EMINENCE’S AMERICAN-VOICED Patriot series has received no end of praise since its arrival a few years back, but this extensive range of speakers could, arguably, have been accused of one glaring omission: the lack of a classic, late- ’50s-to-early-’60s-style, paper-coned, alnico-magnet speaker. That gap has just been filled by the Black Mountain ($289 retail/$269 street), a new 12" 30-watter in the Patriot lineup. The Black Mountain has a voice coil diameter of 1.75" and uses the same 35-ounce alnico-V magnet as the Red Fang of the Redcoat range and the hemp-coned Canis Major of the Patriot Series, but its ribbed, seamed, and un-doped paper cone is more in line with great American originals of 50 years ago, and its voice is intended to follow suit.
I tested the Black Mountain (which has a resonance of 69Hz and a frequency range of 70Hz-5.5kHz) in a number of open-backed combos, played from clean to cranked, and was impressed by its sound and performance in each. Replacing an aging Jensen P12Q in a 1959 Fender Tremolux, the Eminence brought new life and punching power to this 18-watt tweed beauty, giving it beefier lows than I’d heard from the amp in several years, and, thanks to its 101.3dB sensitivity rating, a louder voice that was suddenly able to cut the mustard in bigger clubs. Think vintage Jensen P12N with muchos cojones. In a more Brit-voiced Goodsell Super 17 MkIII combo, the Black Mountain’s highs remained silky rather than spiky, and it maintained its balanced, slightly recessed midrange with gently humped uppermids— an overall curve that really helped single-note solos cut through the mix. At the end of many a cranked 20-watter it stayed firm and well-defined amid the creamy overdrive, yet with the volume rolled back, the Black Mountain stayed lively and responsive. In every way, this is a welcome addition to Eminence’s Patriot range.
KUDOS Excellent punchy yet wellbalanced American-voiced alnico tones. Impressive efficiency.
CONCERNS It’s expensive, but alnico will cost you these days.
CONTACT Eminence Speakers, (502) 845-5622; eminence.com