Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker

I’d heard of this speaker on Harp-L and elsewhere; some mildly enthusiastic remarks about it’s suitability in a harp amp. To my mind, there are few good choices out there for new 12-inch speakers for harp. Many of them are noisy when pushed hard, falling over into ghost notes and cone cry. I decided to give this speaker a try.

The Eminence Cannabis Rex is a 50 watt ceramic speaker with a 1.75 inch voice coil. It has a remarkably high efficiency of 102 db at 1 watt/1 meter. The interesting thing about this speaker is that the ribbed cone is made of hemp, hence the name. Street price for the speaker is $79 to $89. I ordered an 8 ohm version from Musicians Friend.

Eminence describes the speaker’s tone as “Clean and full, with lots of body and sparkle. Smokey smooth with high-end definition.” This runs a bit counter to the harp amp conventional wisdom for speakers: We generally want a speaker to break up early (be “less clean”) and to diminish the highs a bit. Still, I’d heard good reports about the speaker.

I installed it in my 10-watt 5F2H amp and took it to Bruce Collins’ shop at Mission Amps. The speaker sounded a little sterile at first, so we broke it in by letting it howl some loud low tones for several minutes.

Much better. The speaker’ tone is slightly dark and smooth, as the promo suggests. The highs are particularly smooth… not attenuated really, but the edges are rounded off. As the efficiency rating indicates, this thing is loud. The tone is not as compressed as with alnico speakers. The sound is lively, and these speakers have some thump.

I can get the amp slightly louder without feedback compared to the speaker previously in the amp, a vintage Mojotone knockoff of the Jensen P12R alnico. (It’s actually a re-branded Eminence.)

I gigged the amp this weekend and I thought the tone was impressive. There is less thrash and breakup, for sure. The sound of the notes holds together very well. We can sometimes go a bit overboard with speaker breakup, I think. The cleaner Cannabis Rex asks the player to be a bit more thoughtful in his tonal inflections. The subtleties are beautiful.

While researching this speaker I spoke to a very well-known harp amp maker who tried the Cannabis Rex, liked it, but thought it didn’t break up enough for his tastes. I find the tone to be very warm and full, but not ragged.

In the case of the Eminence Cannabis Rex, “clean” does not mean dry or shrill. The tone of this speaker is wide and deep and s-m-o-o-o-o-t-h, baby, like a big river. I like it a lot.


Sungodly said...

Nice review, it's certainly one I would consider. What other 12" speakers would you recommend? I just bought a Silvertone 1482 and have thought about replacing the speaker. I believe it is 4 ohms although I seem to recall some info somewhere that maybe it could be configured for 8...

Bruce Collins said...

The only "real looking" schematic I've seen for a Silvertone 1482 showed an extra tap on the output transformer which was above the existing speaker output.... if your speaker is stock and actually a 4 ohm speaker, then the next logical higher tap would, in fact, be an 8 ohm load.
Many other Silvertone amps have this feature but it is backwards with the fixed tap being 4 ohms and the unused tap being a 2 ohm load. That makes it useless for the most part... well, good for 4x10 or 4x12 2 ohm cabs.
Measure the DC resistance of your speaker with it disconnected from the amp and if it measures around 3 ohms then it is a 4 ohm speaker.
+6 ohms or so makes it an 8 ohm.

Ron said...

Rick-Very nice reviews on all.

Unknown said...

good review, I appreciate your sharing your experience. I have a CR in my 6L6SE (Lone Wolf) and really like it a lot--like you, I wondered if it would be too smooth for harp, but I think it's a good match for a smaller SE amp, esp when pushed hard. If you ever want to try a hemp cone 10", I've found the Eminence Lil Buddy to work well--like the CR very efficient, feedback resistant, maybe darker than the CR. I have one paired with a Weber 10A125-O in a 2X10, they work very well together.