1966 Fender Vibrolux Replacement Speaker Shootout

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For some time now my 1966 Fender Vibrolux has been developing what is called “Cone Cry”. It’s more pronounced when using humbucker guitars, and after experiencing it a lot more lately, I decided to set out on a search to find a decent replacement speaker.

First, I wanted to figure out what speakers I had in this amp to begin with. Since this is a very old amp, the speakers in it were very old as well. When I got the amp back in 2009 the speakers were not the original ones but looked very old.

To figure out what kind of speakers I that were in the amp ( since there were no signs of what they were other than some sort of Celestion ), I posted a few pictures of the speakers on a few gear forums and then someone finally told me to email Dr. Decibel. Cue Austin Powers mystery music now. 🙂

For some reason, every time I hear the name Dr Decibel I think of a character out of the Austin Powers movies. 🙂

Anyway, back to the real matter at hand.

I emailed the Doc and he gave me the exact info I needed about this Celestion speaker. This was his response:

T2770 is a G10M first issued in October 1977. The manufacturing datecode on yours is LK25 suggesting it was made on the 25th November, 1977 so a very early one. It’s a 25W speaker like the G12M (Greenback) and uses the same 35oz ceramic magnet. It’s quite a big magnet for a 10” and I’d expect sensitivity to be high at around 98/99dB but with a very detailed, middly sound rather than warm and plumy. I guess closest current model is the G10 Vintage.

Vibrolux Replacement Speaker

So now that I knew what I had in the amp I did some research and came up with a few speakers that might work well with this amp. I also remembered that I still had my Weber 10F150T from the Princeton I once had. I also had an Eminence Copperhead in my Pro Junior to try out as well. This gave me a few alternatives to see how different these speakers sounded in the amp.

I then decided to purchase 2 Eminence Legend 1058 speakers to try out. In retrospect I probably should have got One Rajin Cajun and One Legend but oh well.

So here are the Contestants in the Fender 1966 Vibrolux Speaker Shootout.

The Original 1977 Celestions

  • Power Rating 25w
  • 35 oz. magnet

Weber 10F150T

  • Power Rating 50w
  • 40 oz. magnet

Eminence Copperhead

  • Power Rating 75w
  • 20 oz. magnet

Eminence Legend 1058

  • Power Rating 75w
  • 16 oz. magnet

Celestion-1977Weber-10F150TEminence-CopperheadEminence-Legend

Amp Settings

All the settings on the amp were exactly the same for each speaker and there was no EQ or Compression applied to each clip. Each clip was recorded into Presonus Studio One using a single AEA R84 about one foot from the amp.

  • Volume 5
  • Bass 5
  • Treble 5
  • Reverb 2

Here are the speaker combinations used while recording.

1977 Celestions loaded in both speakers with the mic on the right speaker.

Weber 10F150T loaded in the right speaker.  The left speaker contained an Eminence Copperhead.

Eminence Copperhead loaded in the left speaker with the right speaker housing the Weber 10F150T.  Mic was on the Copperhead speaker of course.

Eminence Legend 1058 loaded in both speakers with the mic on the right speaker.

Watch the Video Shootout

video

At this point it’s hard to say what I like the best but so far I like these two combinations. One Eminence Copperhead and one Eminence Legend, or One Copperhead and One Weber 10F150T. Although I do really like the sound of two Eminence Legend’s, I’ll probably end up putting one of the Legends in the Pro Junior.

[Update]

After trying multiple guitars with 2 Eminence Legends in the amp, I think I’m going to stay with this combo as it seems to be the most versatile for all my guitars. Overall, the Weber sounds really good but seems to have too much high end that I don’t like. Not sure why, but I like it in the Princeton.

So what speaker do you like the best?

33 thoughts on “1966 Fender Vibrolux Replacement Speaker Shootout”

  1. Hi John…. Looks like a bunch of great speakers. Have you had any experience with WGS? They make some very good models, and they are made in the good ‘ol US of A.

      • John, been a log time fan of yours and enjoyed yours.
        My question for vibrolux speakers beside the eminence legend was your preference for copperhead,takin Cajun or swamp thing. Thanks john.
        Kenny m.

      • Not sure of verdict. The legen is what is the companion s speaker of choice? Copperhead swamp or Cajun?
        Thanks john

  2. Well, that was fun!

    I think I liked the Legend best. The Celestion had the most old-timey charm. The Weber was the fullest sounding. The Copperhead was a bit hotter than the Legend, but the Legend just seemed more musical to me, somehow. I’ll qualify this by saying I know chuck-all about speakers.

    • Yeah I like the Legend a lot too. I think I’m going to go with the Copperhead and the Legend so far. Would like to try the Celestion Gold too. It’s hard to make a decision really.

  3. So … looks like I’m the only one that was in the Weber’s camp … it was my fave. Seemed clear and crisp!

    • Hi Russ I like the Weber but it has a slightly harsh high end on some points with the volume knob. Very minor but annoys me enough to not keep it.

  4. Hi John! Some very nice speakers here, my favorites are Copperhead and legend ether or a combo of the two. The Weber is nice…but the above mentioned, just really move me from way deep down.

  5. You can’t go wrong with a Weber speaker. I have used them as replacements in Tweed Deluxe and Twin Reverb’s.

  6. Hi John,

    Thanks so much for sharing this experiment! I love learning from these things, and you’ve put a lot of effort into getting it recorded.

    I think I’d go with your Eminence combination, too. The Weber is also awesome.

    Have you considered trying the current speaker Fender is using with the reissues of this amp? (Two – 10″ Jensen® P-10R with Alnico Magnets.) This might give you a more “Fender” sound.

    • I haven’t tried that Fender. As much as I like doing this I can’t spend anymore time on it as I need to finish other things. It’s taken a lot of time to complete this but I’ve learned a lot. Also with the Copperhead and Legend together all of my guitars seem to be sounding really good.

      Weber just seems to be too bright for the SG and slide for may taste. I like the Weber in the Princeton. The 335 in that combo sounds incredible. Thanks!

  7. John-
    I use Webers in all of my Fender amps. I too have a vintage Vibrolux with the Webers, and a Princeton with a Weber. I have not tried other speakers though. Just know that I like the Weber’s sound. Hard to tell using a computer about sound I guess.

  8. For me it is the two Eminence speakers. The Copperhead is meaty and the Legend is just plain musical. Probably one each for me. This is great because I am building a 2×10″ cabinet for a 5F1-ish amp. Thanks!

  9. Hi John,
    I just swapped out a 12′ Celestion seventy eighty that was getting ready to recone. Put an Eminence Swamp Thang in the Randall RG 50TC and am in sonic heaven. All the clean headroom in the world—and what beautiful mid range for slide. Techs told me the Swamp Thang is a budget EV12M and wow were they right!! My 1988 SG 62 reissue sings in open E and My Gibson Midtown with classic 57’s really shines in open D. A marvelous speaker at a great price.

  10. Hi John,

    I know it is hard to chose a or the perfect speaker for a desired sound. I ended up with a Celestion GM70 and an Eminence Black Powder in my Marshall. I just love the mix, punchy with a definate sweetness of the overall sound. Who said that we have to use the same speaker for a combination. Try it out, you might just like the match.

  11. Greenback Celestions in my Marshall cab, and stock Jensons in my Twin make for a complex sound able to get dirty quick and maintain a clear voice simultaneously. Only hang up is that the cab is is set for 16 ohm and the twin only puts out 8. But I rather like the dirt to be treaded lightly, lol.

  12. The Webers would be my choice, HANDS DOWN, but I am just an old blues playah!!!! Great tone brother.

  13. Add me to the Weber fan list. I’ve used several different models in different amps and loved the sound of each. The Weber does sound wider range, to me that’s a good thing. The Legends weren’t far behind.

  14. The never ending quest for the perfect tone, it sure is hard to chose. I like the old school celestions. I would play the Gibson Les Paul and the ES 335 before making a final decision. I put a celestion gold in my 1977 Princeton and it sounds good but the very first thing I noticed was compared to the stock speaker, I had to turn the volume knob up higher to achieve the same level of output. It may be due to the higher wattage rating. I am blessed to have several good amps, Matchless, 57 Fender R.I. Twin, Deluxe, and Champ, but for home use I always seem to love the sound of the Princeton. The 57 Twin R.I. sounds great with dual rectifier tubes, but I need to find a good power break that won’t effect the tone. You know the speakers are going to sound different when you are playing out compared to playing at home. It is enough to drive a person crazy. I wish you the best. Good luck on finding what makes you happy.

  15. I liked the combination of the Copperhead and Weber. The Copperhead seemed to break up a bit more. And for me, I liked the sound of one speaker a bit dirty and the other clean.

    By the way, thank you for posting this. I’m looking to replace the Jensen P10R in my Princeton Reverb Reissue (it’s a special edition, which is why it doesn’t have the typical C10R). I love the clean sound of this amp, but it seems to fall apart when cranked. So far, I’ve narrowed my choices to the Copperhead, Legend 1058, Weber 10F150, and 10F150T. So even though your clips are not with a Princeton, it’s nice to hear quality clips of most of these speakers in the same amp.

    I’m curious, did you ever find the 10F150T to have too much treble when it was in the Princeton? According to Weber, the only difference between the 10F150 and 10F150T is that the T version accentuates more treble. I know that the T version seems to be the Weber of choice for Princeton owners. But the amps seems to have plenty of treble on tap. I’m wondering if the T version would be too much. Thanks!

    • Hey Doug. I would try the Legend really. It’s an amazing speaker with nice bass and the treble does not take your head off. I’m just really liking the Legend with all my guitars. The Copperhead I didn’t like in the Princeton.

      • John, I just wanted to follow up. I went ahead and picked up a Legend. I just got finished installing it and playing through it for a while. It still needs to break in a bit, but so far I like it a lot. Much fuller sound than the stock speaker, tighter bass, and smooth highs. Saying that it doesn’t take your head off is dead on. At the same time, the amp retains that nice Princeton Reverb clean chime. It always sounded pretty good with my Strats. But now it sounds much better. And my Les Paul sounds great through it as well. Thanks again!

        • That’s great. I think I’m going to put 2 more Legends in my 2 X 12 cabinet as well. Kinda tired of the Vintage 30 sound.

  16. Hey John good to be in touch again. I’m in the market my self narrowed to supro supreme or vibrolux(good speakers of course) a blues guy want tone like buddy guys first album and brother Duane at shoals (loan me dime)
    I like your cper head sound. And I love your strat tone. On podcast of Greeney’s fool no more. Loved all the materials I’ve purchased. Recently in your neck of woods when wild fire was going around election time.
    As a former one may I say you are a gifted teacher. And can play well also.
    Merry Christmas to your family ad you. Me by mcNeil up in jersey.

  17. Don’t know why first comment failed.have learned and enjoyed from all purchased material. Re your opinion input I liked copperhead and secondly the weber.
    On a personal item, I thought your tone green on the pod fool no more was to die for. As usual solid work, thanks…merry Christmas to u and your family.

  18. John,
    I realize that it has been some time since your last update. I’ve recently purchased a used 63 Vibroverb RI, and am planning a speaker swap. I already had a Legend 1058 that I had purchased for another amp that I have sold. I’m torn between two 1058s and one 1058 with an Eminence 1028k AlNiCo. By any chance, did you ever try this or other similar combination?

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