Quick Hit: Celestion Ruby Review
A mellow but vivacious alnico-based blaster.
Recorded using a Gibson Les Paul Traditional with 57 Classics plugged into a Goodsellf Valpreaux 21 miked with a Royer R-121 feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Barre-chord rhythm in bridge position, then middle, then neck, followed by bluesy riff in same positions, followed by lead licks high on neck in same pickup order, then random improvisation in various positions.
Wonderful in-between sounds for fans of Celestion’s alnico favorites. Remains pleasing to the ear when driven hard. Beautiful aesthetics.
The alnico-magnet Ruby 12" aims to combine a bit of heralded “chime” from Celestion’s popular alnico 15-watt Blue model with the vintage-rock attitude of its 90-watt alnico Cream model in a 35-watt unit for mid-powered combos. I tested the Ruby in both a 6973-powered Goodsell Valpreaux 21 and an EL34-driven Jaguar HC50, both of which previously housed a 12" aiming for similar territory—albeit with ceramic-magnet construction and a higher, 50-watt rating. The Valpreaux had a Weber Blue Dog, while the HC50 had a Weber Gray Wolf (which itself was a swap-out from the amp’s stock Celestion Creamback).
The net result? With the Ruby, both amps lost a smidgen of volume, thump, and snappy articulation—a predictable result with a lower power rating and a softer-responding alnico magnet—but they also gained a more forgiving feel and some lovely natural compression. This instantly made both combos not only sound more “classic” and broken-in, but also imbued settings that had previously seemed either lackluster or strident with lustrous new life. Put another way, the Ruby mellowed each amp a tad, but there was still plenty of growl and zing—and I never encountered any of the grating, overwhelmed-sounding harshness that many alnico-magnet speakers get when pushed hard.
Test gear: Gibson Les Paul Traditional with 57 Classics, Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Custom with Curtis Novak JM-V and Tele-V pickups, Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup, Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX with Curtis Novak JM-WR pickups.