Vintage cabinits -how do they differ?

Discussion in 'Cabinets & Speakers' started by cragginshred, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. cragginshred

    cragginshred Active Member

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    I have a friend who has a large collection of Marshall cabs and he was telling me the early 70's and 60's Marshall cabs are much better quality.
    What are some of the particular differences and how does it effects tones?

    Thanks!
     
  2. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Prolly just materials used at the time that were affordable to them.

    Jim Marshall said something to the effect that his cabs were sized for a particular reason and not a sound one. Now they are legendary for tone.
     
  3. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    To what extend does the cab really make a big difference in the sound. A few percent, maybe more? Of course you don't want any rattling noises and a tight sound. For sure the speakers are way more important, and those Celestions from that era sure were producing a sound that were all identify with the best rock music from the era, like Hendrix, Zeppelin, Cream etc... Quality stuff was at hand. If you pay big bucks for a late 60s Marshall cab, you surely won't put any Chinese V30 in it.
     
  4. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Speaker cabinet dimensions and design make a HUGE difference to the overall sound. You can take any single speaker and try it out in a variety of different cabinet designs,
    and get totally different sounds out of every one of them. Even the same designs made with different materials. Try, for example, a small open backed 1x12 enclosure, or a closed back version of the same one. Try larger enclosures, open or closed back, sealed or ported, ports of varying size and location.....everything matters.

    An example of a cabinet that's actually DESIGNED to complement a specific speaker is an EVM-12L in a Thiele ported cabinet, built according to ElectroVoice's reference TL806 plans, such as the Mesa Thiele cabinet which is exactly that. The combination of that speaker and that cabinet is legendary.

    I have made a number of 1x12 ported enclosures for EVM-12Ls but I did the box math and used a different alignment so I got a different box and a totally different port system, and my box is SLIGHTLY larger with better bass performance. I've got a Thiele EV cabinet as well. Comparing them side by side, there is a difference. The Thiele cabinet is a bit punchier in the midrange, my boxes have better bass and are more to my liking.

    Once I built a custom oversized 1x12 for a friend of mine. It was to match his blackface Bassman head. I recovered the head and built the cabinet to match the head width, (same height as width, for a square face, too) and did the tolex in the same 4 piece Fender wrap style so it made a great looking and sounding pair. It had abundant bottom
    end, being oversized, and the combination really sounded great. Years later he sold or traded that rig at the local music shop where all the musicians hung out, and the
    cabinet I made sold in ONE day. I was hoping to buy it back, but didn't have the money in hand, unfortunately.

    Somewhere out there, there's a Fender style oversized 1x12 cabinet with silver (blue thread) grille cloth, EV speaker, sealed back, ported front behind the grille, that I made, and I hope some day to find it and buy it back before I just decide to build another one. Oh...and it has cup handles on the sides. Pretty distinctive.
     
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  5. pleximaster

    pleximaster Well-Known Member

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    ... the glue used in the process of making the plywood is another major factor and what I personally believe is a huge sound factor...

    In the old days the plywood was glued with hide glue that sort of crystalize as it dries. Its is very hard and also brittle.

    Modern plywood are med of plastic polymer resin that stays flexible and never crystalize

    Compare with the Les Paul discussions were people claim to clearly hear the differens between a guitar that has been blued with modern glue compare to hide glue. In a Les Paul you have very few glue surfaces compared to a plywood speaker cabinet. And the cabinet is the actual thing you listen to

    plexi
     
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  6. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    My point was made for a cab with the same exact dimensions. Of course sizing, porting makes a massive difference. If you buy a new 1960A versus one from 1968 made with the same materials, I would assume the difference will be only percentages when the same speakers are used. I take the point of pleximaster, but again I don't believe it make a world of difference, as if greenback pulsonics will not sound so good in a newly build cab.
     
  7. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    I think pleximaster is onto something. The acoustic ring of the old cabinets is different. Even the best new cabinet I've tried (the A cab from the 2006 Hendrix reissue stack), made with the same construction and all birch plywood as the old ones, does not have the same combination of warmth, depth, clarity and openness. It's very evident when you tap on it - the old ones have a dry, woody knock which is also a little high pitched. The new ones are harder and duller, with more of a damp "thud" when you knock on it. They are probably at least as "solid", but that alone doesn't do it.

    The difference between hide glue and modern glue could well be a major part of the reason.
     
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  8. Im247frogs

    Im247frogs Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about the tolex as well as the joints? Because that's a massive surface area and would totally have an effect on the sound.
     
  9. BygoneTones

    BygoneTones Well-Known Member

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    The basketweave period 1968 to 1970 was the peak for Marshall cab build quality in my opinion. After that they started cutting corners - swapping real wood for mdf, swapping metal parts for plastic, uk made parts for chinese made parts, using as little wood as possible. Before the basketweave period they were making nice cabs but they were not built as well as the basketweave era cabs.

    Agree there is something about the wood too. I can't put my finger on what it is but it does seem to be heavier and more resonant than the few modern Marshall cabs I have tried.

    It's not just Marshall either, other brands like Orange were making such better quality cabs back then too in the early 70's. Vintage cabs are just better.
     
  10. Seanxk

    Seanxk Well-Known Member

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    Plywood has never as far as I know been manufactured with hide glue. Marine ply is probably the best example as water must not compromise its construction and water is hide glue's worst enemy, also normal ply has always had some sort of guarantee it is partly water resistant.

    But I agree with Pleximaster and the glue does have something to do with the sound and most likely the ply manufacturers glue was a high strength and high bond with very similar properties as hide glue but without the water problem, being crisp, fine and brittle.

    On my 1970 cab, the assembly glue reminds of Cascamite which was very strong and very hard setting wood glue. Basically we don't make things like we used too.
     
  11. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    I have a Sound City full ply cabinet from the Mark III generation (pre Hiwatt), dated around 1970, they surely have an excellent quality in that era. The Sound City went to mdf in the Mark IV, Hiwatt was born, and a few years SC was no more. So at least Marshall could still cope with lowering their standards going to plastic and particle board backs
     
  12. pleximaster

    pleximaster Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, I might be wrong when plywood was started to be used in the 50´s they used variation of hide/animal glue as it was the standard glue for wood. Eventhough urea-formaldehyde glue was invented in the 1930´s it was very expensive and not introduced into the plywood industri in lager scale til 1970´s. The amount of plasticizer in the formaldehyde glue have also changed over the years to make the boards mor flexible and prevent the layers to separate over time.

    plexi

     
  13. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    The moisture content of wood, even plywood or particle board, affects its resonance, and by a lot. In general, the older any cabinet gets, the drier the wood will get, unless it's spending a lot of time in very high humidity.

    Paul Reed Smith remarked in one of his shop tour videos about their wood drying process, that when the stacked and stickered wood comes out of their hot drying rooms, even the plywood sticks that are placed between the boards for airflow purposes come out very resonant. Because they're DRY.

    Do I believe that glue choice for the joints has a significant effect on resonance? Speaking as a luthier, no I do not. Because even if the joint were just mechanically secured,
    by screws or nails, or just wedged together really tightly, or no matter how the cabinet sides are joined to each other, it's not that edge or corner that vibrates, it's the rest of the board that vibrates. Where panels intersect at a 90 degree angle, they're vibration damped no matter what the method of attaching them to each other is.

    So it's not the choice of glue.
     
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  14. Seanxk

    Seanxk Well-Known Member

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    If you look inside a 90's cab and all you see is overspray glue from the vinyl covering application, I disagree it's a lot to do with the glue, apart from the fact that glue is not a good glue as glue goes and it's as soft as.........
     
  15. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    I think pleximaster is talking about the glue used between the layers in the plywood. That would have a major effect. Glue in the corners not so much, I agree with that.
     
  16. Seanxk

    Seanxk Well-Known Member

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    Yes me too in previous posts, but not in the above post as that was about joint glue.
     
  17. Kutt

    Kutt Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    On a related note, my first Marshall 412 was a run of the mill 1960A made in 2007. Fast forward to 2015 and I got a new Marshall 2551AV (Jubilee) which, I believe, is the same as their 1960AV cab just with the Jubilee silver covering.

    The 2551AV is significantly heavier physically than the 1960A and when eyeballing it it seems to be a tad larger too. I'm not saying the 2551AV is on par with a true vintage cabinet, but what we're basically observing is that Marshall is acknowledging that there are construction differences between vintage vs. newer cabinets by having multiple iterations in production.
     
  18. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Particle board is denser than the baltic birch plywood used to make traditional cabinets. And thus heavier.
     
  19. soundboy57

    soundboy57 Well-Known Member

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    Nobody has mentioned that Marshall did away with the vertical brace behind the baffle after early 1977, on the slant cabs.
    This provided a strong "X" brace behind the baffle, in between the speakers.
    These pieces were also glued to the baffle tightly.

    After '77, they just have a small horizontal brace to hold the upper/lower baffle pieces together with screws.
    The more modern slant cabs don't sound near as tight or focused as the old ones.

    I agree with Bygone on the 68-70 cabs being the best built.
    I think that the pulsonic coned cabs up to mid/late 1973 are still pretty solid, and sound great.
    The ones I have had (Both A and B) Are up there with the best
    sounding I ever had. So much has to do with how tight, clean and healthy the speakers are, though :)
     
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  20. proxy

    proxy Well-Known Member

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    That is great opinion.
    What do you think if 4x12 can be made out of solid pine?
    Not much glue there ...
     

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