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Old 01-30-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
Offworld92
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Sticky Request: Speaker Sensitivities

Noise is an issue for a lot of people - it seems like all day, every day, we get posts generally related to the questions of "what can I do to make less noise".

One subject that is next to never brought up is speaker sensitivity. And that info can be hard to find, if it's even thought of to look.

I would love a sticky with some of the most common speakers and their sensitivity ratings and wattage capacity, as well as outliers - speakers that aren't common, that have very low and very high sensitivities. I would be nice to have alternate suggestions than trading your Dual Rectifier for an HT5 (which doesn't solve the problem) or use an attenuator (which won't work).
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:55 PM   #2
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A chart/spreadsheet with tech specs would be nice. It looks like celestion's website has most of the info you'd want, including a graph of the frequency response.
http://celestion.com/product/1/vintage_30/
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:09 PM   #3
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I know the info can be found, but I thought it'd be nice to have a list of various brands all compiled here for quick reference.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offworld92
I would love a sticky with some of the most common speakers and their sensitivity ratings and wattage capacity, as well as outliers - speakers that aren't common,


i think there is an old speaker thread somewhere. i don't think anyone ever made a list, it'd be more useful in a format you could sort and filter (like a spread sheet).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Offworld92
...that have very low and very high sensitivities.


i used to give advice all the time back in the day: "if the amp is too loud then the most efficient way to make the quieter is to get less sensitive speakers".

it was great advice, except it wasn't really pertinent. every guitar speaker i have seen has been between 96 dB sensitivity and 103 dB. a range of 8 dB's is not bad, but they are all going to be rated around the mid/upper 90's and the early 100's. so there is no effective way of making the amp quieter using conventional guitar speakers.

i found the lowest rated speaker from celestion (greenback @ 96 dB) and compared it to the most powerful speaker i found at eminence (Wizard @ 103.5). the difference of 7.5 dB means the 103.5 dB speaker only sounds 1.7 times as loud as the 96 dB rated speaker.

using a more extreme option, like a car speaker (rated around 90 to 93 dB), would allow you to cut your volume by over 2.5 times but that can still be quite loud (it might not be able to keep up with drums but it could piss off neighbors).

bottomline is that if there were guitar speakers that were available at 75 dB or 80 dB sensitivity instead of the 96 to 103 sensitivity we actually have to choose from, then 'inefficient speakers' would be an awesome way get guitar tone at low volume.

there are a couple reasons why they don't make guitar speakers like this:

1) the idea of an amp is to sound loud... like loud enough to keep up with a drummer for example. this need for guitar speakers to be loud requires them to use speakers with higher sensitivity (and resulting lower fidelity)

2) low fidelity - guitar speakers are supposed to be colorful and responsive. paper cones, weak surround and spider, light materials. all these materials that help make the speaker loud also make it colorful and responsive.

basically they can't change the guitar speaker without messing with the whole form/function/tone interaction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Offworld92
I would be nice to have alternate suggestions than trading your Dual Rectifier for an HT5 (which doesn't solve the problem) or use an attenuator (which won't work).


there are plenty of options. most people don't like them though

-master volume
-headsets
-direct line in recording (interface recording)
-amp/cab/mic emulation
-isolation cabs
-multi effects
-computer speakers (with multi effects or emulation)

the idea of wanting to push a 15 watt tube amp with a speaker rated around 99 dB and wanting to find some way keep it quiet is redic. either you have to turn the amp down or try another solution.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:02 PM   #5
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what gumbi said. less efficient speakers can help alongside other volume reduction techniques... but on their own, not really. they'll help a little bit, but not a whole heap. my little 5 watt fame tube 5 has about the lowest sensitivity guitar speaker i've seen (by some margin), a little 6" jensen mod series speaker, which is specced as being 90.9dB. And even that makes a 5 watter *just about* quiet enough to not be painful for small-enclosed-space-home-use.

that's before you even consider that different speakers sound different. if you want something that sounds like a vintage 30 you more or less have to buy either a vintage 30, or else someone else's take on a vintage 30, and by and large those speakers are loud. the specs make them sound the way they do. I doubt, if someone made a 90dB v30, it'd sound anything like a proper v30 (but i could be wrong).

if you want to do the thread, though, go for it. Most of the speaker companies put the info on their websites, it should just be a cut and paste job. Though you'd need to put the "different companies rate their speakers differently" disclaimer.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:48 PM   #6
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I guess I was making the assumption that maybe there was some relatively unknown company out there that made something in the 80s or something.

And also, it should still be noted that a bit less sensitivity x4 in a half stack can make an overall larger difference (right?).

But yeah, if there's no real outliers, then it would be kind of pointless.

Thanks for all the info.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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Eminence has the FDM series, which are adjustable from ~91 to 100 dB at one Watt.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:51 PM   #8
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^^I actually came in here to mention the Maverick, since it gets down to 91. The Reignmaker for some reason is listed as 100db at full power AND max attenuation on their site now, but I know it used to say something along the lines of 93db for it's max attenuation.

I just think people need to realize that you don't buy a tube amp for bedroom tone

Just like Gumbi said, the point of an amp is to make your playing loud, namely, louder than an acoustic drum set. It's like buying lights that are meant to light up a football staduim and saying "now, what can I do to make these managable in my bedroom?"

Now, obviously there are companies that are addressing this issue for people. A lot of amps are coming shipping with headphone jacks, which is the best solution, in my opinion. I think every amp should ship with a headphone out that disconnects the speaker (or speaker cab) safely. The only other option is to eliminate as many variables between your low and high volume playing, using things like power scaling combined with low sensitivity speakers and a master volume, or even something like the new Egnaters have, if it ends up working as intended.

Personally, I don't even use my live rig at home in my current living situation. I use pedals into a Solid State PA head with no speakers attached, my laptop running into it, and using the "record out" as a headphone out. It serves its purpose, considering it was gear I already had, although for other people, a POD or something similar would be easier.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:11 AM   #9
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^ i think it depends on (a) what bedroom volume actually means to the individual and (b) on how much compromise someone is willing to put up with.

For me personally i can get the things loud enough at home that tube still sounds and feels pretty darn good. Not as good as cranked but better (IMO) than a solid state or cheap modeller.

granted, if bedroom volume means "whisper", then tube might not be the way to go.

But likewise, it doesn't make much sense to me when people say, "you can't use that amp to its full potential!" when even using it to the potential which your situation allows may well sound better than using something else which is crap to its full potential. Nomatter what you do at bedroom volume will involve some compromise, so it's a matter of finding what sounds best for you at a price you're willing to pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Offworld92
I guess I was making the assumption that maybe there was some relatively unknown company out there that made something in the 80s or something.

And also, it should still be noted that a bit less sensitivity x4 in a half stack can make an overall larger difference (right?).

But yeah, if there's no real outliers, then it would be kind of pointless.

Thanks for all the info.


yeah there's nothing much below 95dB really. very few, anyway. plus as i said, if you want a specific tone it's probably not worth getting a completely unsuitable speaker just because it's slightly quieter.

not sure about the 4x12. though would that increase the quietness or increase the volume? i mean four 100dB speakers are slightly louder than one, and the same is (presumably) true for four 90dB speakers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmolteratx
Eminence has the FDM series, which are adjustable from ~91 to 100 dB at one Watt.


yeah i thought of that one but (a) it's really dear and (b) 91dB is still pretty loud with a high wattage amp.
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Last edited by Dave_Mc : 01-31-2013 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
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Maybe we need a sticky on neighbor sensitivities so people know not to move into these houses?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:21 AM   #11
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^ yeah cathbard can author it, the "what you really need is a new house" thread
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I had a Blackstar. I felt like I was lied to by Chappers, that fat ****.


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Blackstar can blow me; dodgey ****ers.


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Old 01-31-2013, 10:23 AM   #12
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I just don't feel any sympathy, honestly. I live in a townhouse with a family on both sides of me and play a drum kit fairly regularly and a 15 watt tube amp literally whenever I want. Sure if I play at 3 am I don't crank it, but I never have it below 3 on the master either.

I refuse to believe that a situation exists where you really just can't play at a reasonable volume. If your housing situation is really that bad then surely it affects other aspects of life too? Noise ordinances don't say 'your neighbor can never hear a peep out of you...' I just don't get it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:53 AM   #13
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i dunno. i don't share any walls with neighbours (cheapo NI house prices ftw ) , but i do live in a development i.e. my neighbours' houses are maybe 10 yards away from mine, if even. When i used to crank my engl to 10 the cops were never called That being said, different areas have different codes (not to mention different people), so it's hard to generalise. I work on the basis that i'd rather warn people about noise and have them be pleasantly surprised than the alternative, which is having the cops turn up
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I had a Blackstar. I felt like I was lied to by Chappers, that fat ****.


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Blackstar can blow me; dodgey ****ers.



Last edited by Dave_Mc : 01-31-2013 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:19 PM   #14
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I actually live out in the country, so it's not the people that live NEXT to me that's the issue, it's the ones living WITH me

One of them works 3rd shift and his wife stays home and is awake/asleep when he is, and his son is still in high school, so between those two sleep schedules, someone is always sleeping when I can play. I just use headphones out of respect for their sleep. Honestly, my setup actually sounds really good. I mostly play Metal, so using my TL-2 for my dirt works out. I'm going to be getting some kind of OD in the near future for boosting through my amp and for lower gain stuff through my practice rig.

Now, when it's warmer out, I just take my stuff outside and play to the hills I can pretty much crank it as loud as I want at that point.

In my old apartment, I pretty much just played as loud as I felt like whenever, unless our room mates were asleep, then I would keep it down a little, but the acoustics of that place were awesome, because even when cranked, they could BARELY hear me in their bedroom.

Once we're out in an apartment again, I'll play through my amp, but I still think it's nice to have a headphone setup on hand.

I've actually been thinking about getting one of the VOX AmPlugs for playing quiet on the go. For stuff like warming up before a gig, or playing when visiting at someone's house.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:41 AM   #15
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oh yeah i mean obviously if the people living with you are the problem then that's worth bearing in mind too
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Quote:
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I had a Blackstar. I felt like I was lied to by Chappers, that fat ****.


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Blackstar can blow me; dodgey ****ers.


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Old 02-01-2013, 01:15 PM   #16
tubetime86
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Get a new family? (Which in your case seems feasible, since they aren't actually your family. )
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Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:49 PM   #17
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we should add that to your proposed "what you need is a new house" thread.

TGP thinks it's the only place that's willing to sacrifice for guitar tone. they got nuthin' on us
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Quote:
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I had a Blackstar. I felt like I was lied to by Chappers, that fat ****.


Quote:
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Blackstar can blow me; dodgey ****ers.


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Old 02-01-2013, 04:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
we should add that to your proposed "what you need is a new house" thread.

TGP thinks it's the only place that's willing to sacrifice for guitar tone. they got nuthin' on us

I don't often do this, not even sure if I ever have, but...




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Unless its electronic drums.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I had a Blackstar. I felt like I was lied to by Chappers, that fat ****.


Quote:
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Blackstar can blow me; dodgey ****ers.


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Old 02-01-2013, 09:09 PM   #20
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Wow...

I'll be getting a new house/family as soon as possible. Right now we just can afford anything else. Believe me, not being able to play my amp is just skimming the top of the stack of reasons for why I can't wait to move.
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