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This article was originally published in issue #68
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Classic tones coupled with huge power handling.
Smoother high-end, massive lows.
If you need extremely aggressive upper mids, stick with Vintage 30s.
Ceramic Magnetic Speakers
Frequency range: 70 - 5000 Hz
Power handling: 150 W (RMS)
Billed as having been created for players who are looking for extreme power handling without any compromise on great tone. The G12H-150 Redback speaker from Celestion is rated at a gargantuan 150-watts, constructed with a supersized 2-inch voice coil and features the heaviest G12 magnet. The result is a guitar speaker that sounds 100% Celestion in character, yet is primed to withstand a pummeling from a 100-watt head all by itself, and still come back for more. Here is Nick Jennison with the full rundown.
In the pursuit of tonal perfection, it’s all too easy to overlook speaker choice, and perhaps too few guitarists are aware of the impact different speakers have on the sound of an amp. An AC30 just isn’t the same without the bell-like chime of Alnico speakers, and a quartet of Greenbacks are every bit as important in conjuring that classic “Plexi” grind as the amp itself.
The issue with classic speakers like the Alnico Blue and the Greenback is their low power handling (15w and either 25w or 30w respectively). It’s something of a double-edged sword, because it’s this lack of headroom that causes the speakers to “break up”, yielding that vibrant sparkle and grinding texture that we love so much. Which is fine, until you blow one of them up.
Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, guitarists experimented with high powered speakers from the likes of JBL and ElectroVoice. Essentially PA speakers, these sturdy designs had no problem handling even the biggest rack-mount power amps, but their flat and smooth character isn’t for everyone - especially if you’re looking for that classic rock crunch.
If 100 watts of amp into four 25 watt speakers is an invitation for speaker damage, Celestion’s original higher-powered models (Vintage 30s, G12T-75s etc) are the answer - retaining that famous character with over twice the power handling. Of course, that’s fine in a 4x12, but in 2019 that’s an impractical luxury for most guitarists.
Enter the Celestion Redback. With a colossal 150w of power handling, even a 1x12 can take a pounding from a 100w valve amp with ease. But unlike so many other sterile sounding high-powered speaker designs, it’s full of classic character and crunch. Sonically, it’s very similar to Celestion’s hugely popular Creamback “H”, but with even more authority and low-end massiveness. The highs are also a little smoother, and much less aggressive than the famously “spiky” Vintage 30. Fans of American designs like Eminence’s Swamp Thang will dig the relaxed treble, and the monstrous low-end chunk will bring that 4x12 magic to smaller cabs.
The Celestion G12H-150 Redback is a powerful and toneful speaker, and even a single speaker can take on even the most over-powered valve amp and come out unscathed. It has the classic Celestion crunch, paired with a massive low end that will make any cab sound bigger than it is.