Consider adding dope to speaker

That elusive piece of the overall equation, so many options and so little time to test them all — Celestion, Fane, Eminence, Jensen, JbL, Utah, Ceramic, Alnico, 1x12, 2x12, 4x12, 2x10, 4x10, 1x15, 2x15, 4x15, 1x18 and I'm sure there are even more!

Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby sitka_spruce on Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:52 am

Right so a got a pair of nice Fane Axa12s and they're just great in every way, except that the crunch of them is a bit more than I had bargained for. Not so strange seeing the dope barely makes it over the folds of the surround. That's even less than on very early Celestion alnicos - and this beast is 100W. I thought I might go half-way between surround and first rib, similar to some early Celestion Greenbacks. But obviously before I start smearing goo on these rather costy speakers I can't decide if narrow and heavy would be better than wide and light.

What do you think?
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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby pdf64 on Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:22 am

My finding with the Fane alnico AXA12 is that it overdrives at quite low power levels, I guess at around 20-30 watts.
Due to that, it just can't create high sound pressure levels.
The overdrive being the magnetic circuit saturating, the result sounds similar to a tube power amp overdriving.
At lower power levels the speaker is quite sensitive, but if the goal requires high SPL, eg a big clean tone, then this is the wrong speaker.
I don't perceive that the cone distorts any more than any other medium weight ribbed cone does.
It seems resistant to cone cry, more so than the Greenback or Blue, which I think have lighter weight cones.
If a different but similar cab with a ceramic speaker of similar sensitivity is connected, then the expected SPL is achieved.
So, I don't think that further doping of the cone would be beneficial in reducing crunch, rather it's inherent in the design and may make selling them on a problem.
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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby sitka_spruce on Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:34 pm

We seem to run quite a few conversations on here at the moment. ;) I truely appreciate the input of course but it's making me believe

pdf64 wrote:My finding with the Fane alnico AXA12 is that it overdrives at quite low power levels, I guess at around 20-30 watts.
Due to that, it just can't create high sound pressure levels.
The overdrive being the magnetic circuit saturating, the result sounds similar to a tube power amp overdriving.
At lower power levels the speaker is quite sensitive, but if the goal requires high SPL, eg a big clean tone, then this is the wrong speaker.
I don't perceive that the cone distorts any more than any other medium weight ribbed cone does.
It seems resistant to cone cry, more so than the Greenback or Blue, which I think have lighter weight cones.
If a different but similar cab with a ceramic speaker of similar sensitivity is connected, then the expected SPL is achieved.
So, I don't think that further doping of the cone would be beneficial in reducing crunch, rather it's inherent in the design and may make selling them on a problem.

Hm, fascinating... Could very well be, in parts at least.

The reason I just assumed it was the cone is that it varies quite a bit depending on the note played and it's cyclic with the octaves. Although of course the 18th fret on the high E sounds more like a fuzz, funny that it should occur on that fret specifically.

Samples of other Axas haven't been as crunchy as mine, but then I'm obviously running a pair of them and I figure that the crunch occuring at different places with different speakers of the same model would accent this to a higher degree. Also I hear less of it when played clean and some of the crunch doesn't seem to be harmonically correct but rather slightly off pitch.

I never took magnet saturation into the equation, but there's evidently a layer of a wheezing OD sound going on, a bit like a good 6L6 based amp pushed over the edge. This I rather like, as it is evenly distributed and blends well with the OD:ed signal I run into them.
Last edited by sitka_spruce on Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby pdf64 on Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:21 pm

The reason I just assumed it was the cone is that it varies quite a bit depending on the note played and it's cyclic with the octaves. Although of course the 18th fret on the high E sounds more like a fuzz, funny that it should occur on that fret specifically.

That may well be cone cry then.
I suggest contacting Fane in the first instance with your concern, as the ones I tried seemed pretty resistant to it (and I hate cone cry!)
Perhaps they've changed the process more recently or even let something slip through QC?
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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby sitka_spruce on Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:18 pm

Thanx Pete! Great insight on your part.

I have decided not to take any action before the speakers are fully broken in. When I bought them the seller claimed they had seen a mere 15h of use, despite them being made in '09 I discovered once I got them here. The last few days they seem to have mellowed out and with that the yowl has lessened considerably. Obviously I've broken in speakers before and some pretty high power ones but never experienced nowhere near such a revelational transition.

My guess is that the absence of dope at the surround initially make the Axa much stiffer, giving off noises of paper flapping/ whiplashing. But then this would likely speed up the break-in process as the softening subsequently comes sooner. So should anybody ever claim the Axa to be thin sounding or exhibit edge yowl I would suggest that they break the speakers in properly before establishing an opinion of its performance.

In my trouble shooting I connected my trusty, well broken in 150Cs as reference and some peak overdrive was still present with these played clean. So I adjusted the levels throughout the signal path and it went away. Possibly it was a delay or something having its input overdriven slightly when hit hard.
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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby sitka_spruce on Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:04 am

Added this Pattex stuff to the surround, which took away some of the dryness of the speaker. Still a bit bright so I put on 4" harp screen and they're in the zone per se...

What amazes me though is that the crunch remains strong. And it comes on so sudden, like it's something being pushed over the threshold... I remember pushing my Weber alnicos into saturation and those screamed like mad at that point. This seems to be something different from that... It could just be the cone breaking up and that it's designed to do so early on.

This... crunch seems to stay where it is regarless of EQ. Actually it seems to sound sweeter the brighter I go on the EQ, maybe it's just that the crunch blends better with those tones.
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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby Raw Power on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:17 pm

Interesting thread, I missed it earlier ..

What amp(s) are you running ?

I have 4 of these -- bought the first pair lightly used a couple of years ago, and acquired a 2nd pair [new] last year.

Intially the used pair was in an Avatar Vintage open back cab,, Marshall Bluesbreaker dimensions .
Now all 4 live in an old Jennings(of JMI fame) open back 4X12 wired up @ 16 ohms .

cab looks like this
http://www.voxac100.org.uk/jennings_cabs.htm

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Re: Consider adding dope to speaker

Postby sitka_spruce on Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:54 pm

[quote="Raw Power"]Interesting thread, I missed it earlier ..

What amp(s) are you running ?

I have 4 of these -- bought the first pair lightly used a couple of years ago, and acquired a 2nd pair [new] last year.

Intially the used pair was in an Avatar Vintage open back cab,, Marshall Bluesbreaker dimensions .
Now all 4 live in an old Jennings(of JMI fame) open back 4X12 wired up @ 16 ohms .
That cab certainly looks the part, I must say.

I run an Egnater S(uper)L(ead) module into one channel of a Marshall 9100 power-amp w. EL34s into them. Most drive is pedals though, in the Way Huge Pork Loin stacked into the Fat Sandwich.

I've since run the speakers separately and it seems that one of them make more of these noises than the other. If you were to imagine folding a piece of paper over and blowing into it, you'd get this papery flutter effect. Or slightly similar to playing through a kazoo. And as previously suggested it seems to be frequency dependent as it increases and drops off at various spots on the fretboard, but usually it increases with frequency.
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