The V30's: Trying to stay strong...

andy474x

Knows the Drill
Joined
May 4, 2012
Messages
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Location
West Michigan
Holy balls, these are some bright @$$ speakers.

As advised, I'm trying to give them some time to break in, but they're really pushing my patience into serious into serious saturation! I can't use a tubescreamer or turn the mids or treble much past 11:00 on my amp without feeling like someone's jabbing a pencil into my eardrums. I really, really hope these things smooth out! Last night I played around with a few other speakers I have, and had a very positive experience with an Eminence GB128 (Greenback-ish speaker), so if these V30's don't pan out, I think another one of those will be headed my way and the pair will go in the cabinet. The stock PRS/Eminence speakers sounded great at lower volumes, but they were too rich in the low mids when turned up, and the tones just got blurry at the volume where power tube saturation comes in. The V30's are better when really cranked, but not mind blowing. Right now I would rate them as semi-unusable everywhere else. They also seem to bring out the frequency that produces the fizzy, "box of bees" overdrive tone. The thing I liked about the GB is that it's crisp, but not piercing, and the mids are perfectly situated - and it seems to stay balanced at different volumes too. Almost like it's a more neutral speaker in some ways. I postulate that perhaps the smaller magnet (medium, as in G12M, vs. the heavy as in the G12H V30 as well as the stock Eminence speakers), reproduces frequencies more evenly.

I'm trying to hold out faith on the tones of players I like who use V30's - specifically, a lot of Andy Timmons has been playing around here. I love the warm, fat, yet present sound he gets on the Resolution album - yet I'm currently perplexed as to how he does it with these speakers. If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that he did that whole album with little or no EQ in production. Maybe it has more to do with the Mesa Lonestar that he uses, and I also think the Mesa V30's are slightly different spec than the "normal" ones.

The more I think about it, there are actually a fair amount of V30 players that I've heard and enjoyed their playing, but not loved their tone as much as I could (Steve Vai, Slash, Tremonti), lead tones especially just sound a little thin to me sometimes. Whereas EVH and AC/DC tones have always struck me as nearly perfect. Never really grouped them by what speakers they use, until now.

I'm not disappointed that I tried the V30's - it's one of those things that I feel like, as a guitar player, you just have to try. So, I'll let it run its course, and see if things settle in. If not, I'll put the V30's in a box and save them for a rainy day, and grab another GB128. They're only $65, so it's a lot of tone for the money if I need to.
 
I'm trying to hold out faith on the tones of players I like who use V30's - specifically, a lot of Andy Timmons has been playing around here. I love the warm, fat, yet present sound he gets on the Resolution album - yet I'm currently perplexed as to how he does it with these speakers.

He probably doesn't. The Lone Stars come with Black Shadow 90s, based on a Celestion Lead 80, not V-30s. I've seen a video of his own studio, and it's got a Lone Star combo, one of the original blue/silver ones. I do see in ads he is shown with some Recto cabs, and those generally come with V-30s, but I don't know what he has in his. Could be anything.

But remember that microphones are not ears. Microphones do not hear what you hear. The V-30s are liked by many artists for their recorded tones. They match up really well with the classic guitar recording mics: SM57s, MD421s, and Royer ribbons.

So you can use little to no EQ on a recording, and it still isn't going to sound much like what you heard in the room. That's a fact, Jack.

So you may hate V-30s in a room, but love them on a track. And you may hate a certain speaker on a record, and the opposite holds true for live tones.

I've posted several times about my Bogner Oversize 2x12, equipped with V-30s. It was so bright I could hardly deal with it live. But the recordings it made were to die for.

OTOH, the V-30s in my DG cabinet sound incredibly good. So the cabinet has a lot to do with how these speakers sound. As bad as the V-30s sounded in the room in that Bogner 2x12, they sounded very good in my Recto 2x12, which of course was a different design altogether. As is the DG cab.

You just never know, ya know?

Why not just get a cab with Greenbacks if that's the tone you like?
 
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He probably doesn't. The Lone Stars come with Black Shadow 90s, based on a Celestion Lead 80, not V-30s. I've seen a video of his own studio, and it's got a Lone Star combo, one of the original blue/silver ones. I do see in ads he is shown with some Recto cabs, and those generally come with V-30s, but I don't know what he has in his. Could be anything.

But remember that microphones are not ears. Microphones do not hear what you hear. The V-30s are liked by many artists for their recorded tones. They match up really well with the classic guitar recording mics: SM57s, MD421s, and Royer ribbons.

So you can use little to no EQ on a recording, and it still isn't going to sound much like what you heard in the room. That's a fact, Jack.

You have to remember that for the most part, a recorded tone is not what one hears in a room. So you may hate V-30s in a room, but love them on a track.

I've posted several times about my Bogner Oversize 2x12, equipped with V-30s. It was so bright I could hardly deal with it live. But the recordings it made were to die for.

OTOH, the V-30s in my DG cabinet sound incredibly good. So the cabinet has a lot to do with how these speakers sound.

I wondered that about the speakers in the Lonestar combo, as I read that they weren't V30's - but I also ran across an interview where Andy discussed the recording process for Resolution, and he discussed how much he liked the 2x12 Rectifier cabs for their V30's. In reality, he's probably one of those guys that just sounds good through anything!

I'm also wondering if I should just bite the bullet and grab a second 2x12 cab from Avatar - no, probably not the most premium cabs on earth, but they're a fair price, and I can get an empty one to throw those Greenback clones in. Plus I can get one with a convertible back, which would be cool. The guitarist's ultimate solution to a choice, of course, is to buy both!

It's a bummer that recorded tones and live tones have to differ so much. I just want to hear my cake, and record it too.

Edit: It's also a bummer that it's so hard to find the right speakers - I feel that I can listen to sound clips online all I want, but there are just too many variables to know what will be a good match. I'd love to just have a day to go into a place and hook my rig up to a bunch of different speakers, because they can change the personality of an amp so dramatically.
 
It's a bummer that recorded tones and live tones have to differ so much. I just want to hear my cake, and record it too.

Edit: It's also a bummer that it's so hard to find the right speakers - I feel that I can listen to sound clips online all I want, but there are just too many variables to know what will be a good match.

Well, one question I'd have is...if you're having a hard time finding speakers that sound good with your amp, maybe it's not the speakers?

I mean, if the usual suspects aren't happening...maybe something else is going on? Maybe a different style of amp would be more suitable.

Then too, how long have you had the V-30s? They do take a while to break in. Like...a significant while. I've had my Grissom cab for well over a year. I think it sounded nicely broken in about 5-6 months ago. That's why I said be patient with them.
 
I've played through a very broken in Mesa 4x12 cab with v30's for years. I've run a few amps through it including some combos, all with EL34's. I get some really good room tones (to my ears) but I also get some really clear recorded tones with it just by using an sm57 and an e609. Probably sounds better recorded than in the room now that I think about it.
Then I recently picked up a lonestar special combo with EL84's and a black shadow 90 speaker. This is hands down the BEST sounding amp I've ever played (in the room). I haven't recorded with it yet for a comparison to the v30 cab
I'd be interested to see how it records with the same mic setup or even run it to the 4x12 just for recording.

For your purposes I would probably let this v30's break in more before making a final decision. Are you using the rig more for gigging or for recording? If it's playing live than maybe go with the green-backs since you know you already like the sound.
 
I've read a few places that "...all V30's are not created equal...", suggesting that there are un-advertised variations of the same speaker.
Mesa is one of these sources, and they insinuate that the ones they use are somehow superior.... fwiw....
 
Well, one question I'd have is...if you're having a hard time finding speakers that sound good with your amp, maybe it's not the speakers?

I mean, if the usual suspects aren't happening...maybe something else is going on? Maybe a different style of amp would be more suitable.

Then too, how long have you had the V-30s? They do take a while to break in. Like...a significant while. I've had my Grissom cab for well over a year. I think it sounded nicely broken in about 5-6 months ago. That's why I said be patient with them.

Entirely possible that it's the amp, not the speakers - at least, to the extent that I'm trying to get an awful lot of uses out of the same amp, and I might just be hitting the limits of what I can expect it to do. I think I mentioned elsewhere that I currently don't have an ideal setting to be playing a 30 watt amp. It's a little much for my tiny "studio" space, getting it to a sweet spot to record with is a lot of sound. I'd also like to play it live, but I'm competing with a 100 watt half stack, formidable bass rig, and a VERY heavy handed drummer. If the band could take the volume down about 20%, I think I could keep up fine, and we would still be loud. But our drummer just gets this confused look on his face when I try to explain the virtues of less volume. Telling a drummer to play more quietly can be like telling water to stop being wet!

It's really the ideal size I would prefer to be playing, both in terms of its own volume and what the volume of a whole band would be. Plus it's not going to give me a paralyzing back issue. When I hear these live bands playing half stacks, a lot of times it's SO loud that the music has no definition and so much of the nuance is lost, and it's mostly a volume pissing match amongst the band members. On the other hand, I heard this band play a couple weekends ago, and the guitarist had a Joe Satriani kind of vibe, he was very talented and sounded great, and his rig was a very homemade looking 2x12 with an amp that was 40 watts max, probably less. But their bass player and drummer were brothers, a couple of younger guys and they had actual training in jazz and rock, and new what it meant to have a good mix (PA was vocals only at this gig). They sounded killer, and their volume didn't scare people out of the bar.

I'm not going to get rid of the amp, I still think there will be a day when I need something that size, and it really does sound good in the proper context. I've been plotting and scheming about what else I could get for those higher wattage needs - current contenders are a Mark V, Dual Rectifier, Archon, and maybe the Orange OR100. My ideal would be a 100 watt 2 Channel Custom, but they're only making 50's now. Left to my own devices, I probably wouldn't be buying a high gain amp, but I always seem to end up needing one.

For your purposes I would probably let this v30's break in more before making a final decision. Are you using the rig more for gigging or for recording? If it's playing live than maybe go with the green-backs since you know you already like the sound.

Gigging or recording? Yes. Maybe it will just be worth always having a 2x12 V30 cab around!
 
I have mesa that I recently purchased with a V30. It is bright and brittle with a little ice pick to the ear. I will give the speaker time to break in to see if the brittleness turns into chime.

There's a place I called that will allow me to play the amp connected to different speakers so I can choose one I like. So if the V30 doesn't change over time, I may have to try that rout. But I wonder if trying speakers not in my amp will sound different when installed......hmmm.

Mesa has their V30 made in the UK specifically for them.
 
I have a pair of V-30s in a Mesa cab (closed back). I think it is great. Had an MC-90 in a Mesa Blue Angel. Did NOT love it. Replaced with a V-30 and it was better. Then swapped in a Celestion Gold and I am in love.
Meanwhile, I have the MC-90 in a Mesa 3/4 back cab, and think it is great.
Also have V-30s in the top of a pair of 2 x 12 cabinets (open), with Thiele EVM-12 on the bottoms (scaled down version of a Mesa "Halfback") and think that is a spectacular combination, in stereo.

No one speaker is "the best" for every cabinet (or amp).
 
I've read a few places that "...all V30's are not created equal...", suggesting that there are un-advertised variations of the same speaker.
Mesa is one of these sources, and they insinuate that the ones they use are somehow superior.... fwiw....
They are! Ask Boogie.

That said, Andy, I know it's a PITA, but pound those speakers for a while. I was about ready to give up on the V30s in my beautiful PRS 2x12 cab. I've had numerous speakers over the years and almost always hated the breakin period. But after getting the PRS cab, the reality set in of trying to break in two at once, instead of one at a time like I always was in the past. A 2x needs significant volume for HOURS and hours of playing to break in. Now, it will or can happen faster if you can really jack up the volume, but at home, who can do that. I often wonder how people using these big 4x cabs EVER get them broken in when they are using them with 18 watt or 20 watt amps.

I know it's a pain, but pound them for a while longer before you give up. Because, I was all but ready to pull the trigger on two Scumbacks for my PRS cab (and I may eventually) but the longer I hold off, the better the V30s sound. Still, they have that peak in the 3K area, and if you don't like it, the breakin only takes the crispyness away, it still has the peak, it's just smoother sounding. With some amps, some users will never like the V30s. I'm still trying... might even replace one at first. H/V mix is supposed to be nice. But I really LOVE my Custom 50 with greenback types as well, so we may end up in the same boat.
 
This last year ( ish ) I started playing around with amps and speakers the players
1) Egnater Tweaker 15 head and a Greenback 1x12
2) Marshall TSL100 w 4x12 JCM900 slant cab loaded with V30s
3) PRS H head with PRS Stealth DB 2x12 w V30
I also had a Fender bandmaster 2x12 reproduction cab with Celestion super 65s
and now have and homemade Orange reproduction cab with Jensen Mod 50s
Why do I say this well I have really only played 1 amp for 30 years a Mesa MK2 and I was just used to it it was MY sound ( still is )

But as I started jamming more I was trying some new amps and liking it so first the Tweaker great amp just not me it would break up to quick and the Green back NEVER worked for me with anything.

BUT just before I sold the tweaker I tried it the the Marshall Cab HOLLY CRAP the tweaker just killed !!!

THEN I got to playing with the Marshall -- Tube rolling different cabs and more Cabs :) It is a Killer Marshall but not 100% for me


The then Traded for the PRS H it is modded with EL34s and some other upgrades from PTC and it took me awhile to come to terms with new speakers and Amps but once I came to terms with a modern EQ I was able to dial out the harshness I found at first and at times now find my Mesa to be a bit dark

If these speakers are new or new to you try redialing in your EQ start from zero , pedals and all to me its like adjusting the height of a pickup great things could be waiting
Good ( tone ) hunting
 
He probably doesn't. The Lone Stars come with Black Shadow 90s, based on a Celestion Lead 80, not V-30s. I've seen a video of his own studio, and it's got a Lone Star combo, one of the original blue/silver ones. I do see in ads he is shown with some Recto cabs, and those generally come with V-30s, but I don't know what he has in his. Could be anything.

I saw footage from what I'm fairly certain was the Sgt Peppers sessions and he had four Recto 2x12s lined up and baffled in the sound room. The Recto 2x12 is a little more scooped than the 4x12.

Mesa's OEM V30s are different than standard V30s. Off the top of my head, machined pole instead of rough cast, different back plate alloy, different magnet, different glue. Never disassembled one so no idea about the voice coil. The results are darker and smoother than a generic Celestion.

The differences aren't exactly subtle either. If you have both side by side they look and sound different.
 
I hear ya! I´ve owned a lot of cabs loaded with V30. Mesa, Rivera, Marshall, ENGL....all of them got sold within a year.
Yes, there are plenty of recordings with V30 that sound great, but achieving a just as good or even better tone/sound with another speaker is definitively doable.
I´ve achieved, to my taste, way better tones both live and in the studio with greenbacks and/or Celestion's G12K100.
The greenbacks are way smoother/fuller and breaks up better, and the K100's are just better in every sense compared to the V30's.

This is just my taste and what I hear, I totally get that some love the V30 above all else, so just take my opinion as just that, no hate guys :)
 
Thanks guys. Kind of kicking myself here, just looked at the Mesa Hollywood site and their V30's are very reasonable, but we'll see what happens with the current ones. I'll keep taking the cab to practice and pounding away on it!
 
Meanwhile, I have the MC-90 in a Mesa 3/4 back cab, and think it is great.

Absolutely one of the best cabs Mesa ever made, IMHO, I had two of them. One moved to LA with my son several years ago, and is still in his studio. The other I traded in for the 2x12 Recto cab I used for several years. That Mesa 3/4 back 1x12 sounded like a 2x12, and is the only 1x12 cab I've ever truly loved playing through.

Why they discontinued it, I'll never know. Guess it didn't sell well enough.
 
^^^

FWIW, there is someone locally selling a Fuchs 1 x 12 (CL-80) with a fairly similar layout (slightly smaller cabinet, oval cutout in the back). Cosmetically, it would be a more "perfect match" for the Fuchs ODS-30 head. But it is hard to justify yet another pricey, good sized "box" just to get something so similar in a different color.;)
 
Hey Rider1260

Thanks for the run through and picture history of your cab/speaker experience. Nice of you to share.

whatamada

I may be leaning in a similar direction.
 
Taking my amp and ax to a place called midwest speaker repair. You can try out different speakers with your equipment. Or,....I may try out different amps all together and see if I like them better. Or,...maybe get a greenback and put it in my amp and see. I'm not sure midwest speaker repair has them...??

Any recommendations?
 
Taking my amp and ax to a place called midwest speaker repair. You can try out different speakers with your equipment. Or,....I may try out different amps all together and see if I like them better. Or,...maybe get a greenback and put it in my amp and see. I'm not sure midwest speaker repair has them...??

Any recommendations?
Hey, that sounds like an awesome plan! Since I´m from the other side of the pond (Sweden) I know of no such place at all. Sounds really cool!
Try as much as you can, I´m guessing it will be a lot easier to find what you like with the opportunity to A/B test in an instant like that.
looking forward to hear about it! :)
 
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