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Celestion – UK vs China

UK-vs-ChinaIf you were active on the forums or at least lurking, chances are that you tripped over threads discussing certain Celestion speakers manufactured now in China. I will try to clear up the confusion fog that floats around this subject and present things as they are.

On October 5, 2007 Celestion released a news article stating:

At Celestion all our guitar speakers are designed in the UK. We still manufacture our “premium” speakers, the Heritage Series G12M, G12H and G12-65 and the Celestion Blue and Gold in Ipswich. The remainder are manufactured in our own factory in China. They are made by well-trained staff who using exactly the same machines. Standards of quality and consistency of this product are as high ever, as I’m sure thousands of our customers would testify.

All well up to here, right? But this was enough to infuse doubt (and rightly so!) in die-hard Celestion speaker fans who never questioned their tonal qualities. Unfortunately, our culture suffers from  ‘made-in-China-equals-cheap’ syndrome which (if leaving out the jobs that moved there) is not always justifiable since there are a lot of excellent things made there with exquisite quality – just look around you!

Honestly, I too, started to doubt their reliability. Lately I got the chance to conduct a blind-folded compare side by side using older modern days UK-made speakers (NOT Rola Celestions!) with their newer counterparts made in China (Greenback G12M, G12H30, Vintage 30) . The result was pleasantly surprising! NOT ONE of the Chinese-made Celestion speakers performed lesser than their older UK made models! Same dynamics, cone breakup effect and British voicing. Also they were breaking in the same way over time, proving that the cone material wasn’t changed. Visually there were no differences to tell them apart, so if the little “Made in China” sticker was not there on the magnet they would have passed for a UK made speaker without any problem.

FYI: The AlNiCo Blue-like speakers found in recent AC15 and AC30 Vox amps are actually made in China. Don’t confuse them with real Celestion AlNiCo Blue!

13 Comments

  1. Malcolm Little says:

    My concern is :- as with all re-situating of manufacturing. At first quality seems good and comparable, however after time , short cuts get taken , quality suffers and we end up with a second rate item. This has been proven time and time again in the Guitar industry. They jump about from Japan, Korea, China, Mexico , Indonesia. etc How long will it be till this happens with Celestion speakers? Only time will tell.

  2. Justin Magana says:

    I spent about four years designing and engineering amps made by an contract mfg. and came to the same conclusion. After extensive A/B testing, I was always happy with the G12H30, V30, G12M(Greenback) offerings from the GP/ Celestion factory.

    My favorites are still the AlNiCos though- can’t beat em.

    JM

  3. Lars says:

    I have marshall 1960AV and Thomann Vintage 30.
    Both celestion vintage 30, different sound…
    Also have tried Marshall 1936 with vintage 30, sounds like my 1960AV.

    How can these be identical speakers when they dont sound same?
    Just to clear things up, I bought these new and same year.
    Explain that if you can…

  4. Keith Ross says:

    The Chinese make excellent products however at some point if jobs in the UK, US and Canada are lost to the orient they will soon be the only people that can afford to buy them. I was considering a greenback 10 inch but not anymore. Sorry I just dont want a Chinese Celestion or other product farmed out to a cheap manufacturing country in my amp. At lease do the Fender thing, offer an offshore cheap line and a made in England line. Your reputation was not built in China.

  5. wes says:

    “Your reputation was not built in China.”

    Well said !

  6. Robert says:

    All these large companies trade their know-how for cheap labour. Build a factory in China, move your technology there, have somewhat higher revenue for a few years, then find yourself competing against your own product manufactured in ten newly built pirate factories. Not to mention that price is still extremely high and local jobs are lost …

  7. Timmy M. says:

    I agree with Keith Ross. It would be nice to have the option of UK or Chinese with ALL Celestion speakers. I own an Orange 2×12 cab with V30s. I just found out two years ago that the speakers were made in China. I wasn’t happy. Not because of the tone, but principal. Everything else I own- clothes, furniture, computers, pens, toys- are made in China. I like to make sure that all of my guitars are U.S. made and amps/speakers are UK made.

  8. Steve Anderson says:

    You concluded in your blind test that the Chinese made Celestions perform identically to the British made ones, yet you end your piece with “don’t confuse these with real Blues…”? What the hell are you saying EXACTLY?

  9. Gabi says:

    Hi Steve -thanks for the reply. Sorry if the last line was confusing. What I meant to say (in fact what I am also mentioning in the post), that the Celestion Blue speakers delivered with the current Vox production amplifiers are made in China.

    Hope this clears it up.

  10. Chris G says:

    THe Vox Alnico Blues don’t have the same cones as the British made ones. How this happens I don’t know because the Green Backs made in China have the same cones as the made in Britain Blues. So it’s obviously deliberate so as to get real Blues you buy British. As for the others made in China they are the same as was made in Britain. Now the thing is you can’t tell me that a G12H Heritage suddenly costs as much as an Alnico Blue because it’s made in Britain. Something is wrong there. They should not be charging that much for those ceramic magnet heritage range speakers.

  11. Johnny Lightning says:

    It doesn’t appear that anyone here has the real answer. Being that sound, good or bad, is subjective to the individual listener. Even the right and left ears on every human being have slightly different frequency responses. Apparently the type of wood used on the guitar, the pickups, string gauge, the type and size of cabinet, the acoustics of the room you are in, the relative humidity, the player’s technique, cables ect. ect. all contribute to the final sound. The consumer world wants us to believe that the higher cost is better quality. A truly good musician can take a piece of crap setup and make it sound good! I’ve been playing for 45 years and it always sounds better to me after chugging a few tall cans and smoking a fattie!

  12. [...] to this: Celestion – UK vs China – GabKits Blog only 5 speakers are made in the UK (as of 2007): Heritage Series G12M, G12H and G12-65 and the [...]

  13. Junior says:

    Great question, UK vs china.
    I’m in Brazil (state of Sao paulo) last week came my G12K-100-8 (bought at Guitar Center). I have a Fender and want to do a test with timbre, changing the Eminence by G12K-100.
    Only when I saw the label Made in China I was disappointed, if import command is why I want a different or better equipment than there is here, and trusting the brand and origin.
    Four months ago ordered two Eminence Omega Pro 18A, very good, Eminence asked why I need a good speaker and I trust in the brand and origin.
    The Celestion should have all products UK and China, each decide which to buy.
    G12K-100 is manufactured only in china? Anyone know?

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