Jensen really needs no introduction of any kind, they walk the walk and have been doing so for quite some time now. Many of the first amps I fell in love with had Jensen speakers in them. No one can deny these people know what they're doing when it comes to loudspeakers and great tone. As the years go by and things change Jensen follows close beside, always on top of the changes in music, and always building innovative and special speaker models. One of these unique and amazing products Jensen has produced in the last couple years is the Jet Series, a collection of pure tone pushing speakers with a killer look that says "Here I am!" The one thing I love the most about the Jet Series is that Jensen decided to build some 10" models. I have always been a lover of 2x10 and 4x10 cabs and combos. There is a punch and definition you get from a 10" speaker that you won't hear in many other speakers. We will take a look a few of the Jet Series speakers, put them through their paces, and push them to the limit. Come along and ride with us the speakers won't bite.... or will they?
* Nominal Overall Diameter: 10 in
* Magnet Type: Alnico
* Magnet Weight: 29oz
* Voice Coil Winding: Aluminum
* Cone: Paper
* Basket: Pressed Sheet Steel
* Nominal Impedance: 8
If you've never taken the time and performed a speaker mod on your amp you are missing out. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways to enhance your sound and bring some life into your tone. All in all the guitar speaker is a huge part of your tone's end result, of course there are many more elements that make up one's overall tone, but with just a little investigating the right speaker choice will get you closer to that dream sound you've always wanted. A few month's back I swapped out two of my 4x10 Deville's stock speakers for two Jensen Blackbirds, I wanted to see just how much of a difference the speakers would make. Well, the difference was noticeable instantly! As is the Fender Deville is actually a really decent amplifier, you'd be surprised how many professionals choose this as their stage and studio amp. You can get the cleanest most beautiful guitar tones from this amplifier. With the Jensen Blackbirds the whole picture just got that much better. I'm the type of player that relies on overdrive pedals for his grit and distortion tones, which means I have to have the best sounding clean tone to get the best results. This means I have to have the correct balance between highs, mids, and lows. I noticed tight away that Blackbirds added this rich, punchy, and dynamic sound to my overall eq that gave my root tone a boost of character and articulation. The bass frequencies somehow jumped in size but didn't become muddy or overpowering. I was able to dial in much more bass from amp without the fear of drowning the rest of the tones underneath it. The highs were also a real treat to listen to out of these speakers. I got that bell-like tone from the highs but with a modern type clarity that created a perfect balance between the old and the new. Both clean and dirty tones rang out in a springy, sparkling howl which made my tone stand out beautifully. It is like having the best of both the vintage and modern feel all wrapped into one. The absolute magic in the sound of the speakers lay in the mids though. Many stock speakers get this area of the frequency spectrum wrong. Either they use speakers that dish out mids that are too sharp, or mids that clash with the lows. The midrange in a sound is a tone that has to be able to separate itself without getting lost or sounding weak. You want your mids to hit you in the gut and snap back with authority. Jensen's Blackbirds handed me this vibe and much more.
Before the Blackbirds landed in my 4x10 Deville we had them in a beautiful 2x10 cabinet. This gave us the chance to run the speakers through a bunch of different amp heads. We tried everything from low to high watt amps, and used a handful of different guitars, pedals, and guitar cables. Along with this we also tried a bunch of different microphones and mic techniques. One of our favorite combos of gear was an Orange Rockerverb 50 watt head (on loan to us from our good buddy Rich), a custom Tele, and couple of Bullet Cables. We started with the amp's clean channel, kept the treble at noon, bass at 1'o'clock, just a hint of reverb, and volume up to a nice practice level. The sound that came out of the cabinet shot out like a cannon, full of attitude, power, and clarity. The richness in the speakers delivery was enough to keep me stuck ringing out of beautiful jangly chords. Each guitar string came through evenly and full of sparkle. I went ahead and picked out a few big, fat harmonics and just like I expected they rang out wonderfully. While dialed into this great sounding clean tone I pulled out a few dirt boxes and put them through their paces. First I grabbed a typical 808 style overdriver and dialed it in to take the clean tone and push it into a healthy overdrive. First I knocked on a bunch of thick'n'meaty barre chords. The Blackbirds took to the overdrive pedal's grit like a kid to candy. There's point when a tone sounds so good that it is nearly impossible to get it to sound bad. Every setting I put the overdrive pedal in hung onto the speakers and created a huge sounding tone. It was time to put the speakers through some naturally overdriven tube-grit. I flipped the amp into it's dirty channel and started turning things up. I wanted to test the Blackbirds frequency range so I started with some intense eq settings. I rolled the treble back close to zero, mids at noon, lows close to 100%, gain at 75%, and volume at about 30%. Believe me, things got loud real quickly. The Jensen's were able to handle the huge amount of lows and lack of treble without creating an ugly, muddy tone. The Blackbirds were able to adapt to the setting just beautifully! I set the Tele in it's neck pickup, rolled off some of the guitar's tone, and BOOM! I was swimming in the most monstrous woman tone you could ever hear. Kicking in the lead pickup made things even sweeter. I created a mix between a Gilmore lead tone and Clapton rhythm sound, a stunning work of great speakers and amps. I also played my semi-hollow body and Strat through a 7/15 head. We pulled out some of our favorite fuzz pedals and put the speakers to the test. The first combo was a mighty silicon fuzz, semi-hollow body, and amp set in it's 7 watts. Cables were our trusty pair of coily Bullet Cables. I cranked the amp as loud as I could get it before it started getting dirty. Once I added in the fuzz things got very very interesting. The Blackbirds became creamy, boomy, and became loaded with gobs of sustain. It didn't matter how much or how little gain I threw at them, the articulation of the notes all came through full of character and definition. I had mic'd a few of the guitar tones and recorded them to hear how they were coming through for session purposes. I was stunned I didn't need to give them any compression and very little if any equalization. Through the 15 watt setting I plugged the Strat in and pulled a germanium fuzz box. It made no difference what I plugged into, the speakers did their magic and came through like champs. I got all the pop, spank, and bounce one would expect from a set of Strat single coils. The warmth of the germanium fuzz box worked wonders with the clarity of the Blackbirds. There are guitar speakers and then there are guitar SPEAKERS. The Jensen Blackbird 10's are definitely a professional grade speaker and work wonderful in all settings. Anyone looking for an upgrade or quick mod job would benefit highly from a pair of these badboys. As someone who gigs regularly the Blackbirds have given me a much tighter, brighter, stronger, and wider range set of tones. I don't see these speakers going anywhere for a long long time. Unless they wear out and them it will be time for more. Go black!
For more info on the Jensen Jet Series Blackbird's go to www.jensentone.com or www.cedist.com You can also click the direct link in our sidebar. The Jensen website has a bunch of great info, audio demos, and speaker models to choose from. Analog War Cry will be taking a look at more of these awesome speakers in the near future so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.