And it feels so good!
My never ending quest for that Fender ‘sparkle’ may just have ended. For the Fender Prosonic, anyway.
After a couple of years of mixing and matching speakers, i discovered the best speakers to make the Prosonic sound like a TRUE Fender amp were the 25W Greenbacks in tandem. I’m quite aware that it’s underpowered compared to the amp, but man if you got it, you gotta get it. For me it’s all about tone. I hardly crank the amp so there’s hardly any fear of blowing the Greenbacks.
Now by Fender clean sparkle i mean the bell-like tones you get, especially when you play a Strat in positions 2 and 4. I’ve heard this distinct Strat tone on a Bassman, and on a Twin Reverb, hell even on a Princeton and a Champ.
I knew the Prosonic can sound like a true Fender amp, and the Celestion Greenbacks simply has it. It disproves the critics saying the amp is too hot to be a Fender. It still is hot with the Greenbacks, but it finally has the identifiable clean Fender sound.
But this configuration also has a disadvantage- there are no cases for a 2×12 Fender Prosonic. You can have it custom made, but it’s expensive. So i re-housed the chassis in an empty Twin Reverb case. Worked well, but its not aesthetically pleasing. The gap on either ends of the front panel bothered me.
The original case held 2×10 ‘vintage 30 flavored’ speakers, but i was able to make a baffle that held a 1×12 speaker. I originally had a WGS Veteran 30 in it and it sounded good, but it lacked that Fender clean sound. A single Greenback is way underpowered (25W vs the Prosonic’s 60W). Even set to 30W the amp is still too much for the Greenback. I needed a beefier 1×12 speaker that sounds like the 2 greenbacks, but does it exist?
Yes. Yes, it does.
And it comes in the form of the 75W G12H-75 Creamback.
I FINALLY can stop the nagging feeling about the amp not looking presentable. It’s superficial, but having a mismatched chassis and case just bugged the heck out of me. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and time if i had just simply studied and compared the Frequency Response of the 25W Greenback G12M versus the other 12″ Celestions.
Courtesy of Celestion’s website, the charts below show the 75W Creamback’s frequency response approaching 20KHz held at above 70dB, meaning there’s more emphasis on those frequencies and they’re essentially louder compared to the Greenback which slopes downward below 70dB:
superimposed (Greenback is appropriately in GREEN):
From around 100Hz is when the frequencies coincide, but you can see the higher frequencies on the 75W Creamback stays above 70dB, in contrast to the Greenback. This would explain the initial icepick-y impression i had, coming from a greenback setting (read on for my fix for it below).
I had the G12m-65 Creamback before, and though it sounded normal, it didn’t have the sweet Fender clean sparkle. Check out the difference between that and the 75W Creamback (65W in Blue):
The most important factor were the high frequencies. You can see the drop off of the 65W just before 20KHz, while the 75W retains it above 70dB.
You can also see a drop in the original Greenback, but not as drastic (compared to the 65W Creamback):
Though the Greenback and the 65W Creamback almost looks identical, that dissimilar high frequencies emphasis made all the difference in getting the Fender clean tone.
Just a disclaimer, its not just the speaker change that made this Prosonic finally sound like it’s venerated Fender tube amp ancestors (the Prosonic was made in the mid 90s). Stock, the Prosonic is a hot-lava-spewing high-gain beast. I had to experiment with tube swaps in the preamp and the amp stages to raise the headroom for it, as well as a couple of tried-and-true well-publicized (online) mods coming from the original Prosonic designer himself Bruce Zinky. But if there was just one change that could have the most effect on it, it was the speaker change.
Also, when it comes to the dirty tones, the 75W Creamback seems to have a much tighter response than the Greenback. There’s more boomy bottom end on the greenbacks (possibly because there are 2 of them?), and sounds more loose, almost a sponge-y feel to it. Though the tight response may also be due to the Creamback being brand new and hardly broken in yet. That the creamback already sounds great out of the box is a good indication it can only get better as it’s played on.
The highs are also more apparent on the Creamback (in high gain), which the graphs earlier confirms. On the same settings as the greenbacks, the Creamback is almost icepick-y, but this is easily tamed. Instead of rolling back on the Treble (i maxed it out), i roll back a bit on the Bass (was at 7 on the greenbacks, now at 4), and to my own surprise, by increasing the mids (sounds great between 3 and 7). Sounds counter-intuitive, though it does make sense to do this. Instead of subtracting the levels of higher frequencies, other frequencies are tweaked to achieve the balance that provides the most harmony in your ear.
Also, the Creamback is perceptibly louder on the same greenback settings. Either clean or on high gain, i found myself rolling back a bit on the volume to achieve the same dB level i had on the greenbacks.
Well, THE PROSONIC IS HOME. Looks as it should be, far less bulkier. Relatively small, it’s compact and heavy. Deceptive in sound as well, it looks and sounds like a quintessential Fender amp when played clean, but kick in to high gain, and you swear it’s NOT a Fender amp – it’s a hellacious fire-breathing monster!
Last thing i need to do now is to apply the Fender logo. It’s like pinning a medal on a rookie that struggled and prevailed and came out on top, more versatile than ever before. It’s now ready for the big leagues. It’s now earned the name of the badge itself.