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Thread: C38 with Interesting Load

  1. #1
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    C38 with Interesting Load

    I picked up C38's the other day and they have an "un-specified" contingent of drivers etc.
    LX5
    LE85 on 1217-1290
    D130

    Is this anything other than an original owner just loading with what they wanted or changing stuff out in an attempt to improve it?

    Yes, the cool legs are in tact!

    Cabinets will need work, but that's no surprise.
    The D130's are old and need a re-cone. The paper surrounds are starting to give way and there are few patches on them already I will probably improve for now.
    They sound veiled or muddy so I will have to get into the LX5 and replace the various goodies.....or go another route I guess although I am one to keep iconic pieces like this as they were intended.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Beautiful! Nice score!

    Don't get bogged down messing around with the LX5 networks. They will never work well with those drivers. They were designed to blend the LE15A with a 375 or LE85, but even then they are far from ideal in my opinion.

    Here are a few things to consider:
    1. The LE85 is best used above 800Hz
    2. The 1217-1290 horn is best used above 1200Hz
    3. The D130s are no longer supported by JBL, so any work done on them will be an aftermarket solution. I suggest reaching out to forum member Edgewound.
    4. If you want to stay with a JBL network, you might consider the N1200. Personally, I would build my own simple networks.
    5. While I am personally not a fan of the “potato masher” horn, it conveniently fits behind speaker grilles.


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Beautiful! Nice score!

    Don't get bogged down messing around with the LX5 networks. They will never work well with those drivers. They were designed to blend the LE15A with a 375 or LE85, but even then they are far from ideal in my opinion.

    Here are a few things to consider:
    1. The LE85 is best used above 800Hz
    2. The 1217-1290 horn is best used above 1200Hz
    3. The D130s are no longer supported by JBL, so any work done on them will be an aftermarket solution. I suggest reaching out to forum member Edgewound.
    4. If you want to stay with a JBL network, you might consider the N1200. Personally, I would build my own simple networks.
    5. While I am personally not a fan of the “potato masher” horn, it conveniently fits behind speaker grilles.


    Widget
    Thanks Widget. Helpful stuff.

    The odd combo and how it all works together is the question I am having here for sure, so thanks.

    Does Edgewound work on drivers? I'm in no way married to these D130's considering they need work. They used a few different drivers in these so I do have some liberty there.

    Building a new network would be easy. I could even mess around a little first with DSP.

  4. #4
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    If they were mine, first I would want to verify that the LE85s were up to snuff. Assuming they passed muster, I would get a pair of LE14As or one of the other JBL 14" variants, and then I would explore horn options and create a two way with the 14" woofer and LE85. This will give you the widest range system. If deep bass is less important then you could look at the 130A high sensitivity route.

    I would sell the LX5 networks and likely sell the D130s. Though a properly working D130 with a bit of HF augmentation and modest bass boost can be a fun system too.

    Yes, Edgewound is in the business of resurrecting vintage JBLs. And yes, you have lots of options. You might want to look at Zilch's Econowave threads here and on other audio forums. He was able to get respectable performance out of the these vintage systems at moderate cost. You may find his threads particularly useful if you can read a schematic and not burn the house down with a soldering iron. DSP is also always an option.


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    If they were mine, first I would want to verify that the LE85s were up to snuff. Assuming they passed muster, I would get a pair of LE14As or one of the other JBL 14" variants, and then I would explore horn options and create a two way with the 14" woofer and LE85. This will give you the widest range system. If deep bass is less important then you could look at the 130A high sensitivity route.

    I would sell the LX5 networks and likely sell the D130s. Though a properly working D130 with a bit of HF augmentation and modest bass boost can be a fun system too.

    Yes, Edgewound is in the business of resurrecting vintage JBLs. And yes, you have lots of options. You might want to look at Zilch's Econowave threads here and on other audio forums. He was able to get respectable performance out of the these vintage systems at moderate cost. You may find his threads particularly useful if you can read a schematic and not burn the house down with a soldering iron. DSP is also always an option.


    Widget
    I have a pair of LE14A's and was thinking those would probably make more sense considering this cabinet.

  6. #6
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Perfect, it sounds like you are on your way. If you bi-amp and DSP, you can make these into some pretty darn good speakers.

    Do your LE14As still have their Lans-alloy surrounds or are they foam?


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Perfect, it sounds like you are on your way. If you bi-amp and DSP, you can make these into some pretty darn good speakers.

    Do your LE14As still have their Lans-alloy surrounds or are they foam?


    Widget
    Foam fortunately at this point.

    I saw in the list of C38 configurations that the LE14A was one option. Although it's only 1 inch smaller, it makes sense for such a small cabinet to go smaller.

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    As someone that Widget took the time to help on a similar setup, I can tell you of my load that works very well, and sounds great, but maybe not as great as a full blown L300. Widget helped me on the crossover problem of a 16 ohm crossover (LX5) on an 8 ohm woofer, and that the LX5 could help kill a LE85 because the LE85 won't last below 800 Hz, and the LE-175 shouldn't be crossed below 1200 Hz.

    My first goal, which drives everything else:
    1- I love the C36 cabinet, for its style and mid century charm. The L300 may be superior, but its a big boulder in your living space, and came in after the C36 was discontinued, around 1970. So I am sticking with the C36 and its limitations.

    2- The C36 takes up less floor space, and offers more big woofer loading options. The C38 hole is hard to load a bigger frame LE-15 or 2235 frame, esp with the later solid back versions of the C38. You want the removable back version, for big 15" woofer loading.

    3- I had these drivers and wanted to make them work, so maybe I forced them, but the setup has worked quite well, and has a nice big sound, even though the 2.7 Cubic Foot box is too small for the 2235 or LE-15 driver (in theory). If the volume stays down to moderate levels, and you stuff lots of fiberglass in there, it helps. Port wise I am running 5 inch dia x 4 inch long, but that could use help?

    4- Load with a LE-15 or 2235 8 ohm woofer, LE-85 and 1217 potato masher, and 3110A crossover, and you have a good solid system, with a 800Hz crossover point. I made a H91 / LE85 top horn setup (experiment), but felt it look cluttered in the living room, and didn't make a noticeable improvement sitting outside the small box on top, so I put the horns back inside the box.

    As a note, I owned a L300 speaker to compare what my setup had in relation to it, and thought it was in the park with an L300, just lacking on the top end (I'm old anyway at 62 so above 15K is not a big deal.)

    I ended up with several sets of C36 speakers, and have tried loads with the D123 and LE-25, which sounded great as well. I would like to try the econo wave Zilch setup, as time permits.
    I don't like the way the Zilch setup modified the front baffle board for the horn frame.
    The D130 is nowhere as sweet as the 2235 or probably even the D123.

    Lately I have been wondering how good the guts of the 4313B would sound in a C36 box?
    Maybe I will try that soon, but I do love the LE-85 sound, and found it interesting that JBL guys even talked about dropping the 375 driver when the LE-85 hit the market! They were that impressed with the LE85 driver when it came out, but considered the 375 a legacy product, that was not going out of the lineup appx 1962? Its documented in the history and books on the LE lineup history.

    I notice your cabinets are the fixed back energizer version, which dates to the late 1960s. Its challenged at the lower edge, in regards to the notch for the woofer.
    Nice grille fabric!

    Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by donsof View Post
    As someone that Widget took the time to help on a similar setup, I can tell you of my load that works very well, and sounds great, but maybe not as great as a full blown L300. Widget helped me on the crossover problem of a 16 ohm crossover (LX5) on an 8 ohm woofer, and that the LX5 could help kill a LE85 because the LE85 won't last below 800 Hz, and the LE-175 shouldn't be crossed below 1200 Hz.

    My first goal, which drives everything else:
    1- I love the C36 cabinet, for its style and mid century charm. The L300 may be superior, but its a big boulder in your living space, and came in after the C36 was discontinued, around 1970. So I am sticking with the C36 and its limitations.

    2- The C36 takes up less floor space, and offers more big woofer loading options. The C38 hole is hard to load a bigger frame LE-15 or 2235 frame, esp with the later solid back versions of the C38. You want the removable back version, for big 15" woofer loading.

    3- I had these drivers and wanted to make them work, so maybe I forced them, but the setup has worked quite well, and has a nice big sound, even though the 2.7 Cubic Foot box is too small for the 2235 or LE-15 driver (in theory). If the volume stays down to moderate levels, and you stuff lots of fiberglass in there, it helps. Port wise I am running 5 inch dia x 4 inch long, but that could use help?

    4- Load with a LE-15 or 2235 8 ohm woofer, LE-85 and 1217 potato masher, and 3110A crossover, and you have a good solid system, with a 800Hz crossover point. I made a H91 / LE85 top horn setup (experiment), but felt it look cluttered in the living room, and didn't make a noticeable improvement sitting outside the small box on top, so I put the horns back inside the box.

    As a note, I owned a L300 speaker to compare what my setup had in relation to it, and thought it was in the park with an L300, just lacking on the top end (I'm old anyway at 62 so above 15K is not a big deal.)

    I ended up with several sets of C36 speakers, and have tried loads with the D123 and LE-25, which sounded great as well. I would like to try the econo wave Zilch setup, as time permits.
    I don't like the way the Zilch setup modified the front baffle board for the horn frame.
    The D130 is nowhere as sweet as the 2235 or probably even the D123.

    Lately I have been wondering how good the guts of the 4313B would sound in a C36 box?
    Maybe I will try that soon, but I do love the LE-85 sound, and found it interesting that JBL guys even talked about dropping the 375 driver when the LE-85 hit the market! They were that impressed with the LE85 driver when it came out, but considered the 375 a legacy product, that was not going out of the lineup appx 1962? Its documented in the history and books on the LE lineup history.

    I notice your cabinets are the fixed back energizer version, which dates to the late 1960s. Its challenged at the lower edge, in regards to the notch for the woofer.
    Nice grille fabric!

    Don
    Great detailed response Don, thanks!

    I just dismantled one of the C38. The D130 are pretty much at the end of their original run as both cones look and feel like they could disintegrate at any moment. The surrounds have numerous crack tears in them I could easily paper Mache under to bridge, but there are quite a few spots. The other has tears that have been sorta repaired in the cone as well. I could easily recone them but as I understand it this really puts them squarely back into "producer" category where they originated. With that said, I am leaning towards selling them off in favor of working in the LE14A's I have. Better size driver for that smaller cabinet for sure.

    Speaking of the cabinets, they need work. Typical age stuff, no major damage. But they are definitely old and that crappy old particle board stuff is dried out. They are also very easy to reproduce entirely and I am considering that. You all think that will result in a big hit to their value? The positive is I could probably cheat another inch on each dimension and nobody would be the wiser!

    And I see what you mean about a challenge for 15" drivers on that baffle. Accommodations were definitely made including to one of the corners of the 1217-1290 lens frame. I wish the front baffle was removable as I would just replace it, but it isn't - rabbeted in.

    Also, it sounds like I can do better than the LX5 so what do I do with it? Should I sell it as-is, or go through all the effort to recap it? At this rate I'm not sure what I bought!

    I'm with you on the styling being a big part of this and I like the idea of there being a JBL Signature crossover plate on it etc.

    david

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    Hi again
    Your cabinets are worth saving and spending money on. Particle board is preferred over plywood, as its sonic qualities are better, and if it was plywood, that would date it to the 1950s up until the early 60s. I have looked over all my saved paper on the C36 C38 models, and found the following:

    1- I have one example of someone else loading the LE-15 (close to the D130 load) - LE85 - LX5 setup, which could be optioned from JBL in a C50 C51 Apollo, or D50SM speaker. I have never seen your combo in any other C36 or C38. If someone loaded a C38 this way, they did it after the factory, as it doesn't show up as standard issue. See this interesting C38 example showing an LE15 LE85 LX5 setup on ebay a few years ago. This was the only other one I have ever seen
    https://jpegbay.com/gallery/008154741-.html#1

    2- Factory shipped C38 setups show as either 001 030 032 S6 S7 S8 S12 but none of these include the D130 and LE85 combo, which is usually furnished as the 001 setup with D130 LE175 N1200 crossover. These are the premium versions on ebay, and rightfully so. The 030 setup with D130 075 N2400 is a shrieking POS with the bullet tweeter. They could be torture devices in my opinion. I looked over my 1962 - 1970 catalogs to compile a list of options, and can't find yours as factory issue.
    Some JBL paper shows the S8 system option, but its never been seen by me, and I don't know if one was ever made that way? I haven't seen it personally, and wonder if was a catalog misprint.

    3- What is your ohm rating on the 130 woofer? Probably 16 ohm, if so get a N1200 crossover or a 3110.
    If you have an 8ohm woofer, best bet is a 3110A crossover. I have extra 3110A's I was going to sell soon. I think an 8ohm LE15 will actually fit in there, but all the factory paper says this woofer needs a 3 cubic foot cabinet to work properly. The 2235 is really the king of the 15 inch HIFI woofers, and I can't recall trying to fit it in a C38 enclosure. It may be a little bigger than the LE15 on the frame Outer Diameter, and require a larger hole?

    4- I tested a good D130 vs a good LE-15 and prefer the LE-15 by a bunch, its worth switching to.
    I would by all means keep the LE-85's but if you want to sell them, I would be interested.
    So if you want to keep these, part out your D130's and LX5's and get matches for your LE-85 drivers

    Don

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by donsof View Post
    Hi again
    Your cabinets are worth saving and spending money on. Particle board is preferred over plywood, as its sonic qualities are better, and if it was plywood, that would date it to the 1950s up until the early 60s. I have looked over all my saved paper on the C36 C38 models, and found the following:

    1- I have one example of someone else loading the LE-15 (close to the D130 load) - LE85 - LX5 setup, which could be optioned from JBL in a C50 C51 Apollo, or D50SM speaker. I have never seen your combo in any other C36 or C38. If someone loaded a C38 this way, they did it after the factory, as it doesn't show up as standard issue. See this interesting C38 example showing an LE15 LE85 LX5 setup on ebay a few years ago. This was the only other one I have ever seen
    https://jpegbay.com/gallery/008154741-.html#1

    2- Factory shipped C38 setups show as either 001 030 032 S6 S7 S8 S12 but none of these include the D130 and LE85 combo, which is usually furnished as the 001 setup with D130 LE175 N1200 crossover. These are the premium versions on ebay, and rightfully so. The 030 setup with D130 075 N2400 is a shrieking POS with the bullet tweeter. They could be torture devices in my opinion. I looked over my 1962 - 1970 catalogs to compile a list of options, and can't find yours as factory issue.
    Some JBL paper shows the S8 system option, but its never been seen by me, and I don't know if one was ever made that way? I haven't seen it personally, and wonder if was a catalog misprint.

    3- What is your ohm rating on the 130 woofer? Probably 16 ohm, if so get a N1200 crossover or a 3110.
    If you have an 8ohm woofer, best bet is a 3110A crossover. I have extra 3110A's I was going to sell soon. I think an 8ohm LE15 will actually fit in there, but all the factory paper says this woofer needs a 3 cubic foot cabinet to work properly. The 2235 is really the king of the 15 inch HIFI woofers, and I can't recall trying to fit it in a C38 enclosure. It may be a little bigger than the LE15 on the frame Outer Diameter, and require a larger hole?

    4- I tested a good D130 vs a good LE-15 and prefer the LE-15 by a bunch, its worth switching to.
    I would by all means keep the LE-85's but if you want to sell them, I would be interested.
    So if you want to keep these, part out your D130's and LX5's and get matches for your LE-85 drivers

    Don
    Again thanks Don.

    No doubt these were modified by the original owner or someone since. A corner of the flange of the 1217 horn was cut off slightly to allow it to fit as the D130 frame is too close.

    The Woofers are 8ohm.

    Ill be keeping the LE85's. Gotta keep something other than the legs!

    A different horn on the LE85's make more sense than the 1217-1290? Cant use lenses.

    Also, if people are replacing the old fiberglass insulation in these, what is being used?

  12. #12
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    Quick note
    Leave the fiberglass alone, there are many threads on this, or get new fiberglass? It doesn't go bad.

    The 1217 horn is not optimum, but isn't bad in my opinion.
    The 1217-1290 horn and LE-85 fits in the cabinet, but if you want to go wild, get some smith horns for 1000-1500 and place them on top and make the wife cranky!

    Fix your boxes and get a better crossover and improve from there, by getting a good working woofer.
    Buy a 2235 and see if it fits, another option is a 2231, which is not as hefty.

    Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by donsof View Post
    Quick note
    Leave the fiberglass alone, there are many threads on this, or get new fiberglass? It doesn't go bad.

    The 1217 horn is not optimum, but isn't bad in my opinion.
    The 1217-1290 horn and LE-85 fits in the cabinet, but if you want to go wild, get some smith horns for 1000-1500 and place them on top and make the wife cranky!

    Fix your boxes and get a better crossover and improve from there, by getting a good working woofer.
    Buy a 2235 and see if it fits, another option is a 2231, which is not as hefty.

    Don
    I coulda stated I have and use on my builds and rebuilds the Owens Corning 703 insulation.

    Also I have a set of JBL 2226HPL as well.

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    Anybody have any thoughts on using the 2226HPL in place of the 2235 recommendation?

  15. #15
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    They sound nice in those cabinets with the LE14’s. For your horns and compression drivers the recommended crossover was the LX10

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