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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:30 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
I finally got around to installing the Celestion Redback into the Mark V combo. At the moment the speaker is still green but the immediate results are impressive. I must have gone threw a few speakers in my time to find the best 1x12 format to meet the power requirements of the Mark V. Sure I started some of this with the Mark IV combo but I sold that amp a while back.

Rundown of what I thought was an eye opener with the Mark V combo.
Clean channel compare:

Jensen JET Blackbird, 100W Alnico speaker: I thought this particular speaker was king for the clean channel. To date I have not heard anything better until yesterday. My new bench test guitar for evaluation is a Kiesel DC600 with acoustic saddles on the bridge. It sounds as good as any Martin with a piezo sitting under the monolithic saddle (this includes the Takamine that I have). I also have a Fishman Aura preamp that has built in IR response of a multitude of various guitars and different microphones. (I have not tried it yet with the REDBACK.). I am blown away how the RB sound on the clean channel. Very articulate in detail and the chime and clarity is amazing. Definitely worth the cost of the speaker alone.

Celestion Crème ALNICO 90W. This one did not surpass the Jensen JET Blackbird on the clean channel. It seems to have a vintage tone and may color the tone a bit. Still it was nice and great for the blues. REDBACK has this one beat and costs much less. The Crème does have a V30 tone blended with an EV tone as it has bold bottom end, a bit of a midrange hump and nice roll off on the top end. The Jensen Blackbird was a better performer on the clean channel.

Celestion REDBACK. WOW. I am impressed with the tone and character of this speaker pushed by the Mark V. I will have to couple it to the TC-50 and the JP-2C just to get an idea how it sounds. I can even run the Roadster or the RA100 at full power an not blow it. This means the JP-2C too as it peaks at 150WRMS as seen on my attenuator (Roadster and RA100 never went above 100W) and the Mark V peaked at 110WRMS. Perhaps I know why the Celestion Cream ALNICO had suffered when I coupled it to the JP-2C. Back to the Mark V, I ran CH1 on clean and fat. I have yet to try the Tweed setting. I also grabbed another guitar to try out as the acoustic saddles on the other are amazing, I wanted to try one with active tone controls and will get to the Super strat soon enough.

Clean channel result with the Mark V: The winner is the Celestion Redback. I will eventually compare it to the Celestion G12H75 Creamback that I have in my RA100 combo. For a ceramic magnet, 2 inch voice coil speaker it tops the Jensen Blackbird and beats the EVM12L black label with ease. If you are one who just stays clean and rarely ventures out into the darkness so far the only two speakers I would recommend for that would be the Celestion RedBack 150W ($169) and the Jensen Blackbird 100W ($258). In my opinion the Redback is the winner and not just for the price either. I am more concerned over how it sounds and responds (so cost is of no issue to me unless it is too far out of reach). Note the Blackbird took 3 months of use to break in so I can dive into distorted sounds. The Redback (probably needs some break in but not as stiff as the blackbird).

How does it relate to the MC90? The C90 has some color of tone thing going on. Almost has a nasal tone. It does not sound bad on the clean channel but there is a better speaker that does. RedBack would definitely change your opinion on the C90. Overall the MC90 is a good speaker but seems to have difficulty preventing speaker breakup at higher volume levels (has always been my experience with the MC90. However the new one I bought is much better than what I have had in the past. I have it back in box so I can install it if and when I sell the Mark V.

More on this later as I need to venture into CH2 and CH3 ( side note: I did experiment with preamp tubes for use with CH3 and went back to what I had in there from the start using the "saturation mod" . I also changed the power tubes as the one's I was currently using were rattling too much and the mechanical noise was making it into the signal path. Those tubes have seen better days.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:31 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
One last comment on the clean channel of the Mark V, the Celestion Redback is way better than I expected, not only does it surpass the Jensen Blackbird Alnico it also steps all over the EV. Note that the EVM12L sounds great from the clean channel but not as good as the Redback. I did not expect the clarity and chime from this Celestion speaker. Very bold bottom end, piano like in detail and crisp response from the top end. You finger pickers would love this speaker ( I am learning but never really practiced finger picking much but now I am rewarded with this amazing sound I want to learn how to do it).

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:35 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
Image

Picture of the Celestion Redback installed in Mark V combo.
Best thing of all, no mods are required to install it as would be the case with any Celestion speaker in the 12 inch size.

The install of the EVM12L required front mounting. (removal of the 4 speaker screws or bolts) opening up the baffle board just a bit with a rotary sander drum (not much) and then using a router and carefully routing the grill frame to have clearance for the aluminum basket flange. I tried rear mounting the EV speaker but found that clearance between the magnet and power tubes was not sufficient, I could not remove any preamp tubes unless I removed the chassis from the shell. The extra work to front mount the speaker made life easier.

Since I had the 8 holes already drilled out, I used 8 bolts to mount the Redback. I bought the Mark V shell for about $245 used as the individual was converting their Mark V combo to a head. I went the other way.

This weekend I will be spending more time comparing the few guitars I have, as well as the other two channels. I did manage to run though the channel set but wanted to explore some time with the clean channel as that is what impressed me the most. Generally speakers when they are green do not perform their best on the distorted high gain channels. (actually it sounded good) but in light of the Alnico driven speakers I had to work my way there (Jensen Jet Blackbird) in fear of damaging the voice coil pushing the speaker too hard with a tight suspension just out of the box. I killed a WGS BlackHawk HP100 Alnico speaker that way. The case with the Celestion Crème was not as long and it performed well from the start. The same would apply to the Creambacks I installed in my RA100 Combo, the MC90 I bought as a replacement and the EV speaker. Just do not over do it for the first few hours of use.

Eventually I will get to my other amps and use the combo as an extension speaker. If I really like its performance I will get 4 more and rebuild my old OS Recto 412 cab. At the moment I do not miss the EV I took out of the Mark V. I did miss the Celestion Crème 90W alnico. I do not miss the MC90 either but at low volume playing to medium or moderate it is fine. The EV on the other hand just went beyond loud and never gave an inch in is performance but at lower volume levels it tends to sound sterile. the 90W Crème Alnico was also similar to the MC90 in respects to how loud you can drive the amp before you end up in breakup of the speaker. It could tolerate a bit more than the MC90 but do not run a JP-2C though it set to 100W (oops) thought I had set it to 60W but, oh well, I have made a $300 mistake. Speaker still works but fear the voice coil is done. Will have to check it out again later.

I will have more when I get the speaker broken in.... but I will relate how it sounds on the other channels before I get there.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:47 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
I had to compare the CH2 and CH3 characteristics of the speaker to the Vertical 212 and the RA100 combo speakers (Celestion Creamback G12H75) and the EV I still have in an 1x12 Extension cab. It is more than evident that the Redback will require some break in time as it has a bit of treble cut with a distorted signal, a good sign it is still stiff considering how bright it is with the clean channel. the Creambacks were similar as I recall as well as the Crème 90W Alnico speaker. Blackbird took a few months to break in before it would sound good with distortion.

Playing on the clean channel is one way as that will run all of the frequencies of the guitar. Every now and then use the CH2 or CH3 to get the other harmonics into the mix and then back to clean.

Note that the blue base tubes are the Preferred series similar to the TAD 6L6GCMSTR but different. They sound a bit closer to the =C= tube than the TAD. I believe Ruby also has this tube as well (Ruby 6L6GCBSTR). At least the blue base does not loose the center pin when you remove the tubes. The TADs had issues with the plastic pin getting stuck in the socket. Just for ease of figuring out where the guide is on the center pin I marked the base with a line for a reference point in case the plastic part breaks off so I can still use the tube.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:29 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
Still breaking it in. Clean channel sounds amazing but the CH2 and CH3 still sound like a blanket is draped over the cab. It is beginning to get brighter but not bright enough. May have to do other method to break in the speaker (6v transformer and timing relay for on/off control). I do recall I had to work my way to break in the Celestion Crème 90W Alnico as it too did not deliver out of box but not as blanketed as the Redback. I believe the tone is similar, still preferred the grinding chord from the Crème 90W. I am hoping to get the same from the Redback but still has not relaxed enough to get there.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2015 9:07 am
Posts: 134
The Redback has relaxed treble according to Celestion. It's a perfect match for my DR c+, which is a really bright amp. Mike B. suggested I get the bright mod done on the Mark IIc DRG I just sent to Mesa for the c+ upgrade. I'm looking for a vintage Mesa thiele cab so I can try it with the Redback.

Edit: I got the upgraded DRG back a couple of weeks ago. I was wondering why it sounded brighter so I called Mike B. yesterday to ask about the bright mod. The bright mod actually makes it brighter like the later production Simul Class c+'s. What Mike B. was suggesting was to reduce the brightness like the 100 watt c+'s. Something got lost in translation. :)


Last edited by xdg999 on Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:15 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:06 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
The speaker is getting brighter the more I play though it. It sounds amazing on the clean channel, very bright but not blistering. Perfect for acoustic saddles and piezo bridges. I have been playing though Mark I mode for a while and then back to the clean. Also I will migrate to CH3 for a while and then back to the clean channel. It does have a similar tone to the Celestion Cream 90W Alnico (before I killed it with the JP, oops). May also put V4 back to stock just for kicks as I am using the saturation mod at the moment.

for some reason this may be ideal for a 412 as the quad of V30 tends to be very bright in that format. I will wait and see how things pan out with the Mark V combo first. Very tempted to drive it with my other amps too just to get an idea how it will respond to the higher wattage amps.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:11 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
I tried it. well... I thought it was broken in to some extent. If I only played on the clean channel and for those who do the Redback is superb for that task. I am still overwhelmed how incredible is sounds for clean, blues (even with a bit of dirt in the mx). It is also perfect for piezo pickups just as much as it is for single coil and humbuckers. However I do not spend all of my time on the clean channel but that is what I wanted to do with the Redback in the Mark V combo. CH3 was okay but I have heard it sound way better, forget Mark I voice with the Redback as the speaker just seems too dark when the gain goes up. Crunch was not very great either as the speaker would stumble and completely drop the top end. This was the huge issue I had with the Jensen Jet Blackbird Alnico as the suspension is way too stiff. The Celestion Crème sounded way better but had more of a vintage tone. CH3 with the Redback is when the blanket came out and smothered the front of the amp. Bottom end was there and soft, the treble was struggling and the mids were present but not appealing. Perhaps this speaker is not suited for a combo amp. Extreme mode was the only voice on CH3 I where I could manage to hear some Mark tones. It did not matter how loud I played it either. Do not cast this one into stone as I may try to break it in with a different source. The Black bird took a long time to actually get some great sounds with a distorted guitar signal. Just when it was sounding great I swapped in an EV and went back to the Black bird only to pop a screw thought the webbing. It is still in service today as I put it in my Carvin V3MC. The Celestion Crème on CH3 is where it shined the best. I also had to take some time to break that one in too but out of the box experience the speaker sounded way better than most on all channels.

Before I removed the Redback from the cabinet. Why not run the JP-2C through it? Well I got the same result. I will admit that this made me appreciate the clean channel on the Mark V a bit more. JP-2C was okay with the Redback. Mark V clean was tops. What is in the Mark V now you may ask? I had considered being lazy and leave the Redback in there. Nope, I had to decide what to go for, EV, Crème (think it is dead...) heck I will just install the MC90 again. The MC90 is not bad for the clean channel. It is better than most but will not touch the tonal character of the Redback. It will however surpass the redback on all the other channels. I guess I am done following the speaker balloon. I will stick with the black shadow, besides it blends quite well with the V30 cabs so win-win for keeping things stock.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:20 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
I did not think I was done with this speaker. However I would not recommend it to be a primary speaker such as in a combo amp unless it was for an acoustic guitar amp or perhaps something that is basically a clean channel amp. Still I would rate the clean channel character tops with this speaker but its characteristic when the distortion levels rise is lack of the top end. In addition to break-in period, I believe this one will take a considerable amount of time and once it is broken in it may very well be a good speaker for a combo amp. Since I opted to go back to the Celestion Crème 90W Alnico that I thought was toast actually was not. This one too has not been fully broken in but has way more top end chime than the Redback. And this 90W gem rips the grind quite well and in fact I think it sounds better than the EV black label speaker but not as loud. Still the Crème has a vintage vibe to it when running the clean channel as you can hear the tonal difference. Since I have a 1x12 extension cab that is a bit on the deep end (it is about the same dimensions as the Mesa wide body 1x12 except it is 14 inches deep compared to 11.25 inches. Originally it was a closed back but I found the bottom end suffered a bit so I modified the back panel. Just about any speaker I place inside it definitely has a deeper tone to it). I had an EV black label speaker mounted in the 1x12 which was about as good as it get with that cabinet. I tried it with the Mark V combo with the Crème 90W and it sounded good but the clean channel had some oddities to the mix of the two speakers. I was getting a fizzy gurgle of something from the EV speaker at a lower volume. At this point, I was considering to put the other EV back into the Mark V but did not want to go though that hassle. Why not install the Redback inito the 1x12 cab....It would give the speaker an opportunity to break in as it would be in use and not in the box it came in. Now with it paired with the Crème 90W Alnico speaker mounted in the Mark V, the clean channel was almost as awesome with just the Redback. the full tone was back especially when using the piezo pickup mounted on the Floyd Rose on this new guitar (used but mint condition) I picked up by chance at GC. CH2 had a new tone to it and well lets say it was more full in tonal quality and sounded really good. Very promising. Crème 90W on its own took on a vintage tone with CH2 due to its tuned preamp section. But when coupled with the Redback it sounded much closer to the Mesa Vertical 212 cab. I was able to appreciate the Edge voice a bit more as I have often found that particular channel mode to be useless. Where the money is at is CH3 ( saturation mod V4 is the key with the Mark V which gives it the mojo it was lacking). The Crème 90W Alnico performed the best on CH3 even with the stock tubes. With the saturation mod, the amp never sounded better and the Crème 90W speaker did its job quite well. With the Redback running parallel with the Crème 90W though the 4 ohm jacks, I was impressed overall on the tonal character. At first I thought the Redback was not doing any work but it is. Note that there is some top end frequencies from the Redback but at the moment they are so rolled off as its characteristic is to subdue the top end and the Crème 90W takes it from there. Both in cohesive harmony was worth the effort to remove the EV and install the Redback into the 1x12 cabinet. This is all subjective .....

Figured I would add this..... while I was considering removing the Celestion Crème 90W alnico from the Mark V (and going back to EV) I figured I would take the moment to run the TC-50 through the Crème 90W speaker. I did the same with the 1x12 extension cab before removing the EV. Too bad I did not try the MC90 with the TC-50 while it was in the Mark V before installing the Crème.... TC-50 and the Crème 90W was okay. I prefer the TC-50 with the V30 loaded 212 cabinet. the Crème speaker seems to have more vintage tone when driven from the TC-50 ( similar to the CH2 on the Mark V). The EV seemed a bit weird too. Both in concert together driven by the TC-50 had a better tone to it. I do not believe the Cream to be a good fit with the TC-50, as I feel about the same with the EV. I did not run the TC-50 with the Crème and Redback combination yet as I put the TC-50 head back into the studio before tearing down the 1x12 cab for the speaker swap. I usually do not like spending money on something that will not be used. So at least I am giving the Redback another chance. As for the pair of EV speakers.... the two in particular were used to start with and may have been re-coned. The dust cap does not have the EV logo on it like the 4 I have loaded in the 412 cab (those I bought new but not all at the same time, ouch). So the pair can rest for a while and if I do not use them at least I got five years out of them. They are both still usable despite the reduction in thickness of the paper gasket (typical thing when rear mounted, the gasket will spilt when you remove them).

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:04 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
I had the Celestion Red-back in an extension cab so I can break it while playing though the Mark V. I loaded the Celestion Crème Alnico 90W back into the V combo. I am impressed how well they pair up together. Recently while I was playing though the TC-50 I decided to get a tone check to hear what it sounded like through the Alnico speaker. By no means was that in any favor to my ears. The Crème 90W Alnico sounded like I was playing through a tunnel. Ran the Mark V through just the Alnico speaker.... same thing. My thoughts on voice coil damage may be confirmed. No scratchy character but the volume level is waning away. I replaced it with the MC90 and tried the TC-50 through it again. It was better but not ideal. For some reason I am not overly fond of the MC90 and only bought it so I could sell the Mark V combo. I ran the Mark V into the extension cab with the Red back. Treble response was much better than it was previously. Replaced the MC90 with the Red back in the Mark V combo. CH3 sounds huge. Clean channel is superb and well, CH2 just sounds terrible with my usual settings. Too much bottom and a bit flubby. I decided to push the volume up and the sonic overload hit my senses, the speaker sounds great if you push it. Mark I mode does seem to be too much though but drop out the bass and midrange it gets better. I will leave it in the Mark V for an extended period and see if things improve. May even do a tube roll to see if I can get what I want out of the speaker. My reason for transplanting the Red Back into the Mark V was for the clean channel only. I am basically loosing interest in the Mark V again but the clean channel when used with a piezo pickup coupled with the Red Back speaker just sounds so good. At least that is one feature I like on the Mark V. I will also work it hard on CH3 and CH2 just for kicks. May swap the power tubes again as I found a quad of Mesa STR440 6L6 Red code tubes that do not seem to vibrate or rattle. Just about every tube I have used in the Mark V gets the rattle (usually associated in the center pair of tubes). Not sure if Simul-class related but somehow I believe it is. Mark III, Mark IV also did this. Same tubes it used in the Roadster which is Class A/B does not do the tube rattle. Seems the issue stays with the amp. May be bias related or the extended push pull Class A operation on the center pair. Note, rattle diminishes to non existent in 10W mode. It gets worse in 45W mode at reduced volume as the tube rattle is very loud. The rattle I hear matches the guitar signal and usually tracks the lower notes. It does not matter if I am using the combo speaker or if I run a cabinet with a long speaker cable. Rattle is tube / amp related and not due to speaker vibration. Wonder if it is due to poor tube matching (probable). I normally store my tubes in sets as they were supplied when new even if they are the same color code. I generally mark the tubes on the label to keep the matched pair from getting mixed up. It is possible one tube may drift in its characteristics and the other one does not. Matching tubes before they get used does not mean they will remain the same over time.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:37 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3066
Location: North Carolina
Took it back out again... It is an interesting speaker but I want a bit less midrange emphasis and a bit more balance on the upper frequencies. This speaker would probably serve better as an accent in an extension cab vs in a combo amp. I returned back to the EVM12L Black Label speaker as I can run that at lower volumes and it still sounds as good as it does at elevated volume. Red Back sounded best when driven hard. Perhaps not for me with the amp I installed it in. Mark V combo. Oh well.. . I will find use for it somewhere someday.... :|

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Location: Southwest Michigan
I put mine in right before a gig and took the single 12 cab to the show. I was very impressed. I tried it with my TC-50 and my Carvin V3M. The Carvin sounded the best it ever has, and that's what went to the gig. Flawless. Funny, though, Sweetwater called me right after I ordered it and reminded me that once installed, it's non-returnable. Yeah, I already knew that. They didn't bother to call me when I ordered my EVM 12L. It's only been used for clean tones so far, but it will migrate to heavier modern tones soon enough. I've not been too big of a fan of many Celestion products, but this one is definitely a winner for me.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:49 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
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Location: North Carolina
The EV speaker you could probably run it any way you want too straight away. I never had an issue with break in period with any of the EV speakers. You may not want to take it full blast at first but the voice coil in the EV is very robust. Celesiton Crème ALNICO 90W, Red Back, and the Jensen Black Bird all took a long time to break in. The Red Back really sounds great when pushed. Still I think it would be a better speaker for an acoustic amplifier as I never heard a better sounding speaker for a piezo pickup equipped guitar. It dawned on me that I have not played though the EV with the piezo pickup. Well that opportunity was united since I went back to EV speakers in the Mark V and extension cab. At least I can install the Red Back any time I feel like messing with the Mark V again. Now that I have the right tubes in the V, the EV makes more sense now and I do not have the speaker hard to sound good. I thought the Red back sounded better in a deep 1x12 cab as an accent but that took away the nice clean channel characteristic.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:27 am 
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The Redback does sound really good when pushed. I'm looking for an old Mesa 4x12 with the metal grill to use with the wide chassis c+ I just bought. Gonna load it Redback's.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:12 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
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Location: North Carolina
I am not in total dislike for the Red Back, It is a beast when you really drive it. Almost gives off a sinister tone, that is what I like about it in addition to its clean channel performance with the Mark V. I had found something of a revelation with the old Mesa Chinese tubes in the Mark V and even got some of the Beijing tubes from Doug's Tubes. Those are the same. For some reason those tubes work well in the Mark V but they do not work well in the JP-2C as I tried them in both amps. Thus the reason to go back to the EV speaker in my Mark V combo. EV speakers also sound just as beastly in the Os Recto 412 which is what I have paired up with my Roadster or the JP-2C. Holly S**t Batman... I am almost curious how they would mix in a cab with a V30.... That is tempting but I would need to get another one, well not at the moment.... I do have another 412 cab with the cream backs in it.... I may try that some day. Odd that I have not tried the Roadster though the red back yet..... I have been focused on tuning the Mark V... Perhaps there is a use for it after all.

I am on a quest to improve the Mark V and sometimes you hit a brick wall when it comes to speakers. I think I finally got the solution with change in preamp tubes and the EV black label. ( I took a different path a while ago but that was based on the Mark V tone problem that I was having and now that has been cured with the Beijing and 12AT7 in V4, V2 I used a Mullard CV4004. I am finally happy with this combination.

When you get the 412 loaded with the Red Backs, let us know how it turns out.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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