The sound of Celestion speakers is linked inextricably to the sound of British pop and rock, and Celestion have now made available impulse responses for a wide range of these classic speakers mounted in 1x12, 2x12 and 4x12 cabinets, and miked with appropriate single or double mic arrays. The IRs appear as WAV files once uncompressed and can be downloaded at a choice of sample rates from 44.1 to 96 kHz, to be loaded into your own IR-based software or compatible hardware. For my tests I simply dragged the IRs into Logic Pro’s Space Designer convolution reverb and set the mix to 100 percent wet.
Predictably, perhaps, I went straight to the famous Celestion Blue as used in vintage Vox AC30s. This particular speaker managed to be both mellow in the mids and jangly in the highs, and no doubt contributed to what we now remember as the classic AC30 sound. As with all the speakers in the collection, IRs for the Celestion Blue have been recorded for five different cabinet configurations: 1×12 and 2×12 in both open- and closed-back cabinets, and in a closed-back 4×12. Each setup was recorded using three classic studio mics with six positions per microphone. On top of that, there are eight further IRs per cabinet created by mixing together the IRs from different microphones, giving a total of 26 different IRs for each cabinet or 130 per speaker type.
As well as the Blue, there are IRs for the G12M-65 Greenback, the G12M Greenback, the G12M-65 Creamback, the G12H-75 Creamback, the G12H-65, the G12H Anniversary, the Vintage 30, the G12H-150 Redback, the G12H-150 Redback, the Neo Creamback and more. Celestion have put audio examples of the various speakers online to help you choose the best option for your own musical style. You can buy the entire collection for each speaker model in one go or choose individual cabinet IRs. If you do buy the whole collection for the speaker of your choice, you make a significant saving on the individual cabinet price, but if you know exactly which configuration you want, buying them individually can be a good option too.
Celestion have clearly taken a great deal of care in producing these impulse responses: the end result is very good indeed and definitely adds to the authenticity of the results you can get using, for example, a modelled amplifier plug-in. Overall, my favourite was perhaps the Creamback, which turned out to be a great all-rounder. The differences between the speakers when you are are auditioning clean sounds might at first seem to be mainly a matter of how bright or dark they sound, but the character diverges to a much more noticeable degree when using overdriven guitar sounds. While use with modelled amplifier plug-ins is the most obvious application, there’s also a lot to be gained by using a speaker-level DI box to take the output from a small combo and then processing that in your DAW to add the speaker cabinet of your choice. That 5 Watt combo with the tiny speaker might just sound amazing through a 2x12 or 4x12 cabinet, and it is exactly that flexibility that these Celestion IRs give you. This really is as close as you’ll get to miking the real thing in a serious studio.
$35.99 per speaker or $14.39 per cabinet.