ToneSpeak 12″ Line

Speaking of Tone...
ToneSpeak 12″ Line
Price: $199 – $209

New to the musical-instrument side of speaker building, but far from neophyte, Misco introduced its ToneSpeak guitar speakers in 2021 with five American- and British-voiced models and a hemp-cone option.

We asked the company to send its 50-watt Austin 1250 and New Orleans 1250, the 75-watt Birmingham 1275 and Liverpool 1275, and the 90-watt Manchester 1290 – all 12″ with 50-ounce magnets and 1.75″ voice coils. Each was loaded onto a baffle that could be quickly installed in an open-backed cabinet, and we enlisted six veteran guitarists to listen to a 30-second audio clip of varied techniques played through a push/pull 6L6 amp and stored in a looper. They heard each clip twice through each speaker – first on the clean channel, then the dirty channel. After listening to the audio clips, the panel then listened as one of them played live through each speaker.

After hearing all five in rapid-fire succession, two points emerged – number one was that all sounded good, with individual and varied characteristics, and none were markedly unpleasant or harsh. Second, in testament to the subjectivity of “good” tone, only two listeners agreed on a favorite.

The New Orleans, with a hemp cone, was considered the most well-balanced, with a roundness to both clean and dirty tones. The Austin exhibited more high-end sparkle with tighter low-end response hinting at a scooped-mid profile, but not to the point that would require midrange tweaking on the amp. It was overall very pleasant and natural-sounding.
The Manchester was noticeably quieter and tighter, which is to be expected with a heavier cone to handle 90 watts.

The 75-watt Birmingham and Liverpool sounded closest to each other, with similar high- and low-end profiles; the Liverpool had more-pronounced high-mids (“lotsa mids” was a common sentiment) while the Birmingham was stronger in the lower mids (“chunky” was the adjective of choice).

Comfortable price points make these U.S.-assembled speakers a viable option when considering a new or replacement speaker.

This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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