Around here we tend to play around a lot with various speakers, always trying to find “the one” that does it all. Although I’m a hardcore single coil player and gravitate towards Fender inspired designs, my personal preference for speakers has been tilted to the British side. My current favorite up to now has been the Celestion G12H30, and the Eminence Wizard. The G12 has a nice combination of warmth and detail, good bass response, and sounds good loud or with pedals. The Wizard is extremely balanced and generally sounds good with anything, but has a little less sonic character than the G12. The Vintage 30’s are very popular, but they have somewhat of a honky midrange bump that I find fatiguing.
My brother — who plays with speakers more than I do — recently said, “You’ve got to try the Weber 12F150B. It’s supposed to be a real blackface sound with a British flavor.” I had to think about this, as my first experience with Weber’s several years ago in a ’67 Pro Reverb were not positive. The Pro came with two Weber ANILCO speakers that to me sounded flat, thin and unremarkable. I think they were in the 12A125 series, but they just didn’t do anything for me. I sold them both on eBay and remember one of the buyers writing me back to say, “Are they supposed to sound this way?” In retrospect, the amp also had some problems, but I came away thinking that I was maybe not a Jensen person.
I also found after several encounters with other ANILCO speakers including a Tone Tubby, Red Fang, etc, that I was really not in love with ANILCO speakers. Of course, your supposed to like these speakers; after all they have cool magnets, cute names, mojo, etc. But I kept liking ceramic speakers. To me they seemed to have more presence, and responded better to my style of playing. Ditto for Jensen-inspired speakers too: While I like Fender style amps, I generally liked them better with the roundness and fullness of a British style speaker.
Enter the Weber 12F150B. This is a ceramic 50 watt speaker (also available in 25 watt). I ordered mine with no “dope” around the speaker surround which should theoretically make it more responsive and break in sooner. It also has a British ribbed Cone. I popped it in my favorite cabinet (Pine 1×12 from South Valley Vintage Amps) and played it over the next several days. Wow, I was in love. I kept doing A/B tests with my G12 in an identical cabinet. While the G12 is supposed to be a warm speaker, it was actually brighter, but flatter, less dimensional, and stiffer sounding. The G12 has good note definition and detail, but now it sounded sterile. In contrast, the Weber 12F150B had that Jensen upper end clarity, but coupled with softer “edges” around the notes and great touch sensitivity. While on the same settings it has less bass than the G12, sonically it is balanced and extremely dimensional. Pushed with a pedal (Sparkle Drive, JHS Charlie Brown, Love Pedal) it was smooth, sparkly, and again wonderfully touch sensitive. Although the Weber was understandably a bit stiff on day #1, it broke in quickly and continues to improve and impress.
This is a speaker that can straddle the British/American tonal spectrum really well and would make an awesome replacement speaker for any Blackface style amplifier. Powering it with a Dr. Z Remedy, Rivera Venus, or ValveTrain, it just blew away anything else in the room. Best of all they are reasonably priced at around $110 and made in the USA. If you are a tweaker, this is money well spent. If it turns out not to be your cup of tea, you’ll make someone on eBay very happy.