Author Topic: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?  (Read 156 times)

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Offline Whipsaw

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I aquired a Sunn Sceptre cabinet with two types of drivers.......3 Sunn branded drivers, no numbers or codes on them with dust caps, and one Sunn branded Jensen C12N 220901 indicating it was made in Jan of 1969 with no dust cap. Which speakers should be in this cabinet or are original? The 1970 Sunn catalogue says the Sceptre cabinet came with JBL D-123Fs. The 3 unmarked speakers don't look like 123Fs so what could they be or where I can get one? Should I look for 3 more C12N's, or one speaker to match the three unmarked ones that are in there? Thanks Bob Sigmo68@yahoo.com
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 12:33:37 pm by Whipsaw »

Offline GrannyGremlin

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 11:30:40 am »
The 3 similar ones are alnico magnet and therefore older than the black ceramic one.  If you have any idea regarding the year of the cab you could figure out which model is original to the cab (mid-late 70s would be the black one, before that the silver ones)... however it is not inconceivable that  they are all original if the cab is from the changeover period.

Personally I'd leave it as is - they don't have to match.  If you insist on them matching I'd get another silver one (I prefer them - bugger what was actually original, though odds are those were the original ones due to 3 vs 1 of the other).

Offline Whipsaw

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 11:53:20 am »
Thanks Granny....Do you have any idea what the silver ones are?  I have seen eminence speakers that look similar but the basket is a little different. The are no markings or writing on my speakers. Bob

Offline GrannyGremlin

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 02:20:48 pm »
they could be Jensens as well (very likely) - any codes on them?

Offline Whipsaw

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2017, 06:01:14 pm »
In both my posts I said there are no codes, writing or markings

Offline GrannyGremlin

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 08:52:39 am »
Sorry missed that.  The problem with that era of speakers is that most manufacturers used the same parts (frames and magnet structures ; there were some more distinctive, but not reliably so).  Cones varied a bit more but still chosen from a limited number of options from the same suppliers. 

Becuase of this it is essentially the same or very similar to a Jensen P12 series.  Lack of stamps and numbering could mean that Sunn bought the standard parts and put them together themselves to save on costs but that's just conjecture, but if they were OEMed by someone else you'd expect that to be marked.  They are actually very similar to RSC (the Canadian Jensen, litterally so in the beginning - they were licensed to distribute in Canada, but put the speakers together here) or even Marslands (another Canadian maker, common in Traynor and Garnet Amps) that used the same common parts.  There were 2 categories of these, differentiated by magnet size - 20 watters like these and the 40-50 watters with the larger magnet (it's not the magnet that dictates the power handling, but heavier duty voicecoils are correlated with the larger magnets in this era of drive units) - so the cab is good for about 80 watts, which is about what the Sceptre puts out if running 6550s/KT88s (less if EL34)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 09:00:07 am by GrannyGremlin »

Offline Whipsaw

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 04:23:39 pm »
Thanks again Granny,The dustcaps on some Eminence speakers I've seen on Ebay look the same but as I said the basket looks doesn't look the same......but close enough to make me think that's what mine are. The ebay one is a black basket from around 1970.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 10:19:24 pm by Whipsaw »

Offline EdBass

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2017, 09:02:09 pm »
I have a totally stock '70 Sceptre



These are the stock drivers;





I'm 99.99% sure they are CTS, I'd give it a 0.01% chance they are actual Sunn manufactured drivers. Sunn actually had a speaker manufacturing facility in that same corner of western KY, where CTS was and Eminence and WGS still are, and yes all of them assembled and shared parts from the same OE manufacturers, so it's pretty tough to discern who made what. But, I'm about certain these are CTS built and Sunn labelled. CTS was the king daddy in those days, and those 12" drivers were used in all kinds of things from MI gear to home stereos.

I would imagine that a bored cabinet assembler at Sunn put the stickers on sideways...

Offline Whipsaw

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2017, 11:06:54 pm »
That's my cabinet Ed, right down to the foam damping material..... speakers and all! Thank you for your input. I saw someone sell 4 of these on ebay or Reverb a while back (before I got my cabinet), but I don't remember the person saying what they were, but they were obviously the exact same speakers I have just like yours are. I'm hoping to find just one.........Do you have any idea how common these drivers were, when were they made, and what years were they used in these cabinets? Thanks, Bob

Offline EdBass

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2017, 05:24:27 am »
They were very common, as I alluded to CTS was a huge source for generic speakers. Those drivers were in lots of things, not just guitar cabs. They were built with all sorts of cone configurations depending on what the end users application was. You could probably find them with whizzer cones in inexpensive full range cabinets.

Do these look familiar?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CTS-VINTAGE-WOOFER-12-INCH/322451526263?hash=item4b139bd277:g:CN0AAOSwhQhYxy1~

Theses were made as dedicated woofers - no metal dust cover to accentuate high frequencies. Probably as woofers in home stereo speaker, The 16Ω impedance would make sense paired with a tweeter.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Matching-Set-2-vintage-1968-12-inch-CTS-speakers-organ-guitar-16-Ohm/252802051228?hash=item3adc2d2c9c:g:3M4AAOSw32lYvsSu

I'm pretty sure they were also used as Fender labelled guitar drivers in the 60's into the 70's. They are good drivers, but not real "high end" quality, and were very inexpensive, so many low end to medium quality stereo, guitar, organ, PA manufacturers used them.
That doesn't mean they are crap, the reason they were so prolific is because they were a lot of bang for the buck, and waaaaay cheaper than JBL, Altec, EV, etc.

Offline GrannyGremlin

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2017, 09:07:32 am »
They were very common, as I alluded to CTS was a huge source for generic speakers. Those drivers were in lots of things, not just guitar cabs. They were built with all sorts of cone configurations depending on what the end users application was. You could probably find them with whizzer cones in inexpensive full range cabinets.

...

I'm pretty sure they were also used as Fender labelled guitar drivers in the 60's into the 70's. They are good drivers, but not real "high end" quality, and were very inexpensive, so many low end to medium quality stereo, guitar, organ, PA manufacturers used them.
That doesn't mean they are crap, the reason they were so prolific is because they were a lot of bang for the buck, and waaaaay cheaper than JBL, Altec, EV, etc.

Yes, these frames were used for everything, bnut as you kinda mention in your second sentence the cones and voicecoils and other parts (that have much more impact on performance and tonality) varried by application.  Hifi drivers would have much softer suspensions.  Whetehr they are good or not depends on (besides personal preference) which config you are looking at and what you intend to use them for.  That said the difference between a guitar and (fullrange) hifi or PA driver wasn't as great back then as it is now, but I have used hifi drivesrs of this vintage for instrument use with good results (just make sure you are not giving them anywhere close to their limit as regards power handling).

I prefer this style (I'm Canadian, so mostly Marslands for me, but same thing really) for guitar, but for bass it's the higher end stuff all the way (EV is my fave but JBLs too).  I do have a 4x12 with a pair of JBls in it though, for something different - use that one for both guitar and bass (in parallel with a 1x15 reflex horn loaded with an EV - very similar to the Sunn bass cabs in design but this one is a Musicman).  The thing that is great about those Sceptre cabs is that they actually have more internal volume than a standard 4x12, so you can stick some heavier duty drivers in there (like JBLs or EVs - even cast frame Eminences but personally I am not a fan) and they work great for bass or dual use guit/bass or even organ cabs.  You can experiment with stuffing them to tune them to the drivers and get a bit more low end.

Offline Whipsaw

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Re: Sunn Sceptre Cabinet Driver question. Which drivers are original?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2017, 08:02:54 am »
Thanks for your input Granny and Ed. I'm going to wait for a driver to show up matching the other 3 exactly. The cabinet is definitely worth putting new drivers into at some time in the future. I have a vintage Deluxe Reverb (1979) that I had blackfaced.... the 1969 Sunn Jensen C12N will go in that rather than the Italian Jensen C12N I put in it and see what the difference is.