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The Big Speaker Shootout

25 Jul The Big Speaker Shootout

In my belief, speakers are the most important part of your tone. They are not only devices which convert electric current into sound. All speakers have their unique voice, they all sound and feel different. Because of this, I have always thought about them as an instrument. A good speaker actually acts just like an instrument, reacting to your picking dynamics, creating feedback, co-operating with your amp and your guitar in a way that can yield very pleasing results – if you use them properly. A good speaker has this mojo which cannot be written down in words. :)

 Just in case you missed the terrific post about the history of Celestion by JaiminhoPagina, you can find it right here

Why am I telling this to you? Because it connects directly to this one. I think that post is worth a reading before digging into this one, as it sums up the history of celestion, and the speaker models, cones etc. over the time very well, which I think is very important before you listen to them and judge. And now let’s get to the topic 😛

A long long time ago in a galaxy far away… there was a forum thread on thegearpage.net, started by Scumback Speakers, which contained amazing soundclips of different speakers. To be more specific, it is a comparison between original pre-rola celestions, new celestions, as well as several celestion clones, like Scumbacks.

Unfortunately the links became dead, so the clips were unavailable for some time. Recently I contacted Scumback Speakers, and I asked them to update the links, so that the clips are once again available to everyone!

I will put the material here via quoting from the original post. Here we go :)

Amps: 65 Amps London using the EF86 preamp channel, dual el84 amp
1969 Marshall Plexi 50 watt (with tremolo), dual el34 amp

Guitars: Strat with WCR SR Pickups, Warmouth maple neck, Earvana nut
Keebler Les Paul with WCR Dark Burst Pickups ((8.2k neck, 8.7k bridge)
85 LP Standard with Voodoo pickups (8.2k neck, 9.5k bridge)
Speakers:
Scumback
SA12H75-LHDC (G12H 003 cone clone with large dust cap to suffuse the highs)
Clips 01, 02, 03, 04 (open back combo for clips 1-4 only)
SA12H-75 (G12H 003 cone clone) clips 12, 13, 28
SA12H-55 (G12H 014 cone clone) Clips 05, 20, 21
SA12M-75 (G12M 003 cone clone) Clips 07, 18, 23

Celestion
G12M 20 watt Pre Rola with original Pulsonic 102 003 cone clips 08, 17, 24
G12M 20 watt Heritage Reissue clips 10, 15, 26
G12H30 Pre Rola 75hz with original Pulsonic 102 003 cone clips 11, 14, 27
G12H30 Pre Rola 55hz with original Pulsonic 102 014 cone clips 06, 19, 22
G12H30 Heritage 55hz (8 ohm version recorded) Reissue clip 30

Alien
20 watter (003 cone clone) clip 29
25 watter #4 (003 cone variation) clip 31

Eminence
Private Jack (Greenback clone)clips 09, 16, 25

(quote from http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=86870)

“Pre-Rola” Celestion G12M 20W 75hz

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8123″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8139″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8146″]

“Pre-Rola” Celestion G12H 30w 55hz

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8129″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8141″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8144″]

“Pre-Rola” Celestion G12H 30w 75hz

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8132″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8136″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8149″]

Celestion Heritage G12M 20w

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8122″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8137″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8148″]

Celestion Heritage G12H 30w 55hz

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8153″]

Note: 8ohms version wired alone inside the 4×12

Scumback M75

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8130″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8140″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8145″]

Scumback H55

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8128″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8142″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8143″]

Scumback H75

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8133″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8135″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8150″]

Scumback H75-LHDC

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8127″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8125″]

Marshall

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8126″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8124″]

Note: Open-back combo for these four clips

Alien 20w

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8151″]

Alien 25w #4

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8152″]

Eminence Private Jack

65 Amps

Strat
[jwplayer mediaid=”8131″]

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8138″]

Marshall

Les Paul
[jwplayer mediaid=”8147″]

Have a good listen to each of them. I think this is the most interesting comparison I’ve ever came across, because it shows all the qualities of the different speakers in a very nice way.

I think I have to point out something here. Please listen to the pre-rola era Celestion G12H 30W “greenback” speaker and its reissued model, the Heritage G12H. Celestion actually states on it’s website that the heritage series speakers are all hand made, and are constructed out of the very same materials as the old ones. Well, if you listen to those clips, I guess it’s clear that they don’t lie. Of course, the heritage one sounds way more harsh, but that’s only because of the difference in age. A 40 year old cone will obviously sound different from a new one. But if you listen to the tone of the speakers itself, not paying attention to the harshness (caused by the age difference), you will hear that they actually do sound the same. To be more specific, the heritage G12H sounds just like the pre-rola era G12H sounded 40 years ago, when it was new. So I have to remark that Celestion did a very good job recreating the old speakers within the heritage series.

Anyway, I don’t want to judge here :) It’s your task to judge. Trust your ears! This is the most important thing to pay attention to. Always buy gear that sounds good to you. I think these clips are worth a listening when you are considering to buy some speakers.

Personally I own a marshall 1960 cab with ’73 Celestion G12Ms with original pulsonic cones (here are some pictures: picture 1, picture 2). They sound very very similar to the pre-rola era G12M featured in clip 24. I truly think they sound and feel amazing. The way I would describe a vintage speaker is that it sounds more complex and natural than a new one. Of course, this is a matter of time. But it’s safe to say that vintage speakers really have a mojo, and they feel great to play on. 😛

But don’t forget that it’s always the guitarist’s mind, heart, feel, and hand that define the sound. Never let yourself fooled by shiny – or vintage – gear. Practice is the most important part of your tone :)

Finally, here are some pictures of the recording session (also quoted from Scumback Speakers at http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=86870)


Recording crew (L-R): Andy Z, Stewart, Sam, Dan Boul (65 Amps co-owner)…Greg V wasn’t there for the photo opp, and no one wants to see me!
Have a good listen and post your three favorites and why…

So I really think these clips are really a treasure. Scumback Speakers did an amazing job collecting and recording these speakers. It’s the best comparison so far that I’ve ever seen, so once again, I’d like to say a big thank you for Scumback Speakers for recording these. :) I hope you had a great time listening to them!

May the force be with you :)

avatar
Ádám Dobos
adam10603@gmail.com

I'm Adam, and I'm a contributor here on solodallas.com. I'm a 21 year-old AC/DC fan, and player, from Hungary. I also play other classic rock and blues stuff, like Led Zeppelin, Guns'n'Roses, Free, The Who, Van Halen, and many many others. I'm a true fan of this stuff. I've been playing for quite a few years now. You can contact me at: "adam10603 (at) gmail (dot) com" (sorry for the format, but I'm trying to avoid spams from bots and stuff like that)

41 Comments
  • avatar
    mirror_x
    Posted at 11:12h, 19 October

    to my ears pre rola is less harsh although since 1970 magnet are weaker and sound smoother ( fresh magnet produce stronger and punchie sound ) but heritage imo more textured and detailed sound what ur idea ?

  • avatar
    fransavoy
    Posted at 20:04h, 04 March

    Hi guys, I have recently bought a Granger M50 plexi style amp. I have a 2×12 mesa type cab with V30’s. I would like to buy a 4×12 marshall cab. Wich cab the less treble-harshness sound? i want mids and lows
    I can choose from BHW, 425b and 1960 BV.
    thank you

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 22:25h, 04 March

      Though you need treble to cut the mix with a band. The good old 2203 and 2204’s aren’t very bright for nothing.

      But I guess G12-H30 speakers would do the trick.

      • avatar
        depuis1899
        Posted at 16:36h, 05 March

        Yeah agree on that, I got a pair of those, and they are full of Lows and Mids, Highs are there, but not as much as in the V30 for example

        • avatar
          fransavoy
          Posted at 18:56h, 05 March

          thanks fro answering, i forgot to mention that the BHW cab has the G12H30 55hz version of the speakers..
          here is a clip of my amp model, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c67EW13Hspk

          note that in this clip the speakers are mojotone G12H30 style speakers.

          • avatar
            depuis1899
            Posted at 19:55h, 05 March

            I knew the BHW hat those in it. I got myself a 2×12 2061CX Cab with those G12H30, will not sell these speakers, love them !

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 14:29h, 05 March
  • avatar
    Sonicdk
    Posted at 18:29h, 14 October

    Banane wrote: “The G12H30 Heritage speakers have an awesome sound with a Marshall 1987 or 1959. Though, with a 2203/2204 amp they will make your ears bleed.”
    In my personal experience, it makes a hell of a difference if we’re talking JCM800 or JMP here. The JMP 2203/2204 are not as treble-y as your average 1987/1959, which can be real icepicks. A not played-in heritage G12H30 could be really annoying with any non-mv Marshall on the treble boost channel. Even well worn H30s can be too much on those amps IMO

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 19:26h, 14 October

      I made a little diagram of the differences between these classic amps. Check it out if you want to. You can find it in the MV marshall topic (inside Amp talk) in the forum.
      By the way, I actually played a marshall JCM800 2204 not a while ago. Before I played it, I always thought that it’s a scooped gain machine for metal players. No it’s not 😀 It definately sounds like a classic marshall amp, very similar to a JMP. I totally loved it :)

      • avatar
        Sonicdk
        Posted at 21:24h, 14 October

        I love them too, we have a JCM 2203 at the rehearsal room, that is an amazing amp, but it has just that more edge to its overall sound compared to any JMP mv head or combo that i ever tried. On its own it sounds like a JMP with an EQ set to a slight (4-5 db) mid-boost. Will check out your diagram :)

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 10:52h, 15 October

      I had different experiences, but with the G12H30 Heritage 55 Hz. Great, huge tone with a modern 1987, but too bassy and trebly with my 1979 2204 JMP.

  • avatar
    Sonicdk
    Posted at 18:19h, 14 October

    And better yet, they’re immediately replaceable, which those precious pre-rola G12M-20w are not!

    • avatar
      Sonicdk
      Posted at 18:33h, 14 October

      The above was meant as a reply to the general opinion, that the heritages are great speakers in their own right!

  • avatar
    Ryley
    Posted at 02:17h, 25 September

    Hey guys, just bought myself a marshall jcm2000 and a 1960a cab. i haven’t had the chance to take a look at the speakers yet so does anyone know what these cabs come with?

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 08:21h, 25 September

      They must be typical mass production T75s, just like in most newer marshall cabs. Good speakers, but very different from greenbacks and 65s. They are very modern sounding

      • avatar
        Ryley
        Posted at 04:31h, 26 September

        well all i know is the cabs from 2009 and it sounds a hell of a lot better than my marshall m412a

  • avatar
    frankjoss
    Posted at 20:16h, 23 September

    Newbie qustion ( well newbie to cabinets)
    I got myself a small Bugera V22 combo a few months back (my first dive into Tube land) and even if it’s great and quite versitile for home and jamming with the band for rehearsals, I’m pretty sure that it won’t suffice on it’s own outside of small bar gigs.
    Questions : Would getting a cabinet (200W) make my sound output louder (16 ohms), would it make it fuller, would it make it easier on the ear (without pushing it too hard so that the sound just falls apart) ????
    I’m asking this as a 250/ 300 euro cabinet would make much less of a dent in my Replica budget than a new 50 watt tube (combo or not)
    Thanks for any advice from you guitar tech boffins
    Captain Frank over and out

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 06:57h, 24 September

      Hey Captain Frank, yes I think so. 4 speakers can spread the sound wider than just one speaker in a small combo box and you would get a fuller sound.

      • avatar
        frankjoss
        Posted at 13:10h, 24 September

        OK Frantz, makes sense but does “fuller” mean more decibels or is that only the wattage of the head/combo which defines that ?

        • avatar
          banane
          Posted at 13:20h, 24 September

          I would say its a few more decibels because with a 4×12″ cabinet you have four times the surface emitting sound as before.
          Of course each speaker in your 4×12″ would get only 25 percent of the amps power, but because the sheer speaker surface is 4 times bigger, it will be louder. Just not four times louder. And because of the larger speaker surface, your sound will be spread wider. You know, the “watering-can principle”.

          And, adam has an important point below: the speaker efficiency. G12H30 speakers have a greater efficiency, which means they are louder than G12M speakers.

          The G12H30 Heritage speakers have an awesome sound with a Marshall 1987 or 1959. Though, with a 2203/2204 amp they will make your ears bleed.

          • avatar
            frankjoss
            Posted at 18:59h, 24 September

            Make their ears bleed more like. Right I’m off to coax the Missus into a semblance of agreement

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 08:43h, 24 September

      More speakers will help spreading the sound more, and they have extra low end compared to a 1×12
      However, if you want more volume, try to experiment with different speaker types. Eg. the G12H30 is a very loud and “in-your-face” sounding speaker, which will make your amp sound a bit louder, and help it to cut through a bit more.
      A G12M will result in less actual decibels, more compression, and softer sound.
      So for your purposes, I would recommend some G12Hs :)

      • avatar
        frankjoss
        Posted at 13:13h, 24 September

        Thanks Adam, knew that someone here could add some light to my hazy understanding of acoustical science thingamijigs
        In your face sounds nice.

        • avatar
          adam10603
          Posted at 14:13h, 24 September

          I looked up the speaker that the V22 has in it. It’s rated at 98db efficiency. The G12H is rated at 100db, which is 2db more. Not a huge difference, but noticeable.
          In case you wonder, speaker efficiency means that they apply a test signal to the speaker, which is precisely 1W of power. Then they measure the volume (in decibels) from exactly 1 meter distance from the speaker.

          That is the value you get. Usually it’s around 95-100db

          So higher efficiency means more actual volume :)

          • avatar
            frankjoss
            Posted at 19:05h, 24 September

            Doing all my homework Adam? Teacher will not like that !
            As I said in a post a year back this place is a Gold mine, and better still, full of thin whiskery old timers like youself who mumble on about the time when they found 2 ounces under a purple toad back in Pit N°09/ Shaft 36b/ Corridor 24, and can even remember what the toad’s name was 😉

            Thanks I’m gonna get me a 4 x12 cab Yeeehaaaa!!!!

            • avatar
              adam10603
              Posted at 22:39h, 24 September

              If you don’t mind spending a few extra $ on this… get a vintage cab from the ’70s
              You will be blown away by the sound! 😉

  • avatar
    Checkers
    Posted at 16:59h, 18 September

    Listening to this. the G12M pre rola sounds straight out of Shoot To Thrill to me with the others being slightly too thick or muddy for my tastes.

    However the Heritage 12m and the Scumback M75 were so close to the G12m’s sound its scary

  • avatar
    Jab
    Posted at 00:46h, 28 August

    The Scumback H55’s really impressed me! They have a good balance between punchy tone and break-up. I have the Heritage 55’s and 75’s mixed right now becuse I just couldn’t get the Heritage 55’s to “sing” on their own like a G12M.

    I think my regular late ’90’s G12M speakers are easier to play and get good sustain and feedback at lower volumes. On the other hand, the Heritage H models have that bark that’s great for rhythym playing. It’s really room specific btw. what cab sounds good.

  • avatar
    jonassweden1
    Posted at 13:07h, 24 August

    Well, what an you say? They all sound great :-)
    , it’s more personal taste of liking the tone “brighter” or “darker”. Cheers Jonas

  • avatar
    madmax
    Posted at 11:31h, 26 July

    the audio isn’t quite functioning it won’t load complete clips

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 11:39h, 26 July

      Yes, right. Now it’s working. The original mp3 had some awkward Apple mp3 encoding (mov in mp3 container) which didn’t stream correctly.

  • avatar
    AngusRudd1019
    Posted at 02:27h, 26 July

    All this speaker talk makes me really feel like getting new speakers for my 1960 cab but I am saving up my money for a wireless and the SVDS Replica.

  • avatar
    ar2619Rob
    Posted at 14:41h, 25 July

    Really great article. I’ve listened to the clips over and over as I’ve never heard so many different cabs offering direct comparison like this.
    My own cab is ’71 with G12M25 T1221 (102 003 cones) and I love them, but I’d like to try some of those others too. I use it with a 2204 and it does sound very much like clip #24.
    Cheers :)

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 21:17h, 25 July

      Oh yes, I know what you’re talkin’ about 😀
      Once I borrowed a 2204 from my friend, and I played it on my ’73 G12Ms… man, what a tone! :)

  • avatar
    AngusRudd1019
    Posted at 08:20h, 25 July

    #22 is my favorite!!!I LOVE THAT SOUND!!! I didn’t even read all the way down to where you said to listen to #22 I just clicked them and that one really stood out to me…

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 08:47h, 25 July

      Yes, that’s a good one :) I personally prefer #24
      That one kinda hits the spot for me :)

  • avatar
    JaiminhoPagina
    Posted at 07:45h, 25 July

    THIS IS A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

    😀

    • avatar
      adam10603
      Posted at 08:06h, 25 July

      Just like your post! Thanks 😀

      • avatar
        JaiminhoPagina
        Posted at 08:16h, 25 July

        Man… I can’t thank you enough for this. haha :)

        So, we are even now. lol

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 08:12h, 25 July

      Yes. The “hue” of the Heritages seem right on. Both the G12H and the G12M. They are way brighter, but they sound VERY similar to their Pulsonic counterparts.

      And it’s impressive how well the Scumbacks reproduce the sound of these “old” speakers. They really have that “MOJO” that everyone talk about.

      Didn’t hear all the clips yet (and neither the Alien clips), but… After hearing so much crap about the Heritage G12H, it’s amazing to hear such a good comparison.
      My veredict: all of them sound FANTASTIC.

      • avatar
        adam10603
        Posted at 21:04h, 25 July

        exactly. So a well broken-in heritage celestion would be a nice choice if you can’t get a vintage one :)

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