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British vs. Chinese Celestion Speakers

Gavin

New here
I was reading an interview with Josh Middleton from Architects in the latest issue of Total Guitar.

On the subject of gear used on the new album he says that “most of it is a block letter 5150 through an old Mesa-Boogie cab when the speakers were being made in the UK, which sounds very different to the Chinese ones. I think celestion try and deny it, but they sound super different. The sticker they put on it is at different angle!”

I’m assuming the speakers he’s referring to are Vintage 30s and was wondering if anyone had come across a set of IR’s with both British and Chinese made versions. It would be very interesting to hear the difference.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I’ve had both and never could hear any difference between them. All things being equal I would go UK but wouldn’t pay extra for something I can’t hear.

It’s like a Chinese vs Korean guitar. Same production, just factory in a different location. Not like one is handmade master craftsmen and the other isn’t, they are both just assembly lines cranking them out
 

Gavin

New here
I'm pretty sure @ML SOUND LAB has some insight on this, and probably IRs that can demonstrate it.
Thanks for the reply. I just checked out the ML SOUND LAB “Mesa Oversized” pack that claims to use a 70W version from the early 90’s.

Did a bit of of googling and found that Celestion did indeed change the design of the V30 to make it cheaper and easier to produce. Apparently Mesa didn’t like the new version so the V30s found in Mesa cabs should match the original design.

In all there are 5 versions of the speaker. The orignal English made version, the Chinese version, an OEM version made for Marshall and two OEM versions (8 & 16 ohm) made for Mesa.

Now to find some sort of comparison between the 5 different speakers!
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Okay I'll prove it to you. Here's 3 different V30s that are ALL UK V30 speakers miked with the same SM57. So these are not even the Chinese version:


First is a Mesa V30 from around 2004, second one is a Mesa V30 from about 2010 (still made in UK custom for Mesa), third one is a V30 from before they started making them in China, not sure what the age was.

I have a ton of respect for Celestion as they make the best sounding speakers out there but I think it would be bad for their business to say anything has changed in the V30 design. Yet if you go through the spec list of Celestion's own notes you can see 7 different design codes for the Vintage 30 speakers (wow the bygonetones website has been pulled down.. http://www.bygonetones.com/ this was the website that had all this information on it) which makes me thing they've changed the design in a big way at least 7 times. That is very true to my experience of owning over 20 4x12 cabs that supposedly should sound the same.

The MEGA OVERSIZE pack that @Gavin just mentioned has indeed the most original V30 speakers that I've ever found during about 6-7 years of collection guitar speakers and cabinets. They still have the serial code stamps on the metal and none of those sticker tags that they started using later on. These speakers are not in the clip above as I don't have the cab here right now.

EDIT: Luckily I have backups of that website. Here's the list of different manufacture codes that are all called the "Vintage 30" by Celestion:

T3896 <--- this is the Marshall spec V30 8 ohm version
T3897 <--- this is the Marshall spec V30 16 ohm version
T3903 <--- "normal" V30 8 ohm
T3904 <--- "normal" V30 16 ohm
T3987 <--- Marshall OEM (known to be a little brighter than the standard V30)
T4335 <--- this is the original Mesa spec V30
T4335B <---- this is a newer Mesa V30 that's still supposedly made in UK
T4416 <--- this is the original Mesa spec V30 16 ohm version

You will see the letter B behind some of these serial codes. I've just started calling it short for "bad". These speakers are usually the ones that look like they're made in the UK when they're actually not.

I would like to emphasize that this is not a tonewood-like discussion where you question if it's real or not. This is very real and I can definitely get other IR producers that agree with me confirm that there are very different V30's out there. There's even some rumors of Orange getting their V30s custom made by Celestion with another modification.
 
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Promit

Inspired
As ML said, the different V30s sound different and it's not some subtle obsessive difference. A Mesa V30 is a drastically different speaker from a current retail V30. Orange seems to have a different version too.

Personally I think the older Mesa V30 is glorious sounding and there would be no "V30 hate" if that were the only kind that existed.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
As ML said, the different V30s sound different and it's not some subtle obsessive difference. A Mesa V30 is a drastically different speaker from a current retail V30. Orange seems to have a different version too.

Personally I think the older Mesa V30 is glorious sounding and there would be no "V30 hate" if that were the only kind that existed.
I agree 100%. Whenever I hear people dissing the V30 I start rolling my eyes.... you most likely have NEVER heard a "real V30". The real V30 has many characteristics that also the pre-Rola Greenback has. So the best statement that I completely lose my mind with is when someone says he hates V30s and loves Greenbacks instead. :D
 
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dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Okay I'll prove it to you. Here's 3 different V30s that are ALL UK V30 speakers miked with the same SM57. So these are not even the Chinese version:


First is a Mesa V30 from around 2004, second one is a Mesa V30 from about 2010 (still made in UK custom for Mesa), third one is a V30 from before they started making them in China, not sure what the age was.

I have a ton of respect for Celestion as they make the best sounding speakers out there but I think it would be bad for their business to say anything has changed in the V30 design. Yet if you go through the spec list of Celestion's own notes you can see 7 different design codes for the Vintage 30 speakers (wow the bygonetones website has been pulled down.. http://www.bygonetones.com/ this was the website that had all this information on it) which makes me thing they've changed the design in a big way at least 7 times. That is very true to my experience of owning over 20 4x12 cabs that supposedly should sound the same.

The MEGA OVERSIZE pack that @Gavin just mentioned has indeed the most original V30 speakers that I've ever found during about 6-7 years of collection guitar speakers and cabinets. They still have the serial code stamps on the metal and none of those sticker tags that they started using later on. These speakers are not in the clip above as I don't have the cab here right now.

EDIT: Luckily I have backups of that website. Here's the list of different manufacture codes that are all called the "Vintage 30" by Celestion:

T3896 <--- this is the Marshall spec V30 8 ohm version
T3897 <--- this is the Marshall spec V30 16 ohm version
T3903 <--- "normal" V30 8 ohm
T3904 <--- "normal" V30 16 ohm
T3987 <--- Marshall OEM (known to be a little brighter than the standard V30)
T4335 <--- this is the original Mesa spec V30
T4335B <---- this is a newer Mesa V30 that's still supposedly made in UK
T4416 <--- this is the original Mesa spec V30 16 ohm version


You will see the letter B behind some of these serial codes. I've just started calling it short for "bad". These speakers are usually the ones that look like they're made in the UK when they're actually not.

I would like to emphasize that this is not a tonewood-like discussion where you question if it's real or not. This is very real and I can definitely get other IR producers that agree with me confirm that there are very different V30's out there. There's even some rumors of Orange getting their V30s custom made by Celestion with another modification.
This is the truth!
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
I've heard a lot of the same conversations on the UK vs Chinese Greenbacks. I've only had the UK versions, and they have that nice, springy tone I liked in the old cabs. One of my buddies has a non-UK Greenback cab coming and I will be very curious to plug it in side by side and see what the difference are, even though they're bound to sound somewhat different in different cabs.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
If I want a cab with v30s, I use the wgs version.
You can find that in the Suhr Cab Pack we made with Fractal. I think I personally preferred the Chinese V30 that was also in that pack. The WGS Veteran had more fat mids but almost to a point where it was a little bit honky and cardboardy sounding. Hard to explain.

I've heard a lot of the same conversations on the UK vs Chinese Greenbacks. I've only had the UK versions, and they have that nice, springy tone I liked in the old cabs. One of my buddies has a non-UK Greenback cab coming and I will be very curious to plug it in side by side and see what the difference are, even though they're bound to sound somewhat different in different cabs.
As far as Greenbacks go I think the ones I've had have also sounded quite different to one another. There's the new one with that B letter behind it. Didn't end up releasing it as a pack just to give you an idea. I assume that's the one in these Friedman cabs that people are really into, Chinese V30s and Chinese Greenbacks. :/ Anyways the 8ohm English Greenbacks from the 90s that I have are definitely in my top 5 modern speakers of all time. Really pleasant sounding! I do own all the pre-Rola Greenback versions as well and they all sound very different to the new Greenbacks. Even the reissues sound quite different. The funny thing is that I can find more similarities in the old V30s and original pre-Rola speakers than any of the reissues. It's got to be something in the materials used.
 

6L6C

Forum Addict
If I want a cab with v30s, I use the wgs version.
Had a 2x12 Mesa Recto cab and replaced the Celestion Vintage 30's with the GWS Veteran 30's, was really happy with those speakers.
I don't have that cab anymore, and now that I'm talking about it. Starting to miss it.
 

RDH

Fractal Fanatic
I bought a set of V30's in the early 80's and loved them, my favorites for quite some time. I very regret letting them go, all the v 30's I've tried since don't cut it for me.
 
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