If 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!