Alnico vs Ceramic speaker, which one is better? These two magnet types are designed for different use cases. Which one is best for you depends specifically on the following: budget, music type and taste. Alnico is best for jazz, swing or blues music type. On the other hand, Ceramic is best for country of rock music.
Alnico is quite expensive when compared to Ceramic speakers. As for music taste, it varies from person to person. If you are a guitarist, you need to choose the best one and this guide will help you to do so. Jensen, Eminence and Celestion are some of the best brands to make alnico and ceramic speakers.
Comparing Ceramic or Ferrite vs Alnico, the main differences lie in sound quality and cost. The Ceramic speakers price is lower than Alnico and along with these speaker magnets, you need an appropriate cabinet or amp. Lastly, the sound choice varies from user to user so the audio divides user into separate groups.
Check out our expert opinion for each type of speaker magnet.
Best alnico speaker: Jensen Vintage, AlNiCo, 25 W, 8 Ohm
This speaker has a power rating of 25W. it produces vibrant, rich and warm tone with a classic vibe. The bass is impressive as well. With Alnico, it is a bit costlier but it is worth it. It works well with electric guitar.
Best ceramic speaker: Celestion VT-Junior
This is a versatile speaker with a musical and balanced tone. It has a reasonable price and you will get excellent quality with satisfying punchy sound.
Alnico vs Ceramic: Product differentiator
If you compare the Alnico vs Ceramic speaker, you will realize there are several dissimilarities.[table id=398 /]
Alnico magnet, also known as AlNiCo is made from Aluminum, iron, nickel, and cobalt. They are quite strong but easily lose their magnetism. Comparing Alnico vs neodymium, Alnico has a better resistance against corrosion. Fender Bassman and Bandmaster used these Alnico speakers.
Some speakers come with end bells, others don’t. Alnico vs Ceramic speaker comparison shows, Alnico will compress at high volume, has a quicker breakup, and costs more. Why Alnico is so expensive? Since it is made from rare earth materials, this increases the cost.
They have the nature to magnetize rapidly or eliminate demagnetizing effects which result in outstanding performance. You can tune them easily as per your need. Alnico has smooth compression compared to Ceramic magnets, which is similar to that of tube amplifiers.
Ceramic or Ferrite magnets are made from strontium ferrite which is readily available. This reduces the cost of the Ceramic speakers. They don’t demagnetize or compress so quickly like the Alnico. There are several advantages of using a Ceramic speaker.
They can get louder than Alnico and can handle more amount of power. Ceramic speakers show smoother breakup and are quite heavier. It is around 3 times the weight of Alnico
How do you recognize Alnico drivers?
One major difference pops out if we compare Alnico vs Ferrite magnets, Alnico is a metal so it can conduct but, Ceramic can’t. this characteristic can help to recognize which one is Alnico and which one is Ceramic. You can use an ohmmeter and the one that conducts will be Alnico.
How do you recognize ceramic drivers?
Alnico speakers have a narrow shape and is much taller whereas, Ceramics are wider and shorter. Alnico tend to have the “horseshoe” on the back whereas ceramic have just a flat magnet on the back.
Alnico vs Ceramic speakers, do they sound different? Absolutely. Alnico magnet speaker has a ‘chimey’ sound in the mid and high-frequency region. It sounds warm, smooth and pleasant but Ceramic sounds brighter. Alnico speaker tone is good for blues or mellow rock.
Ceramic magnets doesn’t show any compression which results in a clean and clear sound. Comparing, Ceramic vs Alnico speakers, Ceramic can deliver more accurate response. Ceramic speakers can get very loud without being distorted.
Comparing Alnico vs Ceramic vs Neodymium, Neodymium has similar characteristics as Alnico. Categorically, it falls between Alnico and Ceramic.
Alnico vs Ceramic speakers: Product review
The following section enlisted some of the best products of Alnico and Ceramic speakers.
Best Alnico speaker:
Eminence Legend1028K 10-Inch Guitar Speakers
The Eminence Legend Alnico has a vintage tone with a clean and clear sound quality. the low-end can reach up to 100Hz. It is best for Blues, Country and rock music. The website gives you sound clips which will help you to listen to demos before buying.
If you love metal genre, you might not like it. But, the Eminence Alnico can produce balanced tone with average bass and highs. The mids are warm. You will be quite fascinated by the loud and open sounding speaker. You can use it with 10″ open- or closed-back (vented or sealed) amplifier cabinets.
You can also use it with 66 Princeton Reverb. Eminence doesn’t hide anything. You will get all mounting and material construction information in details on their page. Overall, it is worth the high price.
CELESTION Ruby Guitar speaker (T6388)
Although we chose the Alnico Ruby color, you can choose any one from Blue, Cream or Gold. With 35W power handling, it is designed to work with moderate-powered amps. It will work great with No products found. or any Mojotone cabinets.
If you like decent bright sound, then this 12” Alnico speaker is ideal for you. This alnico-magnet guitar speaker can deliver a vintage tone. It has decent highs, smooth midrange and a warmth in its tone. It also has a tight representation in the low-frequency region.
If you compare Celestion Ruby frequency range to the Jensen, you will see it can go as low as 75Hz. Jensen can get lower than that. You can choose between 8 or 16 ohms as per your need. Although it is a bit expensive but with 100 dB sensitivity, the price to performance ratio is outstanding.
Overall, you will be satisfied with the balanced and clean sound from this speaker. For mounting options, it has 8 mounting slots and you will get other detailed measurements in their website. Celestion recommends that you ‘break-in’ the speaker.
Starting with a low volume and then increasing it to full is how you should do it. Then you should play the guitar in the middle pickup position for 10 to 15 minutes. User manuals also show step by step method of installing the speaker. It is titled as the ‘warmest of Celestion Alnicos’.
WEBER SPEAKER Alnico Signature 6S Weber Signature Arnico Speaker 6″ 4Ω15W
[table id=402 /]
This Weber Alnico speaker is made to replace the Fender Champion 600. It has ribbed cone which is needed for ‘smoother breakup’. It can produce precise details in its audio and ensure clarity. This Alnico speaker also has broader headroom. It is best to use these speakers for low to medium level of volume.
You can also find Weber Signature 6s Ceramic speaker. The Alnico sounds better than the Ceramic from this brand. You can look into other models like the Weber Vintage Series 10A125 or the Weber British Series Blue Dog.[table id=401 /]
The Weber Alnico Blue Dog ha broader headroom. The low-end is impressive and excellent highs that doesn’t get harsh when you increase the volume. The Vintage Alnico 10” speaker produces a bright audio layout with smooth breakup.
Speaker – 10 in. Jensen Vintage, AlNiCo, 25 W, 8 Ohm, for FenderSpeaker - 10 in. Jensen Vintage, AlNiCo, 25 W, 8 Ohm, for Fender [table id=403 /]
Jensen P10R Alnico speaker is the ultimate guitar speaker that has a ‘blue cap’ or ‘blue bell’. Users who already used it, chose to have this magnet is a Mesa Engineering 4×10 cabinet. It has a sparkling sound at low level of sound. It gives full sound with well-defined mids.
The Jensen Alnico 10” model is one of the best speakers for electric guitars. Released in 1999, it is considered a vintage speaker. It will work with 1966 Fender Princeton Reverb. This instrument speaker will effectively represent the bass of the guitar. You can also use it with Swart ST-6V6se
As expected, the mids of this 10” Alnico guitar speaker are subdued or ‘quiet’. The highs are bright but not harsh and the low frequency is decent. It is perfect for a vintage Fender amp because together, they produce a true and pure sound.
Best ceramic speaker:
Jensen Vintage C12N16 12
Jensen describes the mids and highs to be aggressive and bright respectively. In this C12 Jensen model, you can choose between 4, 8 or 16 ohms. In the 60’s, the 12” C12 Ceramic magnet speaker was used widely. The high cost of Alnico was one of the reasons for this.
Twin, Bassman and Bandmaster amps along with several other used this magnet. The sound performance is what makes the Alnico vs Ferrite magnets in speakers night and day. The Jensen Alnico speaker can get very loud and it will attack you with its punch. You can use this Ceramic speaker in the 67 Deluxe Reverb.
It can also be used in Fender 68 Custom Princeton Reverb or the 65 Fender Twin Reverb . The Jensen Alnico can handle when you play guitar in full chord. The sound is full, rich, deeper with excellent dynamics.
It works great for rock’ n ‘roll, surf and blues genre of music along with country, jazz or metal. The Jensen Ceramic price is lower than most Alnico models we have tested. There are 2 available sizes, 12” and 15”. Surfing online reviews will give you mixed feeling, but it is about the type of sound you want.
Celestion G12M Greenback Guitar Speaker
The Celestion Greenback Ceramic speaker is available in two different impedances: 8 and 16. It has a ‘punchy’ characteristics. The mid-range and treble region is designed in such a way which makes the G12M sound bright and just as like a Ceramic magnet speaker.
It is a Blues and Blues rock speaker that has both ‘warm and a woody’ tone. The power rating is higher than many Alnico speakers which makes it ideal for rock music. You can use these with the Marshall Amps Guitar Combo Amplifier (M-DSL40CR-U).
The well-defined high-ends and the break-up is classic. You will get all necessary mounting information on the website. The Greenback G12 has 4 mounting holes. Once you have it, you should allow break-in for some time.
The clear sound and the British tone will definitely impress you. The mid-range has a boost and the overall sound is crisp and clear.
Eminence Legend 1058 10″ Guitar Speaker
With a copper voice coil and a non-vented core, this Eminence Ceramic speaker is quite affordable. It is best for Blues Country Rock. It has very high power rating of 75W. you can use it with Super Reverb.
It works well with Country, Blue and Rockabilly. The quality of the speaker design relies heavily on skilled engineers and years of experience. Using it with Fender Super Champ X2 will be very good. It can get loud enough and the bass is tight.
The Eminence Legend Ceramic speakers has a full, rich sound and it is very responsive. It shows better balance, clarity along with a decent punch. You can choose 12” or 15” where the impedance and power varies.
The Vintage American tone is loved by most users who prefer the ‘ceramic magnet’ sound. The quality, performance and popularity makes it quite reliable.
Celestion VT-Junior[table id=407 /]
Celestion Greenback is discussed above, another popular model from this brand is VT-Junior. The speaker is very responsive and have a ‘punchy’ nature. It can get loud and has a balanced sound. The pressed steel chassis has a round copper voice coil.
It delivers a clean and clear sound with deep bass. Once you use it with your combos or cabs, it will give life to them. In a 10” speaker, you can choose between 8 or 16-ohm impedance.
How I rated the Alnico vs Ceramic speaker products:
I rated the products after scrutinizing the details and focusing on crucial details.
The Alnico or Ceramic magnet speakers are available is 10”, 12” or 15” sizes. The smaller size of a speaker can produce high frequencies better. So, if you choose a 10” the high-range of the spectrum will be more revealing.
Speaker sensitivity of most of these alnico and ceramic magnets are above 95dB. The Celestion Ruby has a sensitivity of 100dB which means it can get very loud. If your application requires loudness, this will be ideal for you. However, loudness isn’t always better so you need to see the sensitivity of the speaker magnets before buying.
Power and impedance:
Each ceramic or vintage alnico speaker magnet indicates its impedance and how much power it can handle. You simply need to choose the right one and make sure the power rating is within the limit of the speaker and matches with the amp.
The type of cabinet you are going to put the speaker magnet is important. It will affect the sound quality. the thickness should be 0.5” to ensure the it can stay stable.
While choosing a cabinet you will come across terms like open-back or closed-back. Guitar amp bodies that has a closed-back design ensure the bass response is better than open-backs.
Comparing Alnico vs Ceramic speakers, Alnico speakers are best if you like a sweet, vintage and warm tone. They also have stronger bass response compared to Ceramic speakers. Whereas, Ceramic speakers are best if you like a punch and boosted sound with sparkling ends.
Celestion and Jensen makes several Alnico and Ceramic speaker magnets. The two major factor to look into while buying a guitar speaker is impedance and power rating. These information is readily available in their websites.
These factors should match the amp or the speaker you are replacing. Installing the Alnico or Ceramic speakers is very easy and straight forward where each model manuals list all detailed measurements.
Most magnet speaker models come in one or two sizes. Choose the size that will fit your cabinet. Cabinet material and construction will also affect the sound quality so make sure you have a strong one.
This FAQ is here to solve your problems, while waving you goodbye at the end of the article.
What is the alternative of alnico and ceramic speakers?
Neodymium is the best alternative for alnico or ceramic speakers. It is one of the strongest magnet which possess a high amount of magnetic energy. You will find these in Fluance speakers where the neodymium tweeters are light and very powerful. It also experiences less distortion.
How to install an Alnico magnet speaker?
Let’s take Celestion speaker installation as an example. You need some basic things to begin the procedure:
- Amplifier or cabinet
- Multi-wrench, allen key
- Electric take, pliers, wirecutter, soldering devices.
Once you have all necessary equipment, begin the procedure:
- Unplug the amp
- Take out the back side of the amp and check out the wiring
- After disconnecting the wires, take out the bolts and remove the speaker
- Place the new speaker and attach with bolts
- Follow the wiring diagram to set the speaker
- Give power supply and check the sound at low volume