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Re: Fender Alnico Speakers

1/15/1999 6:37 AM
SpeedRacer Re: Fender Alnico Speakers
#1 Please don't ever hesitate to offer a differing opinion! It's what keeps this a valuable resource IMO.  
#2 I happen to agree with your assessment of the Fender RI "blue" 10's. I found them a bit on the harsh side in my 65 Super Rvb. I've had better luck with the Mojo MP10R's, which is the same speaker but with a paper VC former (thinner than the Kapton former found in the Fender, which actually does matter.)  
A well designed AlNiCo speaker when compared with an identical model using a ceramic magnet will compress a bit at high levels and have a bit less high end. AlNiCo tends to come across as a "smoother" tone because of this. It's not, IMO, a "better or worse" kind of thing; it's a what works for you in your rig with your guitar. I've heard some great sounding RI Bassman amps using those blue speakers I didn't like, so there you go. ;-)
1/14/1999 5:52 PM
Re: Alnico vs. Ceramic
The difference in sound between Alnico and ceramic magnet speakers is difficult to describe clearly, but you'll know it when you hear it. Most people either absolutely love them or absolutely hate them. Here are a few oversimplified generalizations about their sounds, from a player's perspective:  
Ceramics tend to be cleaner and tend to have tighter bass response. They tend to sound the same at all volumes, and do not "break up" much until the limit of their power handling capacity.  
Alnico designs sound different at different volumes. They tend to be bright and sharp at low volume, and get warmer and more harmonically-enriched as you turn them up.  
The Alnico "mojo" sound that is often referred to is a natural characterstic of the magnet, and it is similar to compression. Basically, as you turn up your amp, the speaker's volume stays pretty constant, and the strongest harmonics get louder while the overtones get lost in the mix. Some people think this sounds muddy, some people think it sounds detailed and chimey. Personal preference, really.  
Since everyone can relate to Fender amps, I tend to associate Alnico with the Tweed sound, while ceramic magnets are more characteristic of the blackface era's sound. Chicken-pickers tend to use high-powered ceramic speakers, while ZZ-Top afficionados swear by Alnico.  
It's all so subjective...

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