4/11/2017

1961 RCA 10" Speaker Cabinet w/4w Tube Amp



I have been really loving my little Vox AC4TV (you can hear it in action on recent electric soundclips and all over my last "surf" album), but having known a great many small tube amps over the years, I knew it could be better. I started obsessing over what speaker to upgrade with and -- discouraged by the cost of new speakers -- started thinking vintage. The end result was even better than anticipated, because I scored this old cab (with a 10" 1961 Jensen C10R at 16 ohms -- exactly what I needed) for the price of an okay new speaker.

The cab itself is all ply and ruggedly, but lightly, built. This is a far-sight better than the fiberboard  of the original cab. While the metal grille isn't ideal, the whole thing looks the business and -- more importantly -- sounds the business. The "slightly boxy" sound of the little AC4TV is gone and the speaker breathes a bit more in the highs and lows. The amp itself sounds a little bit more "American" in its new box, but still has the articulate mids you expect of a Vox product.

As far as what was needed when it arrived... I reglued a bunch of the covering which was coming off, tightened everything up, and then cut it up to fit the AC4TV's amplifier guts in it. I'm still chasing a few rattles that pop-up when the volume is above "noon" in the 4W setting, but as I rarely play it anywhere near that loud in normal use (I mic my amps), I'm not too concerned with chasing the demons right now.


Nice badge, huh? This cab came from Texas and I like to imagine it rolling around in the back of a pickup truck...



If this were in better shape, there would be a cool RCA logo in the handle, too. The two extra handles are bizarre but I like them -- and the front one allows a nice "hang-off" for my amp-mic's cable.


The two latches with their "ring" closure are tight and very cool.


At some point I'll put a screen in for vent hole (to allow heat to escape), but for now it's just neat to see the tubes glowing without obstruction.


The green, taped-off area is for my power cable. The plan is to eventually put a nice little "cup" in there to surround it.


With a back that opens with two latches, one can easily check on the speaker...


...and also swap tubes for recording purposes really, really, really easily. That's a lot better than taking off a zillion screws and prying the back-plate off to get at the preamp tube. It's rocking JJs right now.

The speaker's date code, by the way, IDs this as a '61. While it could also be a '51 per the code lookup, I'm pretty sure that speaker is a ceramic-magnet C10R. The manufacturer's code tells us it's clearly a Jensen.

1 comment:

David Richard said...

Awww, that's nice...'looking the part' is just as important as 'sounding the part'.