Celestion Vintage 30: versions, characteristics and opinions

Celestion Vintage 30: versions, characteristics and opinions
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Celestion Vintage 30 or simply V30, is a speaker that has earned the place of one of the best guitar speakers, used by guitarists of the stature of Slash, it has already become a classic.

Celestion Vintage 30 History: a new benchmark for loudspeakers

Since its inception in 1986, the Vintage 30, or simply the V30, has become one of Celestion’s most popular and beloved guitar speakers. With three decades on the market, it has sold more than a million units.

The Celestion Vintage 30 speaker is a standard and reference in the world of guitar speakers. Thus, we can find several versions of the competition of the V30 loudspeaker, such as the Veteran 30 from WGS or the P50E or The Governor from Eminence.

Development of the Vintage 30 speaker

In developing the Vintage 30Celestion made pioneering use of laser Doppler interferometry to analyze the cone behavior of an original Celestion Blue. Thus, they developed a precise model of the characteristics of the vintage loudspeaker and applied it to a speaker design built with new, more modern materials capable of handling greater power.

Celestion found that Heavy or H magnet was more like the Alnico in performance. This was used with a new cone and a new voice coil that uses modern materials with similar mass and physical properties to the original vintage speakers. But capable of handling the additional heat generated by operating with higher wattage equipment.

Thus, the number 30 of the V30, have nothing to do with the power handling of the speaker. The Celestion Vintage 30 could be found in the Marshall Studio 15, where they are called “Marshall Vintage by Celestion”.

Marshall Vintage by Celestion: versions, characteristics and opinions

Celestion Vintage 30: features

Given the frequencies highlighted by the Celestion Vintage 30 or V30, our ears perceive it up to twice louder or more powerful than other speakers of the same power level. The Vintage 30 is ideal for overdriven and distorted audio, it handles overdrive tones excellently. Not surprisingly, the Celestion V30 is Slash’s favorite speaker.

With balanced lows, fat and punchy mids, and smooth highs, they deliver a harmonically rich tone. It is a widely used speaker in 4 x 12, 2 x 12 and 1 x 12 loudspeaker cabs alone. But also, there is a classic combination with the G12T75, a more scooped speaker, that is, with more marked bass and treble, and less mids, thus, they complement each other and achieve a tonal richness in all frequencies.

Celestion V30: Specifications

The Celestion V30 is a speaker that can support or handle 60 watts of power, well above the 15 watts that the Alnico Blue loudspeaker supports or the 30 watts of the G12H30 that has a ceramic H magnet, the same as the Celestion Vintage 30.

Of course, it is a 12″ inch -305 mm speaker. The efficiency of this guitar speaker, measured by its sensitivity, is 100 dB, making it one of the most efficient speakers in Celestion. That is, it generates more SLP or sound pressure level with the same power than other less sensitive or efficient speakers.

Available, like all Celestion loudspeakers, in 8 Ohms or 16 Ohms impedance and weighs 4.7 kilos or 10.4 pounds.

Celestion Vintage 30: versions, characteristics and opinions

Celestion Vintage 30 and its different versions

Many guitarists don’t know this, but there are at least three or five versions, depending on how you consider it, of the Vintage 30 or V30 speakers. Steven Fryette, founder of VHT Amplification, now Fryette Amplification, a pioneer of multi-channel high-gain amplifiers, explains.

V30 speaker versions

  • T3903 standard 8 ohm, made in China since 2002
  • T3904 standard 16 ohm, made in China since 2002
  • T3987 made for Marshall 16 ohm, made in UK
  • T4416 made for 16 ohm table, made in UK
  • T4335 made for 8 ohm table, made in UK

Version made exclusively for Marshall

As we saw above, there is a 16 ohm version made exclusively for Marshall. The product code is T3897. This version was the original, since initially this model was a speaker manufactured exclusively for Marshall, with the name Celestion G12 Vintage, without the 30.

When the general public line was launched, the Vintage 30 or V30 varied a bit from the one manufactured to Marshall. The Marshall version is the warmer version with more mids.

Version made exclusively for Mesa Boogie

According to Steven, in the early 90’s, Celestion changed the design of the T3904 -16 ohm- model of the Vintage 30. The modification was to make the V30 loudspeaker easier and cheaper to produce. One of the most relevant changes was reducing the size of the magnet.

Mesa did not like the audio change in it and asked that they continue to sell them the original version of the V30. A new code was generated for models made exclusively for the table: T4416 16 ohms and T4335 8 ohms.

These Mesa Boogie versions have sharper highs and less prominent mids and better low frequency response than the cheaper new version made by Celestion in China.

Celestion Vintage 30: versions, characteristics and opinions

Different impedance, different tone

Steven also explains that there is a difference between the 8 and 16 ohm Mesa versions, as explained below:

When the impedance rating of the speaker changes, so does the inductance of the coil which changes the resonant frequency, among other things. So if you have 2 identical amps and 2 identical cabinets – a cab equipped with 8 ohm speakers and an amplifier set to 8 ohms together, to one loaded with 16 ohm speakers and an amplifier set to 16 ohms – they will sound different. The 16 ohm version will generally sound brighter and deeper.

Steven fryette

Celestion Vintage 30: Opinions

Although sometimes it is read that the Chinese versions are the same as the UK, the reality is that it is a half truth. While they are similar, there are construction details on the components that change. In addition, the Vintage 30 was a model that was changing, with which, it also changes according to its year of manufacture. As we explained above, the magnet of the New Chinese is smaller, they have less bass and a more “shrill” sound than the first versions or those of Marshall and Mesa.

Our advice is that if you have the opportunity to get one of the English ones, one of the Marshall ones or the Mesa ones, pay the difference in price, it will really be worth it.

For more information visit the Celestion website.

Related Notes: Celestion V-Type – Features and Our OpinionCelestion Seventy 80 Review – Specifications and pro and cons and How to choose the right guitar speaker.

You can share opinions or also chat about this and more with other musicians in our comments section.

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We are a team of guitarists, bassists and ukulelist who are passionate about teaching music, testing instruments and equipment related to guitar, bass and ukulele.

5 thoughts on “Celestion Vintage 30: versions, characteristics and opinions

  1. i bought a new vintage 30 and it blows me away ,ive compaired it to the english v 30s i like the china alot better ,its tighter and balanced .the english sounds too bassy ,the upper mids arent as good . How do i tell the differance? just look for china ,or if i order another one .The china one wont have all that writing and england on the magnet rite?

  2. Great article. Would have been good to note that the 8 ohm versions have different codes. For example the Marshall 30 T3897 (16 ohm) was also made in 8 ohm as the T3896.

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