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Author Topic: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)  (Read 9471 times)

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chev

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good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« on: September 15, 2009, 07:41:42 am »

Hi,

I just got a 8 ohm Sunn 215 bass cab reissue made for the 1200S or 300T head reissue.

http://www.sunnamps.com/pdfs/manuals/bass/Sunn_215.pdf

It looks solid and powerful but the speakers in it looks shots because it sound like crap, no low-end and lots of «warbling»...

My 1971 Sunn Cab 1x15 with a Sunn Transducer sound way more loud and has much more low-end.

I think I need to put new speakers in the 215, but I can't decide with which to go for a good strong bass that withstand a Big Muff Bass maxed and a LesPaul Baritone (B tuning) on bridge pick-up only?

I've seen the old JBL are good but too hard to get.

So I'm turning myself into Eminence 15"...EV looks good but to expensive.

The Eminence 15" goes from 60$ to 250$ per speaker...what are the main pro and con of a 60$ vs 250$ speaker?

I've found that website to buy speakers...looks like good deals there:

http://www.usspeaker.com/homepage.htm

thanks for any help or recommendation!

Sunn Model T 1st gen+Sunn 215s+Sunn 412s, Sunn Beta Bass+Sunn 215+Sunn Coliseum Slave+2 x Sunn 115

HRobert

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 08:05:19 pm »

There are several good choices for quality bass speakers out there Eminence, Celestion, etc.  I'm a fan of the older JBL speakers.  I have a pair of Sunn copy cabs that I built wih 2 JBL K-130 guitar speakers...which sound fantastic.  However, I'm a fan of the JBL E-140's for bass.  Great sound and power handling...but a little pricey. 

The problem is that I think they were only made in 8 Ohms...which means that 2 in parallel will be a 4 Ohm cab, or in series the cab will be 16 Ohm.  Of course you could always find a pair of bare frames, or blown speakers and have them reconed with an after market 16 Ohm cone kit so that two in parallel will equal a final load of 8 Ohms.

Rob

EdBass

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 10:48:27 pm »

D and K series were available in 16 ohms from the factory, they are designated as "6" (i.e. D140F-6). Pretty scarce, and very expensive with factory cones in good condition.
Regardless; I think it depends on what you are driving them with and what you expect them to do. The D series won't take a lot of abuse compared to modern drivers, and if you are just planning to make loud noise with them the Eminence drivers are far more practical.
Even the stamped frame Eminence will take a pounding and you won't be wasting a vintage sweet sounding driver.

chev

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2009, 04:44:17 am »

Ok that's some valuable info, thanks.

I will put some loud noise and lots of dirt into them...

I need to tight the low-end coming from my Solarus plug into the 215...I use a EHX Big Muff Wicker, Flanger Hoax (crazy noise machine...!) and a Deluxe Memory Man.

For now it's awesome with an unknown pair of 8 ohm OEM eminence(guessing from the serial number and look...), but I'm planning on maybe getting these, and hope to tight-up the low-end:

http://www.eminence.com/guitar_speaker_detail.asp?model=BIGBEN&speaker_size=15&SUB_CAT_ID=4

They say it's made for Delta Blues, Texas Blues, Jazz,
and Country but I've eared they can reproduce dirt nicely.

or I've eared good things about the Kappa models also, but they might be better for true bass guitar...?

Anyways, for now I have to watch for things to fall everywhere around...haha.

And there's no way I put my heads on top of the cabs...it would fell off in a second...!


Sunn Model T 1st gen+Sunn 215s+Sunn 412s, Sunn Beta Bass+Sunn 215+Sunn Coliseum Slave+2 x Sunn 115

HRobert

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2009, 01:06:16 pm »

D and K series were available in 16 ohms from the factory, they are designated as "6" (i.e. D140F-6). Pretty scarce, and very expensive with factory cones in good condition.
Regardless; I think it depends on what you are driving them with and what you expect them to do. The D series won't take a lot of abuse compared to modern drivers, and if you are just planning to make loud noise with them the Eminence drivers are far more practical.
Even the stamped frame Eminence will take a pounding and you won't be wasting a vintage sweet sounding driver.
Ed,

How right you are about the D series for bass.  The K-140's are not much better for bass than their D series counterpart. but K-130's are great for guitar and some keyboards.  However, the E series 140 and 145 really kick butt when it comes to bass.  Nice low end and they can take the power - 400 watts peak and 200 watts RMS.

Bob

EdBass

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 10:47:22 am »

D and K series were available in 16 ohms from the factory, they are designated as "6" (i.e. D140F-6). Pretty scarce, and very expensive with factory cones in good condition.
Regardless; I think it depends on what you are driving them with and what you expect them to do. The D series won't take a lot of abuse compared to modern drivers, and if you are just planning to make loud noise with them the Eminence drivers are far more practical.
Even the stamped frame Eminence will take a pounding and you won't be wasting a vintage sweet sounding driver.
Ed,

How right you are about the D series for bass.  The K-140's are not much better for bass than their D series counterpart. but K-130's are great for guitar and some keyboards.  However, the E series 140 and 145 really kick butt when it comes to bass.  Nice low end and they can take the power - 400 watts peak and 200 watts RMS.

Bob

As I posted, I think it depends on what you are driving them with and what you expect them to do. I try to “use the right tool for the job”, so I usually put some thought into what gear I bring based on the situation, and fortunately I’ve accumulated a pretty good selection of rigs over the years.
I guess I’m old, but I really don’t understand some of the “rigs” that get posted here. It’s like these guys just stack up anything that will make noise and call it their “rig”. I read the posts asking basic questions about impedance, etc. When I look at those pictures the phrases that come to mind are “phase cancellation” and/or “impedance mismatch”. I also wonder how many of those nice old Sunns need cap jobs. When I see pictures of the “famous” stoner/doom/sludge artists, their backlines look like a flea market; again, like they just stack up anything that even looks like a piece of musical gear. Based on what I’ve heard, I suppose it doesn’t really matter what they play through, tone articulation and musical ability are apparently way, way down on their priority lists…
But to each their own, I suppose the upside is that the genre allows a whole new crop of enthusiasts to get involved with “music” without wasting time learning how to actually play the instruments. :roll:
Alright, I’ve had my fun!  :-D No offence intended towards any specific individual(s). In all seriousness if you can make a living playing a single barre chord at 65% THD and 130 dB for 12 measures; my hat is off to you! “Art” is subjective at best, and I’m not insinuating that the stoner/doom/etc. genre isn’t an art form; it’s just my personal opinion that it isn’t the art form referred to as “music”. I also defend your right to produce and promote this art form.

But I digress.

I have 2000S cabs loaded with K140-6’s, D140’s, and EV SRO’s. The K series will handle about twice the power of the D’s. Actual ratings are hard to come by, but I believe that the D series was rated at 75 watts and the K series were rated by JBL at 150 watts continuous sine wave. As far as practical MI (Musical Instrument) applications go, that’s pretty burly. Due to the dynamic nature of instruments, 150 watts is rarely seen in a MI rig except in very short bursts, 150 watts  of continuous white noise is quite a load comparatively. The only differences between the D and K series (as far as I can tell) are in the VC and suspension; the baskets and motors are identical in both series.
However, the 2000S cabs rarely leave my shop; it has to be a special situation. They are just too freekin’ cumbersome to deal with, and frankly every gig I play has adequate PA support so theoretically I could use my 30 watt Ampeg B15N if I wanted to. I do like to use a lot more stage volume than most though, and way more than sound people like. I posted about the last time I took a 2000S rig gigging;
 http://sunn.ampage.org/sdp/index.php/topic,4556.msg17247.html#msg17247
My “go to” rig is a Reeves Custom 225 that I run through a Sunn 215S cab loaded with EVM 15L’s. That will get loud enough with no/minimal PA support for any venue short of big stage outdoor gigs. And… it’s a manageable package.  So, the 2000S rigs only venture out when I’m feeling particularly froggy, and I really want to look cool. :wink:
I think that tonally the best sounding live rig I have is a tube rectified 200S through a D140 loaded 200S cab. With a P or J bass that rig sounds so good you can taste it. I’m a supporter of SS rectifiers for most applications, and practically all bass applications, but that 200S rocks live and my portaflex is what I always record with. At 60 watts I can only get the stage levels I like in very small venues, so I don’t get a lot of chances to use the 200S, but of every rig I have that old 200S rig get the most attention from the crowd; many more times “I/my brother-cousin-friend/someone I used to follow had one of those…” than all of my other gear combined.
While my personal preference leans toward vintage AlNiCo JBL’s, I recently worked with Reeves Amplification on a 115 design for their bass amp, and got to beat on just about every 15” speaker currently available for bass guitar; Eminence, EV, Celestion, Jensen. I can see why so many manufacturers use Eminence; they are nice sounding, durable drivers that are priced reasonably. They also work very well with gear manufacturers (they build the “Vintage Purple” driver to spec for Reeves as well as many, many other gear manufacturers). All of the drivers had their merits, none of them sounded “bad”, and as with most things musical, I think it’s largely personal preference. Most of them will sustain power levels only practically attainable with big sound reinforcement amplifiers, so unlike the old JBL’s power handling isn’t an issue.
By the way; Reeves ended up having their 15” bass driver built to spec by a manufacturer (none of the above mentioned) that I was asked not to reveal, I suspect because they build for several manufacturers also and there are trademark/copyright issues involved. However, the cabinet looks suspiciously like a 215S cut in half… :roll:





CLD

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 08:00:04 pm »

That Reeves 115 cab looks sharp, EdBass.  Have you compared it with a Sunn 115?

I have a Sunn 115V and would like to get a second 8 ohm 115 cab to pair with it, which would be more portable and lighter than dragging out a 215.  However, these have become pricey lately (i.e., more than I want to spend) and while I'd prefer a matching cab it may be easier to just get a modern cab like the new Aguilar DB115 or one like this Reeves cab, which has very similar dimensions (the Reeves is 2" deeper).  Obviously, tone compatibility is important and I'd appreciate any insight you can provide as I haven't heard the Aguilar cab yet.

Also, I have a Kustom Charger with a K140 and it sounds dynamite.  At 95 lbs, it's pretty darned heavy to haul around but it sounds so good I won't part with it.
Sunn since June 1971!
1971 Sorado, 2000S, Coliseum Bass, Coliseum Lead
1970 200S; 1974 Coliseum 880

HRobert

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2009, 11:10:44 am »

Ed,

I just looked up some of the spec sheets that I had for various speakers.  The JBL D-140 was rated 100W RMS, the K-140 was 125W and the E-140 is 200 W.

Just thought you'ld like to know.

Bob

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2009, 05:55:45 pm »

That Reeves 115 cab looks sharp, EdBass.  Have you compared it with a Sunn 115?
The only Sunn 115 I have is the Sonic l-40, and while I was up for helping out I wasn’t about to let anyone butcher my old cab to put a modern cast frame driver in it! The shallow framed AlNiCo JBL’s barely fits in past the port ducting. We did use the cab to A/B with the finished product however, and the Reeves is like the Sunn w/ a D140 on steroids. The Reeves cab is incredible; the actual benchmark was the popular Orange OBC115, and while I like the Orange cab, the Reeves 115 destroys it. To develop the actual Reeves driver, we used my Sunn 215S (the one I have loaded with EVM’s now) as the “mule”. I’d load it with prototype drivers, gig it, make notes, and send it back to the builder with my instructions on what they needed. Mind you, not actual construction requests, but things like; “Tighter bottom” or “Less bright” or “Smooth out the 1K bump”, and of course the whole time my frame of reference was D140’s my 215S had originally with the Orange as the target. In the pics I posted, the other (non flare ported) Reeves cab is a “flat” Thiele WinISD’ed to driver specs and built by Mojo for using as a control during testing.
During the development of the Reeves Custom 225 amp, I spent lots of time with the l-40 cab working on the amp’s tone stack configuration. The attached photo is the prototype Reeves C225 sitting on my l-40 in my living room, where it stayed for a couple of months (much to my wife’s delight!).


Ed,

I just looked up some of the spec sheets that I had for various speakers.  The JBL D-140 was rated 100W RMS, the K-140 was 125W and the E-140 is 200 W.

Just thought you'ld like to know.

Bob

Thanks for the heads up! I’ve never seen factory specs on the D’s, but several years ago Harvey Gerst mentioned it was “around 75 watts”, and since he designed the D140F for JBL in the 60’s I figured that was a pretty good estimate. I’m going to try to attach a PDF copy of the K series literature I have from the factory, it rates the K140 at “Continuous program – 300 watts” and “Continuous sine wave – 150 watts”, along with a footnote describing their general distain for RMS rating, and why they didn’t use RMS for rating their speakers. I sure you’ll find it interesting reading, Bob!
If you get a chance, I’d love copies of any spec sheets on old JBL stuff you might have, I don’t have much myself.


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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2009, 12:32:36 am »

Wow, what great posts we have here! Thanks!!!

CLD

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2009, 01:14:30 pm »

Thanks, EdBass!
Sunn since June 1971!
1971 Sorado, 2000S, Coliseum Bass, Coliseum Lead
1970 200S; 1974 Coliseum 880

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2009, 02:03:00 pm »

You're welcome CLD. I've got a few questions for you;
Am I correct in assuming that your 115 Sunn cab is the Cerwin Vega loaded model? Also, how is that cab ported? Do you have any pics of it opened up?

On a "non-Sunn" note;
Do you know much about the old Kustom gear? I've got these two heads;



And a 2 X 15 in the matching blue sparkle tuck 'n roll. I bought all three pieces a few years ago for two reasons; When that tuck 'n roll gear came out I was just getting started playing bass, and my adolescent brain thought they were maybe the coolest looking amps I had ever seen, and the 2 X 15 cab was loaded with Altec 421's.
I know the top amp is what is referred to as the "frankenstein" model, it has a reverb tank in the extended "forehead". The bottom one is a K100(?), and I believe they are both pre 1970 which makes them very early Kustoms(?).
If you or anyone else could shed some light on these (still cool looking) pieces, that would be great!

CLD

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2009, 04:10:33 pm »

Yup, mine's the Vega-speakered 115. A grill-off photo is attached, you'll see the baffle is a little different.  Also, the speaker is front-loaded and the back is sealed.

Also attached is a photo of what used to be my Kustom kollection.

I sold the 1969 K200B-1 with matching 215, along with the PA head and another 1969 215, earlier this year but still have the Charger and the monster K250 with the big 18" W-horn cabinet.  I came across the '69 rig a few years ago and was briefly sidetracked from my longtime Sunn enthusiasm (I also had a small 1972 Kustom PA that was a lot of fun) but still hope to sell the big monster, which would just leave me the great-sounding bass combo and, of course, my variety of Sunn gear.  The Kustom stuff sure sounds good though, even better than I remembered from my youth.  Like you, I began playing bass when Kustom gear was all the rage - there was a guy in a local band who had the 200 head with TWO 315 cabinets, which I thought was the coolest rig going at the time.

I highly recommend you check out www.vintagekustom.com, it is a very nice forum and I've met one member of this forum who also happens to belong to the Kustom forum!  I don't think it has as many posters as this one but I've found good information that would be helpful to you.  One of the most helpful posts you can find there regards serial number dating. If you can't find it let me know and I'll either find it online or snail-mail it to you. The Frankenstein head is among the earliest Kustoms, dating (I believe) from 1967.  And I see your other head still has the Ross name on the face so it may be from 1968.  By 2Q 1969 they dropped the "by Ross."  
 

« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 04:18:59 pm by CLD »
Sunn since June 1971!
1971 Sorado, 2000S, Coliseum Bass, Coliseum Lead
1970 200S; 1974 Coliseum 880

HRobert

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Re: good 15" speaker for a Sunn 215 (reissue)
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2009, 06:17:31 pm »

You're welcome CLD. I've got a few questions for you;
Am I correct in assuming that your 115 Sunn cab is the Cerwin Vega loaded model? Also, how is that cab ported? Do you have any pics of it opened up?

On a "non-Sunn" note;
Do you know much about the old Kustom gear? I've got these two heads;



And a 2 X 15 in the matching blue sparkle tuck 'n roll. I bought all three pieces a few years ago for two reasons; When that tuck 'n roll gear came out I was just getting started playing bass, and my adolescent brain thought they were maybe the coolest looking amps I had ever seen, and the 2 X 15 cab was loaded with Altec 421's.
I know the top amp is what is referred to as the "frankenstein" model, it has a reverb tank in the extended "forehead". The bottom one is a K100(?), and I believe they are both pre 1970 which makes them very early Kustoms(?).
If you or anyone else could shed some light on these (still cool looking) pieces, that would be great!

Ed,

Didn't know you had any of the old Kustom gear.  It was not too bad in the day.  My first PA system was a pair of 70's Sunn 412SR Column speakers and a gold sparkle Kustom PA head - 4 channels - Vol, Treb, Bass, and Reverb controls for each channel.  Sounded pretty damn good...must have been the Sunn speakers.

Rob