Finding your HRD (Hot Rod Deluxe) stock speaker producing brittle sound, with ice pick top tones?
Want to hear a smoother top and a tighter bottom?
Then, it is time to consider replacing your stock speaker. While the Celestion CP-80 is not a bad speaker, it doesn’t bring out the best of what the hot rod deluxe can produce.
The best replacement speaker in my opinion is the Eminence Texas Blue. It reduces the ice pick top end sound and replaces it with a warmer tone. It also improves on the tonal punch and has a cleaner delivery. It is also priced affordably relative to other speakers.
Buying Guide for Replacement Speaker for Hot Rod Deluxe
- Power: Make sure your replacement has enough wattage to handle the power requirements for the hot rod deluxe. Anything in the range of 60 watts range will be more than sufficient.
- Reduce Ice Pick Tops: One of the main complaint about the HRD is its top sounding like ice pick. The replacement speaker should produce a warmer and smoother top.
- Tonal Quality: The type of speakers you select can impact the tonal perimeters like cleaniness, brightness, darkness, level of bass etc. So it is important to hear this impact beyond just knowing that they will reduce the ice pick sounds.
Eminence Texas Heat (12) Review
The Eminence series of speakers is well known for its high quality and affordable pricing. As replacement speakers for the HDR, I recommend the Eminence Texas Heat model (Click here to see pricing on Amazon).
- Less ice pick in tone: The Eminence Texas Heat check this one without any trouble. The resulting sound is warmer at the top as well as smoother at the bottom.
- Improvements in tone and punch: You can hear the improvement almost instantly, especially when you go to the high notes.
- Affordable Pricing: Although $100+ is not cheap but compared to other models with similar offering, it is value for money.
- None that I can think of.
Besides the HDR, the Eminence Texas Heat is also a good replacement speaker for Fender Champion 40, Fender Blues Delxue, Roland JC 120 and even the Blackstar HT Club 40.
Celestion Creamback 65 Review
Another popular replacement speaker for the hot rod deluxe is the creamback Celestion 65.
- Mellow out the piercing: The most important pro of the creamback 65 is its ability to smooth out the ice piercing tops of the HDR.
- Clean tone: Overall, the tone will be cleaner than what the stock speaker offers. For classic rock and blues players, it will improve your sound significantly. For those who like metal or hard rock, this improvement will be less appealing.
- Weaker distortion: The change has resulted in a weaker distorted sound. You will need to up the volume to compensate. If playing in low volume is your thing, then this amp might not be suitable unless distortion is not important to your playing style.
- Higher pricing: Compared to other models being reviewed here, this is a more pricey option.
Besides the HDR. this speaker is also a good replacement for Marshall amps such as the Marshall 15DSL and the Marshall DSL-40. Even the Vox AC15HW1 can benefit for using this replacement speaker.
Celestion g12-65 vs creamback 65
One common question that you might have when considering the Celestion creamback 65 is its difference with the heritage G12-65
The main difference between the heritage G12-65 and the Creamback lies in the heavy magnet used by the latter. This transforms the Creamback sound to be brighter but looser than the G12-65. However, the latter is easier to break up.
As a replacement speaker for HDR, the creamback is a better choice than the G12-65 because:
- The heritage G12-65 tends to push the top harder than the creamback. This reduces the impact of warming up the ice pick top sound of the amp.
- The creamback has a cleaner and brighter tone so it is more suitable for the HDR’s natural tone. The G12-65 is signficantly darker in tone. It also has a unique mid tone that has its roots to vintage classic rock.
- The creamback is cheaper than the G12-65
Eminence Speakers vs Celestion
The two models recommended above are both great choices but what is their difference?
Their main difference is the Celestion speakers excel in bass relative to Eminence speakers. At the high end, the Eminence speakers are more prominent, with plenty of extension. In terms of tone, the Eminence speakers are looser while the Celestion speakers are more “focused”
Other notable differences:
- Tone Color: Eminence speakers have darker tones
- Distortion: The Celestion speakers have a smoother distortion. This is is due to their more open sounding “grit”.
- Pricing: The Eminence speakers are cheaper by 20% or so, depending on which online store you bought from
- Manufacturing: Eminence speakers are manufactured in China while Celestion speakers are supposed to be manufactured in USA.
Tips to Improve HRD Audio Quality
Besides replacing the speaker, here are other additional ‘mods’ or changes to make.
- Replace the V1 tube: The V1 tube has the most impact on the tonal quality of your audio output. The stock tube of 12AX7 tends to give too high a pitch. Replace that with 5751. The result should be a warmer tone.
- Replace V2 for less gain: If the V1 change is still not enough for your taste, consider replacing the V2 for less gain in the drive channel. For V2, I will consider using 12DW7 as the replacement.
- Off the bright switch: This is pretty self explanatory.
The cost of replacing your stock speakers is not insignificant. However, the value you get out it is so much more than what you are paying for, especially when you got the right ones.
With Eminence texas heat and Celestion creamback 65, they can reduce the top end ice pick guitar sounds and improve the overall tonal quality.
Which of these two is better for you depends on the kind of tone you want. For stronger bass, the Celestion creamback is better. If you want a more extended high end, then the Eminence speakers are a good choice.