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Discussion Starter #1
On my recent trip through the midwest and south, I stopped by Parts Express in lovely Springboro Ohio (about halfway between Dayton and Cinncinnati), and picked up a quartet of some nice little Eminence 6-1/2" 4-ohm 20W guitar speakers for $12USD each. I was looking to make a compact cabinet that would be easy to cart around.

I made this puppy out of solid pine. If it was bigger, I might have gone with plywood, but the size permitted use of lesser-density material. The total width is the size of a rack unit. I built it with a closed back, and a front-facing port intended to enhance bottom end. I had no illusions that this would replace a 4x12 cab, but once it was put together, a tap on the cone yielded a surprisingly authoritative "whump"; much more than one would normally get from a 1x12 open-back, and primarily due to the port.

There's way too much football to watch today for me to fire it up - that will come tomorrow - but one thing I am pleased about is the weight. I still have to add some corners to it, but it comes in at a bit under 17lbs, fully assembled. As my first-ever attempt at tolex, it was a little amateurish, but neat enough for rock and roll. I used some water-based contact cement I got from Lowe's. The baffle and port are painted with that rubberized rocker-guard/truck-bed paint, that blends nicely with the black tolex I got from NextGen. I have two more of the speakers, so I plan to make a companion cab, for stereo applications, and hopefully a neater build. Depending on how the first one sounds, I might stick some batting inside. Still have to decide what to stick in front of the speakers to protect them.

Small is beautiful.




 

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I have one of those speakers in my shopping cart on their site. Have had it there for weeks.
I’m contemplating some kind of small thing to have on the bench for testing pedal builds.
They offer a kit with the 5W SKB FootNote amp circuit board, that speaker, a power supply and some cables.
I’ve already got the board, but found them while searching for cable parts.

I might have to bump the speaker quantity up a bit and give this a go as well.

Great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have one of those speakers in my shopping cart on their site. Have had it there for weeks.
I’m contemplating some kind of small thing to have on the bench for testing pedal builds.
They offer a kit with the 5W SKB FootNote amp circuit board, that speaker, a power supply and some cables.
I’ve already got the board, but found them while searching for cable parts.

I might have to bump the speaker quantity up a bit and give this a go as well.

Great idea.
I bought a Footnote board at Princess Auto a few months back. I should see what kind of loudness I can get, plugging into this cab. The Footnote should, theoretically, be able to run off more than +9V, and deliver a bit more wattage, given the chips it uses, and the fact that it uses a pair in bridged mode. The caveat is that the "pedal-power" output jacks come straight off the power supplied to the board, so if one fed the board with 15V for more wattage, you'd have to provide some voltage regulation between the main board and the output jacks to the pedals, to drop things down to 9v.

 

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I bought a Footnote board at Princess Auto a few months back. I should see what kind of loudness I can get, plugging into this cab.
Based on my experience with an old Bell and Howell 2x10 projector speaker cab, it can get loud.
I haven’t yet been able to crank it wide open, but it’s plenty loud for my basement at about a 3 or 4.
 

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CONGRATS!

I think your tolex work looks great.

Any decision regarding the grille cloth/material?

Looking forward to your comments once you have tried the cab.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
I compare my tolex work to that of forum member Damir Stemberger (AKA epis) which is always exquisite. That's a benchmark I hope to approach one day. On a scale of 1-10, where his tolex is a 10, mine is a 5.5-6, at best. But, good enough for rock and roll.

Just finished firing it up, via the extension speaker jack in my puny Champion 110 (which is 98% identical to the Fender Frontman 25R; just 2 jacks different).

1) It IS louder than the stock Fender 10" in the open-back cab.
2) It doesn't go quite as low at the bass end as the stock 10", but there is a lot more "upper bass". Twiddle the Bass knob on the amp and you hear a lot more variation in the resulting tone than you do with the stock speaker.
3) A LOT more top end. Lets the glassiness of the single-coil pickups come through much more. Moving the 5-way switch on my "Nashville" Turser Tele yields more distinct sounds than with the stock 10". At the same time, man oh man, can you ever hear the residual hiss from the amp with the new cab. The stock speaker's limited top end hid a multitude of sins.
4) Makes the on-board distortion sound like absolute garbage, by virtue of allowing all the fizz to be heard. I still have to try it with some other amps down in the basement. I'll likely have to mod the overdrive section in the Champion 110 to tame the fizz.

But the general verdict is: "Worth the effort". I suspect the total cost of materials was under $80. Would I, could I use it at a jam or, saints preserve us, a gig? Yes. I think it could compete with a Deluxe Reverb.
 

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I compare my tolex work to that of forum member Damir Stemberger (AKA epis) which is always exquisite. That's a benchmark I hope to approach one day. On a scale of 1-10, where his tolex is a 10, mine is a 5.5-6, at best. But, good enough for rock and roll.
You did good job there Mark ! I have huge respect for you and I'm willing to show you how to do it close to perfect, you're missing just a few small tricks. Just buzz me when you start next project ! Cheers !

P.S.

You can't expect a lot from these small drivers, IMHO, 8" is minimum for guitar amp, 10" is cool, but 12" is right thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. That means a lot, coming from you.

I would normally agree with you about the requisite speaker size, but I am genuinely surprised by what smaller speakers like these can do in a ported cab. They certainly do not have the ability to shake one's sternum, but a pair sound like they could easily compete with a drum kit. I still have a few other amplifiers - tube and solid-state - I need to try the cab out with.

But the light weight is wonderful. I think we have both carried sleeping babies off to bed that weighed more.
 
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