Thoughts on the Eminence TF-1250 and the GA-SC64

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by theprofessor, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    I really like trying out different speakers, and the recent acquisition of a '66 Ampeg Jet presented yet another opportunity. It came with an Eminence GA-SC64 in it. The amp sounds great with that speaker. Nice character and grit. But I am always seeking more clarity, and so I thought I'd try out something else. That something else is a Tomo Fujita signature speaker by Eminence.

    These are not produced as comparable speakers, but since I've spent some time with the GA-SC64 both in a '76 Deluxe Reverb and now in a '66 Ampeg Jet, and since I've now heard the GA-SC64 and the TF-1250 in the same Ampeg Jet J12D, I figured I might make some notes on what I'm hearing (despite the fact that the TF-1250 is not yet broken in).

    Here's the GA-SC64

    IMG_2624.JPG

    Here's the TF-1250

    IMG_2611.JPG

    And now side-by-side:

    IMG_2610.JPG

    Specs of both here:

    https://www.eminence.com/pdf/TF_1250.pdf

    https://www.eminence.com/pdf/GA_SC64.pdf

    You'll notice the obvious differences between the two: paper dust cap versus felt. Different ribs, going in different directions. Similar doping, but different gasket. Seamed cone versus pressed cone, with different types and thicknesses of paper. And as the specs show, different sized magnets (GA-SC64 is 38 oz, while TF-1250 is 30 oz.), different voice coil diameter (GA-SC64 is 1.75", while TF-1250 is 1.5"). The GA-SC64 is rated at 40W, while the TF-1250 is rated at 50W.

    In comparison with the GA-SC64, the TF-1250 is leaner and tighter in the bass, and smoother in the midrange and top. While the GA-SC64 has a bit more grit and character, its midrange profile is more like a Celestion Greenback (or the Eminence GB128), it seems, in the top end, but it has lots of bass. The TF-1250 was designed by Tomo Fujita, along with Eminence, to be his modern take on the Jensen C12N, and so far I actually think it does a very good job of that. It has chime and clarity, but it is not shrill or really even bright. I cannot yet comment on its breakup characteristics, as it's not broken in yet. The Eminence GA-SC64 excels at modern breakup.

    These are both great speakers, but to my ears, I prefer the TF-1250 in this amp (and I'd imagine in others, too). The TF-1250 retains the main spirit of a Jensen C12N, but without the potential at getting shrill, and with the addition of some detailed but smooth upper midrange and some lean, tight bass. From the 1.5" voice coil to the thickness of the paper to the paper dust cap to the seamed cone to the smaller magnet, it seems to me that the TF-1250 is in every way a better "modern" take on the spirit of a vintage Jensen C12N. It's not that the GA-SC64 is a bad speaker; I am simply surprised that so many folks talk about it as a modern take on the C12N. To me, it sounds almost nothing like a C12N. Too much bass, too congested in the midrange, not the "right" frequency in the highs to replicate an old Jensen, and breaks up too well. The point of all this is not to slag on the GA-SC64, which is a great speaker in its own right. It is simply to express how well I think the TF-1250 does at delivering what the GA-SC64 claims to do, according to the advertising ("sound circa 1964").

    And one more thing: There was some conflict in some of the initial description of the TF-1250 as a lower efficiency speaker, since the SPL was listed as 101.3 dB. By comparison, the SPL of the Eminence GA-SC64 is given as 100.5 dB. I do not have an SPL meter, but there is no way that the TF-1250 is a 101.3 dB speaker. I have had many efficient speakers by Eminence, from the GA-SC64 to the JS-1250 to the GB128 to the 12" Red Fang alnico. The JS-1250 and the GB128 are loud speakers. I have not compared those to the TF-1250 in the same amp, but this TF-1250 is not as loud. I don't even think it's as loud as the GA-SC64. That's another respect in which it's more vintage-Jensen-like than other modern speakers. So far, I've not yet heard a modern ceramic-magnet speaker that captures the essence of that chime without being shrill as well as the TF-1250 does.

    After hearing it, I'm surprised there is not more talk about this speaker. It is an excellent speaker, and I hope it garners more attention.
     
  2. Bob Arbogast

    Bob Arbogast Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for this, Prof! I have a TF-1250, but I've hardly used it. I'm thinking about rebuilding my 5F11 as a 5881 beast and using the TF-1250. We'll see . . .
     
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  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Interesting and good to hear about it all.
    According to Ted Weber, the C12N went through many iterations . His C12N (12F150 now) was a copy of the particular version he really liked. I forget what year and etc. I had one that was amazing big lows and sweet upper mids. The GA SC64 sounds a lot like that one.

    I had 2 original Jensen C12N's out of a Gibson amp. They were in perfect condition but sounded terribly bright for me and lacked "character" or "voice" for lack of better words. I got big bucks selling them though.
    Years ago I had a different C12N that was amazing. Go figure.

    I love the GA SC64 for it's character and I suspect it's the paper voice coil former that is the secret. But look forward to trying the TF-1250 some day.
     
  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Perceived loudness is a thorny issue. It depends on lots of things, not least of which is the instrument and amplifier EQ characteristics. Celestion Blues are rated 103 db, but unless you have a very bright/trebly guitar and Topboost cranked that isn't apparent compared to the same Vox with 98db Greenbacks.

    When my bandmate arcs up his Lester through his Blues Deluxe with Cannabis Rex it always seems loud - but going out in the audience with my stock pupThinline on wifi through 83 Superchamp and 10" SC64 it really cuts through.
     
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  5. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    I do like the dustcap config for period correct sounds. Not a lot of ridge lines on the TF.
    I never really heard of the TF before this.
     
  6. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    Great timing - I actually ran across the TF-1250 online this week and have been researching it. I'd never heard of it before now, and funny enough, I was looking at it in comparison to the SC64. ;)

    I agree about the SC64 - it's a much dirtier speaker than I imagined it would be. And LOUD. I installed one in a cabinet for a guy a couple years ago and got to play around with it. It sounded really good, but still earlier & more breakup than I expected.

    The "modern take on Vintage Jensen" is definitely appealing. @theprofessor How do you think it would work with Tweed amps and simple Vol/Tone amps?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
  7. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    Glad my short review was helpful. As I said, these are first impressions. It's not really broken in yet. As for the TF-1250 with tweed amps -- I'd expect it would work better than the GA-SC64 would. There are a lot of tweed amps, of course, but I think the TF-1250 would be a better complement than most, with its clarity and its leaner bass, for what we tend to think of as the "tweed" sound. The issue, it seems to me, is always the midrange. I am not good at predicting how various midranges will mix. This TF-1250 has a clear but smooth midrange. I would think it would stay pretty clear with a midrangey tweed, but I'm not certain. Even as I say that, though, I can say that it works well with a '66 Ampeg Jet. And those Ampegs do have much more midrange in the sound than your typical mid-scooped blackface Fender. So maybe that's a sign it could work well in a tweed. I really think it might. And there aren't many modern-production ceramics that I've liked in tweeds. I'd say that it doesn't need much EQ tweaking. There's really nothing that I myself would want to dial out or dial in. I like leaner bass, and I like clarity without shrillness.
     
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  8. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    I think I've about talked myself into it for my current project. Like I said, I'd never seen/heard about it until this week, then your thread pops up. That dust cap definitely has a Jensen vibe to it, more so than any other Eminence I've seen. The demo clips I found on youtube are pretty nice as well with the clean sound. Don't worry, I'll definitely be posting some demo clips if I get it! Keep us posted with yours!
     
  9. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    Great! Very glad to hear you'll be able to join in the discussion. I look forward to hearing your clips. I may try to do a few short ones myself and post them in this thread.
     
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  10. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    OK, here you go. One sound sample of the Eminence TF-1250. This is a single-note type thing in D. Recorded using an EJ Stratocaster in all 5 positions (all vol. 10 and tone 10) through a '66 Ampeg Jet J-12-D. Recorded with a Sennheiser E906 direct to a mini SD card in a Zoom H2n recorder. Amp vol on 4, tone on 7.5. Reverb is from a Foxpedal Magnifica Deluxe Reverb pedal.

     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020 at 6:58 PM
  11. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    And here is a second one that is more chord-focused. Same settings on everything. As in the previous one, reverb is from a Foxpedal Magnifica Deluxe Reverb pedal.

     
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