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Best late-model replacement for vintage C12N?

12/21/2005 1:29 PM
Best late-model replacement for vintage C12N?
Does anyone have an opinion regarding which currently made speakers sound the most like vintage Jensen C12Ns? I've seen some negative remarks about the Italian-made, reissue C12Ns.  
12/21/2005 7:44 PM

Nothing sounds like an old jensen period. A lot of people like the Webervst version I thinks it's called a 12f150. The old C12N's are still not that expensive on ebay and I see about 4 new one's every week. Even a reconed one will be great if the recone is done correctly. The Jensen reissue's are OK but have a midrange hump and sound more like a rock and roll speaker. The old Jensen's are more hi-Fi then people think. I would also recommend an old(pre-1970's) Oxford, CTS or Utah of similar size and have it reconed to more like a Jensen. That will get you there, I a/b's a C12N and a similar Oxford and the only difference was the Oxford did not handle the lows as well....I guess that's why they are AKA Oxfarts. But the tone was close, real close. If you don't do roots type music like blues, old R&R, classic rock, old soul and R&B you probably won't like a real C12N.
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12/22/2005 8:23 AM
Steve Dallman

I was one of the people slamming the new C12N. It sounds glorious clean, but strident and harsh when using distortion...amp or pedal. The graph shows a huge spike at 2k so I assume that's the reason for the piezolike, strident high end.  
A mod 50 and 70 both had similar high ends.  
But I put a pair of C12K's in a Twin Reverb AND a newer Fender Pro Reverb (part of their Pro Tube series) with great results. By comparison, the C12K has a 2" voice coil (1.5" in the C12N) doped edge and twice the power handling. I liked this speaker. I was expecting the harsh high end, but it was smoother and although the high end extends out further than the C12N, it didn't have the spiky high end.  
I compared the reissue C12N with a vintage one. The only similarity was the ribbing in the cone. The original had a doped surround, smaller magnet etc. I didn't have a chance to compare performance.  
The reissue P12N sounded much different than the C12N. Smoother high end, but pretty loose on the low end...almost blurry by comparison.  
I tried everything I could think of to smooth out the high end of that C12N. I ran a 12.6VAC transformer into it for a WEEK. (Very loud 60Hz signal.) I doped the edge, then used acetone to loosen the doped edge.  
If I ever use that danged C12N in anything it will likely be in my Vibratone, where the natural dampening of the high end should tame it. I've also considered using a choke and crossover cap to create a notch filter at the offending frequency.  
I had almost given up on the new Jensens, until I heard the difference with the C12K.  
Since that speaker sounded great, I suspect that the Mod 110 might be smoother in the high end as well.  
FWIW, the original Peavey Scorpion was supposed to SOUND like an old Jensen. I don't think they do, but they sound great in everything I've tried them in, plus have much better power handling.  
I put a Peavey chrome plated frame Triple XXX speaker in my 67DR. It sounds like a vintage 30 with a much better high end.  
The original Oxford in my DR crapped out years ago. The voice coil sagged and started rubbing. But it was never a "good" speaker suffering the same farting BD described.
12/22/2005 1:38 PM
I was the other person slamming the new C12N.  
I REALLY hate that speaker. The harshness is so annoying and no amount of eq tweaking seems to help.
12/23/2005 10:16 PM
Rick Erickson

"I tried everything I could think of to smooth out the high end of that C12N."
Did you try reconing it? The word I hear from my recone man is that the voice coils and spiders in the re-issues are pretty lousy compared to the originals. I havent sent him a RI C12N yet but probably will after my latest experience with them.  
12/23/2005 1:34 AM
Last year I bought a BF Twin that aside from having a pair of the C12N reissues, was essentially dead stock. It sounded GREAT! I was amazed how great it sounded. Being a dealer, I wanted the amp to be even more "straight up" so I set about finding a pair of original Jensens. The original sounded good, but not nearly as wonderful as the RI's :( Of course, your mileage may vary. That's really my only experience with the C12N RI.  
I have used the Mod series to replace several speakers in various things over the last couple years. They are dirt cheap, but power handling ratings seem a bit inflated. I've noticed that in a couple amps, the magnet assembly was quite warm after a high volume workout. I redid a 4X12 cab with the Mod 35's simply because they were the cheapest thing that I could get on short notice, and the customer has stated that it is quite magical now and has refused many offers to buy it.  
If it sounds good, it is good.
12/23/2005 11:30 AM
Steve Dallman

The C12N has gotten some great reviews, and initially, I was extremely pleased with the tone in my 67DR. The high end was crisp and clear, and the low end sounded like it was in a closed back, properly ported cabinet.  
But the problem was when I tried distortion with that speaker. I have a post PI master in my DR. The speaker sounded wicked buzzy in the high running distortion through a PA speaker using a piezo tweeter.  
I tried a few distortion pedals, including a Vox, Tube Screamer, DOD 250 and a SS Marshall preamp I built using Jack Orman's wonderful "minitubes" instead of using tubes. (That preamp, plugged into the effects return on every Marshall head I tried just smokes the preamps in those amps.  
Same buzzy problem.  
I was expecting the same results with the C12K, but so far, the two amps I put them in, a sf Twin Reverb and a new Pro Tubes, Pro Reverb Fender. The tone is full, with a GOOD high end and non of the buzzy tone using distortion.  
I expect the Mod 110 to be closer to the high end of the C12K than the C12N.  
Again, played clean, the C12N sounded great.  
When I first heard the Pro Reverb (current Pro Tube series) I hated the distortion, but now realize the problem was the tone of the C12N. With a C12K, the distortion channel sounded great.  
It is also possible I guess, that quality control isn't great, and my experiences with the four C12N's I've used might be the exception...not the norm.  
I also bought a couple of the 6 1/2" Mods for a pair of "omnidirectional" speakers I found, and although the tone is great, the high end is still too prominent and sounds buzzy using distortion. I tried them as possible replacements for the little Vox Pathfinder and a couple of other similar practice amps. They sound GREAT as alternatives for the Fostex tweeters in bass amps.  
I have a Mod 35 and mod 70. The 35 sounds OK and in a 4X12, the combination of 4 speakers may develop low end that a single one might not have, and that may balance the high end. I bought the 35 for my Champ 12.  
FWIW, the efficiency of the 35 is much lower than the 70 or the 110. I believe the 35 is 92dB/1w@1M while the 70 is in the 97dB range.  
For my Champ 12, which is undergoing further modification, used a common, but non-descript Eminence. My hope was for a low buck Celestion type for less $$$. We'll see when I get the rewiring done.
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