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Thread: JBL D120 reproductions

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    JBL D120 reproductions

    Any one had any experience or luck finding JBL D120 copies? Tone Tubby makes some vintage alnicos and there's Weber's California. What does the E120 sound like as compared to the D120? I have heard that guitarists like Dicky Betts choose them as the best replacement sound for the D120's. And how does the E120 compare to some of these D120 copies or recones?

    I have a couple of D120F original baskets (including not only the original spider, but also the original dust cap) reconed with a reproduction of the older, pre-100watt version cone - all paper including a paper surround having a different weight paper cone with a separate cloth surround. The voice coil, like the cone, is also propietary but made to exacting specifications. That is, it is edge wound alluminum on a paper former.

    Rick

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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Hi Rick...

    The E120 is simply the most potent 12" extended range speaker ever made. 103dB sensitivity, 300 watts (150watts in open back) power handling. The ceramic E-series motor has more flux in the gap, 1.35T vs. 1.2T for the alnico D/K series, 103dB vs. 101dB sensitivity....results in 1-2 dB more midband efficiency giving it a little fatter tone overall. Cloth m-roll surround allows for both more low end excursion and less cone break-up, which could be viewed as a plus or minus depending on your preference. I think it makes for a much more durable and versatile speaker than the vintage all paper cone-compliance...especially with todays channel switching, clean to high-gain amps....it goes great with my Rivera Knucklehead 55.

    Tha only thing I don't like about it is the added weight('bout 6 pounds) of the ceramic magnet. The E120 is like Godzilla....it really screams when you want it to...or can be velvety smooth too. You tell it what to do and it does it. Yeah....Dickey Betts, Les Paul Standard, Marshall and JBL...unmistakeable combination

    Some have tried to reproduce a JBL D/K/E-120...but they're nowhere close. Eminence makes a terrible attempt at an E-120 clone....total waste of time. A D/K reconed with an E-120 kit makes for more power handling and a bit less cone break-up and increased low end. Sounds just like a K-120 which is alnico.
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

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    First, so that I make sure I understood, did you say that when choosing a recone kit for a D series JBL, the E series recone kit is the closest sounding recone kit to the D series and for example Weber and Orange County recone kits are not as good?

    Second, you've told of the difference in sound between the D and the E series, but what of the K?

    Look at these D120's. There is a little too much glue around the dust caps to be original cones, no?
    Rick
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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horseshead
    First, so that I make sure I understood, did you say that when choosing a recone kit for a D series JBL, the E series recone kit is the closest sounding recone kit to the D series and for example Weber and Orange County recone kits are not as good?
    I'm saying the E-series kit is what the factory specs for the D/K/E-120, and anything other than that is aftermarket. I have not seen, nor heard in my 18 years reconing, and aftermarket recone job that sounds as good as the factory parts.
    Second, you've told of the difference in sound between the D and the E series, but what of the K?
    The K sounds like the E with an alnico magnet. A little less sensitive...about 2dB less overall...less midrange in the 250-500 hz range.


    Look at these D120's. There is a little too much glue around the dust caps to be original cones, no?
    Rick
    I can't tell enough detail from your pics about your speakers...other than they look like aftermarket reproductions. Usually the cones are too thick and heavy to sound like the vintage originals, and I haven't seen any aftermarket aluminum wire voicecoils...I've only seen copper. I don't do aftermarket recones on E120's...haven't yet anyway...because the sound isn't worth it.....and my customers know that I will use the parts that sound best. So far, that's the JBL kits.
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

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    Quote Originally Posted by edgewound
    I'm saying the E-series kit is what the factory specs for the D/K/E-120, and anything other than that is aftermarket.

    But the factory specs for the D cone is the D kit, not the E kit, right? It's just that the D kit is no longer available or let's say almost impossible to find, and the E kit is closer in sound to the D kit than any non-JBL recone kit people are using to recone the JBL D series speaker. Is that what you mean?

    The K sounds like the E with an alnico magnet. A little less sensitive...about 2dB less overall...less midrange in the 250-500 hz range.

    Sounds like an E series speaker but a little more like a K series speaker? In that case I'm just not clear what the K series sounds like as compared with the D series?



    I can't tell enough detail from your pics about your speakers...other than they look like aftermarket reproductions. Usually the cones are too thick and heavy to sound like the vintage originals, and I haven't seen any aftermarket aluminum wire wire voicecoils...I've only seen copper. I don't do aftermarket recones on E120's...haven't yet anyway...because the sound isn't worth it.....and my customers know that I will use the parts that sound best. So far, that's the JBL kits.
    That picture was not my speakers. Those speakers were a pair of D120F's that sold on ebay last night. I was wondering if I should go for them but I remembered a post last March a year ago on this forum somebody said from looking at a picture that I posted of my D130F's that one of them looked like was possibly reconed with an original D kit in the JBL factory very early because the glue around the dust cap is a little thicker than the glue of an original cone. I wound up not buying the D120F's last night even though the auction ended with an unbelievable price. Ebay just doesn't have unbelievable prices anymore on JBL D series guitar speakers so that's how you know somethings is probably up with that pair.

    I still have only the one pair of vintage all paper cone reproductions to load my newly acquired vintage fender quad reverb. That amp takes four speakers. On top of that, each speaker is supposed to be 16 ohms. My all paper JBL 120's still probably sound better than any non-JBL speaker, for example the four Utah V12PC's that are in there now. Whether I have my JBL's reconed and how they will be reconed will depend on what I try to match them with, the kind of JBL I choose for the other two speakers. From talking to you, I already have decided that if I recone my speakers, I would use the E series kit.

    I play all styles but generally gravitate toward quieter things like jazz and international styles of music.

    Any ideas about how to load my new amp with JBL's if you were me?

    Thanks for your help

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    Your Memory Lives On RIP Tom Loizeaux's Avatar
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    With a Fender Quad Reverb being an open back cabinet, I think you could mix differant types of drivers, as long as the effiencies and impedances were close. Flat response, hi-fi, or speaker cabinet loading are not issues here.
    Most guitar players like some cone break up and peaky responses, so JBLs may not really give you that sound. Guitar amp speakers are a very subjective area! I use many JBL musical instrument drivers but they are only working in my bass amp cabinets and PA and stage monitor boxes.
    The best advice is to try as many combinations as you can.

    Tom

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    Senior Member Hamilton's Avatar
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    Peavey claims that their 1203 and 1501DT-4 Black Widow speakers are voiced to the "D" series JBLs. We've done low to moderate level listening comparisons and they do indeed sound extremely close. The 15" being one of the most favorites with pedal steel guitar players.
    There are two theories to arguing with women, but...neither has worked.

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    horsehead,

    If that were me, I'd load that sucker up with four D123's - my favorite guitar speaker.
    Harvey "Hifi" Gerst
    ("Hifi" was my nickname at JBL.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst
    horsehead,

    If that were me, I'd load that sucker up with four D123's - my favorite guitar speaker.

    Yep. I also love the D130..wonder why? Who designed them?

    The D123 is a heavenly 12. Harvey has stated this before but I think it bears mentioning again- don't clamp them tight to the baffle. Right? I'd like to think I lerned sumpin'.

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    Senior Member spkrman57's Avatar
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    D123 driver is a sleeper!

    I like to run mine with a single-ended EL84 pentode amp. The little 5 watt output seems to be just right for the 15 watt rated D123!

    Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by spkrman57
    I like to run mine with a single-ended EL84 pentode amp. The little 5 watt output seems to be just right for the 15 watt rated D123!

    Ron
    The D123 will handle a lot more than 15 watts. It should handle as much as a D110F. It should work fine with a 50 or 60 watt amp, as long as you don't push it really hard.
    Harvey "Hifi" Gerst
    ("Hifi" was my nickname at JBL.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst
    horsehead,

    If that were me, I'd load that sucker up with four D123's - my favorite guitar speaker.
    Why are they your favorite guitar speaker? I was just reading on this forum somebody saying to stay away from them when looking for a d120 replacement.

    A fender quad is rated at 100w output (rms?) so wouldn't putting four 16 ohm d123's in it force the amp to put too much voltage on the output tubes or some other part, and blow or at least prematurely age the tubes or other parts?

    Can you describe what my reproduction vintage all paper cone compliance d120's sound like compared to the K120's and the d123's?

    Rick

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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Rick,

    It's nearly...no...impossible to describe how your repro D120's sound next to a Factory K120. I can describe the originals though. The K will have a little lower bottom end and slightly less cone breakup than the D120 due to the increased compliance of the suspension. The K will also take nearly double the power due to the higher temp aluminum coil former. I hope that helps. I know it's difficult to translate without actually hearing them.

    The D123 will not have the high freq extension of the D120, nor will it have near the sensitivity. The cone is much heavier/ thicker and ribbed.
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

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    Quote Originally Posted by horseshead
    Why are they your favorite guitar speaker? I was just reading on this forum somebody saying to stay away from them when looking for a d120 replacement.
    I think they sound smoother and warmer than the D120F. They'd be better for blues and jazz, but that's just my opinion. Rock is a different story - there, you need the extra power handling the D120F's provide. But if somebody warned you away from the D123's, perhaps you should take their advice. Maybe they know something about them that I don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by horseshead
    A fender quad is rated at 100w output (rms?) so wouldn't putting four 16 ohm d123's in it force the amp to put too much voltage on the output tubes or some other part, and blow or at least prematurely age the tubes or other parts?
    Well splitting the power up among four D123's (wired in series/parallel) would result in about 25 watts max to each speaker. Can't see where that would be much of a problem for the amp or the speakers. How many times have you turned the amp all the way to 10?

    Quote Originally Posted by horseshead
    Can you describe what my reproduction vintage all paper cone compliance d120's sound like compared to the K120's and the d123's?

    Rick
    I haven't the faintest idea what the hell a "reproduction vintage all paper cone compliance D120" speaker sounds like.

    I've heard a lot of D120F original speakers, a lot of D123's, but I've never heard a K120 that I recall.

    I've already told you what I would do if it were me making that decision. Sounds like you've already made up your mind about it. Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your thread; just wanted to offer an alternative solution, based on your style of playing. I'll shut up now.
    Harvey "Hifi" Gerst
    ("Hifi" was my nickname at JBL.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst
    I think they sound smoother and warmer than the D120F. They'd be better for blues and jazz, but that's just my opinion. Rock is a different story - there, you need the extra power handling the D120F's provide. But if somebody warned you away from the D123's, perhaps you should take their advice. Maybe they know something about them that I don't.

    I'm sure whoever wrote it meant the d123's were not for loud music as I recall he mentioned that they were designed for low power home stereos. I can't seem to sift through the many threads on this subject to find it.


    I've already told you what I would do if it were me making that decision. Sounds like you've already made up your mind about it. Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your thread; just wanted to offer an alternative solution, based on your style of playing. I'll shut up now.
    Why apologize? I'll just buy the d123 and get back to you how it works out with my stereo guitar setup - dual showman reverb/2xjbl d130f's, and the quad. Thanks for the input. It is greatly appreciated.
    Rick (horseshead)

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