Unbeknownst to some, the speaker(s) in a guitar amplifier contributes massively to its overall sound. Amp manufacturers and technicians are obviously very clued-up on speakers, but they are often overlooked by casual players who prioritise other features over the components that ultimately project sound.
Some guitarists will try to change or enhance the tone of their amp with pedals or by switching their guitar’s pickups out. But a much more significant (and even affordable) upgrade that you can make is to simply replace the stock speaker(s) in your amp or cab. Most players that come to this realisation will turn to Celestion - the brand that pioneered the guitar amp speaker decades ago.
History of Celestion
There are various amp speaker brands out there, but Celestion is among the oldest and most respected in the guitar community. With a long history that dates back as far as 1924, Celestion has made several breakthroughs in loudspeaker technology and are synonymous with innovating the modern guitar amp speaker.
Ever since Vox equipped its AC15 amplifier with Celestion’s T.530, a “beefed up” G12 radio speaker, Celestion has captured the hearts of guitar players worldwide with its cutting-edge products that strike the perfect balance between power and tonal sweetness. That’s why some of today’s biggest amp and cabinet manufacturers equip their models with Celestion speakers.
The sonic standard for decades, Celestion has never ceased innovating new speakers for guitarists to push the musical boundaries with. And with a lineup bigger than ever before, you can easily reinvigorate the sound of your guitar amplifier or cab with practically any of Celestion’s exceptional speakers. Use the tiles below to skip to a specific series, or scroll down to read our full descriptions of each speaker model in Celestion’s catalogue:
The Celestion Speaker Range
The Vintage 30 is Celestion’s flagship amp speaker. Introduced in 1986 when spandex rock and over-the-top hair metal was at its absolute peak, the much-loved Celestion Vintage 30 quickly became a favourite among amp and cabinet manufacturers and remains an industry standard to this day - captured on countless recordings and used by the likes of Slash, Peter Frampton and Mark Tremonti.
In terms of its construction, the V30 combines Celestion’s proprietary ‘H’ magnet (close in performance to Alnico) with a unique cone design and voice coil made from modern materials - yielding warm lows, rich mids and detailed highs. In Celestion’s own words, the Vintage 30 is their most “revealing speaker”; ensuring that all of the harmonic complexities of any connected amplifier are projected. Although the Celestion Vintage 30 is a versatile speaker, it’s most apt at handling high-powered valve amplifiers with its 60-watt power rating - allowing them to breathe with plenty of stage-filling headroom.
The Greenback is a venerable Celestion speaker - it’s been around for decades! Popularised during a legendary transitional period in music, when blues became hard rock from the mid-‘60s and into the ‘70s, the classic Celestion Greenback could offer a higher power rating than conventional Alnico speakers of the time. It therefore became a perfect candidate for players who wanted to drive their amps harder in order to achieve heavier sounds, with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Angus Young and Eddie Van Halen among its most famed early proponents.
Celestion’s G12M and G12H Greenback speakers are adored for providing a responsive feel to the player, thanks in part to their ceramic magnets. While the more widely used G12M is sonically distinctive for its punchy and mid-heavy tone that tames fizzy top-end from your signal, the slightly higher-rated G12H is able to produce more aggressive lows with a cutting upper mid-range hump - ensuring that you can easily carve through in a mix. These speakers work well on their own in small low-powered amplifiers, or multiples can be installed in cabinets to drive high-powered rock and metal heads.
The Creamback is yet another legendary speaker from Celestion. Although the company describes the Greenback as “perhaps the definitive vintage Celestion ceramic magnet guitar speaker”; the Creamback delivers the sonics and sensitive response of the iconic Greenback but with more than 30-watts power handling - bringing vintage tone to modern day guitar amplifiers.
Celestion’s classic G12M-65 Creamback is used by many amp manufacturers. This speaker is able to capture the familiar woody tone of the G12M Greenback but with greater power and much more low-end grunt - without sacrificing any crunchy mid-range or sweet top-end fidelity. The G12H-75 is the higher-rated counterpart of the G12H Greenback, making use of Celestion’s proprietary ‘H’ magnet to deliver a tighter bass response than the G12M-65 Creamback and with a clearer treble peak. Celestion’s Neo Creamback emits all of the magical sonics you’d expect from a standard Creamback, but weighs about half as much thanks to its feather-light neodymium magnet!
From the ‘60s onward, Celestion’s Alnico magnet speakers have been relied upon for their signature “laid back” attack and rich harmonic detail. The Celestion Blue, originally a radio speaker modified for use with guitar amplifiers, was featured in some of the earliest amps designed by Marshall and Vox - still fitted as standard in the latter’s legendary AC30 model. The hallowed Blue has since inspired a whole series of guitar speakers, made to project that unmistakable Alnico magnet character but with different tonal traits and power ratings.
Celestions’s 15-watt Alnico Blue is considered as their benchmark speaker, not just because of its longevity but also because of its era-defining sound. With a rounded bass response, scooped lower mid-range and brilliant top-end, the Blue also compresses beautifully when pushed to high volumes. The Celestion Ruby follows in the same vein, but is mellower and better-suited for medium-powered amplifiers with its 35-watt power rating. Celestion’s 50-watt Gold Alnico speaker has a more modern voice, with softer highs but greater clarity and definition in the mid-range, while the Cream offers 90-watts of power with an evenly-balanced and expressive quality.
Celestion Blue vs. Greenback on Andertons T.V.
The Celestion “Originals” series comprises a number of affordable amp speakers made in China. Built to exacting standards for exceptional reliability and consistency, these models are apt for budget-conscious players who are keen to upgrade the sub-par stock speakers in their amplifiers. These particular models are used as standard in a number of production amps too - testament to their quality and value-for-money.
Celestion’s Midnight 60 is a popular replacement amp speaker. Reinvigorating any anaemic-sounding amp with rich British tone, the Midnight 60 boasts a unique Ceramic magnet assembly that captures the essence of Celestion’s G12L speaker. In other words, it produces an exhilarating tone that guarantees well-balanced cleans and broad drive sounds. The Ten 30 is similar in character to Celestion’s Midnight 60, but is more suited for smaller amps with its 30-watt power rating and 10” diameter.
The Celestion Seventy 80 is a much bigger beast! Brought to life in the late ‘90s, this widely-used speaker delivers detailed tones with tight lows, punchy mids and glassy highs. Its 80-watt power rating gives high-wattage amps lots of tonal legroom too. On the other end of the spectrum, the Eight 15 is “the biggest-sounding eight-inch speaker” Celestion’s ever heard - in their own words! This potent little tone-pusher pumps out lots of volume and can serve as an excellent upgrade for an entry-level amplifier.