Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby dlvoots on Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:17 pm

Just thought of another variation on the "one speaker" theme that is even simpler and more cost effective than my last post (i.e. doesn't require you to shell out for something as expensive as a Celestion Gold speaker). It has the added advantage of NOT requiring you to move the speaker tap on the output transformer AND lets you use one of your current Celestion Silvers. It works like this:

Make sure the two Celestion Silvers are 8 ohm speakers wired in series, and that they're connected to the 16 ohm tap on the output transformer. After you've done that, beg, borrow, or buy a small diameter speaker that can handle at least 30 watts RMS (notice how I cleverly didn't say steal). A 5 inch diameter speaker would be ideal. Speaker sound quality doesn't matter -- you're looking for something cheap with a voice coil that can handle at least half the power of the amp. One example would be here at MCM Electronics. 8 ohms, 30 watts RMS, 20 bucks plus shipping. Link is here:
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/55-2669&green=44B3AC68-B47B-57AB-0F21-6F9701850620&utm_campaign=MyBuys&utm_medium=Recommendation&utm_source=prod&utm_term=55-2669
Once you get the speaker, unsolder ONE of your Celestion silver speakers and solder the 5" speaker in its place. Then pack the 5" speaker into a small cardboard box filled with foam or something else soft and squishy and put it into the bottom of the amp. You might have to add a bit of wire to the speaker leads to get the length you need, but that's all there is to it.

How does it work? Well, the amp electrically still thinks it is running on two speakers and in truth, it actually is. What the amp doesn't notice is that one of the speakers is in the sealed up box, and no matter how loud you play the amp, you won't get a whole lot of sound out of the cardboard box in the back of the amp. The other Celestion Silver that is still connected to the amp will be the only speaker that makes any sound out of the cabinet.

The voice coil in the boxed up speaker still interacts with the amp in the same way as the now-disconnected Silver, so your tone should be the same. You can't burn up the Silver that is still connected, as it still only gets half the power of the amp same as before (the boxed up speaker eats the other half of the power). And in one fell swoop, you've reduced the amp's ability to move air by half, letting you turn it up a bit and push the still-hooked up Silver.

For a geeky explanation about how speakers and the amp "fight" each other and make tone, take a look at this thread:
http://vintageamps.com/plexiboard/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=100184

Dave
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:27 am

dlvoots wrote:Just thought of another variation on the "one speaker" theme that is even simpler and more cost effective than my last post (i.e. doesn't require you to shell out for something as expensive as a Celestion Gold speaker). It has the added advantage of NOT requiring you to move the speaker tap on the output transformer AND lets you use one of your current Celestion Silvers. It works like this:

Make sure the two Celestion Silvers are 8 ohm speakers wired in series, and that they're connected to the 16 ohm tap on the output transformer. After you've done that, beg, borrow, or buy a small diameter speaker that can handle at least 30 watts RMS (notice how I cleverly didn't say steal). A 5 inch diameter speaker would be ideal. Speaker sound quality doesn't matter -- you're looking for something cheap with a voice coil that can handle at least half the power of the amp. One example would be here at MCM Electronics. 8 ohms, 30 watts RMS, 20 bucks plus shipping. Link is here:
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/55-2669&green=44B3AC68-B47B-57AB-0F21-6F9701850620&utm_campaign=MyBuys&utm_medium=Recommendation&utm_source=prod&utm_term=55-2669
Once you get the speaker, unsolder ONE of your Celestion silver speakers and solder the 5" speaker in its place. Then pack the 5" speaker into a small cardboard box filled with foam or something else soft and squishy and put it into the bottom of the amp. You might have to add a bit of wire to the speaker leads to get the length you need, but that's all there is to it.

How does it work? Well, the amp electrically still thinks it is running on two speakers and in truth, it actually is. What the amp doesn't notice is that one of the speakers is in the sealed up box, and no matter how loud you play the amp, you won't get a whole lot of sound out of the cardboard box in the back of the amp. The other Celestion Silver that is still connected to the amp will be the only speaker that makes any sound out of the cabinet.

The voice coil in the boxed up speaker still interacts with the amp in the same way as the now-disconnected Silver, so your tone should be the same. You can't burn up the Silver that is still connected, as it still only gets half the power of the amp same as before (the boxed up speaker eats the other half of the power). And in one fell swoop, you've reduced the amp's ability to move air by half, letting you turn it up a bit and push the still-hooked up Silver.

For a geeky explanation about how speakers and the amp "fight" each other and make tone, take a look at this thread:
http://vintageamps.com/plexiboard/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=100184

Dave


Hey Dave! Really nice post!!!

I don't know about going to playing with one speaker fx Celestion gold! I think I'll lose some of the wideness in the sound.

It's though really interesting about the small speaker in a box theory. But I'm still not sure if it will make the amp/speaker behave as I want it to.
I think I might just have to get a new set of Celestion Blue, or even just put in one of the 2 greenbacks I have.

But with that said, I go look around for a cheap small 30w speaker, just to try it! I know a shop here in the city that has it to about $30.
It would be nice if I could find one somewhere that I could borrow or get for free. :)
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby SkeleTone on Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:54 pm

I used to have a somewhat similar problem. I have a 1960/61 black panel AC30 that used to be in a NCM head cab. I played it through a single Celestion Gold which actually sounded louder than two 1990's reissue Celestion Blues I have in another amp. A well broken-in pair of Blues, but nevertheless a bit surprising. The Gold also sounded a bit harsh, probably it had too few playing hours on it.

Next, I housed the AC30 in a repro 2x12 cab with the Celestion Gold and one old Grey Alnico. Still sounded harsher than I liked it to. I replaced the Gold with a Tayden Ace 25 and voila - smoother and more balanced, maybe also a tad less volume. I've heard good things about the Gold but it didn't work for me (or I didn't have the patience to break in sufficiently), so the Tayden will stay.

The amp was still a bit too loud for my needs, so next I ordered some JJ EL844's that I mentioned earlier. They took off yet some unwanted volume while keeping the sound pretty intact.

Also, I ordered a Roger Allcock Vintage EF86 Unit, so the amp now has four channels (Vib, Normal, Top Boost add-on, EF86). The EF86 is maybe not much quieter, but I feel it's a bit more compressed and easier to play at lower levels.

With these mods, I can keep the volume at about half on the Normal or EF86 channels, compared to approx. 1/4 before.

Based on my experience above, the Gold is perhaps not your ticket to lower volume. I would at least test before buying, although probably it's not hard to sell it if not satisfied. If you have a Greenback lying around you could try it, since it won't cost you anything. I respect your decision if you don't want to try the EL844's, and I can't promise that they are the solution to your dilemma since each case is unique, but it's really quite an inexpensive way to shave off a couple of dB's. Who knows, they might change your sound less than if you change the speakers.

Cheers,
Niklas
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:49 pm

SkeleTone wrote:I used to have a somewhat similar problem. I have a 1960/61 black panel AC30 that used to be in a NCM head cab. I played it through a single Celestion Gold which actually sounded louder than two 1990's reissue Celestion Blues I have in another amp. A well broken-in pair of Blues, but nevertheless a bit surprising. The Gold also sounded a bit harsh, probably it had too few playing hours on it.

Next, I housed the AC30 in a repro 2x12 cab with the Celestion Gold and one old Grey Alnico. Still sounded harsher than I liked it to. I replaced the Gold with a Tayden Ace 25 and voila - smoother and more balanced, maybe also a tad less volume. I've heard good things about the Gold but it didn't work for me (or I didn't have the patience to break in sufficiently), so the Tayden will stay.

The amp was still a bit too loud for my needs, so next I ordered some JJ EL844's that I mentioned earlier. They took off yet some unwanted volume while keeping the sound pretty intact.

Also, I ordered a Roger Allcock Vintage EF86 Unit, so the amp now has four channels (Vib, Normal, Top Boost add-on, EF86). The EF86 is maybe not much quieter, but I feel it's a bit more compressed and easier to play at lower levels.

With these mods, I can keep the volume at about half on the Normal or EF86 channels, compared to approx. 1/4 before.

Based on my experience above, the Gold is perhaps not your ticket to lower volume. I would at least test before buying, although probably it's not hard to sell it if not satisfied. If you have a Greenback lying around you could try it, since it won't cost you anything. I respect your decision if you don't want to try the EL844's, and I can't promise that they are the solution to your dilemma since each case is unique, but it's really quite an inexpensive way to shave off a couple of dB's. Who knows, they might change your sound less than if you change the speakers.

Cheers,
Niklas

Nice of you to share your experiences. :thumbsup:

I think I'll try with one G12H30!
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Beus on Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:47 pm

maybe your problems is the same as I experienced with my amp: I have a '65 AC30 with the original grey alnico's. I bought it in '86. the last years it was losing punch and bite with as result that I had to play (too) loud to hear the amp when plying in a band. I tried a lot to solve this, new caps, tubes, OT, other cabinet, until I had the feeling that the speakers were the cause. I have replaced them for new UK blue's and the sound is back as I remembered the amp when I bought it, also on lower volume. I think the speakers wear during time, as more parts do including the wood of the amp. new speakers at least give back some of the freshness.

in between I have made an one speaker AC15, also a good solution for the same kind of problems...

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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:41 pm

Beus wrote:maybe your problems is the same as I experienced with my amp: I have a '65 AC30 with the original grey alnico's. I bought it in '86. the last years it was losing punch and bite with as result that I had to play (too) loud to hear the amp when plying in a band. I tried a lot to solve this, new caps, tubes, OT, other cabinet, until I had the feeling that the speakers were the cause. I have replaced them for new UK blue's and the sound is back as I remembered the amp when I bought it, also on lower volume. I think the speakers wear during time, as more parts do including the wood of the amp. new speakers at least give back some of the freshness.

in between I have made an one speaker AC15, also a good solution for the same kind of problems...

Aart


UH, damn it's hard to settle with that I might have to end with putting in new speakers.

Before I got the amp about a year ago it didn't play much, only once in a while. Could the inactivity be the fault of the speakers going boring?
Because I have friends with similar year of AC30's still going strong on the original speakers.
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:01 pm

Well I changed the one of the silvers to a G12H30.

It helped, but didn't make the whole difference. I on the other hand played it over the 2x12" with the weber blue dog+g12h30 and it sounded amazing.

So now I'm almost sure I'm gonna move the Bluedog over aswell.
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby dlvoots on Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:30 am

Rasmus-Skov wrote:......played it over the 2x12" with the weber blue dog+g12h30 and it sounded amazing.

Cool! Sounds like you're enjoying all this tinkering around. That's why I do it -- you never know what kind of tone magic you'll discover...

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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:52 am

dlvoots wrote:
Rasmus-Skov wrote:......played it over the 2x12" with the weber blue dog+g12h30 and it sounded amazing.

Cool! Sounds like you're enjoying all this tinkering around. That's why I do it -- you never know what kind of tone magic you'll discover...

Dave

Enjoying... at some point, but I wish that I had bought the amp that just sounded the best, instead of the one that you should put a little money in to get it up and running. :D

I'm done buying stuff that don't work from the start! Recently bought a Fender Super Reverb 73', all serviced by the earlier owner. It kicked ass from the start, I don't even care what tubes or speakers it has! :D

I hope the weber blue dog will sound good in the combo, but I've heard from one of my friends that the dedicated 2x12" sounds better than the combo. :(
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Roy Boltz on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:45 am

The experience you describe can be that the speakers were just overpowered for a long time for long periods, but I never heard of a case as bad as yours before.
The alnico magnets, when overpowered, will lose it's strength to a small degree & the voicecoil will overheat as well & a silt forms on the wires & the speaker will just not have the same efficiency.

This is why it's important to choose the ones that upon close inspection appear they are in good condition.
The beaters come up from time to time but finding clean ones with little hours on them is a find indeed.
The silver alnico is IMHO one of the best guitar speakers.

Cheers.
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:03 am

Roy Boltz wrote:The experience you describe can be that the speakers were just overpowered for a long time for long periods, but I never heard of a case as bad as yours before.
The alnico magnets, when overpowered, will lose it's strength to a small degree & the voicecoil will overheat as well & a silt forms on the wires & the speaker will just not have the same efficiency.

This is why it's important to choose the ones that upon close inspection appear they are in good condition.
The beaters come up from time to time but finding clean ones with little hours on them is a find indeed.
The silver alnico is IMHO one of the best guitar speakers.

Cheers.


It's funny that you say that they where overpowered. I might think the opposite. The previous owner had the amp in his basement for maybe 20 years with very little play time.
Can speakers go bad if not played?

I actually checked the posibility of getting a recone if that could blow them back to life. But if it's the magnets, I read that most shop that recone have a "de-magnatizer" ?

I'm not anal about it, I just would like it to work for me.
I played my Matchless HC30 clone(ch.1 AC30TB ch2. EF86 AC30) over the greys in the AC30, and it's exactly the same situation with the speakers. I was actually stunned over how close the sound was.
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Rasmus-Skov on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:27 pm

Well... speakers changed. One 71'-73' G12H30 75hz and 1 new Weber Bluedog.

It sounds much better, still loud, but easier to control. Not as compressed/punchy as my 2x12" cab, but it's also bigger than the AC30.

Thanks alot for all of the inputs.

It seems it's not only the speakers that contribute to the sound, but also the smaller size of the combo cabinet. :D
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Beus on Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:38 pm

nice that you have a solution. indeed maybe it is not only the speakers, don't forget the wood of old amps. when I use my grey alnico's in a AC30CC 2x12 cabinet they sound great, without any problems. better than any other speaker because, indeed one of the best guitar speaker.

my AC30 is regular used, not overpowered, no bedroom levels. the process of loosing punch happened slowly during the last 10 years.

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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby greekie on Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:54 am

Great that you found a solution Rasmus.

FYI: I've owned my fair share of AC30s - I bought and sold vintage combos until I found one that sounded exactly the way I wanted it to. The speakers can really be different, even within the same type and period!

I wouldn't blame it on not using the amp - rather on how it's been used. You'd might be able to make a fair deal selling the old one and buying a new one with different speakers, no speakers at all, or perhaps get a clone built? Options, options, options... :)
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Re: Grey Bulldogs needs to be pushed?

Postby Roy Boltz on Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:44 pm

Wow, Maybe they just are not for your preferance, or maybe they are not working as designed, it's not often you hear anyone say they sound bad.
I'm glad you have found the speaker that works for you.
Cheers
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