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Ceramic vs Neo

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jscriv, Apr 26, 2020.

  1. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I know it's been done before. But I can't find anything recent. And let's face it, we're pretty much all stuck at home anyways. The time has come where I'm ready to get another cabinet. It's going to be a 410. I currently have an acoustic BN410. It was on clearance at GC and I had 100 bucks credits so o figured for 200, why not? Worst case it's a decent can for practice or around the house.fasf forward to the other day, unrelated cabinets. I was Corona cleaning my music room and decided to link my Ampeg pf210 and an SWR workingman 210. And put them on opposite sides of the room. So I could kind of A/B the cabs with my portaflex 350. The SWR had a much thicker sound. So maybe magnets make zero difference. I'm caught between a few different cabs and even when the world is open I don't have the ability to test them out. So, please give me all of your thoughts on the topic. Or any 410 can in general for that matter.

    Here's a general idea of my "sound". Atleast when I'm using my sterlings. It changes a bit with my jazz and my P.

  2. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Neodymium iron boron is a magnet material that has clear advantages in terms of weight. It was developed for starter motors in cars by GM - in their pursuit of lighter cars for more gas mileage, the starter motor got improved in terms of smaller size and lower weight for the same output. They sent a guy to the Audie Engineering Society Convention to talk about their work - hoping to get more industries using the material, and drive the cost down. It's also similar to alnico, in terms of the magnetic circuit geometry you use to make good use of it - a small diameter central plug works for either in a loudspeaker design. With ceramic, you need a big flat disc to get enough flux to saturate the gap, so you end up with a big honkin' magnet.

    Either approach can give you a decent driver - there are tradeoffs, but nothing that you can't compensate for. I don't worry about how the magnet used affects the sound of the driver - that's the driver designer's job. The neodymium magnet is a distinct advantage when my back is used to pick the thing up, however.
  3. I didn't know that about GM, that's actually really cool.

    That being said, basically what you said. From what I've heard on TB Neo magnets have two distinct advantages - the first being weight reduction for the same or even improved performance, and I think using a smaller mass of magnet allowed for a reduction in the inductance of a voice coil. That can allow for a bit more high end response with a similar motor to a ceramic driver.
    Clutchcargo and Jscriv like this.
  4. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Thanks for the interesting information. Do you have any references regarding when GM actually did their work? The materials, rare earth iron borides and the neodymium flavor in particular, were in fairly widespread development in academic labs in the early to mid 80’s. Thanks.

    BTW, a Materials Science person would probably refer to the materials as Neodymium Iron Boride, though I do see many hits just naming the elements rather than the phase.
  5. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    That's pretty rad info honestly at this point I'm convinced it's cab design and porting that matter, illustrated but the Ampeg v SWR comparison I did the other day. It has never leaning towards an Aggy sl410 cab. But I figured there's interesting takes out there on the subject. Much like yours. Thanks for the reply. Very cool stuff
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    One of the driving factors in the consumer commercialization of Neo magnet materials was the miniaturization of the vibration motor in cell phones.

    It's not really the material itself, but the electromagnetic properties of the magnetic slug and it's location within the magnetic circuit that gives designers the option of increasing high frequency extension IF that's their goal. It's no different than the ALNICO magnetic circuit, and similar high frequency extension can be done with ceramic motors using magnetic shorting rings/caps and different pole piece geometries.
  7. For most of us, the only predictable characteristic of Neo drivers of importance is the substantially lower weight. A wide range of tone is available in both Neo and ceramic drivers. If you are primarily interested in tone, then audition cabs without respect to magnet type - just pick the one that has the tone you like best. If weight is an important issue, then sort cabs based on their weight - most of the lightest ones will have Neo drivers. If you are one of the people who hears a difference in magnetic materials, choose accordingly. Of course, you will want to make sure that the cab(s) will produce adequate volume (which is not the same as power handling).
    lomo, BassikBrad, bassbooty and 7 others like this.
  8. As an aside....

    Which of your SWR or Ampeg cabs, has Neodymium magnet speakers?
  9. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    That's kicker, niether! Which I why I don't really think magnets are going to matter as much as cabinet design and porting. But even in the normal world the selections around here are poor so I can't demo the stuff I'm interested in. So I just turn to the TB masses and look for information I may be over looking. And well, im bored and like the conversation
    rodl2005 likes this.
  10. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I think no matter what I'll be fine in the power handing aspect. My most powerful head is 500w at 4 ohms. The reduced weight sounds nice obviously. I dont think there is a difference sonically between the magnets. I'm a believe that it's cab design and porting. But you never know what someone has to offer opinion wise. Besides, I couldn't test the cabs I'm interested in if I wanted to. We have zero selection around here. Unless you wanna try and ampeg classic 410. Or mark bass. Then you're in luck
    AstroSonic likes this.
  11. It is more than just the magnet material or else all the cabs made before the year 2000 would all sound exactly the same.
    They do not.
  12. Sounds like my neck of the woods. Maybe Fender more than Mark Bass nowadays tho.
    It's a sad state
  13. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    A lot of things get somewhat sorted out in academic labs, and then perfected in industry - process improvements, scale up, etc. The basics of Alnico magnets were "figured out" in the 1930's, but better grades are continually being produced even today. I don't know the exact timeline of when I attended the technical presentation, but mid 80's sounds about right.
    InnerCityBass and agedhorse like this.
  14. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Is the working man a neo cab? I don't understand the comparison. Those two kinda seem like apples to oranges to me. The pf210 is sealed, big, heavy, and hella tight and clear sounding. What's the working man like?

    As far as that sound sample goes, another pf210 will get you there like a champ. Tight, clear, clean. That's my set up. Pf800 2 pf210s. Heaven.
  15. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Different magnet materials used in completely different speakers, often mounted in totally different enclosures set up in different rooms or parts of a room, with different signals going through them and different volumes.

    I doubt there's ever been a speaker made that's effectively identical except the magnet, and if there has I doubt more than a handful of people on the planet were part of any proper A/B testing with it.
    pie_man_25, Jscriv and Omega Monkey like this.
  16. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    The SWR Go-Lite's were Neo, I don't recall any of the others (possible the Spellbinder Blue combos), though there were prototypes and early short runs of some other cabinets that may of may not have made it onto the market.
    SJan3 and mb94952 like this.
  17. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Supporting Member

    To me, I've found only two "affordable" NEO cabs that sound as good as ceramic. The SWR Golights are what I use. I own a few in both 410 and 210. The other is GK NEO. They sound fantastic and can be lifted with one hand. Just my experience. I don't like the sound of Markbass cabs, and to me, that's the typical "neo sound". Again, just me.
    David McIntire, dude110 and Jscriv like this.
  18. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    Nope. Both ceramic. Both sealed. Quite a difference in size though (see attached pic). The reason for the comparison is just pointing out how different similar cabinets sound and that I don't think neo v ceramic will make as much difference as the cab itself. But who am I? I just wanna hear fellow players thoughts. IMG_20200426_155214655_LL.jpg

    That recording is with an old beat up tolexless ampeg 610 (studios cabinet)and my pf350.
  19. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    Hey, that's exactly what I'm looking to hear!
    mb94952 likes this.
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    You are correct. The Spellbinders used SWR designed neo 10s.
    agedhorse likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 17, 2021

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