Old Ampeg SVT speakers sound muddy: recone?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Europebass, Feb 6, 2014.


  1. Europebass

    Europebass

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    I know there's a lot about this already, but I couldn't find any satisfactory answers so far. I play a 2nd half 70-ies Ampeg SVT through my own made 2x 4x10's. High quality arctic birch plywood. Exactly modelled after a squareback, just cut in half. I use a combination of SVT 32 ohm reissues: Eminence Legends, Electro Harmonix and 2 Jensen Mod's for a bit extra highend - like suggested on this forum. Main instrument is a pre-CBS P-bass with flatwounds. I live from playing music.

    I was actually pretty happy with my sound, although I always kept on looking for more warmth and nicer more airy mids. Just a year ago I completely by coincidence ran into 8 totally original '78 (all from week 35) Eminence squaremagnets for a really fair price (400€ (say 550$) so I had to buy them. Coils moving properly. They all measured like 25 ohms which is supposed to be good: so everything cool. I put them in my cabs and used them for over half a year on a wide variety of stages and for recording.

    They inmediately struck me with a totally vintage vibe: they sounded superwarm, creamy and very deep. The highs are way more natural then on the reissues. Guitar for instance sounds awesome through them.

    But I started to miss the tight punch of my reissues. The old speakers just don't seem to be lively. They don't seem to cut through on stage and have mainly a lot of boom without too much articulation. I guess 'muddy' would be the proper word. Is this something typical for the 70-ies speakers? Would the older CTS alinicos sound tighter? Or would reconing help (although everything seems to work properly).

    I don't run into old cabs too often I'm affraid. I played through some 'towel-bar ones' a couple of times on festivals, but you never can tell what's in there in such short notice.

    Maybe I'm just used to more modern tighter sounds although I consider myself totally 'Old-School' and I dislike almost all more modern cabinets. I've put my reissues back in and everything is back to normal again. The question now is what to do with the beautiful old speakers! All thoughts are appreciated.
     
  2. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    The speakers are going to sound different. It isn't unusual to have vintage speakers reconed which will make them sound like they did when they were new. That could get expensive for a speaker that you might not use. Then again, there was a reason why the original seller didn't want them any more.

    The only other thing to consider is the lining in your 410 cabinet. The right material and thickness can make a difference with the muddiness of the tone. If there is a chance that what you have in there now isn't doing the job, it might be worth changing it to see if it makes a difference.
     
  3. nysbob

    nysbob

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    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Multiple 10"s in a sealed box always sound kind of muddy to me. I thought that was the appeal. :bag:
     
  4. Europebass

    Europebass

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Thanks for the quick answers. I got satisfying - not muddy, but nice and tight - tone with my cabinets and the reissue speakers so far. So I think the cabinets are well built (18mm birch plywood) and I totally dig the 8x10 configuration. I guess my questions are: will reconing of the Eminence ceramics make them tighter? Are the CTS alnicos tighter then the Eminences? Are reissues just tighter than the old ones in general no matter whether they are alnico or ceramic or reconed?
     
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  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Apopka, FL
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    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think the old Eminence speakers, assuming they're properly working now, won't get any tighter with a recone. You will probably get about the same sound you're getting now, unless the cones are dry rotted or saggy like they've gotten wet or something. I do hear the CTS's as being a little tighter than those old Eminences, although I did recently play a late 70's cab that sounded really good. But the CTS's are the standard, and the only speakers I've heard that really match up to them are the Eminences used in the Heritage 810e. I'm not sure if you can buy the Heritage speakers separately, but you could try emailing Ampeg.
     
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    When reconing a speaker you sometimes have the option of using a different kit that will tweak the performance of the driver. For instance an aluminum based coil is lighter which can translate into more mids. The same goes for the cone material, weight and structure used, the amount of dope around the outer edge, and even the material used for the dust cap.

    BTW, I see that you have tried different drivers. Another option is the Eminence B810. Close but not the same as the Heritage one that Jimmy suggested.
     
  8. Europebass

    Europebass

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Jimmy, no the speakers are in perfect working order. Nothing rotted, stiff, saggy or whatever. I thought maybe something else like the magnets would wear out with time too, cause I see them talking about 'demagnetising' and 'remagnetising' or whatever during the recone job. Hmm, too bad, I hoped to fullfill all of my dreams by finding those old speakers! Willie Weeks: here I'm coming! So I'll keep on looking for the CTS ones to see how they work and I'm going to try one of those Heritage cabinets to see what they are doing.

    I think what I have right now are those Eminences B810 'Beans-on-toast' is talking about: Eminence Legend B810, 32 ohms or are they different then the ones you're talking about? And they do sound fine. Here's the shop on Ebay I bought them from:
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/leanbusiness/Eminence-Bass-Guitar-Speakers-/_i.html?_fsub=1403014010

    I've never seen the Heritage speakers sold separately. I only see the standard Ampeg 8x10 Classic replacements selling for at least twice as much as the Eminences and I think they are probably the same speakers. I did play a lot of standard Classic cabs and they never sound any better then what I have right now and often way worse probably cause of the Chinese making or whatever.

    So for now I'll give up my recone-will-travel-dream and I'm going to combine old and new. Put 2 old ones on top for the warmth and nice overtones and 6 replacements in the bottom for the tight kick in the butt! The only thing I noticed that they are significantly lower in volume then the new ones, but it only takes 10 minutes of re-soldering. What do you think?

    Thanks again guys.
     
  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

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    Aug 7, 2008
    Alnico magnets can demagnetize much easier than ceramic magnets. If you drop the speaker hard for example, it could demagnetize a bit.

    One of the reasons why reconers demag is to help clean the space around the coil. If there are any small ferrous particles in there the speaker will rub agains them as the cone moves in and out. You can't easily get them out because of the force from the magnet. So demagnetizing allows you to clean out that space.
     
  10. Europebass

    Europebass

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    So maybe I should have them 'only' cleaned instead of a whole recone or isn't that possible. The fact I think they sound dull could be from dirt around the coil? I don't think I want to try to modify this kind of speaker with a different cone or something like you suggested earlier.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Apopka, FL
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    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The B810's aren't the same as what's in the Heritage 810e.

    Well the worst sounding 810 cabs were made from 2000-2006 IMHO. The speakers are very dark sounding. The Chinese Eminences the regular 810e and 810av use now are a vast improvement over those 2000-2006 speakers. But the Heritage has THE speakers IMHO.

    Got nothing to lose but time!
     
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

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    Aug 7, 2008
    Particles in that space would make a rubbing noise when you gently push the cone in and out. Based on your description, your issues are more how it performs.

    If you can find a local speaker reconer, they could examine one of your speakers and tell you if it has any issues.
     
  13. Bassmec

    Bassmec

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    I always felt that my old SVT 8x10 sounded brighter and more agile and aggressive than other ones I have heard. Mine had the old Chicago Telephone Systems drivers in.
    Might be just over fond memories as the poor old thing got burnt in a garage fire.:-(
    PS never heard a Heritage cab yet though.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Yep, those CTS's weren't the most high power handling but they were magical sounding in an 810.
     
  15. Europebass

    Europebass

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Ah, that's good to know. Elsewhere on this forum I found just yesterday evening that you suspected them to be of the same making because both the Legend speakers and the Heritage series were released at about the same time.

    From what I'm getting here I too think that the speakers are what they are and I should be looking for either the Heritage or the CTS speakers.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Apopka, FL
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    Yeah, that's true, but a couple weeks later someone posted a pic of the H810e with the grill off and it wasn't the same speakers at all.
     
  17. Europebass

    Europebass

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    Mar 22, 2010
    I'm gonna try the Heritage soon for sure!
     

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