Whether you are building your cabinet from scratch or simply replacing your busted speakers, here’s our offer for the best 8-inch guitar speakers available in the market today for your amp-hacking needs.
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Recommended 8-Inch Guitar Speakers
Jensen Vintage C8R8 8-Inch Ceramic Speaker, 8 ohm
What’s good: Reproduces the classic “tweed” sound that vintage players go for
Not so good: Tends to sound a bit harsh on the upper mid-range upon an initial break-in
Jensen has been one of Fender’s choice for its in-cabinet speakers throughout the years. Much of the classic “tweed” sound that came from their long list of amplifiers are from Jensen’s ceramic touch.
The C8R8 is rated at 25 watts, which is an ideal replacement speaker for smaller amps, breathing in a new life to the tonal possibilities of your practice amplifier. This woofer may tend to sound a wee bit harsh on initial use, but the sound drastically improves once you hit the 20-hour break-in.
The best part is, you don’t have to shed a whole lot of money to get that “Fender Vibe” your ear has been looking for.
EMINENCE American Standard Alpha-8A
What’s good: Versatility; can be used as replacement speakers for PA loudspeakers, as well as instrument amplifiers
Not so good: Limited control on overdriven tones
Next in line is Eminence’s American Standard Alpha 8A. This speaker has a frequency response of 58Hz-5 kHz, which makes it an ideal replacement speaker for public address systems due to its applications.
The Alpha 8A is rated at 125 Watts, 8 ohms. Due to its wide frequency response, it is ideal to accommodate the wide sound spectrum demanded by most PA users, or if you are a guitar player the borders mainly on jazz or any genre that plays on the low/mid EQ with regards to tone.
The only downside is its handling of overdriven sound due to its frequency range. Overall, this is a good replacement 8-inch guitar speaker for cabinet or for guitar amplifier that employs guitar emulation.
Eminence Patriot 820H
What’s good: Will produce a contoured and defined guitar tone
Not so good: Subdued mid and highs on an initial break-in
The Patriot 820H from eminence is the perfect replacement for you if you are looking for the bright highs that complement its warm lows. The 80Hz – 4.6 kHz frequency response gives you a well-contoured sound spectrum.
Be it in a practice environment or in a recording studio you can be sure that your guitar lines will cut through the part you are playing over. Though the mid and highs on this woofer a bit subdued upon initial use, the sound noticeably improves after its first 30 hours of break-in.
This is a better choice for me over its brother, the Alpha 8A if you are looking to use this as a replacement for your guitar amplifier’s speaker.
Jensen P8R8 8-Inch
What’s good: Provides the classic low sweet tone that most jazz/blues players go for
Not so good: Works best at low volume levels
Al Ni Co – short for Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt. These are the alloys used to make the magnet that drives this speaker’s core.
Due to its warm qualities, the alnico is suited for guitar players who want their sound warm and smooth, much like to the tone provided by the classic Fender Bassman.
The great thing about this speaker is, you won’t need any pedals if you are looking for that true blues sound just plug in your guitar and let the warmness wash all over your tone.
Pointers to consider when choosing your perfect cone
What sound are you aiming for? Are you gunning for a warmer sound from your Princeton reverb, or you want to maximize its cut-through lead capabilities? Always remember; low-frequency attributes are defined by how well the speaker is dampened.
A well-dampened speaker produces a tight sound bass, perfect for British – esque leads. Also, a speaker with a higher power rating would give you more punch for your low frequencies, giving you a tighter sound.
Two’s a company
If you are replacing a busted speaker in a dual combo cabinet, always check for speaker impedance and power rating. It’s fine if you are looking to change one of your speakers to achieve a different sound, just remember to check if your chosen replacement speaker will complement your existing one, or one will just end up dominating the other.
It is better to seek professional advice in these aspects, together with the compatibility of the speaker’s tuning to your cabinet’s volume.
Size does matter
The cone is one of the main components that define how a speaker would sound. The materials used in making the cone, the way the cone flexes and its magnetic motor design contributes greatly to the overall sound.
A twelve-inch speaker would vibrate a bit freely giving its lower frequencies more definition, making it a perfect choice for four-driver combos, whereas a 10-inch or smaller speaker is ideal for small practice amplifiers due to its tight tone characteristics.