You finally managed to bag that beautiful Fender Princeton Reverb amp. The amp sounds sweet, full, and beautiful. But is there a chance a 12-inch speaker may make the amp sound even better? In this post, we explore the best 12-inch speakers for Princeton Reverb.
Some of the best 12-inch speakers for Fender Princeton Reverb include Eminence Cannabis-Rex, Jensen P12Q, Eminence Josh Smith JS-1250, WGS Green Beret, Celestion Vintage 30, or the Electro-Voice EVM 12L. These speakers raise your amp up another level, producing sounds fit for gigs or even studio recording.
What is a Fender Princeton Reverb Amp?
The Fender Princeton Reverb is a guitar amplifier combo. It is a regular guitar amplifier, with additional reverb and vibrato effect built into it. The original amp is 12 Watt, introduced in 1964. The amp is well-prized for its smooth and sweet sound and can be paired with pedals easily. A reissue was released in 2008 and 2013.
The Princeton Reverb is essentially the original Fender Princeton, but with additional reverb and vibrato effect added into it. The first edition was released into the market in 1964 as a 12-watt amp. It then underwent several updates and redesigns before production stopped in 1981.
In 1964, the first version was called the ‘Blackface’ version and was available until 1967. In 1968, a ‘Silverface’ version was launched, with cosmetic changes such as the addition of a drip edge around the grill cloth.
A major update was released in late 1969, with a change in circuitry. The drip edge was also removed, and a change in the rectifier and bias resistor value. The 1977 update added a ‘boost’ switch to the volume control. The amp stopped production in 1981.
When it comes to guitar amps, the Fender Princeton Reverb amp has its own legion of loyal fans that swear by it. Many players love this amp for its sweet and smooth sound. Many also say that it’s easier to easily find a sweet tone with it. Some think the amp works well with many types of guitars and pedals as well.
As a result, Fender released a reissue of the Princeton Reverb in 2008. It is based on the Blackface edition, with a tube rectifier and a tube reverb. Another reissue was released in 2013, based on the 1968 Silverface edition amp.
Many enthusiasts would shop for one of these vintage Princeton Reverb, restore it, and use it to play with their guitars. It is particularly prized for gig playing, as well as studio recording.
Why Should You Change Speakers On Your Princeton Reverb?
Most Princeton Reverbs are old, and the speakers may be tired; replacing them may make the amp sound better. You may have specific playing needs, and a different speaker may help you get a better playing experience. In some cases, some specific types of speakers may complement your guitars well.
New Speakers Perform Better: At this point, many of the Princeton Reverb amps would be old, with the newest reissue at least 9 years old now. While old amps should better be checked for compatibility with modern electricity requirements, speakers should be changed totally.
This is because speakers have a life shelf; as they age, the diaphragm hardens and may not perform as well. Older speakers are also less sensitive and may be power guzzlers. The difference may be akin to watching standard television on an old speaker. In contrast, the newer ones are a 4K display.
Address Your Specific Needs: You may have purchased your Princeton Reverb for a specific reason. Perhaps you just want to have a nice amp you can immediately plug in to play at home, and you do not want your neighbors to hear you shred away.
Or you may have picked up the amp for local gig playing and casual studio sessions with a few friends. Changing the speakers may make your amp much more suitable for these uses. For example, a speaker with larger wattage and size may be needed if you need the amp to be loud and clear.
Some Guitars Love Special Speakers: This may be more for the connoisseurs or aficionados, but some guitars just sound much better when paired with certain speakers. This may be especially true when you are playing a vintage guitar.
Within the enthusiast community, there is always a preference for vintage guitars paired with special speakers. These special speakers are made specifically with vintage/classical guitars in mind. As a result, your Fender Stratocaster 1962 may just sound so much sweeter.
Similar concepts may be applied to other guitars, too. For example, classical guitar with nylon strings may have its own speakers.
Best 12-inch Speakers For Fender Princeton Reverb
You will love this speaker if you play a lot of blues, country, rock, and jazz. The Cannabis Eminence Rex 12 “is a guitar speaker with a hemp cone. It gives you an American sound with a strong emphasis on bass. Use this speaker for both lead and rhythm guitars.
It comes as 50W and exudes a strong, chunky tone, which suits rhythmic playing styles such as blues. The guitar is also responsive, playing out sounds even if you lightly touch your guitar strings. Players also mentioned how the speaker made them hear the lower-end sounds they had never heard of from their guitars.
This speaker can be neutral on the EQ range for recording, meaning it will provide a wide-ranging sound. Sound engineers and mixers would find mixing and mashing the sounds easy.
As a brand, Jensen is very well-loved within the guitar community. The same goes for the P12Q here. You may find this speaker used in many ‘grail’ amps such as the vintage Tweed Deluxe, the Gibson GA-20, and yes, Fender Princeton Reverb too.
It is essentially the P12N’s less powerful sibling. It has a smaller voice coil and a vintage steel basket that has been called a “hot dog” or “sausage” because of the way the holes in the basket frame are shaped.
It sounds warm and well-balanced, with a nice bite in the upper midrange. It is a very interesting all-rounder that can be used for a wide range of music, from traditional country and jazz to more aggressive rock and roll and blues.
The JS-1250 is essentially one Eminence’s Signature Series speaker, this time with Josh Smith. Josh Smith is popular for being a blues musician, which means you can roughly see where this speaker may be good at.
The JS-1250 is well appreciated for its clarity and accuracy in playing, very important for playing styles such as blues, where sudden cutting is common. The top-end sound is known to be clear as well, without being peaky or spiky.
Some speakers may try to hide the spikiness from their sounds by either mellowing the speaker. But this often results in the speaker sounding warm or dark. The JS-1250 does not do this. It keeps a neutral tone but still avoids the spike beautifully.
The WGS (Warehouse Guitar Speakers) Green Beret speaker may work well for at-home playing. With the Green Beret, you would be able to enjoy shredding away without disturbing your neighbors’ peace. This is because it has a lower wattage, at only 25W.
The Green Beret 12″ comes with a crunchy cone breakup, growling bass, and aggressive mids. This may make the amp excellent for bass or rhythm guitar.
Reviews from users have also reported that the WGS Green Beret has a solid, smooth, and creamy low end. This means if you enjoy playing rhythm, blues, and country, this speaker may elevate your sound. The mid and top end is also balanced and has their own character.
Celestion Vintage 30 is likely one of the most popular guitar speakers in the world. It is a solid speaker that can handle almost any guitar sound you want to play. This is a safe choice if you do not know what to buy for your Princeton Reverb amp.
The Vintage 30 combines the sound of the past with modern construction to handle more power and last longer. This makes a tone that is well-balanced and has smooth, rich highs. The speaker works well with modern guitar or your vintage 1962 Stratocaster.
This speaker can be used in a lot of different ways. The Vintage 30 can handle dirty playing with a lot of distortion. If you play main clean sounds, it also works. This speaker can handle everything from blues and country to rock and metal and can easily turn your Princeton Reverb into an all-rounder amp.
The Electro-Voice EVM 12L feels like it was built like a tank because it is heavy and solid. With 200 watts, this guitar amp is great for live shows and recording, as it should make a strong impression in any studio.
The EVM 12L makes a clear, clean sound. You can expect a great mix of a beautiful mid bump, clean high ends, and a low end that is warm and full. But this speaker really shines when it comes to low-end and bass sounds. The fact that this speaker weighs 18 pounds helps to reduce low-frequency flex, so you will not hear too much “wobbly bass” from it.
It is strong enough to probably last forever. Even though the label on the speaker’s body says “World’s Greatest Guitar Speaker,” we found that it lives up to its name.
How To Change Speakers On Princeton Reverb Amp?
Changing the speakers on a Princeton Reverb Amp is rather simple. Start by removing the back panels before unscrewing the removing the speaker. Disconnect the wire on the speaker before reconnecting the wire to the new speaker. Screw the new speaker in, and reconnect the speaker to the amp’s top panel.
To change the speakers on a Princeton Reverb Amp, prepare the following:
- A Phillips screwdriver
- A small prying tool
- Remove the back panels of the amp with a Philipps screwdriver.
- For the top panel, slide the panel down, and pull it out. The bottom panel can be removed by pulling it out after you unscrew it.
- If you take a look at the amp, you should see some tubings, transistors, your speaker, and a long bag at the bottom of the amp. The bag and tubes contain sensitive electric parts such as the reverb and gain controls, which means you want to be careful with them.
- Your speaker should have a cable coming out and plugged into the amp’s top panel. Disconnect the plug.
- Unscrew the speaker from the amp using the Phillips screwdriver.
- Once unscrewed, try to wiggle the speaker and see if it comes loose. If not, the speaker may have some adhesive applied to it. Use a small prying tool, and see if you can loosen the adhesive.
- As you wiggle and pry, ensure your speaker is supported, as you do not want it to come loose and fall onto the reverb unit.
- Once your speaker has come loose, you may notice a wire still connected to the speaker. Disconnect the wire from the speaker, a light wiggle and pull is enough to disconnect it.
- Bring out your new speakers and ensure they are clean and free from defects.
- Connect the speaker to your connecting wire. The wire should have one end with a single plug, and the other has two wires, one red and one black.
- Connect the red-sided wire to the positive side of the speaker and the black wire to the negative side of the speaker. You should be able to connect the wire to the speaker with a single slide-in and push motion.
- Bring the new speaker into the amp. Be careful not to hit the tubings, transistors, and the reverb kit.
- Secure the speaker to the amp by screwing it back in. Make sure to align the speaker’s screw holes to the ones on the amp.
- Wiggle the speaker a bit to test how well it sits in the amp. In most cases, they should be rather solid.
- Now, take the other end of the wire, and plug it into the ‘Parallel Speaker’ socket. Be sure to plug it into the ‘Spkr’ and not the ‘Ext. Spkr’ socket.
- Connect the amp to a guitar, and test play to ensure proper connection.
- When the connection is confirmed, and the new speaker works well with the amp, you can re-screw back the back panels.
What To Take Note Of When Getting A Guitar Amp Speaker?
When shopping for a guitar amp speaker, take note of things such as wattage, size, tone, impedance, and magnet type. These aspects may change depending on your preference and needs for your guitar amp.
Wattage essentially tells how much power a speaker can take. For example, if you connect a speaker rated at 50 Watts to an amp rated at 100 Watts or more, the speaker could get damaged or even blow up.
At its most basic, you want to make sure that your speaker has more watts than your amp. But you should also ask the speaker maker directly if the speaker can handle your amp. Different speaker brands use different standards to rate their speakers.
For a speaker to fit into an amp, the amp cabinet needs to have a slot that is the same size as the speaker. Most guitar speakers come in sizes 6, 8, 12, and 15 inches.
You may need more than one big speaker for performances, but a single speaker may be enough for studio or home use. The most important thing here is to make sure that your amp can fit your speaker.
Different kinds of magnets are used in guitar speakers. Most of these are made of ceramic. The problem with ceramic magnets is that they are heavy, and even though they are cheap, they do not have the best tone. Alnico is the real choice for any kind of vintage tone, but it is very expensive, so only high-end models have it.
You can often strike a balance between price and quality with Ferrite and Neodymium magnets. They are used in speakers to get the same results as alnico and ceramic magnets, but with much less bulk and better corrosion resistance.
Suppose you do not want to spend top dollar on an alnico speaker despite the cheap ceramic speakers. In that case, Ferrite and Neodymium speakers are likely good alternatives that will not break the bank.
When shopping for speakers, take a close look at the speaker’s impedance, also called its resistance. The idea is to ensure that the amp’s resistance matches your speaker’s. Most of the time, resistance or impedance is written as (Ohm.)
When there is only one speaker, this may be easier to match. But you may need to do some math for bigger amps with more than one speaker.
Most speakers have different types of impedance, so check the impedance of your amp and choose speakers that match it. Most amps work best with an 8-ohm impedance, but you should check your amp’s specs.
Guitar speakers greatly affect the guitar’s sound; sometimes, they are even more important than the amp. Since tone is subjective, using your ears is the best way to figure out what sounds good to you. Try out different speakers at a nearby guitar shop, or listen to audio/video demos online.
It may also be a smart thing to test the speakers with different amounts of gain, like clean, crunch, overdrive, and distort. Testing these factors helps you to have a clear idea of the whole range of tones. This will eventually help you to choose the speaker that works best for your style of music.
You might also want to check a speaker’s authoritativeness. Some speakers travel far and wide and have a strong presence in a room. Say if you are searching for speakers for live performances, this may just be the right one for you.