JBL E-120 vs. D-120 - Any Thoughts?

JBL E-120 vs. D-120 - Any Thoughts?

Postby George » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:15 am

I've been told that if I can find them, the D-120 speakers are much better. I want to put some jbls into a twin I'll be getting soon. Any thoughts or recommendations here? thanks!
George
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Postby waldo041 » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:01 pm

JBL K-120!!! best of both worlds!

peace,
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Postby High Peaks » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:57 pm

D-120's will break up more. Both great speakers. I am about to try out getting a k-120 recone on an e-120 basket. I will let everyone know the outcome.
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Postby jonarobb » Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:36 pm

High Peaks wrote:D-120's will break up more. Both great speakers. I am about to try out getting a k-120 recone on an e-120 basket. I will let everyone know the outcome.


How are you going to do that?
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Re: JBL E-120 vs. D-120 - Any Thoughts?

Postby jonarobb » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:00 pm

George wrote:I've been told that if I can find them, the D-120 speakers are much better. I want to put some jbls into a twin I'll be getting soon. Any thoughts or recommendations here? thanks!


2 completely different speakers with different motor assemblies, voice coil design, and most importantly power handling and frequency range.

The D120-F is a low powered Alnico magnet speaker
The E120-8 is a much higher power handling speaker with a ceramic(ferrite) magnet.

The D120's were very warm with a natural compression and colored the tone considerably. Even though they were rated at a modest 100 watt power handling, they were prone to blow and the surrounds fatigued quite easily. JBL no longer offers any servicable parts for the D120 or K120 for that matter. They have one generic cone kit that is for the E120 that is made overseas but will also install in the D & K series. So unless you find an original D series with it's original cone and in pristine condition, you might want to opt for a K120 which is much more similar to the D, and you're more likely to find one in better shape, and with the original cone.

The E120 is a workhorse with a virtual flat pass. It does it's job well which is to just reproduce sound. It's a great speaker for a Twin if you really want to hear what your amp is doing tone wise. Some complain that it's too crisp. A good score would be to find an E120 with an original cone. When they are nice and broken in they take on a whole new sound.

Additionally, if you're really Ebay savvy, original factory JBL kits do come up for auction. Example being a set of 5 NOS mid 70's factory recone kits for the JBL 2130 which crosses with the D & K series as an exact recone kit. I bought them for a $125 & keep them in stock as I acquire used and blown JBL baskets.

There's some amazing speaker info at the Lansing Heritage Forum including regular posts by the original engineers who designed these speakers we've come to love through the Grateful Dead. They have a great crew there and speakers routinely come up for sale at a fraction of what they're going for on the bay.
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Postby George » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:03 pm

Thanks for the good info and advice! I had heard that the E-120s were workhorses that the dead usd mostly because they were the most difficult to blow of the jbls. and probably also because they produced a good, true sound. I'll be on the lookout for E's, D's and K's.

Here's another quick question along the same lines: my current amp is a peavey valveking 112 that uses one 16 ohm 12" speaker. There's currently an E-120 16 ohm on ebay for sale. would it be worth it to throw that bad boy into my valveking? I'm thinking probably not, but thought i'd toss the question out for any thoughts or feedback. thanks!
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Postby jonarobb » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:14 pm

George wrote:
Here's another quick question along the same lines: my current amp is a peavey valveking 112 that uses one 16 ohm 12" speaker. There's currently an E-120 16 ohm on ebay for sale. would it be worth it to throw that bad boy into my valveking? I'm thinking probably not, but thought i'd toss the question out for any thoughts or feedback. thanks!


Well, yes, if you're looking for a JBL and this is the amp you're going to use, then yes, the E120-16 is correct. Those actually don't come up that often, the 16 Ohm E120's.

I dig the Valveking series. Your model unfortunately can only use a 16 Ohm load. But you should grab it and get an idea of how a JBL feels. It will greatly change the way you approach you tone and playing in general. If you decide to sell the Peavey then you could always turn around and sell the JBL. They're like investing in gold or oil. People always want em'. ;)
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Postby Dozin » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:36 am

In regards to the JBL speakers,..

The K basket is exactly a D basket,
alnico and all. Literally the exact same thing. I believe that they
retained the slightly larger voice coil gap of the orange D120f (f for
Fender) models for the K baskets. The K cones used a more high-power
(K for Kapton) voice coil so it could handle more than a D, and they
also rolled the cone edge for better excursion and symmetry. Harvey
Gerst has a lot to share on the subject. Sonically the K and D are
very similar because of the alnico and identical geometry. The E is a
totally other animal with an even more rugged, thicker paper cone and
higher power voice coil, and the ceramic magnet field offers lots more
power and a crisper, harder tone than either the D or K. So, the D and
K are similar, and the E is very different. There are photos of the
rear of Jerry's cab well up into the late '70s and some say into the
'80s still clearly using the K120's with the Mc2300. But Healy said he
did blow them a lot, hence the eventual introduction of the E120,
which he was also able to blow.
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Postby Jon S. » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:48 am

If you have your heart set on a vintage speaker, stop now & ignore the rest of this post!

Two nice alternative options to the super heavyweight JBLs are the Jensen Neo and the Weber NeoMag. I have the Jensen Neo in one of my amps, it is full ranged, very clear with a bottom end that is as solid as it gets. I've heard wonderful things about the NeoMag, too, which is designed specifically to replace JBL D series speakers (with a special focus on the alnico D120 and D120F).

A pair of either in an amp like a Twin will cut the amp's weight very, very significantly. I didn't care about that 20 years ago. I do now.
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:04 am

Jon S. wrote:If you have your heart set on a vintage speaker, stop now & ignore the rest of this post!

Two nice alternative options to the super heavyweight JBLs are the Jensen Neo and the Weber NeoMag. I have the Jensen Neo in one of my amps, it is full ranged, very clear with a bottom end that is as solid as it gets. I've heard wonderful things about the NeoMag, too, which is designed specifically to replace JBL D series speakers (with a special focus on the alnico D120 and D120F).

A pair of either in an amp like a Twin will cut the amp's weight very, very significantly. I didn't care about that 20 years ago. I do now.


I have a pair of Weber NeoMags and gearheads and soundguys have said "those vintage JBLs sound great"
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Postby Jon S. » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:56 am

Wow, you can't get much better of a compliment on your tone than that!
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:27 am

Jon S. wrote:Wow, you can't get much better of a compliment on your tone than that!


Agreed, Jon! Also, FTR and to fully qualify the facts of the story my 2x12 cab with Weber NeoMags was driven by a 68 Dual Showman Reverb.

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Postby Jon S. » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:52 am

Hang onto that head. In addition to its excellence with guitars, it makes a heckava small club bass amp.
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:04 am

Jon S. wrote:Hang onto that head. In addition to its excellence with guitars, it makes a heckava small club bass amp.


She ain't going for sale, ever... Love her!
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Postby Pete B. » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:57 am

I am using a 1976 Fender Vibrosonic, which is basically a Twin Reverb with an 8ohm output transformer and a single 15" speaker.
the original speaker is an orange basket JBL D130F.
This speaker cannot handle and Octave divider signal without frapping out.
I have an EVM-15L in there now.

Anyone having issues with the D120 JBL's and octave dividers?
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