In a frenzy of tonal expectancy, I ordered the speaker. Scouring the warehousespeakers.com I decided on the 12” HM75 speaker because it was the closest speaker to the Celestion G1T2T-85 already in my R-55.
It felt like it took longer than it really did to be delivered. When it did arrive, I immediately texted my friend whom we’ll call Jason. I am the least handy person in the world so Jason offered to help me put it in. This turned into him putting it in and me watching and making wise-cracks about solid-state amps (thanks, Jason).
The first thing we had to do was give a proper A/B test of the old speaker vs the new. I set up my rig and let a nice E chord ring. The R-55 is a mellow, smooth-sounding amp and has always sounded a little shallow. The shallowness of the amp is partly due to the depth (or lack thereof) of the cab. From what I have been able to find out, this is also the reason why Rivera discontinued the model in favor of the Chubster which is the same amp with a deeper cab.
The other reason for the shallowness was my blatant neglect of the amp.
Jason and I got tired of hearing the old sound, so we (he) got to work installing the new one. It was a fairly simple process especially if you are just sitting watching someone do the work. It looked like it was pretty much just unplugging the old speaker, loosening a couple screws, pulling out the old speaker and then repeating the process in opposite order with the new speaker.
We (he) got the new speaker in and the sound was incredible. It really was power-stance-inducing tone. Everything sounded bigger and more expressive. Highs and mids were clear and distinctive and after messing with some dirty contacts in the EQ nobs, the bass came out like it had been hiding all this time.
Both my friend, whom we call Jason, and I were freaking out at this point. The combination of face-melting tone and the school-girl-like giggles that were coming from both Jason and me must have been a strange sound so Jason’s wife (whom we’ll call Shari) came up to investigate. After hearing the amazing sounds coming out the Rivera, this was her reaction.
This whole experiment has proven to be the biggest single leap in tone advancement I have ever made. No pedal, no guitar, and certainly no instrument cable has made such a difference in the sound quality of my rig. My conclusion is if you really want to take your tone to the next level, research replacing your stock-tone-sucking speaker with a better quality one.