The Red Coats

Big Ben The lone 15 in the new Eminence lineup, the Big Ben ($100 retail/$90 street) sports a heavy-duty cone made in England (hence its Red Coat designation). To control high-volume breakup, this cone has 29 closely spaced ribs that cover its full span, and the surround is given a moderately heavy doping treatm
Publish date:
Updated on

Big Ben

Credit: Marty Sconduto

The lone 15 in the new Eminence lineup, the Big Ben ($100 retail/$90 street) sports a heavy-duty cone made in England (hence its Red Coat designation). To control high-volume breakup, this cone has 29 closely spaced ribs that cover its full span, and the surround is given a moderately heavy doping treatment. With its big 2½" diameter voice coil, 56-ounce ceramic magnet, and 225-watt RMS power rating, a single Big Ben can handle just about any guitar amp on the planet. In an open-back 1x15 cab, I was immediately impressed with the Big Ben’s balanced full-range sound. The tone is indeed big, bold, and strong, with a moderate presence peak in the 2kHz range that enhances detail and articulation. Despite its high power rating, it sounded surprisingly lithe and responsive when driven with a 20-watt Fender Deluxe. If you’ve been looking for a 15 that can cover a lot of sonic territory, it’s time you clocked in with Big Ben. (Available in 8O only; 12.75 lbs.)

The Governor

Credit: Marty Sconduto

The 12" Governor ($100 retail/$90 street) has a British-made cone with eight ribs, a moderately light doping treatment on the surround, and a Celestion-style hemispherical fabric dust cap that covers its 1¾" Nomex voice coil. The Governor’s ceramic magnet weighs a hefty 56 ounces and the power rating is 75 watts RMS. The Governor’s frequency response rises gradually with a slight upward tilt from the lower bass through the midrange. The smooth transition through this critical region gives it a nice sense of balance, with a focused low-end and a complex and finely detailed midrange. The treble response begins to rise more dramatically at around 1.5kHz, with several peaks in the 2-4kHz region that enhance top-end clarity and impart a lively 3-D quality to the soundstage. While not quite as heavy in the low-end as a Celestion Vintage 30, the Governor sounds smoother and more refined through the midrange and has a sweeter top-end chime. At higher volume levels its breakup is also predictably pleasant. If you want to get acquainted with the Red Coats, the Governor is a great place to start. (Available in 8O or 16O ; 11 lbs.)

Private Jack

Credit: Marty Sconduto

Named after a British canine war hero, the 12" Private Jack ($95 retail/$85 street) uses an eight-ribbed cone, its surround has a moderately heavy doping treatment, and it’s fitted with a Celestion-style dust cap. The 1¾" voice coil is wound on a plain paper former, and the ceramic magnet weighs 38 ounces. This noble beast can handle 50 watts RMS. Compared to the Governor, the Private Jack rises more gradually from the bass through the midrange, with a stronger presence peak around 3.2kHz. The Private Jack also has a lighter and more open midrange than the Governor, with an extended and more delicately detailed top-end. While not as aggressive sounding as the Governor, the Private Jack is more responsive to a lighter touch and better suited for clean and mildly overdriven tones. Compared to a Celestion greenback, the Private Jack is noticeably louder, with a thicker midrange texture and a tougher crunch when overdriven. (Available in 8O or 16O; 8 lbs.)


As the only 10 in the Red Coat group, the Ramrod ($65 retail/$55 street) flaunts a unique British-made cone that’s reinforced with eight ribs that span its entire surface. The surround is lightly doped and the dust cap is fabric. Like the Patriot’s Ragin’ Cajun, the Ramrod uses a 1½" voice coil, a 30-ounce ceramic magnet, and is rated for 75 watts RMS. The Ramrod’s aggressive British voicing excels with high-gain tones. A great choice for a mini stack or combo, it has a slight bump in the bass, balanced mids, and several presence peaks in the 2-3kHz range. Its low-end is deep and thick, with plenty of percussive slam for chugging metal chords, and its midrange growls and crunches with wicked authority. It also has just enough treble bite to shred through the densest textures without sounding spikey, harsh, or brittle. The Ramrod lives for high-gain, and it hangs tough at higher volume levels. If you’re craving a stout-hearted 10 that was born to rock, you’ll dig this speaker. (Available in 8O only; 6.25 lbs.)

Red Fang

Credit: Marty Sconduto

The 12" Red Fang ($140 retail/$130 street) uses the same eight-ribbed British-made cone as the Private Jack, but with a more lightly doped surround. It also has a British-style hemispherical dust cap over its 1¾" voice coil, which is wound on a heat-resistant Nomex former. Among the Patriot and Red Coat speakers, The Red Fang is the only one to sport an alnico magnet—and it’s a hefty 35 ouncer. Be careful with the power, however, as the Red Fang is only rated for 30 watts RMS. The Red Fang’s frequency response has a slight bump in the bass with a gradual rise to 800Hz. It has a moderately deep notch at 1.5kHz followed by treble peaks at around 2.2kHz and 3.3kHz. Compared to a Celestion Blue, the Red Fang sounds a bit stronger in the mids and a little more solid in the low end. The Red Fang also sounds smoother with distortion, but its top isn’t quite as extended or as complex as the Blue’s. The Red Fang is a tempting alternative for those seeking a slightly more robust British-style alnico sound. (Available in 8O or 16O; 9 lbs.)


Credit: Marty Sconduto

Like the other Red Coat 12s, the Stonehenge ($95 retail/$85 street) uses a classic eight-ribbed British cone. In place of the traditional Celestion-style hemispherical dust cap, however, the Stonehenge is fitted with a larger 3¾" dome. Its surround has a moderately heavy doping treatment, and it uses a 1e" Nomex voice coil and a 38-ounce magnet. Power rating is 75 watts RMS. The Stonehenge’s frequency response plot shows three prominent peaks centered at 1kHz, 2.5kHz, and 3.5kHz. Compared to the Private Jack, the Stonehenge sounds significantly brighter, with a more aggressive top-end bite that can enhance the detail of high-output humbuckers. The top end really sizzles with single coils, and its toothy upper-midrange can rip its way through the densest mix. If you’re searching for shred-worthy articulation, the Stonehenge’s razor-sharp attack cuts with the precision of a laser-wielding neurosurgeon. The brightest of all the Red Coats, the Stonehenge is bound to attract a faithful following of dedicated treble worshippers. (Available in 8O or 16O; 8 lbs.)

The Tonker

Credit: Marty Sconduto

The 12" Tonker ($100 retail/$90 street) sports a classic eight-ribbed British cone, a large diameter dust cap, and a moderately doped surround. Like the Swamp Thang, it boasts a 2" Kapton voice-coil, a huge 59-ounce ceramic magnet, and a 150 watts RMS power rating. The Tonker’s frequency response has a very slight upward tilt from the low bass to about 1kHz. It also has a narrow notch at 1.4kHz, and twin-peaks at 2.5kHz and 3.5kHz. The Tonker has a huge low end, with a distinctive midrange bark, and a smooth top end. It thrives on heavy overdrive, as its uniquely voiced, full-bodied midrange becomes more prominent with a distinctive throaty howl. The Tonker’s weighty low end could fatten-up a 1x12 combo, or tame an overly bright Tele. It can sound as thick as country gravy with heavy-sounding humbuckers, and it’s tough enough to handle just about any amp you can throw at it. If you’re seeking a powerful British voice with massive low-end girth and devastating headroom, the Tonker may be just the ticket. (Available in 8O or 16O; 11 lbs.)