Celestion speakers are used in a huge range of electric guitar amps from many different brands including Vox and Marshall. They are probably the most respected speaker manufacturer in the guitar world and two of their most popular speaker ranges are the Creamback and Greenback, but what is the difference between them?
In this article I’ll compare these two amp speakers head to head so you can decide which is best for you. If you’re just looking for a quick answer though, here it is…
The Celestion Creamback speaker is capable of handling more power from the amp compared to the Greenback, which allows the guitarist to use a smaller cabinet for high power amps. The Creamback sounds warmer and fuller compared to the Greenback, to counteract the effect of using a smaller cab.
Celestion Greenback Overview
Celestion Greenback speakers are designed for lower-powered amps (30W or less) and are used in the Vox AC15 and Vox AC30. The Greenback has been used by many famous electric guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Angus Young, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Joe Perry, and Slash.
There are two different Greenback speakers currently available.
- G10 Greenback
- G12M Greenback
|Greenback Speaker||Power Rating||Sensitivity||Diameter|
Celestion Creamback Overview
The premise behind the Creamback was that it had extra power handling compared to the Greenback. The power rating ranges from 45W to 75W depending on which specific Creamback speaker is in question.
There are four different Creamback speakers currently available:
- G10 Creamback
- G12M-65 Creamback
- G12H-75 Creamback
- Neo Creamback
|Creamback Speaker||Power Rating||Sensitivity||Diameter|
For the purposes of this tone comparison, let’s look at the two most closely related speakers, the Greenback G12M and the Creamback G12M-65.
The Celestion Creamback speaker sounds warmer and has more depth compared to the Celestion Greenback speaker which sounds thinner but much brighter and more articulate. The Creamback is often described as sounding smooth, hence the name “cream-back”.
Check out this YouTube video comparing the two speakers using a 1×12 closed back cab.
Number of Cabinets and Power Handling
One of the main differences between the Creamback and Greenback speakers is that the former offers additional power handling.
- Creamback power handling: 45-75W
- Greenback power handling: 25-30W
The idea here is that you can downsize the number of cabinets you’re using with the Creamback and still use the same amplifier head.
For example, if you wanted to use a 60W head, then you can use either two cabinets with Greenback G12M speakers, or one cabinet with a Creamback G12M-65 speaker.
How Does this Relate to Tone?
Let’s consider two setups with a 120W head:
- 4×12″ cabinet with Greenback speakers
- 2×12″ cabinet with Creamback speakers
Forget the types of speakers (Greenback vs Creamback) for a moment and let’s talk about the difference between a 2×12″ cabinet and 4×12″ cabinet.
With the 4×12″ you get a fuller and warmer sound because there is more bass response. The 2×12″ cabinet on the other hand sounds brighter and thinner.
Now back onto the Greenback vs Creamback debate.
As we discussed previously, the Creamback sounds warmer and fuller compared to the Greenback. This difference is purposeful as it prevents you from losing some of the depth that would otherwise occur when switching from a larger 4×12″ to a smaller 2×12″.
When Celestion invented the Creamback, the intention was to allow the guitarist to use a smaller cabinet and still get a similar tone to the iconic Greenback. It’s not identical, but they did get very close.
It’s not just the tone that we need to consider, but also the practical differences of having a 2×12″ versus a 4×12″ cabinet.
If you are using a head unit which needs to be paired with speakers that are capable of handling a lot of power, then you’ll probably want to go with a 2×12″ Creamback setup compared to a 4×12″ Greenback setup, the reason being that it’ll be much lighter and easier to transport.