Speaker Review

Celestion Friedman 4×12 Speaker Set

The Celestion Friedman Speaker Set is what you will find in 4×12 cabs offered by Friedman Amplification.  The regular 412, the 412 Vintage, the Steve Stevens cab, and the 412 Checkered.  They are all loaded with 2 Celestion G12M Greenback 25W on top and 2 Celestion Vintage 30 on bottom.

You can see I’ve been working through the Celestion catalog for about a while now.  If you are like me, you have seen a retail chain putting together some Celestion speakers to sell as sets.  Seems like the Metal/Hard Rock 4×12 Set is one of the better known out there.

Being curious, I like to ask questions.  So I reach out to Fractal Audio‘s very own Mark Day.  This website will flatten beneath the load of artists that Mark works with to tailor their tones.  Mark indicated that when he was out in L.A. working with Dave Friedman, they went through every possible speaker and combination of speakers that they could imagine.  Their exhaustive research revealed the sonic benefits of a pair of Greenbacks and a pair of V30s.

Tone Graph
Celestion V30 & Greenback Graph
Celestion V30 & Greenback Graph

Wouldn’t you know, I have both, so I’m off to the races.  These are going in a Marshall 1960 straight cab.  The point is clearly that the Greenbacks are on top and the V30s on the bottom.  No x-pattern?  Not side by side?  Oh, I don’t ask that out loud.  These are guys that have set up tones for players that include Pete Thorn, Eddie Van Halen, and Billy Duffy.  I know when to do what I’m told!  LOL!

Who else remembers what it was like upgrading from a low-cost MDF speaker cab to a nice Birch ply cab?  Or setting aside those stock no-name speakers for that first set of Celestions?  This pairing in this configuration is like that!  As great as the Greenback is and as great as the Vintage 30 is, they go together like chocolate and peanut butter.  Or peas and carrots.  Or beans and franks.  Now I’m hungry!  Haha!

How does it sound?  You can look at the graph above (or click it to enlarge!) to get an idea of how they mate up to enhance some frequencies while increasing the scope of others.  But that’s just on paper.  In application, you get the smooth and you get the punch.  There is the richness and there is the bite.  Allow me to throw down with this video of Doug Rappoport using this speaker combo while playing through three Friedman 4×12 cabs.  Even Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) has to stop and listen to these sweet tones.

Friedman T Style & JJ-100

As a fan of each speaker on it’s own merit, I am digging the pairing of them in to the Friedman Speaker Set.  Put together, it is as if the riffs hit you in the chest, open chords fill the space, and notes have clearl definition.  One of the best benefits for players that like to lay down some shred is that the highs have sweetness and definition.  What happens in the mids and the highs are outstanding, which I think can be represented to a degree in the graph.

Since 2×12 cabs are a staple these days, I did try out this combo in the Mojotone Slammins 2×12 open back cab.  Definitely a solid result and worth checking out.  If you have access to a nice closed back 4×12, I’d certainly suggest that you give it a go for the ideal tonal impact.  Another fine option would be if your pre-amp processor can run multiple cabs.  That’s a feature I used on my Axe-Fx with the official Celestion IRs for these speakers and the results are equally magnificent.

For reference, this evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II XL+ with a Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller through a Carvin DCM200L power amp.  Real cabs used were Marshall 1960Bs.

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