Extending its popular Creamback series, Celestion has delivered a new 12” alnico model called the Cream ($299 street). At a whopping 90 watts power handling, this U.K.- made speaker lets you run single-12 cabs with amps that would swiftly pull Dave Davies’ razorblade trick on many other alnico models, while adding low-end solidity and a somewhat more detailed, balanced response to the juicy, midrangey voice of traditional low-powered vintage speakers.
I loaded our test sample 8Ω model (16Ω is also available) into an open-back cab and connected a Vox AC15, a tweed Deluxe, and a 50-watt plexi-style Marshall, plugged in a Strat, a Tele, and a Les Paul, and had at it. Having been familiar with the juicy, snarling midrange frappé of Celestion’s Alnico Blue as well as the Alnico Gold’s tighter, punchier flavors, the Cream came as somewhat of a surprise. It exhibits many of the better characteristics of each of those speakers, but couches them in a broader response that would also seem to widen its applications. With musical mids, sweets highs, respectable lows, and a woody, rich character with plenty of detail, this speaker thrived on everything from American jangle and twang to cranked-up Britrock leads and power chords—all with a delectable come-hither sweetness throughout that made me want to keep playing. A great addition to the marketplace, and equally at home in American- and British-style amps, the Cream earns an Editors’ Pick Award.
Kudos A robust and sweet sounding Alnico speaker with vintage character, but better-than-vintage versatility.
Concerns It’s pricey, although the power-handling capabilities give it broad applications.