When one thinks "High quality guitar speakers" there are only a few places your mind will take you. Eminence being one of them. The reason for this? It's simple. Just listen to your favorite amplifiers, albums, and artists. You will be sure to find Eminence's stunning speaker designs in all of these places. The number of professional players, producers, amp manufacturers, studios, and everyday rock'n'rollers using Eminence's gear today is mind boggling. For those of you looking to spice'n up and improve your overall sound there is no quicker and easier way to do so than by swapping in a great set of speakers. It doesn't matter if you're hunting down the vintage thing, heavy thing, or all around thing. Eminence has a speaker that will fit your style perfectly. We're gonna be spending some time looking into a couple models from both the Eminence Patriot, and Red Coat series. Starting with two of the Patriot Series finest of the fine. These amazing speakers showed me again why Eminence sits way up high on the list. Now, like I always like to say,"Light'em up and fire away!"
When reading the description of the Canis Major speakers on the eminence website it says "Clean and full, with lots of body and sparkle. Smokey smooth with high-end definition." This is only the beginning I assure you. Once I got into this badboy, hooked it up and played it, it was clear that the Canis Major was in a class all it's own. This speaker was able to boost all of the little accents, harmonics, and sweet tonal hints that give my sound it's special and unique voicing. Everything about this Eminence speaker, from the construction and materials, to the output quality and versatility was impressive. Running my favorite guitars, pickups, pedals, and cables was an absolute treat through this monster. You can have all the awesome expensive gear in the world. But if you don't have the right tool to push it all out of it won't make a difference what you're playing.
I first hooked the speaker up to a 1x12 open back cabinet, played with a Strat and AC15 based head. I ran the amplifier clean first, with it's eq stack straight up the middle, no bright switch engaged. Right away I noticed lots of clarity and definition in my notes, and a huge sound I could feel in my bones. The quality in the sound of this speaker compared to any stock/factory speaker was like day and night. Eevry note was perfectly round, yet carried twinkling highs, and pushed out mean sounding mids. It was basically giving me the same clarity and smoothness that a 10" speaker would deliver. But with the size and attitude of a great playing 12". Good good stuff. Straight up through a clean tone I was able to hear each note perfectly and with an insane amount of definition. The Stratocaster was the perfect guitar for getting a feel for what the Canis Major was capable of through clean tones. Everything popped and bounced with life and attitude. No matter how soft or how hard I hit the strings, the Canis Major would deliver the same quality on sound and feel. If ever you've wanted one of those super spanky clean, yet super thick'n'heavy blues tones, this is the speaker for the job. You know the tone I mean... that Texas killin' tone. Here I turned up the amp into a slight grit. Right form the get-go I noticed everything I heard through the completely clean tone was still present in the gritty tone. I had the same amount of bass content, punchy mids, and crisp highs. The more I'd push the dirt level, the more rounder and crunchier the tone would become. As if the speaker were adapting to the settings I was dialing in. With the amp pushed full blast the Canis Major was able to hang right in there with no problem. I sliced through lead runs and riffs, played huge chords and chopping rhythms. Every time I got great results. Here I got an idea.... blending this speaker with another cab. So I grabbed something with two ceramic speaker and let them fly. I will say right now, there is nothing better than a good 12" speaker mixed in with another cabinet. This is a great trick for achieving perfectly eq settings. Instantly the Canis Major blended and got along beautifully with the other speaker's character. The pristine, clear tone of the Eminence speaker blended with the harsher ceramic tone did wonders in the overdrive department. This is perfect for on-stage tone blending and recording guitar tracks. I broke out a couple of overdrive pedals, first a TS-808, then a fuzz box. I slammed the amp's tubes with a huge blast of drive and heard the speaker break-up and give nothing but pure un-cut rock and roll. Harmonics, dynamics, and sweet sweet mojo came flying out of the 1x12 cab. The Canis Major handled the overdrive like a true champ! I was able to play any chord structures I felt like playing. From simple to the most complex, and each time I would get stunning results. It almost felt as if I had some eq and compression on the signal. How the speakers moved and pushed air made it seem as if the speaker were alive. Like it could read my thoughts and pick attack. This is literally how good it read my playing dynamics. Now, I don't know about ya'll, and maybe I just have never experienced a speaker of this level. But this was pure magic, and a pure joy. I next plugged into the fuzz pedal and set a mellow, gritty fuzz tone. I also switched guitars here to a Les Paul, and plugged into a 30 watt Matchless style amp that my buddy had put together. I started with the guitar's neck pickup, playing simple slow runs. The Canis Major adapted to the Les Paul like it was no thing at all. I was able to go from poppy, snappy Strat tones, to super smooth, round'n'boomy bucker sounds. In semi-clean settings the speaker delivered some of the coolest sounding low grit tones. The more I spanked the guitar's neck, the more the speaker would break up and deliver crunch. I slowly pushed more drive into the signal and began playing further up the neck. Here is where a lot of speakers and amps don't so well. I have found that when playing certain chords up high on the neck it doesn't sound as good as it does low. It definitely has something to do with how the speaker carries the upper range frequencies. For this speaker is was a walk in the park. I was able to get the same semi-clean and all out overdrive tones by simply striking the strings this way or that. Even with intense fuzz settings the Canis was able to give me tight, defined notes. I also blended in some chorus and vibe pedals to see how the speaker would react to this and got killer results. You may not think it makes a difference what speaker you're playing through certain effects. But I will say through years of playing with different setups and amps in studios I have found that it does matter. A well rounded speaker, something with lots of everything, will always sound best. My chorus, vibe, and tremolo effects all sounded super warm, and super bouncy through this speaker. The alnico magnet really shined here and delivered killer classic tone. In the end I had tried the Canis Major with both an open back and closed back cabinets, overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals, and blended with different cabs. The Canis Major made me smile, growl, and simply made me want to rock out. Finding a well balanced speaker is something that every guitar player hopes he lands in his career as a player. It doesn't matter if you're a pro or dreamer. We all want the best tone possible. None of us wants too much or too little of anything, right? It is only when all of the highs, lows, and mids are living in harmony that we can create a memorable or signature sound. This is what gives us multi-flavors, and how and when our signal will break up. A proper speaker swap is something I've learned that can be a quick and simple upgrade. I recently got into the habit of picking out my speakers the way I choose pickups, pedals, tubes, and strings. The speaker is the voice at the end of tunnel that filters and creates the voice that will be heard through every note struck. The Canis Major is the tool that will get you there.
For more info on the awesome world of Eminence speakers go to www.eminence.com There you will find everything under the sun and moon to help you on your tone quest. Make sure to check back in with us for part two of our Patriot Series reviews. Rock on and on and on!!!