A pair of Jensen C855-B full range drivers from the mid / late 1960s. The Jensen C855 series appeared during the 1960s, as the hi-fi installation market , formerly dominated by Altec & EV re-opened for a highly efficient and extremely extended range 8" driver. These are a dream-come-true for owners of low and medium powered tube amps.
Back in the 1990s, this particular model got noticed by keen golden ear'd audiophiles in Japan. Where, the painted frame versions (like these) change hands at hefty prices. They look for this exact model .. the C855 and C855B version made between 1964 and 1969. Painted hammertone frame, specifically. Savvy listeners have noticed other full range drivers as well -- all amazingly good -- even compared to priceless classics like Goodmans, Lowther, Siemens and of course the 755A. The C855 stands out as one of the very best, along side the Altec 403A,B, certain Norelco, Philips, early JBL and EV, Quam, Oxford, Racon and early Stephens / Magnavox, Cineaudigraph and others. You have to listen and many of these are actually world class. No better case-in-point than the Jensen C855 (the 835 has 6oz magent and is also quite good). Many other Jensen's are also worth mentioning like the original P8. (Still, not the P8P, it's primarilly a midrange / voice range type speaker with big magnet).
As heavy Alnico speakers gave way to more compact ferrite, (during the late 1950s) makers like EV and Altec left the hi-fi chase in the then mature 8" full range market. Altec did produce the great sounding 403A & B full range, but they did not sell as well. Jensen & Quam, and early Japanese newcomers (Like Pioneer & Fostex) stole the high efficiency 8" market back. After dominating so long with the 755A, Altec sadly chose to redesign the 755 into a speaker with more bass response and wider dispersion (a selling point in the 60's / 70s's) . They were successful but at the same time killing off efficiency and resolution -- exactly what the 755A did so well. The 755A was just too heavy to install and expensive to build. Altec continued to sell many 755C and E, but they too were very expensive, and not so efficient. This revived the always crowded 8" driver field -- one which Jensen and had long mastered.
In later designs, Jensen had hits, misses and uncanny major wins you wouldn't believe. One such winning driver design was the C855. A member of their "Professional Series" of the early/mid & late 1960s. Designed to excell in distributed high quality sound installiations....and to deliver extended mids and highs without a tweeter on just a couple of watts. It was often part of a larger system, along with Hypex horns, G-610B triaxials in walls, lage bins or Jensen's multicelluar cinema setup behind a screen. The cinema system was briefly sold during that same era.
The huge, curved whizzer (ie dual cone), is made from delicate conical paper with a mild curve. It's light, quick moving molded cone allows this speaker unreal efficiency and detail. It continues to impress even along side the likes of a WE 755A as you see in the video below.
Of course, they are not as smooth as the $3000-6000/ea WE755A. These Jensen full ranges are actually allot more efficient as you can hear ... and do reach MUCH higher than the WE 755A (Jensen is factory rated to reach 18,000cyc, where 755A can only go a little past 10,000) so they don't need a tweeter -- a very welcome advantage -- Still these C855's can't be reasonbly expected to have the ultimate presence of the 755A. Even if you own WE/Altec -- you should consider owning these Jensens. For the smaller investment, the sound is absolutly incredible, musical, and detailed on an open baffle. A simply incredible pair of speakers to own as a getaway second system. Perfect for SE tube amps under 10 watts. And generally much better than other pricier Alnico Jensen's like the over rated Jensen P8P ... which does not have the response OR the smoothness of these!
This pair of C855B is in excellent shape, removed from low use mid 1960s cabinets HiFi cabinets -- so they were well protected and still fresh. Cones are are near perfect (please study the reports and full photos below), with only a few marks and smudges that they left the 1960s factory with. The C855[B] features an unusally heavy 10 oz specially blended ferrite, (Jensen called the mix "Syntox"). The high guass density excells in tightly controlling these lightweight, molded dual cones. They have intense voicing as may early 1940s/50s all paper/silk drivers do. You might also compare the frequency range to certain early JBL, the first EV SP8, and the first 1940s Magnavox. Where these Jensen's excell is upper midrange and highs, along with speed, agility and overall incredibly efficincy. Rated and only 12 peak watts (not RMS), these speakers perform like drivers costing several times more. On open baffle or in cabinets they fill in incredibly well with plenty of tight bass.
Few, if any modern drivers ever offer such intensity -- penetrating detail - yet reasonably smooth midrange frequencies as Jensen advertised (see the below info from 1964). Properly used they would be in the center of your system, on a OB plywood baffle or lightly loaded wooden horn projector baffle with an excellent tweeter (if desired) and excellent LF box to go along -- you don't need to xover, as hopefully you're running low power.... these are by far one of the better full range drivers .. ever. Asia has long sought them out.
Properly used - you can have spectacular results. So clear and powerful in fact, your vocals and instruments will jump to life with type of efficiency every low power amp will love! They won't get cloudy at the edges of your music's most information filled region.
Unit #1 NO HOLES OR TEARS. Unit #2 has a tiny very old factory repair at the tip of the whizzer, leaving only a cosmetic blemish. Near perfectly matched DCR. Speaker #1 -- 7.2ohms, Speaker #2 - 7.2 ohms -- full reports and documentation shown is included. These are well sound matched in both volume / tone to ear, and verified by frequency / impedance sweep on calibrated meter (see reports, Exhibit A,B,C,D below)
Full frequency swept with signal generator, good response and power...no rubs, or buzzes or rattles, ALL CLEAR & NICE SOUND -- please see photos for the exacting inspection and test results just done. The speakers work well and display nicely. The paper is fresh, non-brittle and very stable, from low use enclosure that kept them clean and safe for the last 40 years. If you are building a high efficiency full range system, these are a very smart buy. Always a clever alternative to the many oversized and sometimes nasty or muddy sounding full range drivers. Other drivers would most certainly need more tweaking and crossover help. The relentlessly rising prices on all heavy alnico drivers will likely continue to rise -- and drive the prices higher on all vintage USA built speakers with a reputation like these. These are wonderful to use now and make a great investment. As more & more quality drivers from the 1930s thru 1950s vanish into HiFi systems and audio collector's hoards all over the world. Speakers such as these are made to play music & will easily serve you well for the next 100 years.
Will be packed in super double box, shipped quickly after payment with full tracking info. See happy 100% feedback on all vintage audio / Western Electric items. Buy Now to avoid a bidder's war.