Published 10 months ago on August 14, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Celestion Neo Creamback & Neo Copperback
MSRP £160-£175

Don't be distracted by the "Neo" term—the Neo Creamback & Neo Copperback's are every ounce of a classic Celestion, delivering all the magical tone you'd get from a traditional Celestion speaker. The difference is, that it's built with a neodymium magnet: making this speaker around half the weight of a traditional ceramic magnet speaker. Celestion's engineers have developed a new and innovative way to better harness the mighty forces of the neodymium magnet, enabling us to create a guitar speaker that can deliver authentic tone with ease, while preserving the benefit of neodymium's much lighter weight. Nick Jennison tells us more.

In the quest for the tone of the gods, guitar players will agonise over the minutiae of their signal chains. The specific chips and diodes in the green overdrive pedal; cables made of exotic materials; specific species of mahogany… you get the gist. Now while I have no doubt that these things DO make a difference, it always surprises me how little attention is given to the thing that actually *produces* the sound of the electric guitar: the speakers.

It's a common attitude among guitar players that speakers are all basically the same, but this could not be further from the truth. As the final stage in your signal chain, the speaker's voicing filters everything that comes before it and ultimately shapes the "EQ curve" of your sound.

That said, you cab is also likely to be the heaviest and bulkiest part of your rig (unless you have a REALLY big pedalboard!), which is a non-issue if you're either a bedroom player (or a big-time pro with teams of roadies at your disposal), but becomes a big pain in the rear very quickly when you have to transport said cab to and from rehearsals and gigs.

This poses something of a conundrum: Do you go for a lightweight speaker and sacrifice your "perfect tone", or do you commit to lugging around that 4x12 (and only ever play venues without stairs). FYI: much to my disappointment, the third option of "get your deadlift up to 600" does not work, and heavy cabs are still awful to carry around. Anyway, Celestion has the answer to this quandary.

The Neo Creamback and Neo Copperback are two ultra lightweight speakers, but unlike "neo" (referring to the neodymium magnets these speakers use) drivers of old, they don't sound rubbish. Quite the opposite in fact - these speakers each have a distinctive and very pleasing sound of their own. The Neo Creamback takes it's cues from the highly acclaimed Creamback range, with a voicing that can best be described as a "bigger sounding Greenback". Even one of these speakers in a 1x12 cab will sound pretty massive, with the signature Celestion midrange texture and growl that's such an important part of so many classic guitar tones.

By contrast, the Neo Copperback is very clean and linear, with a voicing that's closer to the EV speakers favoured by Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Joe Bonamassa and others. It's a big departure for Celestion, but it's a killer sound that works really well with both super clean sounds and smooth, bold distortion tones.

Both speakers will shave significant weight off your heavy cabinet while still providing plenty of power handling for most amps (60w for the Neo Creamback, and a massive 250w for the Neo Copperback). Admittedly, it's very hard to beat the sound of a well-broken-in Greenback or Vintage 30, especially recorded, but these "neo" alternatives sound killer in their own right and you'd be hard-pressed to spot the difference in a live setting - which also happens to be where speaker weight really becomes an issue.

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