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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > 12" Speakers for Harmonica?
12" Speakers for Harmonica?
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205 posts
Sep 22, 2023
6:55 AM
I've never had much luck with 12" speakers for harmonica, even the hemp coned ones. I always am able to generate "cone cry" with certain notes. This is when an overtone of the fundamental being played is generated by the speaker cone. In my case, it is usually a parallel fifth that is almost as loud as the fundamental. Very harsh and unpleasant. I realize that it probably has something to do with my style of overdriven harp playing but I don't seem to have the same problem with 10", 8" or even 15" speakers. Anybody else run into this?
2352 posts
Sep 23, 2023
8:06 AM
Yes, when I am pushing volume with distortion on a good harp tube amp, usually playing a draw 2 bend on a lower key harp like A or G, single 12" speakers have blessed me with unpleasant cone cry. Yes, it may be related to how I play loud distorted amplified harp. If I switch to a 10" Lil' Buddy with the same amp, there is no cone cry.

I had this problem with 2 different good 12" Weber speakers as well as a 12" Eminence Cannabis Rex. I liked the sound of harp through the speakers a lot until I pushed volume with distortion and got cone cry.

I did find that if I put one of the crying 12" speakers in a cabinet in parallel with a good 10" speaker (and of course used a 4 ohm output instead of 8 ohm) the cry would go away. These days I prefer single speaker cabs for less weight to haul around.

I prefer amps using a 10" (and for lower volume gigs an 8") speaker because of the annoying 12" speaker cone cry.

The Eminence Lil' Buddy is my favorite 10" ceramic speaker. I use them in 2 different amps.

I think cone cry on 12" speakers might be related to how much dope is used on the speaker. The more sensitive speakers prized by guitar players seem to use less dope to increase clarity, and sound good with harp until pushed, resulting in cone cry. If there is more dope, it is less sensitive and less likely to have cone cry.

The only 12" speaker that has not given me cone cry (and the only one I still have) is an Eminence 12442 round magnet speaker that was commonly sold as a replacement speaker. When pushed it sounds pretty good. At lower volume, not so good.

Doug S.
206 posts
Sep 25, 2023
7:10 AM
Thanks Doug, I'm glad it isn't just me! Your doping theory sounds plausible. I've got a '67 Fender Deluxe Reverb that I play lap steel through one channel and harp through the other. I tried six or seven different 12" with it and finally wound up putting a reducer ring on the baffle and installing a 10" Jensen Blackbird (alnico) that I've been pretty happy with. I've never come close to diming that amp at a gig so I think the 10" pushes enough air for me.
828 posts
Oct 26, 2023
2:49 PM
cant remember where I read it;
10" speaker react well with harmonica frequency's

it takes longer for 12" speaker to bounce back n forth etc

from stuff I've read 10" is ideal for harp 2

I mic old epi amp "tube" with a 10" I bought from "weber speakers'

Last Edited by snowman on Oct 26, 2023 2:38 PM
38 posts
Oct 28, 2023
5:22 AM
I am trying out different speakers in my newly accuired National Stage star.
I thought I was content with 2x10; Lil'Buddy/Ragin Cajun. But the combination is just a little too much "in your face". Probably because of the RC. The Lil'buddy I love. Very nice tone. But just a little too civilized for what I'm going for. I had a C10q that I wanted too try instead of the RC. Than I got a nice deal on a barely broken in Cannabis rex.
Since I had some baffle material left, I made a 10+12 baffle and combined the CR with the C10Q. I must say, I like this combination a lot.

One thing I noticed, changing from a 10 to a 12 is the difference in "spread". The 12 CR seems to be more "beamy". Not a bad thing, because you can get out of the firing line and have less chance of feedback.
I'm not shure if the audience will like this, though.

I will see tonight!

Kind regards.
2353 posts
Nov 15, 2023
2:40 PM
How did your 10x12 speaker combination work out with your audience?

I am interested in your experience.

I liked the sound of my Cannabis Rex 12" in a cab with a 10" MojoTone speaker, but the cabinet and speaker weight just wasn't worth hauling around when my amp or cab and head with a 10" speaker worked fine for me in the venues I played. I really did not need to push that much air.

These days I use an Ultimate 58 from Greg at BlowsMeAway and sing and play harp through the PA with that mic most of the time, cutting volume to cup the harp. For my rare amped blues or rock gigs I still use 10" or 8" speakers in cabs or amps.

Doug S.
39 posts
Dec 02, 2023
1:54 AM
I'm used to carrying my 4x10 around. The 10/12 is lighter. Although, with the original oval speakers it was light as a feather!!

I thought the stage sound was pretty good. Plenty loud! And this was in a big tent, standing pretty much on the floor instead of a high stage. I could be heard without any extra micing. I try to make a point out of no extra micing. Bands I used to play in would mic even the drumkit in every venue! Even small cafes and such. Terrible! A real hassle to set up and extremely loud.
But I digress...

Hearing back clips people made on their phone, I find the sound to be very clean. Too clean for my liking. Now these people were standing right in the line of the amp, with a little distance. So, I tnink, They pretty much only heard the Cannabis Rex. Clean and loud. And, on stage, I heard a little more of the c10q.

I could live with it like this. But since I'm experimenting anyway... I might, for the next show, try the 2x10 setup I have tried, complete with baffle. Lil'buddy and Ragin'Cajun. I found the sound to be a little too bold and in your face. But in a bigger space it might work better.

A different 10 with the 12 CR might work better. But I'm not shure which. Something more breakup, but loud enough to compete with the CR.
Any suggestions? I've heard RF10C could be good, but I haven't found one, yet...
40 posts
Feb 15, 2024
3:06 AM
Just a short follow up...

I too am experiencing "tonecry" or something like it.
Mainly on the lower notes when cupped tightly.

After using the Cannabis Rex in combination with a C10Q I went to a WGS Veteran 10 instead of the C10Q.
Nicer tone, in my opinion. The Veteran added some midrange warmth that I was missing. Also a little crunchiness, which I like. More so than the C10Q that seemed a little more trebly.
Mind you, I don't have a midrange control on my amp, just a simple treble-cut.

Nevertheless... the 12 just doesn't do it for me. It's well enough and so I could leave it alone...
But I'm going back to the Lil'buddy! Probably with the Veteran 10.

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