Speaker magnets come in all sort of different sizes and shapes, but the materials that they’re made of can really make a difference in the way the speaker sounds. It isn’t just about getting a nice guitar with great pickups. Something as simple as swapping out your speakers in your amp can overhaul your tone.
- Alnico is an alloy of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt. It is the magnetic material used in original speakers in all vintage amps. This is what gives those old amps their sought-after tone. Warm and sweet at low volumes which have a faster reaction time while playing. Alnico was used for decades due to its strong magnetic field, but once it started to become pricey, a lot of manufacturers switched to ceramic magnets.
- Ceramic magnets were developed as a less expensive alternative to Alnico. The advantage of ceramic is that they are more versatile and offer a wider range of tone. The downside is that speakers with ceramic magnets typically weigh more, but can usually handle more power and sound better at high volumes.
- Neodymium is the newest speaker magnet material. It’s not as expensive as Alnico but it does cost more than ceramic speakers. Some advantages are its weight being about 50% less than other speakers while having stronger magnetic properties. Speakers made from neodymium respond to a player’s touch similar to Alnicos and have a well-balanced frequency response.
When it comes to the different types of speaker magnets, pay close attention. It is the same concept or theory with guitar pickups or humbuckers. Ferrite, Alnico, and Neodymium are three different types of magnets used. Ferrite is one of the most common and is more aggressive of a speaker. A great example of a ferrite magnet speaker from Celestion is CEL VINT3008 LIST. Alnico is revered for its sweetness and buttery tone that sounds particularly musical. A great example of a Celestion speaker with alnico magnets is CEL T5671G10GOLD8. Finally, we have neodymium. The newest of magnet types, neodymium is starting to become more popular. The main benefit of a neo speaker is its lightweight characteristics. Tone wise, neo speakers are described as being very bright but can be countered by mixing and matching speaker types. The CEL G12NEOCREAM16 is an example of a neo speaker.
So the next time you buy a speaker, make sure you pay close attention to the magnet. It has more influence on the sound than you think. You need to remember it isn’t just about the guitar, and the amp and pickups. Yes, these are all key components, but an upgraded speaker can work wonders.