When it comes to sound, we have extremely high standards for everything that should be powered by a good tube amplifier. Outstanding craftsmanship, consistently pleasing sound, and dynamic reproduction that brings the sound to life – these are the characteristics of Jensen speakers. We introduce the different speaker series and provide an overview of the individual characteristics of these fantastic sound drivers. But first, a brief look back: What makes Jensen’s parts what they are today?
Jensen’s Brief History
Jensen Loudspeaker is among the big names of the 1950s and 1960s. The company was founded in 1927 as the Jensen Radio Manufacturing Company and, after several years of market experience, was selected by the young and aspiring amplifier developer Leo Fender as a supplier of guitar speakers for his 1940s amplifiers. With the growing popularity of the electric guitar, U.S. amplifier manufacturers like Fender, Ampeg, and Gibson developed new amps – and more and more of these now legendary amplifiers used the company’s components. With an expansion of the portfolio to include hi-fi applications, the era of the company slowly came to an end. In the 1960s, production was finally discontinued. However, the enthusiasm for the warm, natural sound of the components persisted, making the remaining models increasingly sought after.
In 1996, SICA Altoparlanti made an attempt to recreate the old classics with modern reissues. Successfully so! Even today, the Italians continue to produce exceptionally sounding speakers that certainly do not need to hide behind the originals. After focusing on reissues for a long time, new versions and lines were developed in 2008 to address modern playing habits and technological changes – with resounding success in the musician scene.
The modern guitar speakers released under the company name come in several lines, each oriented towards a specific sound. In addition to the classic parts with ceramic magnets, Jensen also offers a special vintage series with Alnico magnets. Catering to more modern tastes are the Jet and MOD lines, with the latter also known as the “Chicago Series.”
Overview of All Series
Today, the Italian manufacturer serves a wide range of musicians with a broad spectrum of different components. The products not only differ in construction but also have partly divergent features. We present the most important series and individual representatives of the guitar and bass loudspeakers from the portfolio.
The models of the Classic Collection closely align their values and sound with the prototypes from the early company history. Equipped with ceramic magnets, these models deliver a rich sound with the high capacity typical of ceramic magnets. The full and assertive tones of the Classic lines evoke the sounds of legendary amplifiers from the 1960s, such as the Fender Princeton, Super Reverb, or Vibrolux Reverb, which used guitar speakers with similar designs and reproduction characteristics. The Classics are offered in various sizes, ranging from 8″ to 15″, by Jensen.
Choosing Classic Speakers for Your Style – Speaker Comparison
The Classics produce a focused and assertive sound suitable for almost all music styles. Guitar speakers benefit particularly from high volume, where their mid-focused, biting sound can shine. Especially for rock elements, these components work exceptionally well, as their mid-focused and biting characteristics are particularly effective in a band context. Paired with a good overdrive, they can also produce much sharper, almost aggressive tones!!
The warm and creamy sounds of guitar loudspeakers with Alnico magnets convinced Leo Fender back in the day to integrate models from the young company into his amps. The classic sound of old Jensen speakers is revived by the Alnico speakers. With an extremely fast response time, they provide a direct playing experience that unites musicians and amplifiers. The fast response time and warm, natural sounds are particularly lively at low to medium volumes and moderate distortion levels.
Choosing Alnico Speakers for Your Style – Speaker Comparison
The charm of Alnicos lies in their gentle but direct response. Emphasizing warmth and naturalness, the models of the Alnico lines are particularly suitable for jazz, blues, and quieter rock genres. When turned up a bit, Alnicos can display some temperament, but metalheads may want to look for an alternative!
MOD-Series / CH-Series
With the MOD speakers, also known as the CH-Series, the company introduces interesting models to the market that are equipped with modern technology and aim to combine the sonic ideals of two worlds. Parts manufactured in collaboration with MOD Electronics offer a combination of the clear, assertive American tonal color with the more aggressive, biting British characteristics. Thanks to modern manufacturing methods and the very versatile tuning of the models, they provide excellent sound suitable for almost all music styles.
Choosing MOD-Series for Your Style – Speaker Comparison
The unusual versatility of modern designs allows the models of the MOD speakers to be used in almost all music genres. Whether blues, jazz, rock, or other genres – the MODs deliver a solid performance in all areas. With different impedances and membrane sizes ranging from 5″ to 15″ in diameter, Jensen offers everything a musician could desire!
With the Jet speakers, Jensen delivers an outstanding loudspeaker that leverages modern technology. Even outside of classically inspired vintage reissues, the Italians know what sounds good! With very powerful Alnico components (the Blackbird even boasts a whopping 100W power consumption!), these loudspeakers offer a modern-tuned Alnico that combines the dynamics and excellent response time of classic parts with modern, more aggressive sounds.
Choosing Jet-Series Models for Your Style – Speaker Comparison
The Jet Series offers a range of modern models prioritizing different aspects of reproduction. We want to compare the different loudspeaker series:
- The Tornado Stealth line uses super-light neodymium technology to deliver a warm, full low-end with a relatively relaxed mid and high range in comparison.
- The Blackbirds, with their 100 watts, are real powerhouses in comparison, undisturbed even by the fattest tube power amps. They come across as warm and smooth but can also be well combined with gritty overdrive.
- Labeled Electric Lightning, these models are very direct rock speakers in comparison. Designed for harder styles, they provide clear, accentuated reproduction even with high distortion, without becoming muddy!
Although the main part of the loudspeaker lineup is in the realm of guitar cabinets, the deeper domains are also covered. The Jensen Bass series delivers the renowned Jensen quality for bassists in two categories, which we have compared:
Jensen speakers in the Smooth Sound category are designed for clear and acoustically performing speakers, offering tremendous headroom for loud bass foundations. Neodymium magnets harmonize excellently, providing fast response times and, in comparison, very dynamic behavior.
In comparison, the Punch Sound series delivers a slightly clearer, tighter sound for crisp bass runs. Especially classic styles benefit from the brighter, tidy reproductions of the Punch speakers!
Rock band in rehearsal room: © Vasyl – stock.adobe.com
Jazz band playing outdoors: © alexandre zveiger – stock.adobe.com