Celestion G12H-75 Creamback Guitar Speaker
By Chris Loeffler |
The quickest way to upgrade your amp’s tone.
By Chris Loeffler
Celestion has been a standard-bearer for guitar and bass amp speakers since it made its mark as (arguably) the first manufacturer of a speaker created specifically to compliment and enhance the tone of a guitar amplifier in the early 1950’s, and their three classic models, the Celestion Blue, Celestion Greenback, and Celestion Vintage 30 are still viewed as the end-all for their respective tonal characteristics. While Celestion continues to produce these classics, they’ve also been advancing the art of speaker design to meet modern demands while retaining the classic tones they are known for. Such is the case for one of their newest releases, the Celestion G12H-75 Creamback.
The Celestion G12H-75 Creamback (nicknamed for its cream sticker and magnet cover end bell), is a 12” speaker voiced for guitar amplifiers built around a classic ceramic magnet that is rated at 75 watts handling and available in 8Ω or 16Ω impedances.
What You Need to Know
- The Celestion G12H-75 Creamback builds on the concept of the G12M-65 Creamback (its smaller sibling) and the G12H Anniversary by using an extra heavy magnet to recreate the classic, cutting rock tones with slightly more bass and treble than the G-12M Greenback at significantly higher wattages (75 watts versus 25 watts). The result is a speaker with more clarity, punch, and output than other members of the G12 family without sacrificing the soul the greenback sound… crisp and clear tones with nice harmonic breakup to slightly mellow mids and trebles for the classic “woody” tone that practically defined the British sound.
- To test it, I swapped a Celestion G12M Greenback in my Avatar G112 Vintage closed-back custom cabinet for the G12H-75 Creamback and cranked my Frenzel HBX-WC30 (with dual 5AR4 rectifiers). Straight out of the box the Creamback was surprisingly punchy and open, which is uncommon given most speakers require a certain period of time for the voice coil to break in and loosen up to impart its specific character. Compared to a Celestion G12M Greenback in the same cabinet, the Celestion G12H-75 Creamback was significantly tighter and open across the frequency range with a bit less warmth and harmonic complexity at lower volume (such is the case when comparing a speaker with 1/3rd the power handling being hit hard) and a lot more bass. While the G12M exhibited a nice, round mid-range and satisfying clang, the G12H-75 Creamback sounded less congested and boxy but still provided the same basic sonic signature. Pushing out punishingly loud tones when the amp was fully cranked, the tone sweetened as the speaker imparted more and more of its breakup characteristics, especially for lead tones. While the slightly more lo-fi nature of the Greenback makes for great mid-gain tones, the Creamback just cuts through and feels fuller.
- Testing a Celestion Vintage 30 against it, the G12H-75 Creamback instantly displayed deeper and more focused bass frequencies, a slightly smoother and less hazy midrange in overdriven settings, and a treble range that managed to be both more present and yet less brittle. While neither speaker was objectively “better” than the other, the Creamback exhibited balance and volume enough to maintain its focus better for leads while the Vintage 30 exhibited a fuzzier, spongy distortion quality.
- The Celestion G12H-75 Creamback is built to handle extreme wattages and as such isn’t going to get much of a workout when being fed by a low-wattage amp. The speaker still sounds fantastic, but is unable to impart much of the roundness and compression of a speaker hitting the breakup point when used with a 5 watt amp.
The Celestion G12H-75 Creamback finds the perfect balance between classic speaker breakup tones that helped propel amp makers like Marshall and Vox to the front of the pack in the Rock and Country scene and enhances it by greatly increasing the power handling capabilities while improving the fidelity and depth of the bass and lower mids. In short, the speaker marries the tones of the past with the clarity and volume capabilities of modern amplifiers.