Let’s paint a picture: you buy a capable, high quality amplifier but you’re still getting the sound that annoys you the most. It was the very reason why you splurged on a new one in the first place. You do also know that your guitar isn’t the culprit, neither are your cable and gear. You sit there wondering, what is the reason behind the tone you don’t like. But the answer is simple – it might be a speaker. It’s a part of any combo or cabinet, and can easily be neglected. We do read the spec list before making a purchase, but do we really consider their quality as much as we should? The key to understanding those flaws in your sound is knowing your gear through and through. Do you need a more valid reason to start paying more attention to your speakers? I don’t think so. To get you started, I’ll list down the best guitar amp speakers available on the market. I’m sure you’re interested, so let’s get down to business.
Top 5 Best Guitar Amp Speakers
Celestion is the name we all look for while scanning through the spec lists of our amps. We see and we’re immediately happy, because we know that we’re in for a treat. Though I can’t say that all of their speakers are state of the art, the majority of them are indeed powerful and versatile. Vintage 30 was created back in the 1980s to satisfy the needs of the time. As distortion and overdrive was becoming more and more ubiquitous, there was a need for a speaker that would be capable of retaining the full character of the sound. To achieve that, they combined the “H” magnet with a new cone and voice coil. They poured contemporary technology on top and received a real beast. This fella is extremely articulate. It has an open sound with pronounced highs, mids and lows. In fact, they are so pronounced that some players might not be able to handle them. Once you update your old speaker, you’ll start hearing depth and clarity, as well as crunch and character. It goes without saying that Vintage 30 isn’t suitable for every amp, but it’s certainly one of the best guitar amp speakers!
- Crisp and defined tone
- Recreates all the ranges really well
- Suitable for high-gain sounds
- Not for all amps
- Might be too ‘harsh’ for some guitarists
Yes, you’re not dreaming, we’re talking about another Celestion speaker. I’m telling you, they might know a secret recipe or something. Now I’m sure they do, because the G12M Greenback is an ethereal piece. If someone told me that such a good speaker existed, I wouldn’t have believed them. But the reality is that we should start understanding that such wonderful things do happen occasionally. It’s a 12” speaker which has two variations: 8 or 12 ohms of impedance. Depending on your amp, you’ll be able to get either or both. Be careful though, in case you pair several G12Ms, you’ll experience a blast of power. This puppy is different from Vintage 30 in terms of sound. Here, you’ll notice that the treble is tamed, while midrange and low-end are emphasized. Celestion incorporated such a response because they wanted to create a speaker that would handle distortion and high-gain sounds without any noise. That doesn’t mean that you can’t play with clean tones, though. Connect G12M to your amp and do whatever the hell you want!
- Excellent for high-gain sounds
- Accentuates midrange and low-end
There are speakers out there that cost a bit more money, but they are so wonderful that we’d be willing to pay even more. They have professional craftsmanship, thanks to which the results are jaw-dropping and inspiring. Electro-Voice EVM12L Classic is the definition of a powerhouse. It packs so much strength that it could easily blow a stage with proper amounts. There’s no way your guitar won’t cut through the mix, since the sounds coming out of this speaker can’t be inaudible – that’s just impossible. If you decide to use it during live performance, your bandmates will hate you as they will have to work even harder. This bad boy can handle up to 200 watts of power, which means you can install it on a massive beast and let the parallel universes hear your playing. EVM12L has clean tones that are not like anything you’ve heard before. It has voice coils and suspension refinements to make sure you can rely on it during the most important moments. The only minor flaw it has is that it’s heavy, and might not be easy to carry around. But if I were you, I’d still take it everywhere.
- Handles a lot of power
- Pristine clean sound
- High-quality construction
- It’s heavy, which might be inconvenient for those who are always on the road
I don’t know if I have told you this before or not, but I absolutely love when the name of the gear translates into the performance. When the character implied in the title enters the game, you understand that manufacturers put a lot of effort in every detail. Eminence Texas Heat is a speaker that sounds exactly as the name indicates. You might not play Texas blues, but you’ll hear it screaming in the background. It will beg you to set it free and if you do, you’ll be submerged in a swirl of crisp attack and clarity. It’s quite affordable compared to other models, but it comes really close to them in terms of quality. It’s a 12” speaker with 8 ohms (or 16 ohms) of impedance. It can handle 150 watts of power which means it can be installed in a capable amp. Texas Heat is perfect for rock, blues or any genre that requires a slight bite. It can be used clean as well, as it produces thick, fat tones. It’s not hard to guess that it’s one of the best guitar amp speakers on the market.
- Clear and powerful
- Quite affordable
- Wonderful build quality
- Might lack punchiness for some players
The model we’re about to discuss also belongs to the affordable price range. Regardless, its quality could easily be attributed to more expensive speakers. Jensen C12N8 will be a significant upgrade to any speaker that you don’t really like. It unveils its full characteristics only with some amps, so be careful with that. You don’t want to close up its sound, do you? Once you get convinced that it’s suitable for your cabinet, you can go on and buy it. There won’t be a moment when you’ll regret that decision. It can be an amazing substitute to Fender amps, as it has the ability to accentuate its qualities even more. C12N8 is a 12 inch speaker, the power of which is rated at 50 watts. Though it doesn’t sound like much, trust me, this thing can bark up power. It has aggressive mids and bright highs, with the low-end floating around the way you want. It can handle overdrive nicely, adding even more character to it. Jensen C12N8 is a real bargain for what it is, so go for it!
- Accentuates “Fender” tone beautifully
- Versatile sound
- Surprising attack
- Might not work with some amps
The construction of a speaker
I don’t want to bore you with technical details, because they can be hard to grasp for many of you. The reason why I’m talking about the construction is because I want you to know the basics of your speaker in order to understand what you need. Without that core knowledge, it doesn’t really make sense to talk about swapping the speakers you own for something better. Don’t get scared, I’ll try to explain in simple words.
The base of the speaker is a cone, which is connected to the voice coil (cylindrical coil of wire). The latter is situated in a small space and is surrounded with a permanent magnet. When the current passes through the coil, an electromagnetic field is created which causes the magnet to trigger the basic magnetic reaction (attract or repel depending on the direction). As a result, the cone starts to shift from side to side, producing sound waves. That’s basically it. Depending on the brand, different magnets, wires and cone materials can be used, but the core of the operation remains the same.
There’s one last thing you should keep in mind before we move on with our discussion. A speaker has a substantial influence on your tone. It determines how open, bright, low, clean or distorted your sound will be. It can either crank up your game or destroy your effort, and that’s why it’s important to own at least one of the best guitar amp speakers.
How to choose the best guitar amp speaker?
The first thing you should do before going online and starting the search of the best guitar amp speakers out there, you should take your cabinet and examine it carefully. You should check how everything is wired, measure the dimensions of the existing speaker (to have a guideline) and then measure the cabinet itself. If you don’t figure out what your amp needs, the chances of splurging on a wrong model are high.
Second, think a lot about the results you want to get. Do you want a speaker that will create a subtle bite, or the one that will lean more towards high gain? Do you want to use it mainly for cleans or are you going to use pristine sounds in conjunction with some distortion? Do you want it for gigs, recording or practices? The answers to these questions will ultimately lead you towards a right choice.
Finally, you have to know how much power your amp can draw in order to select the speaker that will be capable of resisting it. You can’t shove a 50 watt speaker into a 200 watt amp and expect it to work. You should also check the impedance to avoid any glitches in your signal.
The operation of your speaker will rely on these factors a great deal. Say you got yourself the best guitar amp speaker, installed it in the cabinet and something is not right. The reason may be the fact that you didn’t consider all these details. By thinking carefully before making an actual purchase, you’ll save a lot of money and time.
This was one of the most pleasurable articles for me, since I’m really passionate about different amps and speakers. Talking about them fills me up with joy and excitement and I immediately start thinking about all the things you could create with the right amp and a powerful speaker. You could record a track with impeccable quality, or you could get up on stage and light a real fire on there. I’m sure all the models we’ve listed will help you in that process. The best guitar amp speakers provide you with quality, power and durability. They will last you for a really long time even if you use them vigorously. Along the way, they will help you explore all the shades of clean and crunchy tones and refine your own craftsmanship, as well. The brands mentioned here have been leading ones on the market for a really long time and their expertise is proven over and over again with every new release. How can we say no to a Celestion, Jensen, Eminence or Electro-Voice? If we want our performance to be unforgettable, we should welcome their speakers with our hands and hearts wide open. Remember the information I provided and the most suitable speaker will show itself to you. Good luck!