New Life Old Speakers

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,264
I have about a half dozen pairs of 15" 2-way passive speakers (JBL) that are visually obsolete. They all work fine, have had new drivers, (2226H) etc. added over time and even new cabinets built for them. They are all in great condition and I have always liked how they sound and their reliability but, the look is old school rectangular cabs and gray carpet so they don't get used often. I tend to grab my active pairs instead.

I've decided I can get new life from these by building new Trapezoidal cabinets. I plan to include both PA fixing points and floor monitor angles, and finish them with a modern textured black satin finish.

The problem now - is finding the time to actually get it done. I plan to set aside a day to cut all the pieces into kits and then assemble and finish each pair as time allows.

Anyone else given their old dogs a new trick?
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
10,830
Oklahoma City
Haven’t been at it (DJing) long enough to have old speakers, so no rehabbing. Glad to see a new DIY thread that isn’t MINE, though. I’ll certainly be interested to see what you end up doing. I’m all for reusing and repurposing whenever practicable... and sometimes even when it’s not.


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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
32,258
Prospect, CT
I sold all my passives when I dumped all my amps. None were old enough to consider re-building them. I may attempt a set of active subs at some point .. just for fun.
 
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ittigger

Hundred Acre Industry Icon
Feb 1, 2011
12,811
Western Maryland
I have about a half dozen pairs of 15" 2-way passive speakers (JBL) that are visually obsolete. They all work fine, have had new drivers, (2226H) etc. added over time and even new cabinets built for them. They are all in great condition and I have always liked how they sound and their reliability but, the look is old school rectangular cabs and gray carpet so they don't get used often. I tend to grab my active pairs instead.

I've decided I can get new life from these by building new Trapezoidal cabinets. I plan to include both PA fixing points and floor monitor angles, and finish them with a modern textured black satin finish.

The problem now - is finding the time to actually get it done. I plan to set aside a day to cut all the pieces into kits and then assemble and finish each pair as time allows.

Anyone else given their old dogs a new trick?
I have some old Peavey 115 PS cabs that I have thought about keeping running for sooooooo long. The crossovers went out on these and Peavey doesn't seem to make anything that will take the place of the crossovers. These were rectangle cabs too and they sounded really good. I have finally taken all the drivers out and the cabs went to the dump. The crossovers also went to the dump. I think it would be cheaper (time wise) to buy another set of passives if I need them. I have built cabinets and coffins previously.

My SP2's (trapezoidal) replaced the 115's - and kick the snot out of them. The SP2's are pretty bad a$$.
 
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DJKLEEN

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 31, 2016
682
52
Lafayette la
I hear ya Pro! I just can’t seem to,get rid of any of my old passive stuff!

Still love my JBL MR835’s. When I put those speakers pared up with one of my QSC PLX amps,,,, MAN it is heavenly! It is more of a audiofile level of sound than a PA.

Just big and bulky,,,, and the look is not “in style”. I hardly bring them out anymore!

I get more compliments from listeners when I play those old JBL’s.
 
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sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
187
56
Ventura County, CA
I hate getting rid of functional equipment. However, to make a rebuild worthwhile, the refinished product would have to fill a need. If I can't find a worthwhile need I would try donate the gear to a cause. Maybe a youth center or something could use it.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,264
I hate getting rid of functional equipment. However, to make a rebuild worthwhile, the refinished product would have to fill a need. If I can't find a worthwhile need I would try donate the gear to a cause. Maybe a youth center or something could use it.
I've sold and donated a few pairs of these over the years and always knew the recipient was getting a total steal even if they were clueless. If this was weak or inexpensive stuff like Peavey then yeah - I would get rid of them and buy new. But these are a very solid systems that perform really well in a lot of spaces. I still have need for passive speakers when flying an individual cabinet as side fill, etc. and not having to send AC to the cabinet is faster and cleaner.

For DJ gigs like weddings I can typically avoid needing subs by using 15" 2 ways instead of small tops. Since DJ setups are very straight forward it makes a lot of sense to simply take an existing piece of well performing gear and give it a more modern or versatile profile. There's not a lot of technical concern for what is essentially a recorded music program. I'll also get the advantage of having more and larger monitors for other gigs when I need them.

Modernizing the cabinet could potentially restore them to attractive rental inventory. While I think rental to DJs is a dead market in the wake of all the cheap brands DJs tend to buy today, musicians and AV clients generally have higher expectations. These could find use in putting together versatile solutions for unique events.

Lastly, I could probably sell them as trapezoidal cabinets and get a much better price. The old school look seriously undermines the real value and performance of these speakers.
 
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ittigger

Hundred Acre Industry Icon
Feb 1, 2011
12,811
Western Maryland
If I owned weak or inexpensive stuff like JBL, I'd probably want to redo the cabs too. You probably should have bought something that's solid and a workhorse, like Peavey. :)
 
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Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,264
If I owned weak or inexpensive stuff like JBL, I'd probably want to redo the cabs too. You probably should have bought something that's solid and a workhorse, like Peavey. :)
It's a not a secret which segment of the market Peavey serves and as one of the largest manufacturers it's user base is quite large. However, that user base has it's limitations and probably keeps Peavey servcie centers running well in the black.

The only time I hear Peavey brought up in a discussion is when someone is looking to repair or replace their blown drivers, etc. I don't know whether to fault the users, the Peavey product, or partilcuar intersections of both. What remains in memory is that the words Peavey and blown more often occur in the same sentence.

Even if we place fault entirely on the users - the narrative remains and Peavey inevitably inherits the fall out. This is why, even if Peavey is a great product it will more often be barred from technical riders. Reputation is built on how people talk about your product so, a good product in bad hands can easily end up getting capped in the market place by the narrative of it's weakest users. This is also a concept you can apply to running a DJ business.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
3,818
36
Older peavey speakers looked horrible. When you walk into an event, and see big Peavey white logo on the speaker grille, you know you are in for a harsh sounding event.

JBL Speakers in the past by far were a superior product to Peavey.

Now I heard the newer Peavey "Dark Matter" powered speakers. Those are the best sounding Peavey's I have ever heard.

The only thing I can say about Peaveys that is positive is that their cabinets were always sturdy, and seemed to hold up for years and years. None of the DJs I know personally ever bothered with Peaveys. None of them liked them. With Peaveys I usually see a cheap bar band using them, or a cheap Karaoke DJ using them over the years. Never saw them at weddings, or corporate events in use by anyone.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,264
JBL Speakers in the past by far were a superior product to Peavey.
That's probably not true of all JBL products but, JBL has very clear lines drawn between it's entry level, professional, and touring products.

The guy using a JRX speaker is likely far less informed or experienced than the guy using VRX and so, whatever miistakes a JRX user makes that result in failure issues will tend to be on par with all other speakers in that class. JBLs professional and touring lines don't suffer as a result of that user's inexperience.

Peavey doesn't have that kind of boundary. It's product range is much narrower. DSP EQ often allows us to hear our own preferred interpretation of a speaker so, that has to be allowed for in any comparison situation and location.

If you are willing to pay $700 for a 10" active speaker and could not examine or test either brand in person would you choose Peavey Dark Matter or QSC K.2 ? Most informed buyers would choose the QSC - and it has to do precisely with the narrative that travels with the brand. We know that the K series is not the top of the QSC line, so there's the implied benefit of a design influenced from above. If Dark Matter is closer to the upper limit of Peavey's offerings, it may also feel like it's near the limit of their resources as well.
 
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ittigger

Hundred Acre Industry Icon
Feb 1, 2011
12,811
Western Maryland
That's probably not true of all JBL products but, JBL has very clear lines drawn between it's entry level, professional, and touring products.

If you are willing to pay $700 for a 10" active speaker and could not examine or test either brand in person would you choose Peavey Dark Matter or QSC K.2 ? Most informed buyers would choose the QSC - and it has to do precisely with the narrative that travels with the brand. We know that the K series is not the top of the QSC line, so there's the implied benefit of a design influenced from above. If Dark Matter is closer to the upper limit of Peavey's offerings, it may also feel like it's near the limit of their resources as well.
Peavey also has clear lines drawn between their products. Because we're speaking of inexpensive and weak, then we must be speaking of inexpensive and weak JBL's as well. If you bought a better product, maybe you wouldn't have issues with your JBL's. The Peavey's that I've run have always gotten compliments. Just because you choose not to run Peavey doesn't make them inexpensive or weak. JBL makes crap - as does EV as does Peavey, etc, etc. They all also make decent stuff, good stuff and great stuff. I don't think the Dark Matter line is their 'upper limit' or even close to it.

The Dark Matter lineup, which starts at 12" and costs $329.99 and the K12.2 which costs $799.99 are obviously 2 different tiers. The JBL Eon, EV Live X, and others of this similar tier would be a better match up.
 
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sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
187
56
Ventura County, CA
Proformance, since you have a use, a rebuild could make sense. It depends on your speaker building expertise. There is a lot more to cabinet design than T-S parameters. There are issues of resonances, edge diffraction, port turbulence, etc. Using the same components doesn't insure you'll get the same sound. However, for secondary use, you may not be very concerned with possible voicing variations. I suspect if you added up your time and materials for these new cabinets you will find that you could have bought comparable new passive speakers for less. Of course, that wouldn't provide the satisfaction one gets when successfully re-purposing an old product.
 
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Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,264
The Dark Matter lineup, which starts at 12" and costs $329.99 and the K12.2 which costs $799.99 are obviously 2 different tiers. The JBL Eon, EV Live X, and others of this similar tier would be a better match up.
Do you ever stop and think before you post? It doesn't seem that way.
So, you blow smoke about Peavey quality and then admit that the 12" Dark Matter is priced less than half of what the most commonly used baseline QSC product is? The Peavey DM12 is priced less than a raw JBL woofer!

JBL doesn't make crap. If they did I'd have no incentive to change the fashion of the box. JBL"s worst product is still better than Peavey - but ALL entry level products attract inexperienced users who fail to use the products within their design limits. Sorry your ego is bruised but, Peavey heading up your inventory does in fact speak to your level of experience and expectation at the time you bought them.
 
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Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,264
Proformance, since you have a use, a rebuild could make sense. It depends on your speaker building expertise. There is a lot more to cabinet design than T-S parameters. There are issues of resonances, edge diffraction, port turbulence, etc. Using the same components doesn't insure you'll get the same sound. However, for secondary use, you may not be very concerned with possible voicing variations. I suspect if you added up your time and materials for these new cabinets you will find that you could have bought comparable new passive speakers for less. Of course, that wouldn't provide the satisfaction one gets when successfully re-purposing an old product.
I have all the design variables to calculate the correct enclosure. I also have the materials and shop in which to do this quite easily. It's not the first time I've built speaker enclosures. Each pair of speakers has a replacement cost of about $1,400 versus the $250 cost to build new enclosures. Time isn't a factor because there's no deadline and nothing else is getting shelved in order to do this. I essentially have a lot of really high quality speakers wearing old clothes. Donating them produces only a minimal tax deduction that I don't need, and disposing of them is a waste because there's clearly new potential here, even if I then sell them as "used" goods.

The voice and reflection concerns you cite originate at the baffle and those elements won't change. It's also a myth that the trapezoid shape in these small stage cabinets evolved to eliminate standing waves and resonance, it didn't. In this class of cabinets small bands and DJs still stack multiple speakers in horizontal arrays. The trapezoid increases sales by improving the visual appeal of long standing bad acoustical habits. :)
 
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sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
187
56
Ventura County, CA
Keeping the same baffle eliminates a lot of variables. Box side wall resonances can still be different but those will impact off axis response more so than on axis.

I am not personally familiar with the specific drivers in your current speakers but I feel confident that you aren't going to buy a pair of new speakers for $250 with better drivers despite all the advances in the last decade+. Good luck with your build. It is always fun to generate sawdust.
 

DJKLEEN

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 31, 2016
682
52
Lafayette la
If I owned weak or inexpensive stuff like JBL, I'd probably want to redo the cabs too. You probably should have bought something that's solid and a workhorse, like Peavey. :)
😂. I think peavey is French for boat anchor! I must go to the peavey and take a Pyle.

More realistically if it weren’t for used sp2’s back in the 80’s,,,,,,I wouldn’t have nothin to play with. Ended up giving them away to my neighbors kid.

Dude they had wheels on the cabinets!

I thought I could crack the sky open with 2 sp2’s connected to cs1800,,,,,,,yes I said cs1800. That was a big bad mf’er back in 1986...... no one in my circle of friends could top my set!
 
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