Best all-around 12" speaker?


I know this is such a general question, but I just wanted to see if I could solicit some opinions...

Whenever I'm looking for info/recommendations on speakers, it's easy enough to google "amp name" + "speaker name", and get a lot of opinions on how they play together. But I'm wondering if there's a speaker out there that seems to match up well with just about any amp.

Currently, I have a blackface Bassman, a JTM45 clone, and an AC30 clone. I just got an open back 1x12 cab, and I'd love for this to be kind of an "all-purpose" cab. Right now it has a Vintage 30 in it, which I like just fine, but I'd like to try out some other speakers and see what's out there.


I have a BF Bassman clone, had a Trainwreck Rocket clone (very AC/30 - ish), and have also had a JTM45. My favorite speaker combination in my 2x 12 is/was a JBL K-120 and an EVM-12L. Since you asked about a 1x12, I would have to mention that I tried JBL K-120 in a 1x12 with my Bassman recently, and it was amazing. But, I suspect that the EVM-12L would have also blown me away in the 1x12.

Many will also suggest Celestions, I am sure. Since the Bassman (and obviously the JTM45) are so Marshally when cranked, a Greenback might make sense, except that it doesn't handle enough power. Maybe the 65 Watt Creamback would be a choice, but I haven't played that one. And of course, people may suggest the Celestion Blue for the Vox, but again, it doesn't handle the power - so maybe the Gold would be an alternative.

You should decide whether you want a transparent sounding speaker, or a speaker that colors the tones in a very complimentary way. Obviously, the JBL and EV are the more transparent options, and the various Celestions will sit more on the complimentary color side of the equation.


+1 on EVs and JBLs. I like all of the JBL DF x K, E.

I run my LTD ED Metro GMP45 through 1 x 12 cabinets x Hemp Coned JBL E120s. 300 Watts x 103db will make it the loudest 38 watts you've ever heard, and is really killer for cleans. But is very unforgiving, and takes 4 times longer to break in than a normal speaker, because it is such high capacity RMS wise, and the stiff Hemp cone. Unless you use an attenuator its as loud as a cranked 70 watt amp with 1 x 12 100db speakers.

You also have to totally redo EQ with the JBL. Some people cant do this, but the E JBL is generally a clean, clear, very unforgiving, powerful speaker, and normal EQ goes out the window.
For a 1 x 12 and Alnico, I would look into either the Fane A90 or the Celestion Cream. Both are 90 Watts. The Fane ahs a bit more extended range than the Cream, especially Lows/Low Mids, ad the Celestion is more upper mids, highs focused. Both are killer speakers and great for a 1 x 12. Ive also got 2 of the Creams and they aren't going anywhere, but am also very interested in the Fane A60s, and A90s.

For American Voiced speakers, I also like the Altec Lansing/Great Plains Audio x Altec Lansing 417H. GPA bought all of the rights/patents to Altec in the 90s, and are former employees of Altec.

They still make the 417H, 418H, and the 421A, and many other models.

I also have 4 x 12 Celestion G12 from 72 with original Pulsonic cones 25 watt, 75hz and often combine them with my E120s.

If I was going for a 1 x 12 all around cab, Id probably go for a 90 Watt Fane A90. Or the Celestion Cream.


Senior Member
An m65 Scumback is sort of classic speaker. The classic greenback sound, the vintage sound, covers an awful lot of territory. Or if you could find real vintage greenies. But it's definitely not the speaker for everything.
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My favorite ceramic magnet speaker is the Celestion G12H30 75 hz.

I like old 60's gray frame 25 watt Celestion Alnicos best of all though.

I don't like JBL's, EVM's, SRO's or Altec's. I've owned them, used them and sold them. :D Just not right for me.


Silver Supporting Member
After MANY speaker comparisons I'll take the Celestion Heritage G12-65 over all others.


Thanks for all the replies here. Regarding the comment that "there is no best" - I totally agree. Maybe I should have said that I'm just looking for some people's favorites, and using that as a starting off point to do some more research of my own. So in that respect, all these suggestions are great.

Also it's a very good point that I should think about "transparent" vs. "colored" speakers. I hadn't really thought about that. I suppose on the principal of it, a more transparent speaker would sound better with a wide variety of amps, right? But I do tend to like that different speakers have different "flavors".

Interesting stuff. Thanks again.


Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
After owning and using many Celestions/Eminence/SRO's/WGS speakers over the years I have to say my all around fave is the Alessandro Neo. It's warm, but neutral in frequencies. Smooth highs, tightish lows, nice mids... And they weigh 3 lbs....


[geer/peyj] hubris confusion paralysis by analysis
Gold Supporting Member
EVM-12L here too. All around best speaker in my arsenal of cabs/speakers.


Silver Supporting Member
Hmm... some of my favorites...

Scumback S75 PVC
Scumback M75
Celestion V30
Celestion G12H30 70th Anniversary
Celestion Hot 100
ASW Elegante

I can't possibly pick a single one.

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