The Patriots

January 1, 2005

Black Powder

Black Power
Credit: Marty Sconduto

The Black Powder ($67 retail/$57 street) sports an unusual cone with 20 tightly spaced ribs, a lightly doped surround, and a relatively springy compliance. The 12" speaker also has a 1½" voice coil, a 30-ounce ceramic magnet, and is rated for 75 watts RMS. Possessing a strong peak in the 2kHz region, the Black Powder sounds bright and tight, with a punchy and percussive attack. Though not quite as loud as some of its siblings, clean tones are still conveyed with an abundance of hi-fi definition and plenty of bite and sparkle. It’s a great choice for humbucker guitars, as its hi-fi resolution can improve note separation when playing complex chords. And with a Tele’s bridge pickup, it delivers a snappy cluck that cuts like a knife. Ideally suited for fast and articulate chicken pickin’, the Black Powder’s firm low-end, aggressive top, and tightly controlled breakup also make it a great choice for vicious metal tones. Lean, mean, and crispy clean, it’s impossible to deny the Black Powder’s explosive presence. (Available in 8O only; 7 lbs.)

Blue Tick Hound

Blue Tick Hound
Credit: Marty Sconduto

As with most of the Patriot and Red Coat 12s, the Blue Tick Hound ($75 retail/$65 street) sports a lightweight cone with eight reinforcing ribs. The surround has a moderately heavy doping treatment and the suspension is rather stiff. Although the Blue Tick Hound’s lightweight 20-ounce ceramic magnet is the smallest among the 12s, it has a heavy-duty 1½" Kapton voice coil that can handle 75 watts RMS. The Blue Tick Hound possesses a remarkably smooth frequency response, with a slight bump in the bass, and a moderate rise in the treble. It has a compressed attack and the lowest output per-watt of all these 12s. Its bottom sounds full and round, the lower mids are thick and chunky, and the highs are smooth and pleasant. Warm and relaxed with an early breakup, the Blue Tick Hound would be a great companion for a low-volume recording amp.9Available in 8O only; 5.25 lbs

Cannabis Rex

Cannabis Rex
Credit: Marty Sconduto

Boasting a specially made cone that’s reinforced with hemp fibers, the 12" Cannabis Rex ($100 retail/$90 street) promises mellower mids and smoother highs. Known as “the world’s strongest natural fiber,” hemp can help to control a speaker cone’s resonances and breakup modes, thus contributing to a smoother, mellower texture. These moderately thick cones have eight ribs, and Eminence abstains from adding any doping to the surround. The 1½" voice coil is wound on a vintage-style paper former and is rated for 50 watts RMS. The ceramic magnet weighs 38 ounces. The C–Rex sounds warm, smooth, and balanced through the bass and mids, with a rising treble response that peaks at 2.5kHz for a pleasantly complex high-end texture. Clean tones are open and chimey without sounding harsh, squeaky, or excessively bright. Overdriven lead tones are thick and buttery smooth, and power chords ring with richly detailed kerrang. Feed your head a Cannabis Rex and settle into a cool tone zone. (Available in 8O or 16O; 8 lbs.)

The Copperhead

The 10" Copperhead ($60 retail/$50 street) features a lightweight seamed cone with five ribs, an un-doped surround, and a moderately stiff suspension. A porous fabric dome covers the 1½" voice coil, and the ceramic magnet weighs 20 ounces (all of the other 10s reviewed here have 30-ounce magnets). The Copperhead is rated for an impressive 75 watts RMS. The Copperhead’s frequency response is very evenly balanced, with just a slight rise in the treble region. It has an enticingly rich vintage flavor: the low-end is full, firm, and finely detailed, and the midrange is solid yet nicely complex. The top-end rings with a tasteful jangle (although it’s not quite as bright as some original Jensens or Jensen replicas), and it responds to subtle pick inflections with a lively dynamic feel. Equally well suited for clean or overdriven tones, the Copperhead is a good choice for open-back 2x10 or 4x10 combos and cabinets. Its voice complements the fullness and warmth of 6L6s, as well as the complexity and chime of EL84s. The Copperhead is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a vintage-voiced 10 that sounds great in a variety of situations. (Available in 8O only; 4.5 lbs.)

Delta Demon

Originally developed for Cajun bluesman Tab Benoit, the 10" Delta Demon ($65 retail/$55 street) uses the same vintage-style #451052 seamed cone as the Copperhead. However, to increase power handling and durability, it has a more robust 2" diameter voice coil and a vented back plate. Instead of a porous dust cap like the Copperhead’s, the Delta Demon is fitted with a small diameter hard paper cap that’s glued directly to the protruding voice coil former. This tough little devil sports a beefy 30-ounce ceramic magnet, and it’s rated for an astonishing 100 watts RMS. The Delta Demon sounds exceptionally deep and full for a 10. The high-end response begins to fall at 1kHz, so it’s much darker sounding than the Copperhead. Its plump low-mid fatness adds body to chunky chords, and imparts a smooth thickness to single-note lines. The Delta Demon holds together admirably well at high volume levels, and it absolutely thrives on high-gain distortion. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to beef-up your 1x10 combo or tame some bright single-coil pickups. (Available in 8O only; 6.5 lbs.)

Ragin’ Cajun

The 10" Ragin’ Cajun ($65 retail/$55 street) has a seamless, non-ribbed cone that’s thicker and heavier than the lightweight seamed cone found on the Copperhead and Delta Demon. It has a rather large 3¾" diameter dust cap, and its surround is lightly doped. Other specs include a 1½" voice coil, a 30-ounce ceramic magnet, and a 75 watts RMS rating.

The Ragin’ Cajun has a nicely balanced frequency response from the lower bass through the upper midrange, with a gradual rise in the treble region that peaks sharply at 3kHz. Compared to the more vintage-flavored Copperhead, the Ragin’ Cajun’s low-end is a bit leaner with more twangy detail, and its midrange has a more forceful punch. The Ragin’ Cajun’s narrower treble emphasis gives it less complexity and shimmer on top, while its midrange conveys a bolder and more assertive kerrang. The Ragin’ Cajun is a great choice if you’re looking for a versatile speaker that works equally well with both overdriven and clean tones, yet still sounds rooted in the vintage tradition. (Available in 8O only; 6.25 lbs.)

Red White & Blues

Red White & Blue
Credit: Marty Sconduto

The 12" Red White & Blues ($75 retail/$65 street) has a traditional eight-ribbed cone, with an almost transparent doping treatment on the surround. Like the other Patriot 12s, it has a large 3¾" diameter fabric dust cap. Its 1¾" voice coil is wound on a Kapton former, and its ceramic magnet weighs 38 ounces. This heavy-duty speaker boasts a formidable 120 watts RMS power rating. From its bottom through its midrange, the Red White & Blues has a remarkably flat frequency response with treble peaks in the 2-3kHz region. Its even balance and sparkling top is reminiscent of a vintage Jensen C12N, but with more midrange muscle and better low-end depth and control. Always sweet and never nasty, the Red White & Blues has a punchy and lively dynamic response, and its low-end and resilient midrange remain firm and well focused when overdriven. If you’re looking to revive a tired old combo, the Red White & Blues can bring it back with flying colors. (Available in 8O only; 8 lbs.)

Screamin’ Eagle

Screamin Eagle
Credit: Marty Sconduto

The 12" Screamin’ Eagle ($70 retail/$60 street) offers an eight-ribbed cone, medium-density doping on the surround, and a 1¾" voice coil on a plain paper former. The ceramic magnet weighs 38 ounces and the power handling is 50 watts RMS. Compared to the Red White & Blues, the Screamin’ Eagle has a more extended and detailed top-end, along with more chime and crispness. If you’re looking for a speaker that can better reveal high-end content with humbuckers, shift a cabinet’s tonal color in a brighter direction, or complement a dark sounding speaker in a 2x12 cab or combo, the Screamin’ Eagle is an excellent choice. (Available in 8O or 16O; 8 lbs.)

Swamp Thang

Swap Thang
Credit: Marty Sconduto

The heavyweight champ of the Patriot line, the 12" Swamp Thang ($85 retail/$75 street) has a moderately lightweight eight-ribbed cone with a lightly doped surround. A large 3¾" diameter fabric dust cap conceals its heavy-duty 2" Kapton voice coil, and it sports a massive 59-ounce ceramic magnet. Power handling is a staggering 150 watts RMS. The Swamp Thang’s frequency response rises gradually from the low bass and peaks at around 1kHz. There’s a moderately steep dip at 1.5kHz, and then the response shoots back up, peaking at 2.5kHz with a secondary peak at 3.5kHz. When combined with the Swamp Thang’s powerful motor, this fairly aggressive frequency response portrait conveys king-size clean tones that are seasoned with authentic American charm. Its low-end is deep yet defined, its articulation is precise and crisp, and its dynamic punch will knock you on your heels. In a nutshell, the Swamp Thang successfully combines Jensen sweetness with the authority of a JBL. Wow! (Available in 8O or 16O; 11 lbs.)

Texas Heat

Texas Heat
Credit: Marty Sconduto

The 12" Texas Heat ($70 retail/$60 street) features the same eight-ribbed cone as the Screamin’ Eagle, a similar medium-density doping treatment on the surround, and the same 38-ounce ceramic magnet. The main difference is its larger 2" Kapton formed voice coil, which increases power handling to a whopping 150 watts RMS. The Texas Heat has a relatively broad bass bump below 200kHz that’s followed by a slightly rising response through the midrange. It has a moderately deep notch at 1.5kHz and a single presence peak at 2.5kHz. It sounds like a beefier and more assertive relative of the Red White & Blues, with a huskier midrange and a fuller low end. It’s not as sparkly or as extended in the top-end as a vintage Jensen C12N, but its chunkier low-mids bring a more weighty girth to overdriven textures. If you’re looking for a heavyweight barroom brawler that still speaks with a Jensen accent, you might warm up to this loud-talkin’ Texan. (Available in 8O or 16O; 8 lbs.)

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