Snagged this for future use. It was written by Brian Purdy of HarpGear Amps. I thought I would share it, if anyone else if remotely interested.
Some time back I was trying to decide which 8" speaker worked best for harp in a Champ style amp. It was between a Jensen P8R, Jensen C8R, Weber Alnico Signature Series 8" and a Weber 8A100. Over time I have accumulated all of them and thought I would post some of my opinions for anyone else trying to make that decision. It was amazing I couldn‚Äôt find any reviews on line which really compared these speakers for harp use. So here we go.
1. Jensen C8R ceramic 8" 4 ohm - This speaker was not as round and definately had an "edge" to it that was not very pleasing to my ear. It will give you that fat distorted sound if you overdrive the mic element but it wasn't the nice fat round dark tone that I like when I hear the amp honk. It just sounded a little harsh. I know there are people out there who like the harsh edgy sound of a ceramic so if that is your taste you will find it here. I do want to emphasize that this speaker is not so bad that I would find it unacceptable. It is just isn‚Äôt right for my taste. $21.79
2. Weber Alnico Signature Series 8" straight cone 4 ohm - This speaker has a good round tone but was a little bright. It does break up nicely when you overdrive the mic and still gives a nice clean sound also when you back off and are looking to just get a nice cleaner enjoyable sound. I like this speaker but for the price you can almost get the Jensen which does sound better and I believe is built a little better. $45.00
3. Weber Alnico 8A100 4 ohm straight cone - This speaker is definately well put together and has a nice sound. It will break up early and sounds good when pushed. It does compress well at loud settings like they claim and sounds very round and sweet. It is a little darker than the Signature Series 8" and definately more punchy than the Signature Series. $75.00
4. Jensen P8R Alnico 8" 4 ohm - This speaker exhibits a lot of the same qualities as the 8A100 speaker. The main differences to my ears are that this speaker seems to be darker with a little more bass response. It sounds very nice compressed and breaks up very well. It also gives you a great warm tone for when you don't want to push it too hard and want to have a nice warm round sound without the distortion. I really like this speaker and can definitely tell a difference between this one and the Signature series or the ceramic Jensen . For my money this is the winner. $46.49
Please note that this review is based on my ears and may not agree with everyone elses ears. I did go as far as to record all of them and listen carefully to the recording over and over until I was sure I could give an accurate review on them. I enjoy testing different equipment and don't mind having a few extra speakers around to play with or use when restoring or building another amp. I do want to say that there are definitely people out there who view the Webers as the only choice and anything else is of lower quality and not worthy of consideration. I have heard it so long I figured it must be so also until recently when I decided to give the other speakers a chance and test them out. I would say that as appearance and feel goes I can‚Äôt outwardly tell a difference in quality.
Add on as of 9/6/06
The WeberVST 8" Signature Series Alnico 4 ohm Straight Cone speakers when broken in are now one of my favorite speakers for a champ. The Jensen P8R is still a great speaker but with some time and love the Weber Signature Series Straight cone slightly has the edge to me. The Weber 8F100 ceramic speaker is an awesome speaker with great tone and honk. When I tell people that speaker is ceramic most people don't belive it until I show them. It has EXCELLENT tonal charateristics for harp. Another new addition to the review is the Weber 8A125-0 speaker. A great sounding alnico speaker that is very dark and breaks up superbly with more perceived volume probably because of the larger voice coil. I currently use an 8A125-0 in my personal HarpGear 2 and an 8F100 speaker in my personal HarpGear 1. In the 10" line I love the Weber 10A125-0 speaker over everything I have tried in that size and I am still testing 12" speakers and will give my thoughts on them when I make a thorough evaluation. Once again all these observations are my opinion backed by quite a few people who have listened with me. Not everyone will agree but I feel safe in making these suggestions. One more note. I generally aid the break in of my speakers now with fabric softener (scent free) which was recommended to me by Ted Weber of WeberVST. It helps to soften the cones and give them a rounder more broken in sound and it is totally safe. I spray the fabric softener onto the cone with the speaker sitting on its magnet and then use my fingers to spread the softener gently. I don't rub it in but gently move it so it puts a light, even coat on the speaker cone. I avoid getting much on the voice coil cover. I apply about 4 times and the speakers sound better in the long run. Please don't go overboard and try to put the softener on heavy. Do it a little at a time and please realize this is something you do at your own risk. I will add more to this as I do more testing. I still have more 8" speakers from other companies to test sitting here.