Jensen is best known for its reproductions of classic American speakers of the 1950s and early ’60s, but the Italian manufacturer behind the revised brand was also one of the first makers to dive headlong into neodymium-magnet guitar speakers, with good success. The new Jet Tornado Stealth 100 ($159 street) is an update of the Tornado Classic 100, which captures a lot of the popular 12" neo speaker’s characteristics in a cleaner, more classic-looking new format. Hence the “Stealth” in the name—without knowing, you might expect to find an alnico or ceramic magnet under that elegant cover, which nicely matches the frame’s textured matte-black finish. Pick it up, though, and you’ll surely feel the difference that a neodymium magnet makes. At a mere 4.41 lbs, it sheds as much as 5 lbs from the weight of a traditional speaker. Its 100-watt power handling means it works well with many amps on its own, and a 98.5dB sensitivity rating (measured at 1W/1M) implies it might not be as hard and spikey as some overly sensitive neo speakers of yore.
Tested in a StoneAge 1x12 cab with back both open and closed, using a tweed Deluxe and a custom modified JTM45-style amp—with a Telecaster and a Les Paul—the Jet Tornado Stealth 100 exuded a rich tone with a predominantly warm characteristic, yet with good detail and articulation. The lows aren’t bountiful, but they are sufficient for most playing styles, and appealingly round at that, if a little soft for metal or some other contemporary genres. The speaker displayed excellent detail and good responsiveness, and a voice that was not necessarily “American,” as we’ve come to expect from Jensen, but which ably stood in where you might expect a Celestion to excel; for example, sounding right at home with the tweed 15-watter.
The Jet Tornado Stealth 100 is a great speaker for subtly darkening an overly bright amp without losing the clarity and responsiveness that the shift might imply. A worthy new offering in general, and also available in 65-and 80-watt versions, it’s definitely one to try if you’d also like to drop a few pounds from your rig.
KUDOS A round-and warm-sounding speaker with enjoyable richness.
CONCERNS Low-end might be a little loose for some contemporary rock applications.