receive distorted signals containing clipping which yields a good amount of square waves.

As such looking at the RMS values of square waves versus sine waves explains why a lot of speakers receiving distorted music can “blow” if their rated just slightly higher than above the amp’s max. output.

Looking at a sine wave, the RMS Voltage value is V(RMS) = .707 x V(peak).

But looking at a square wave, the RMS voltage value is V(RMS) = V(peak).

So, assuming currents are the same, the RMS power of a pure square wave is about 29% greater than that of a pure sine wave (again, the stated maximum output of an amp and the maximum rating of a speaker are usually based on sine waves.).

Take home message? If you plan on playing distorted tones with your amp set somewhat near or at maximum output make sure the speaker(s) are rated 40-50% higher than the amp’s maximum output in order to mitigate the chances of speaker damage from square waves.

Just thought a little basic math would help explain Weller’s excellent comment.
I'm not planning on playing any Marshall Majors, Matamp Greens, Thunderverb 200s, or a Sunn 2000S or Model T anytime soon, but I will absolutely keep that fact in mind for like a Champ or Deluxe, thats super useful.

I would like to direct you to a YouTube video by Johann Segeborn, in which he plays a fully cranked Superlead into a single 25-watt Greenback. It takes about 5 minutes for it to start feeding back uncontrollably. If I were playing a 2 hour gig with the Peavey in which a 200-watt amp is constantly dimed, it would be an issue then, but for brief periods or even at 6 or so for many hours, there shouldn't be any issue. I can't do 7 on the master volume with my Fender Dual Showman Reverb with ear protection, so playing an amp double that power is a pretty scary thought for me.
 
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Slippery Jack

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I had a pair that I got cheap secondhand for front of house pa. I'm not going to discuss the quality of the sound of the speakers because it's irrelevant to me. They are so heavy that I couldn't store them upstairs at home. They were ridiculously heavy. The box/enclosure was made of some type of plastic that must have been designed in a military facility to withstand a direct hit from heavy artillery.

I ended up giving them to a 'gear head' friend who had a large pa sound system that he used for club DJ gigs. He lived in a second floor flat, so he had to leave them in a ground floor storage unit. He ended up giving them away.

I had a Marshall tsl 602 combo that I gigged with for ten years. It weighed 82lbs and I seriously did my back in twice until I had the good sense to get rid of it.

To summarise, you only have one back. Try and appreciate it before you mess it up forever.
 

BoomTexan

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I had a pair that I got cheap secondhand for front of house pa. I'm not going to discuss the quality of the sound of the speakers because it's irrelevant to me. They are so heavy that I couldn't store them upstairs at home. They were ridiculously heavy. The box/enclosure was made of some type of plastic that must have been designed in a military facility to withstand a direct hit from heavy artillery.

I ended up giving them to a 'gear head' friend who had a large pa sound system that he used for club DJ gigs. He lived in a second floor flat, so he had to leave them in a ground floor storage unit. He ended up giving them away.

I had a Marshall tsl 602 combo that I gigged with for ten years. It weighed 82lbs and I seriously did my back in twice until I had the good sense to get rid of it.

To summarise, you only have one back. Try and appreciate it before you mess it up forever.
My favorite speaker, a D130 clone, weighed nearly 50 pounds. I took out the 2nd to last screw and it literally ripped the last screw out of the baffle and fell 2 feet. Thankfully it was fine. I'm no stranger to super heavy speakers. This isn't a gigging cabinet, it takes 2 people to move, is 4x3x3 feet, and weighs close to 100 pounds with a speaker inside.
 

Bowpickins

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If I read this right a while ago, the Black Widow 15 was basically a higher-powered JBL. It was built by Peavey for their venture into steel guitar amps (Session 400 and 500), because these amps kept blowing the seriously under-powered JBL speakers that they used early on in the production of their steel amps.

I've used the Black Widow 1501 and 1502DT in my Nashville 400 amps for guitar, but they left a little to be desired. Rated for 400-watts, these speakers will not break up at all, and they're designed to be full-frequency in order to be used with pedal steel (as well as keys and even bass).

I didn't like my Black Widow speakers with overdrive either, and even had one fail on me. I got it professionally re-coned and had the foam from the coil vent cleaned out, but it developed voice coil rub again.

I finally gave up on them and replaced all my Black Widow speakers with the Eminence PF-400. It works wonders for my pedal steel and fiddle, and it let me get very usable tones for my guitar and pedalboard, too.
 




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