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Celestion is a British designer and importer of loudspeakers.
Ipswich, England, United Kingdom
Number of employees
|Parent||Gold Peak Industries|
The work of what became Celestion started in Hampton Wick (suburban London) in 1924. Celestion Radio Company and Celestion Limited formed in 1927, and two years later the company moved across the Thames to Kingston. The company grew rapidly, but was hit by the depression. Wartime restrictions forced Celestion and the nearby British Rola Company to produce loudspeakers to the same specification; British Rola bought Celestion in 1947 and moved production to Thames Ditton a year later. The name of the company changed to Rola Celestion; with its products sold under the brand name Celestion. (MPP, later a camera maker, was formed as a subsidiary during the war.)
In 1968 the company started production in Ipswich, moving all production there by 1975. The company merged with a clothing company in 1970 and the result was named Celestion Industries, which in turn became Celestion International in 1979.
In 1992 the loudspeaker part of the business was sold to Kinergetics Holdings, which also bought KEF.
Today Celestion International and KEF form GP Acoustics UK. In 2006 Celestion ceased to manufacture speakers, finished pro audio systems, and hi-fi/home theatre products, and now focuses on the design and import (from China) of guitar, bass guitar, and pro audio speakers.
In 1982, Celestion built the SL6, a compact hi-fi speaker with a metal dome tweeter made of copper and designed with the help of laser interferometry. They followed this model with the SL600, which used a rigid honeycomb alloy called Aerolam instead of wood for the speaker casing, a material previously used only in the aerospace industry. Both these speaker models, while well regarded, are known for a somewhat "depressed" sounding high-frequency range from the relatively heavy copper dome tweeter. Later versions used an aluminium dome—a lighter and more efficient driver that provided an output more balanced with the woofer. The aluminium-domed versions, in the standard cabinet (MDF and wood veneer) were designated as the SL6s, and then (with an improved crossover and woofer surround) the SL6si. Aluminium-domed models using the Aerolam cabinet were designated as the SL700 and the SL700SE with dual inputs. Another version of the copper-domed model, with both the Aerolam cabinet and improved crossover elements, was marketed as the SL600si, also with dual inputs. In 1992, Celestion produced the final variation of this design, as the Ten Year "Anniversary Edition" Model 100, which featured a conventional, but highly refined MDF / wood veneer cabinet, dual inputs, updated mounted plates, an improved crossover, the improved woofer design, and a variation of the aluminium tweeter with an updated faceplate.
The company says that the Celestion Blue was the world's first dedicated guitar loudspeaker. The 1950s emergence of louder guitar amplifiers created a need for a rugged, reliable loudspeaker. Celestion responded by modifying their standard "G12" radio speaker. The tonal character, combined with valve amp circuits of the time, helped to define the electric guitar sound. It was rapidly adopted by pioneers of rock & roll and popular music throughout the late 50s and early 60s.