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Vintage 15" JBL comparisons w/soundclips

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by johnk_10, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    that's a beauty!
  2. Balog


    Mar 19, 2009
    Mukilteo, WA
    Great looking cab! Did you have plans, or just estimating the original dimensions?
  3. nouroog


    Jan 14, 2010
    Lyon, France
    Wow it looks awesome, congrats!
  4. 60cyclehum


    Oct 8, 2012
    Thanks everyone for the kind words. Here are couple more pics. The cab is still out in my shop awaiting corners, expected this week from Fliptops.

    I got this idea about a year ago after I lost patience waiting for one of these cabinets to come up for sale in reasonable condition and proximity to me here in Tampa. These are so big/heavy/old that you almost never find one that is not completely beaten up or modified. To me, any mod that puts different speakers in is not acceptable.

    My quest started off with buying a couple of speakers on ebay. I got one for $125, and the other for $249. Add this up, its about equal to what I would expect to pay in fair (not low and not high) deal. I have no idea whether either of them has been reconed. I wanted an eight ohm cab, so I bought the somewhat less common D140F-6, to be wired in parallel.

    I made my own plans for the cabinet. Dimensions came from numerous sources, but mostly SunnShack. On that site is a letter from Conrad Sundholm where he says this is the cabinet design that came to him in a dream. I briefly mulled over building a 2000s cab, but sanity returned after I took measurements of my Model T, 24" wide.

    I found photos showing the inside on this very TB thread. I made the plans using Visio. Later I learned that I could buy plans from Conrad, but by then I was committed to my Visio approach. Raw materials are one 4x8 sheet 3/4 inch birch ply, one 2x4 sheet of 1/2 inch birch ply and three 1"x2"x8' finished pine boards. All the joints are butt type, glued and screwed, except the horn baffle, which is routed into the sides.

    I strive to make this cabinet cosmetically identical to the original, and that drives up cost. The tolex, grill cloth and misc. hardware came at a premium cost. Total production cost came to ~600US. I did make some changes to the design:
    1. handles in the more typical location for a cabinet of this size, so two can schlep;
    2. second jack on the back, which seemed a reasonable upgrade;
    3. edges rounded over 1/2" and not the original 1/4". This is just because I did not want to spring for another router bit.

    Before anyone starts fretting about the Model T, please know I took a bit of leftover grille cloth and applied it (100% reversible mod) to the steel grille on the head, just to create move visual continuity with the cab. The T appears to be a completely un-messed-with first generation unit. I picked it up at a used guitar store in Nashville ~1997. Guitar players are now getting all silly about this head. Go figure.

    Anyway, I have some other old heads I want to build matching cabs for:

    1. Sound City Custom 200 - this has the exact transformers from Hiwatt DR201. I'm gonna convert it, and then build a 4x12 ported speaker. I don't expect to find the right Fane speakers for it, so I will have to settle for something similar;
    2. Fender Bassman 135. I have no intention of building the behemoth 4x12 speaker that came with this amp, but I will probably build a 2x12 or 2x15 early 60s Bassman cab for it.

    Thanks for reading,

    Attached Files:

  5. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Oh my gosh...that looks so cool!
  6. halvoric


    Apr 4, 2007
    Oak Park, IL
    I'm a big fan of the D140 and D140F drivers, also have a couple D140R's (from Rogers Organ cabinets). I put them in Music Man RH-115 cabinets (which came with CTS drivers I think) and a Dual Showman Reverb cab (the big 46" tall one).
  7. bcb123


    Aug 19, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    I traded a rare slot head EBO for a new JBL K140 back in the late 70's. Still use it today though it's been reconed once due to a defective Sunn Coliseum head that fried it. I still use it today, in fact it's the gold standard by which I measure all other 15's by. It's currently residing in a tiny BagEnd cab powered by an Eden Time Traveler. Due to it's wide/flat freq range it really needs no tweet or mid to get a great sound, plus it goes down to 40 Hz. I didn't know that most so called "bass guitar speakers" didn't do that and could not even make a low E fundamental. I started using Avatar's which employ PA based speakers and that's when I realized that except for the K140, most everything I used before that was missing something. It's now relegated to my main recording rig since I don't want to risk frying it at some poorly wired bar gig or outdoor show. Even though it's power ratings, xmax, etc. won't hang with say a 3015LFA for low weight and shear brute force for example, it's still miles ahead of most modern speakers in the tone dept. I knew there was a reason I always liked that JBL!
  8. waynearcuri


    Feb 3, 2013
    Good Day...Nice job on the presentation...I have a mint E140-8 that came out of a PA system...Can you give me an idea on the value?....Thank you Wayne
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    I see them go for anywhere from $100- $150.
  10. bcb123


    Aug 19, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    I forgot that I briefly played a K145 loaded into a scoop cab. Now that thing put out some serious bass. I remember I had to lean down (or kneel down) in order to hear any highs at all out of that thing! It was mounted to the cab using 4 giant clips. That rig needed a tweeter so bad but no one was using them much back in those *new wave* days. I put my k140 in it for a time and I don't remember if it had any noticeable HF improvement or not. It a big room, you could not hear the treble since so much bass poured out of that scoop.
  11. Bruce

    Bruce Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    south carolina
    I don't know if this forum is still being watched, but want to chime in on my JBL experience.
    About 5 years ago I had a new K140 fall in my lap, and after trying in in a single 15" cab, ported, I was in love.
    Last year I bought a nice looking one off ebay and have it in a second cabinet. Actually, this second k140 was in a junk combo amp, and the seller agreed to remove it and ship me only the speaker for a greatly reduced shipping cost. I won the bidding for $107 plus 20 for shipping.
    When the K140 arrived, I quickly noticed that the outer surround was the 3 bend accordion cloth rather than the double "M roll".
    Well, the speaker was in nice shape, with no voice coil rub, and the DCR was right on the money, so I have enjoyed using it, along with the other K140 cabinet.
    You know, after listening to the two of my K140's, I think I like the one with the M roll better.
    I, after a lot of web searching, come to understand that the very early K140's had the same accordion fold, like the D140F had.
    Being a glutton for punishment, I just bought another K140 that needs a recone. It is now all cleaned up and am waiting for a replacement cone ass'y to show up. I do know that the reconed K140 will sound different again, but had some loose change and wanted to see for myself what a reconed K140 sounds like.
    In closing, a K140 has the sound I love in a 15 " driver. Too bad they are gone!!!
    Best to you all, Bruce in Georgetown, South Carolina bass player with "The Fourclosures", for 10 years.
    jnewmark likes this.
  12. spellcaster


    Mar 20, 2007
    Cool, What are the sonic differences you're hearing with the two different surrounds?
  13. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Interested in your comments on the new recone. I also had to get a couple K140's reconed, with E140's kits, which I was told were practically the same thing. I really did not notice a difference in tone, but I would like to hear your comments. Right now, I have a K140 in a Roland DB700 combo, and it sounds glorious. If it didn't weigh close to 80 lbs, I would use it all the time.
  14. Bruce

    Bruce Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    south carolina
    Well OK! There is still some life here on this thread.
    First off, I forgot to thank johnk_10 for starting this thread, and most importantly for
    his inclusion of the mp3 of the E130/E140/K140. The playing with a pick really highlighted the upper response of each driver.
    From that audio MP3 I learned that I don't want an E140, and I am on the right track with the K140's

    Thank you "spellcaster" and "jnewmark" for your fast comments.
    Nicholas, the sound difference between my two K140's with the different surrounds is a mater of its overall EQ. The M roll just sounds louder, with more "bite" and better E, F and G growl.

    From what I have come to understand is that the version with the accordion surround has an Fs (open air resonance) of 30 hz and the K140 with the M roll is 40hz. That, right there, tells that there will be a sonic difference, I would think.

    I run the two k140 cab on either side of our drummer. We are not a loud band, and this works out very well. Robbie, our drummer hears me very well, and I get a lot of pos comments as to the sound of my bass by other musicians that come out to hear our band.

    jnewmark, I expect to have the reconned K140 ready to break in about 1-2 weeks from now. At that time I will report, through this thread, as to what I think about its sound compared to a K140 with an original cone.

    BTW, I use 3 amps to drive this pair of K140's depending on my mood. Gallien Krueger 800RB, Acoustic B2 Collaboration Series, and a TC Electric RH450. Probably the GK 800RB sounds the best with these K140's.

    Thanks all, and have a pleasant weekend, Bruce cell 843 240-5687
  15. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Thanks for the comments, Bruce. If it's not a major pain in the butt, could you post some images, or photos of the different surrounds ( M and Accordion ) ? I never knew there were different ones. Thanks.
  16. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Welp, as of yesterday I now own every iteration of the 140 family, D, K, & E, all in Sunn or Sunn derived cabs. It's nice to have the whole family.
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    south carolina
    OK jnewmark.
    Pictures of the different surrounds used on an early K140 and later K140 pictures.
    Lets make this easy.
    If you go back to the very first thread that johnk-10 posted here, and look at his 3 pictures, the E140 is showing the "M ROLL" surround.
    Right below it, his K140 is an early K140, with the "ACCORDION" roll.
    The accordion roll was a carry over from the D140f on the early K140. After about serial number 2999 the K140 had the M ROLL, that carried forward into the E140 series.
    I guess the m roll got its name from viewing it from the side, when cut free from the speaker, and it resembles the letter M, with smooth curves, two.
    The accordion is 3 vee shaped hard bends.
    Hope that helps. Bruce
    jnewmark likes this.
  18. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Thanks for pointing that out, Bruce . I'll have to take your word for it, as my eyes really can't tell the difference.
  19. Bruce

    Bruce Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    south carolina
    Well, OK.
    The accordion folded type has 3 hard folds, and the m roll has 2 soft rolls.

    If you cut out a cross section of the two, it would be this -

    VVV OR UU .
    Viewed from this lower side (front of the speaker).

    Hope this helps.

  20. Bruce

    Bruce Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    south carolina
    I have received the new cone ass'y for my K140, but am stuck on the thought of sending the magnet ass'y off to be checked/recharged.

    I wish I could afford a gauss meter to check my many alnico speakers with.

    I also have a 1980 pair of Klipsch LaScala speakers that have alnico mid and tweet horns with alnico magnets.

    Will decide in the next few days.


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