Why do people hate Black Widows?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Flatwound, Nov 19, 2000.

  1. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I always thought they were cool. But along comes Lord Valve and others saying, no, they're junk, what you really need is Brand X, Y, or Z. I'm using a 115 BW (pre-BX) cab, and I think it sounds fine. Also it seems pretty doggone loud for being driven with a 100-watt head (sorry Munji :D ). What am I missing here? :confused:
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Actually, I think the Black Widow is the best speaker made ... by Peavey. They're certainly better than the Scorpions and Sheffields. I've used (in the distant past) a Peavey 1820 cabinet with an 18-inch Black Widow and two 10-inch Scorpions, and I've also used their Combo 115 that had a 15-inch Black Widow. If someone held me down and threatened to snap me with the elastic out of my own underwear unless I used Peavey cabinets, I'd say, "OK, OK! But can they at least be Black Widows?"
  3. Peavey products in general are perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having a distinctive tonal coloration. I certainly believe they have, and this is based on my experiences over the years. If this tonal quality is in line with your own perception of "a good sound", then that's fine. I personally dont like that sound too much, but that's my opinion.
  4. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I agree... if you like the Peavey sound you'll like Black Widows. Me, I don't care for Peavey which is why I don't care for Black Widows.
  5. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I'm not sure I like the "Peavey sound" so much, I'm not a big fan of their amp heads (except maybe the Firebass - I'd have to try it again), but the 115 BW sounds good to me. I'd probably like Eden or Bag End or any number of other cabs, too, but I got a good deal on the 115 BW cab and it seems pretty heavy duty (and heavy ;) ). I just don't understand what Lord Valve and his ilk are saying when they say they're worthless or suck or stink or whatever he says. I think if I stuck a V-4 or SVT head on top of this cab it would really crank. As it is, it seems punchy and deep with adequate highs for the "traditional" sound.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Guess what, ALL bass amplification products have "distinctive tonal coloration". In fact, that has a lot to do with why people like one brand over another.

    I recently put a few amps of mine on the bench to see exactly what the frequency response of the preamps were and was quite surprised. One amp that sounds very fat but seemed lacking in high end was totally flat, but an amp that I always thought of as "flat" actually had a large boost starting at about 2KHz (about 6 dB), thus a MUCH brighter sound.

    I also looked at how the EQ controls worked and what the action of SWR's "aural enhancer" actually was; some of the results were quite surprising. On one preamp, the "midrange" control, while cented at 1100 Hz actually operated on a very wide band, about 300 Hz to 6KHz (over four octaves!!!) while on another preamp the bandwidth of the control was very tight, less than an octave.

    I also ran test tones through some of my speaker cabinets which was an uncalibrated "ear test" (the preamp measurements I did with a scope) and again the results were fascinating. I found one major brand 15" speaker had a huge midrange peak between 1 and 2 Khz compared to some cabs with 12" and 8" speakers (which according to urban legend should have more prominent mids).

    I think most electric bass players would HATE a truly flat amplification system. It would seem to lack both low AND high end compared to what we are used to.

  7. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Again with the Peavey slam. I have used Peavey for many years, although i agree that the heads are not to my liking, the cabs have more than earned their keep. I currently use 2 Peavey 118 and have exellent tonal control via a good tube pre-amp. I personally would experiment with different amps before I would completely give up on the line

    But thats my personal opinion.
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    My experiences have been less than stellar. This is, of course, only my opinion, but whenever I've played through a Peavey amplifier, they always had a certain tone that I hated and couldn't seem to eq out. They've ranged through mostly their combos, the TKO, which I used to own, and the TNT, which I've played through as recently as 6 months ago.

    I lose patience too quickly, I admit, but I'm not as good with amps as I am with basses. And, if it takes that much effort, I tend to shy away.
  9. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    As I mentioned, I don't use any Peavey amplification at this time, just a 115 BW cabinet. I don't really like Peavey bass heads that much (except maybe the Firebass like I mentioned above), but I've seen a number of slams against the Black Widow which seems fine to me. After all, it can handle 350 Watts RMS, and the tone seems reasonably open to me. Not a lot of highs, but enough for what I need it for. I don't find it particularly muddy, although I'm careful about boominess as I would be with any 15. Right now I'm boosting mids at about 800 hz to get the finger sound that I like and I think I get good definition with a lot of bottom.

    Never had a Peavey combo, my own opinion is that they're better than some and not so good as others (duh) and seem reliable. I am just trying to understand why there has some vitriol directed specifically toward BW speakers and whether it's just sales talk or what.
  10. I hate black widows because when they bite you, a nasty rash develops unless you are allergic to them or you are a small child...In that case it might be fatal.
    Scorpions, on the other hand, can be even more dangerous. Some species of Scorpion can kill a man in 20 seconds. Just be smart...Lift it with the stick not your hand.

    Doesn't one of these peavey speakers have a modular cone or something?
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Both the Scorpion and Black Widow speakers have removable magnet assemblies, so on the road you can rebuild blown speakers eaisly if you carry some spare parts.

    I don't know if Peavey patented the concept or other makers just don't find the idea worthwhile.
  12. b30307


    Nov 18, 2000
    Peavey bass cabs loaded with Black Widows are great sounding and maybe the best deal on the market . I've owned or used several .Solid and reliable . I DO take off the name plate tho'.
    Hartley Peavey has made million$ by providing good gear at a price almost anyone can afford .
    He did it by cutting a lot of corners in design , manufacture , and research .
    Peavey amps are great for Rock because they're loud and always slightly crunchy sounding . Always , even in clean mode . This is because they use cheap circuit components designed to operate at max power. Many Peavey amps, (box head type ) don't even have chassis '. They simply mount components directly to the front and rear panels . Really cuts cost that way .
    Peavey transistor amps , (ie , bass and PA ) are notorious for "output shorts " and just blow-ups in general .
    In over 20 years I've never seen a CS series power amp that didn't blow at least one side within a year . Or a box PA head where all the channels still worked after a year or two . The plastic pot shafts ,(instead of metal )
    break easily too.
    Their tube amps never really sound like good tube amps . The guitar amps in general are harsh and metallic .
    A local dealer I know ordered two Bass 400 tube heads for the store . Straight outta the box , NEITHER worked !
    ....and finally , compare JBL catalogs from the past 15 years or so . Everytime JBL improves their speaker designs , within a year they'll be a new Black Widow with similar improvements . Peavey will brag about "their
    new innovations ".
    If you gave me a Peavey bass head and cab , I'd sell the head straight away and keep the cab .
  13. Munjibunga said it best, the black widow is the best speaker made by Peavy, again just my view, i had a peavy amp with 2 12 inch speakers and i blew them within 6 months of ownership, i forget the name but it was a 300 watt combo
    the case itself wasn't very well made either
  14. I have an SWR 2x12 that originally had Bag End speakers that got blown. I replaced them with BWs and I hate them. They are very stiff and unresponsive. The sound is very harsh compared to the Bag Ends. I can sa they take a pounding. I've used a Crown MicroTech 1200 and an Aguilar DB-359 and those cone dont move a bit.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    "those cone dont move a bit"

    That may be why they don't sound so hot. I think it was Joris who pointed out that speakers for bass guitars need something like 4 to 6 mm of excursion to produce the lowest part of a note's spectrum. I was watching the cones on my Eden D-210XLT this morning while hitting some notes on the B string, and I thought the danged cones were going to hit the grill.
  16. SC bassboy2

    SC bassboy2 Banned

    Mar 5, 2008
    Dude, the "Field Replaceable Basket" is the best thing a touring band could ever ask for. Half the cost of a new speaker, and it is essentially a new speaker. The only part re-used is the magnet. Genius.
  17. Illbay


    Jan 15, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    Are you freakin' KIDDING? You ever been bitten by one? You'll swell up twice as big as yourself and pop open, boy!
  18. Ive got a peavey 215 with BWs. Best 215 ive ever played :) (and before someone jumps in, NO it isnt the only one ive played!)
  19. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    My first "real rig" consisted of a 1x15" BW and a2x10" Scorpion setup. IME, the Black Widow is one of the most durable speakers available. Mine was rated at 400wRMS; I punished it daily with 650w of Crown power. At very high volumes with tons of bass, I never heard that BW distort or have any other problems. I liked the tone, too. It had a punchy low-mid tone. It sounded a lot like a 12."
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I am not a Peavey fan ...