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Newly produced "vintage" speakers vs. the old vintage speakers

Dr. Ellwood

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Here are some questions my bass player thought might make for some good conversation,


Newly produced "vintage" speakers vs. the old vintage speakers?

Do old speaker magnets diminish in magnetic power over the years making them sound different? Can magnets be "re-charged" or replaced? How accurate is the sound of an old speaker to its original sound? How accurate is a reconed old speaker? How durable is an old speaker? I remember reading something about these subjects sometime ago in Vintage Guitar. Are those professionals playing out using vintage amps also using vintage speakers? These are good questions to research the answers.

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Yes, magnets lose power over time.


Yes, they can be re-charged.


In my opinion, the whole "vintage gear" thing is overdone and oversold. I can't imagine sitting around worrying about the age and condition of speaker magnets.


Maybe the merits of older pickup magnets I would listen to, because that would affect output signal strength. Speakers have a different job, and I don't like speaker distortion.

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Yes, magnets can loose their properties, but it is pretty rare for a speaker to be subjected to the forces that cause this.


The thing about old speakers is that they have been broken in and react better/faster because the cones are not as stiff as a new speaker. (Think, shoes. same idea.)

One old PA guy said to me that he would rather have old speakers than new ones any day, just because they are broken in. (Assuming no abuse.)


As Bill says, I can't imagine worrying about this stuff...you plug in an amp, if the shit sounds good, it is good.


I am a big fan of vintage gear. But there are reasons to make other choices. For instance, I have a boatload of vintage mics. But I bought to modern re-creations of some vintage mics for my locker in order to get new components and replacable tubes. Modern recreations of older electronics tend to have better noise specs. Modern boutique guitar amps tend to take the old vintage ideas a step further, and sound vintage and moreso (or if the purist in you prefers, they give a good vintage sound with a modern vibe.) I have modern Duncan version of the P-90 in one of my guitars, and I love them. It is not an either/or situation.


Yes, vintage speakers can be reconed. Recones are usually a little stiffer than new speakers. But they will break in, too. Give them a little use and a little time.


You'll never know how much like the original sound the broken in sound will be, because the amps age and change tonally, too.


Old speakers are as durable as new ones... it is not use that hurts a speaker, it is abuse.



"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."


Steve Martin


Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.



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Originally posted by ellwood:

I can't imagine sitting around worrying about any of it either, it was simply a question.

Well, the one that gets ME is people worrying about vintage BATTERIES.


Do youse think old batteries sounded better?


As far as the speakers go, I can't see how one could actually make a reasonable comparison, seeing as how we are completely dependent on the recording gear of yesteryear. I mean, have the speakers changed, or is the recording itself colouring the sound?


How do we know what a vintage amp really sounded like back in 1966? The only thing one can do is duplicate the specs, but that won't please the connoiseurs (it never does.)

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