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Fender Alnico Speakers

1/13/1999 11:23 AM
Fender Alnico Speakers
I keep hearing about Fender Alnico Speakers. What is it that makes them special and how can I tell if my 1990 Fender Super 210 is already equipped with them?  
1/13/1999 2:12 PM
Michael S.

I'm almost willing to bet that the 210 Super from the early 90s had ceramics as their stock speaker.  
Things to look for ---  
Magnets - the ceramic speakers have fairly large flat discs, maybe 3.5-5" in diameter, mounted on the speaker frame. The Alnicos have a much smaller magnet, and on Fender amps they have a thick steel cage over the top of the magnet. Sides of the cage are open, and you can see the much smaller cylindrical magent inside the cage. The Alnico magnets are much smaller in diameter than the ceramics, perhaps 1.5". Alnicos use either a 6-oz. (standard for Fender blueframe RIs) or 10-oz. magnet (10-oz. units are offered by some of the aftermarket parts houses.)  
Frames - Fender 10" speakers came from Oxford, Utah, or Eminence, and all of them used a stamped steel frame, or basket, for their guitar speakers, whether Alnico or ceramic.  
If the speakers are Alnicos, they may be painted blue, as Fender had started building the re-issue '59 Bassman in about 1990. Stock ceramics would have a black frame and a Fender sticker on the flat part of the magnet.  
The original Jensen "Holy Grail" P10Rs or P10Qs had a medium-blue metallic frame, and a stamped round cover over the magnet assembly. The sticker on those would've read "Jensen Special Design".  
I replaced all four ceramics in my BFSR with the Eminence RI Alnico that they build for the Bassman RI. They are absolutely identical to the Fender blueframe RIs, and NEITHER of the RIs uses the stamped cover like the Jensens. The problem is that they sound so much better than the ceramics, I want to replace ALL my ceramics in ALL my Fender amps with RI Alnicos.
1/14/1999 8:08 AM

Found for sale 4 10" alnico fender speakers for $145US. What could I expect from these that I am not getting from ceramic which I confirmed are in my amp now?  
1/14/1999 4:43 PM

I hesitate to offer a differing opinion  
from these guy's who have my respect,  
but my own experience with the Fender  
blue frames is not as pleasant. I had  
a custom vibrolux reverb that had them  
and while using a strat, I found them  
too bright. Breaking them in more might  
have mellowed them a little. At low volume  
they were incredibly crisp which I liked  
but crank the amp and the they flubbed  
really bad, (flubb being slightly worse  
than FART) The cones were the thinnest that I have ever seen in a speaker, they would  
ripple when you press them with your finger.  
I talked to Weber about it and he said he  
has reconed a few with the "R" cone and  
had happy customers afterward. I chose to  
get rid of the amp and bought a bassman  
and robbed an old Rickenbacker SS of 4x10"  
Utah's which compared to the Blue Frames,  
was simply awsome. No more flubbing. Just  
my 2 cents based on my exp with em'. If  
I were shopping to buy, Those would be last  
on my list,whether ceramics or alnico's.  
Best of Luck  
1/15/1999 4:13 AM

I just purchased a set of the new Jensen alnico speakers. I have to agree with Russ in the alnicos being bright at first. I ran them for about 8 hours now with heavy bass and loosened them up and the bass came in nicely. They sound really nice at low volumes being as previously described alnicos sound (crisp). When cranked they really sing. The harmonics really come out. The amp I put these in had CTS speakers (alnico) in it and I think these sound better. The customer I put them in for hasn't hear them yet but I know he will love them. I'm gonna order a set for my SR. I know that the difference in sound between alnico and ceramic is entirely subjective but for my money, I'm going with the alnicos. I have them in just about all my amps.  
1/15/1999 8:15 AM
M/J, I am interested in your method of running them with heavy bass for 8 hours to loosen the speakers up. Was this done with a sig. generator? If so, what freq. and level? Thanks!  
1/15/1999 1:31 PM

No Bill it was nothing that extravigant. I just plugged in the speakers to my power amp hooked to my stereo and turned the bass up wide open. I kept the volume to a respectible level so as not to blow the speakers. It gets those cones moving in and out pretty good and gets the paper flexing. Those speakers seem to handle the bass and sound pretty good I might add. I let them umpa for about 8 hours and when I played them in the amp again I noticed a distinct improvement in the low end and midrange. The highs were still there but not as out there by themselves like they were at first.  

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