Speaker harshness, curves and breakin' em in.

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Leña_Costoso, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    The thread about terms got me thinking along the lines of "harsh", when it comes to speakers.

    I've always considered the new Jensen speakers, the made in Italy ones, very harsh toned when compared to other modern speakers. Some Celestions are sort of harsh to me, others not so. Same holds true with Eminence.

    Looking at the curves, it occurred to me that the harsher sounding speakers had a nice spike in dB output between 1k and 2k, which is in the very first (and loudest) harmonic ranges of just about every note we play on the guitar.

    Some of the new Jensens take a 17dB hike in that range. Most speakers are 6-9dB, and some of the "smoothest" are under 6dB.

    Made be go " hmmm ".

    Then, I started wondering about break-in, and if the manufacturers were showing off the assembly line curves, or curves of speakers broken in somewhat. Also made me wonder if anyone did before and after testing on response curves.

    Anyway, just food for thought.
     
  2. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    A graph before and after would be interesting. I wonder how much speakers that are “harsh” when new settle into their sweet spot, and speakers that sound good out of the box grow dull. That spike was why I grabbed the WGS Vet 30’s instead of proper V30’s. They did smooth out that spike. I don’t know how it all works, but they sounded great when I bought them about 5yrs ago and are a little better now. I put their 10” Veterans in my little tweed 2x10 build and they were perfect at first, but are a little warmer now than I’d like, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a little treble.
    Unless I’m just losing my hearing.
    :)
     
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  3. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    That's what I wonder every time we talk about a component 'breaking in'. Is this thing breaking in, or have my ears just become so fatigued listening to it at high volume that my ears have 'broken in'?

    Or have I just become used to the new sound?

    I'd love to see some graphs, and I doubt very much that they're displaying graphs of broken in speakers.
     
  4. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    My hearing is still pretty good. I just had an audiogram done and I thought it was gonna be a disaster.
    I still need to get surgery in both ears, because of surfers’ ear, but apparently my hearing is fine.
     
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  5. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    I wasn't suggesting your hearing was going, mate. I was thinking more about the fatigue that sets in after a few minutes at high sound pressure levels. It's a real thing.

    Audio engineers take it very seriously when placing mikes to record loud instruments, like electric guitar. To place the mic properly you have to get your ear right up to the speaker cab and listen to what's coming off different parts of it. It's loud as f&%k, and you've only got a few minutes at those volumes before your ears are shot for the day. Sure, you can still hear, but all the high frequencies are gone and it will take hours for the little hairs in your cochlea to stand back up again.
     
  6. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    Oh god. Within a minute of having an ear against my 800, I’d be so deaf I wouldn’t hear Zeus arguing with Odin, if they were right down the hall.
     
  7. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    It's so funny you say that, Iwas thinking the exact same thing this week. Do speakers that sound good out of the box sound worse/less dynamic/boring after break in? All my speakers have sounded kind of crappy at minimum when new, so I don't have an answer.

    I don't use a wide range of speakers, but I know for a fact that Vintage 30's improve drastically. The Chinese general market version sounds terrible until you break it in. After break in, the top end harshness goes away and it gains a significant amount of bass. I am currently breaking in a new Mesa 2x12 with the British made Mesa spec V30s - they sound much better than the Chinese ones before break in, but there is still some harshness that I will be happy to be rid of after a few months of playing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  8. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    It would be great to see a few graphs showing pre and post break in' results. Of course, all would vary somewhat by what music was put through them.

    The V30 that I have in my Orange PPC112 seems to be broken in after a full year of regular use. With my ahem, "older" ears, I can never be sure of any particular tone qualities...these days. I do know that the V30 new had some raspy highs, but not continually. A year later I don't hear them much, especially after the tubes in my amp warm up sufficiently. After about 20 to 25 minutes of playing, it seems to be a much smoother sound. Is it really happening, or has my hearing adjusted itself to this particular amp and speaker combination? I may never get the question answered to my satisfaction; unless someone presented me with some graphs as proof.


    Classicplayer
     
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  9. JohnnyN

    JohnnyN Old School Premium Member

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    I have noticed the same. I think that what could be happening after playing 20 to 25 minutes, is that all parts have reached their working temperature.
    I mean the valves (tubes) are hot enough after a few minutes, but it takes a while longer for the whole amp - and complete rig for that matter - to reach working temperature.
    But I believe speakers loosen up and become softer - both physical and audible - after some use. And yes it would be very interesting to see a before and after frequency graph.
     
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  10. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Seems to me that in a manufacturing setting, a speaker break-in apparatus would be easy to do. I think they break them in and then test them.
     
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  11. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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  12. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    So Celestion says, either use noise, or music, turn up the bass and mids, treble at least half way and keep it loud, but not painful for room volume.

    Who'd have guessed!
     
  13. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    I bought two new speakers last year and both didn’t require heavy volume to noticeably smooth out.

    I agree with you on Jensen being harsh when new. I bought a MOD 10/50 last summer for a 1x10 amp to cab conversion. Since I only use it for home practice, it doesn’t get cranked much.

    At first, I did not fully enjoy heavy tube crunch with it. It had to be played loud (thus defeating its purpose) to get over some fizz and unwanted fuzz. This was made more apparent by the open back cab. But even with moderate home volume it’s blossomed into being a really great sounding speaker, nicely complementing my amps and playing style.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  14. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    I bought a 62 Princeton (brown), and UPS ran it though the American Tourister Test Range
    [​IMG]

    The baffle was busted up, and the Jensen C10Q was ripped up, voice coil pulled out...

    I cried. Called the seller, we were ok with each other, knowing it was UPS fault. The amp was double boxed, and the side of the outer box was pressed a good four inches and against the inner box. UPS took months to settle, but I got a new birch plywood baffle and found an old guy up in Michagan (i'm older now than he was then!), who repaired Hammond Organs and Leslie cabinets, as well as "Voice of the Theater" systems. He reconed speakers, and actually had a few C10Q ORIGINAL Jensen cones. Said he was glad to move 'em, as he had no call for 'em anymore! This was back in about 1985. I didn't have the heard to pass him along to other guys. He reconed the C10Q for $30, plus shipping. Totally amazing.

    Got the speaker back, and it was, and remains, the best speaker tone I've ever had, bar none.

    Second best, the old 10ALK, which needed lots of break in. But once so done... just amazing. As was said by a good buddy "This is the sound I've heard in my head all these years, but wasn't able to get before!". He was talking about the 5F4 "Bassman" I built for him.

    I'm not totally happy with the Celestion G10 Vintage. They are not Vintage 10 wannabees by any stretch. But, I'm gonna be fair and break 'em in some more. Barring that, they're gonna go CHEEP here! Next tryout will be the Emi 1028K, which appears to be... the successor to the 10ALK, which morphed into the 102k, and now the 1028K. I don't know the changes that were made. I think the Celestions are "just starting" to break in a bit. I'd love to play 'em loud, or even lend the amp out for some gigs and/or practice sessions, just to smooth 'em a bit.
     
  15. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    When I was looking for a 10" speaker, I was totally in the wilderness. I was tempted to buy one of those Celestion V10, but held back when the $40 Jensen came up for sale. I'm a cheap mofo, and part of the point of the combo-->cab conversion was to polish a turd. So, the Jensen got in there by cheapness. I'm really glad I gave it a chance because it does sound great with my 'British' amps. Not all of my turd polishes do as well.
     
  16. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    I can't speak for Vintage Jensens, but there is a little Mesa Express 10" combo at my local GC that has a Jensen C10Q in it, and it sounds amazing. I keep mentioning it in various threads here and still haven't bought it because I have the head version, but it sounds sooooo good, and I attribute a lot of it to that (non-stock) speaker.
     

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