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 Post subject: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:05 pm 
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Location: Boston, MA
hey all....i know these are not technically amps, but i recently bought this on ebay, because I am out of my mind, and yeah, i can't get enough Rickenbacker stuff!!! Does anybody know any background story on these and when or why they were produced? They're pretty neat, 26" x 10"x 12" with 3 6" speakers in each and 1/4" jacks on each column.....and the neat Rick logo on each to boot!

figured if anyone knew about these, someone here would!!

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:40 am 
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I know absolutely nothing about these, but I had to read the thread because I love PA columns :-).

Just in case anyone thinks I'm completely crazy - the reason old PA columns sound so, well... old fashioned!, is almost purely because of the drivers. They usually handle a uselessly small amount of power by modern PA standards too. The common models from the 60s or early 70s had a few 10" or 12" drivers which were often identical to normal vintage guitar speakers, and had the same frequency response (ie nothing but midrange) and power handling... so the columns ended up sounding like running a mic through a guitar amp and handled about 100W each if you were lucky.

BUT... the physics theory behind a column speaker - which is that it's effectively a vertical diffraction slot, and so has immense angular dispersion, hence filling a room very nicely - is still valid, and really works. So if you replace those vintage drivers - which are often valuable, to guitarists - with modern high-power wide-range ones... suddenly you have an effective modern PA cab.

I've done a couple of these, for tribute bands who wanted the look of the old columns on stage, but proper modern performance with handling in the several hundred watts - with Marshall and Hiwatt 4x12" columns. Fit 250W drivers and you have a 1KW/side PA :-). To get enough top-end response you may have to consider fitting tweeters as well, but there's usually somewhere you can find enough space - or you can sacrifice one of the main drivers and fit a baffle over the hole, with cut-outs for the tweeter horns. You may also want to put in some acoustic damping material since the boxes are usually too resonant by modern PA standards.

So if these columns don't sound great, or aren't what you need, you could consider replacing the drivers with modern 6" full-range ones, or two of them with bass drivers and the third with a baffle and horn. Then you can have a nice little home PA/monitor system with your favorite name on :-).


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 Post subject: Re: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:00 pm
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Location: Kansas
Quote:
Does anybody know any background story on these and when or why they were produced? They're pretty neat, 26" x 10"x 12" with 3 6" speakers in each and 1/4" jacks on each column.....and the neat Rick logo on each to boot!


You have the Rickenbacker Model PA38 Mini-Column Enclosures and they were available in the early 1980's with the PA120P System. Speaker Data: Three high power 8" curvilinear speakers.

The size listed in the catalog is 26"H x 10"W x 6"D


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 Post subject: Re: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:16 pm 
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Location: Florida
myself I prefer the Vox Grenadier XII with four, 12" speakers and a horn in each cabinet. Very impressive!


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 Post subject: Re: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
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Location: Boston, MA
thanks fellows!!

so since it only has the 1/4" jacks it's really only speakers tho i could chain to the outputs of my AC30 should I desire, correct?

i just thought it was a cool little oddity i hadn't ever seen before!

jim


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 Post subject: Re: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
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Location: Scotland
What's the impedance of the cabs? If it's a 1980s system designed for use with a solid-state amp, they're likely to be 8 ohms each, which means that you can use *one* with an AC30 (though not at the same time as the internal speakers if it's a combo) but not both - that will give a combined load of 4 ohms which is too low.

But if the ''PA120" means a 120W system, each cab should be rated at 60W (which would figure if it has three 20W speakers inside) so it is safe to connect just one to the AC30. It might not sound great though - by the 80s, PA technology was getting better so the speakers may be much more truly 'full range', and it will sound a bit like DI'ing an amp.

The good news is that if you do want to run them as a little PA just as they are, a solid-state PA amp of the same general age is now incredibly cheap on the used market - almost no-one wants them because by modern PA standards they are underpowered, not great sounding, and often don't have XLR mic inputs. You should be able to pick up something that will do the job for as little as a hundred dollars even in full working order. Anything around 100W (or even less) will do.

If you have a Rick-o-Sound equipped guitar, you can get some beautiful sounds by running one pickup (bridge usually) through your AC30 with a little overdrive, and mixing it with the other run clean into the PA.


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 Post subject: Re: RIckenbacker PA38-3 x 6" Speakers
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:00 pm
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Location: SF CA
Quote:
thanks fellows!!

so since it only has the 1/4" jacks it's really only speakers tho i could chain to the outputs of my AC30 should I desire, correct?

i just thought it was a cool little oddity i hadn't ever seen before!

jim


I've got the 120 PA amp, but alas no speakers! A hearty little amp, built like a brick...house, too.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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