I have a Monoprice solid state 40 watt guitar amp that is exactly what I want features wise- light weight, 3 band EQ, spring reverb, and no built in effects. The amp has an effects loop, but I run my pedal board into the input. The amp has a 10" speaker. The amp is inexpensive- $100, so I am assuming that the speaker is marginal quality.
I would appreciate advice about a couple of things:
1.) How much of a difference can the speaker make to the tone of an amp? I've played it for a number of weeks now, and the amp sounds too treble/shrill/spikey to me. Turning the treble down does not get me to what I am looking for - the tone suddenly goes from an incremental change to mud. I added an Danelectro 7 band EQ in the effects loop and cutting a bit at 1.6 and 3.2 kHz helps a lot, but there is still not quite the "depth" to the overall sound that I am looking for. I'm wondering if a speaker upgrade could get me there, and if so, are there any recommendations for speakers where the tone profile is such that the bass is full and warm, and the mids and highs are subtler?
2.) Am I expecting too much from the circuit of an amp that is this inexpensive? For a number of reasons, weight included, I like the idea of a solid state amp and would love it if I could improve the sound of this amp given the way its features line up with what I am looking for. Is this realistic?
Last Edit: Feb 2, 2020 14:17:56 GMT -5 by Tinkerer
It took me a few years to understand that buying an amp and then trying to turn it into something else would be a lot easier and cheaper if I'd spent just a little more $$ and got an amp with the sound I like right out of the gate.
But yeah, I'm still guilty of Tinkering [heh!] with stuff because that is fun too.
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I don't have folks I can borrow a 10" speaker from, but what I might try is to run the amp through an Eminence 8 ohm, 12" speaker that I have that came out of a DRRI. If that improves the tone in the direction I'm hoping, I could then modify the amp cab for the speaker to fit, or decide to spring for a 10" speaker. I understand that it is safe to run an 8 ohm speaker in a 4 ohm amp, but at the cost of a bit of output. I don't get this amp beyond 4, so less output would not be an issue. I understand that there are a bunch of variables at play here - 12" vs 10" speaker size, but to Peegoo's point, I do enjoy the tinkering as well!!!!
I've been through a few speakers. The differences can be shocking BUT for clean tones we don't hear them that way unless we do before-and-after recordings. Once you add overdrive/distortion the speaker characteristics become hugely important. No two speakers sound the same. There are no rules of thumb. While certain brands have reputations for certain tyoes of sounds, even within brands the differences can be huge. A 10" can have more bass than a 12". A 12" can have more treble than a 10". The most differences are in the midrange where the frequency response curves are most complicated and impossible to guess by eye. All this means that there is *no alternative* to trying a speaker in an amp with all your pedals and find out where it works or not. Having good reference sound to compare to is very useful. Your favorite music, and high quality youtube guitar/amp/pedal demos, can definitely be your friend.
My two cents are as follows...
Jensen Mod 10-50: very warm and bassy, great overdrive sounds, not recommended for the sparkliest cleans but will do well for most clean tone jobs.
Jensen C10Q: Super bright. Not lacking in bass either. The mids are generally scooped. Clean tones can go from sweet to aggressively bright. Distortion can be very nice but compared to other speakers on the market it could very well be a bit too sharp and peaky, or that could be exactly want you want.
Eminence Ragin Cajun 10: I think this is the most versatile 10" on the market. Not as bright as the C10Q but will do great classy clean tones. Has a bluesy warmth and thickness that the C10Q lacks. Overdrive and distortion sounds are fabulous.
Irishman in Paris - Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
I like it for several reasons. It has a shallow cone and a big dust cap. It’s not beamy. It’s also an undoped cone. I prefer that. I get a richer tone (whatever the tone of the speaker) if it’s undoped or is lightly doped. It’s hard to describe.
You can find this speaker new and used on Reverb. Used it’s a great way to go.
Last Edit: Feb 5, 2020 18:38:22 GMT -5 by Leftee ☕️
An update - I picked up a Jensen Mod 10-50 and installed it last night. It is an improvement right out of the box and will hopefully only get better as it gets broken in. Thanks to you all for your recommendations and advice!