is the “body” of an electric guitar. It forms the character and individuality of the sound almost more than the amp itself. What use is the best amp in the world when the loudspeaker can’t convey the sound that makes the amp so special?
Due to my years of experience developing amps and speakers, I know exactly how difficult it is to find a loudspeaker that sounds balanced and harmonious when both loud and quiet. The combination of the speaker and the casing play an important role and have led to various constructions such as open or closed speakers in differing sizes from 1x12“ to 4x12“.
I’ve been influenced and always fascinated by the big, fat sound of old English speakers, as used by bands such as Cream, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. These Bands were allowed to transmit their sound using only their backline from the stage. Nowadays this is hardly ever the case.
If you look at, or listen to these old boxes more carefully you’ll find that they function well both loud and quiet. If more volume was needed, they just used more speakers: this led to the 4x12” box. Over the years more powerful speaker-variations have been developed, most of which only sounded good when loud. The focus changed to power and volume.
The question I asked myself was “what should the focus be nowadays?”.
Today we have massive PA’s, which transmit the band’s sound for the crowd. The guitar-sound on stage should be full but not too loud. I, myself, stopped playing 4x12” 10 years ago, although I like the sound.
After trying out 2x12“ speakers, I ended up using 1x12“. If I need more power on bigger stages I simply take two boxes. My guitar technician and FOH engineer, Marcus, and I have kept constantly developing these 1x12“ boxes. Over the years we’ve tested almost every speaker that came onto the market. I reached the conclusion that, for a vintage-freak like myself looking for his tone, the only convincing speakers were Greenbacks or V30.
But even here we find differences. I own a collection of old Greenbacks from the 60’s and 70’s, which provide me with my ideal sound. In contrast, many new guitar loudspeakers have a cold, sharp sound. Is this maybe because the older speakers have been “played in” over the years?
A real problem with my favourite Greenbacks is their capacity of only 25 Watts. A Greenback can be surprisingly loud, but in spite of this I’ve burned though many of them in my time. Therefore the Greenback isn’t suitable as a speaker for a 1x12“ box with different users.
The desire for my own ultimate speaker (suited to my taste) just kept growing. It should encompass the stable 500Hz low-midrange of a V30, but also have the creamy midrange presence and the silky treble of old greenbacks. And it needs to be resilient enough to be the only speaker in a 1x12“ box.
Luckily enough, I have excellent contacts in the speaker industry meaning I was able to fulfill this dream. After intensive development work and an exact concept for the traits of my dream speaker, I finally achieved the desired result. Now with the ideal speaker, I started to work on my ideal cabinet.