Guitar cabinets are the devices that project the electronic signals generated by your electric guitar into the air, like sound waves. Depending on the design and quality of a guitar cabinet, its sound signature can vary greatly.
In this article, we shall discuss the realm of 1×12 guitar cabinets. The “1” indicates that this is a single speaker cabinet, and the “12” denotes the size of the speaker that went into the cabinet, which in this case is a 12” speaker.
This particular configuration is loved by guitar enthusiasts, studio artists, and professionals for one simple reason- the perfectly tuned frequency response of a 12” speaker. The 12” speakers excel at reproducing sound between 40 Hz to 5000 Hz, and that is where most of the magic lies in case of an average electronic guitar.
If you want slightly higher treble and more well-defined high notes, then go for 10” speakers as they provide a brighter sound which is more suited for jazz and blues, or classical/folk songs.
Below, we have listed some of the best 1×12 guitar cabinets for the price. Pick wisely and get the cabinet that fits your needs as well as budget.
6 Top 1×12″ guitar cabinets
Fender Super Champ SC112 1×12″ Extension Cabinet
What’s good: Celestion G12P-80 12” speaker, high construction quality, premium sound
Not so good: Stock speakers lack midrange
This is truly a Fender at is best, making this our top pick!
The Super Champ SC112 1×12 extension cabinet features sturdy construction, a Celestion G12P-80 speaker, and some really nice noise-isolated internal circuitry.
In terms of audio quality, this has to be one of the best 1×12 guitar cabinets in this price range. The bass is not at all overpowered, but it is clear and well defined at all volume levels.
Peavey 03611000 1 x 12 Extension Guitar Cabinet
What’s good: 40 W RMS, 16-ohm speakers, extremely durable construction, and a really fine enclosure
Not so good: Stock speakers are not that good
Despite packing a somewhat sub-par 12” stock speaker (Blue Marvel) inside, the overall sound quality and bass response of this cabinet are decent enough for it to be passed off as a budget 1×12 guitar-cabinet.
However, we were really taken by surprise upon inspecting the rest of the parts. There is a really sturdy black metal grill on the front which seems like it can take a bullet and still work, while the rest of the cabinet is encased in premium leather, which has been wrapped around an audiophile-grade MDF body. The entire enclosure is designed like that of a cabinet which should cost twice as much, and the internal circuitry is all well isolated from the rest of the components along with ample shielding to prevent signal distortion.
Just stick a better 12” speaker in there, and this is going to rival cabinets which cost more than twice as much.
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 112
What’s good: Celestion Vintage 60 W speaker, small footprint
Not so good: Bass lacks definition while playing a seven string
With its black leather-covered exteriors and premium metal grill, this cabinet looks and feels really premium despite its sub-300 dollar price tag.
The Celestion Vintage 30 speaker inside this cabinet is one of the best sounding 12” speakers that you can get for a 1×12 guitar cabinet, and it produces really powerful low-end bass, along with super clear low-mid range notes. There is a unique warmth to the sound, and the size is also pretty compact at just 18.9” x 17.7” x 11.2”.
The weight of this speaker is just 27.5 pounds, and the leather handle on the top makes it super easy to carry around- a definite boon for gigging artists who are constantly on the move.
Blackstar HT112OC MkII
What’s good: Blackbird 50 speaker, unique open/closed-back design, rugged construction, 50 watts of power handling
Not so good: Non reported so far
The Blackbird 50 12” speaker inside this cab delivers nice sound, and you can match it with Blackstar HT5 head cos’ the two work like a charm together.
The Blackstar is known to work with a lot of guitars so you won’t have any problems in that department. Higher frequencies are really nice and the mids and lows are full of sound.
The cabinet is pretty light to carry around and it appears very solid. All in all, a very nice cab and I’ll say wort the price.
Yamaha THRC112 150W 1×12″ Cabinet
What’s good: Eminence Legend 1218 speaker, enclosure is lightweight and ultra-portable, 150 W at 8 ohms
Not so good: Bass sounds slightly distorted at higher volumes
The Yamaha THRC 1X12 guitar cabinet is a fine offering priced at nearly the same amount as an HT112OC MkII. Does this cabinet live up to the Yamaha name though?
Well, thanks to the Eminence Legend 1218 12” speaker and a fine built-in amp, it does more than just live up to its name. In fact, this particular cabinet has the most low-midrange treble and clarity of any speaker on this list and its bass is deceptively good.
At lower volumes, the 150 W speakers don’t really show their true colors, despite sounding extremely clear, along with bright highs and warm mids. However, as soon as you bump up the volume, you begin to notice the window-crackling amount of bass that this cabinet can deliver, making it really good for rock and metal.
Orange 1×12 Speaker Cabinet – PPC112C
What’s good: Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, 60 W output with 16-ohm impedance, beefy sound with lots of bass
Not so good: Sound might seem slightly off-balance on upper midrange frequencies, but is resolved with slight tuning
The Celestion G12p-80 12” speaker inside this cabinet is known to be one of the best sounding guitar cabinet speakers in terms of audio clarity, bass reproduction, and treble management.
Any frequency between 40 Hz to 8000 Hz is accurately reproduced by this speaker, and the lows are much deeper than you’ll find on any other medium-range guitar cabinet. Even some 15” cabinets are incapable of outputting as much bass as this Orange, and its mid-range response exceeds that of most 10” cabinets.
This is definitely a sweet deal for the price and is suitable for all styles of music including pop, jazz, blues, country, rock, and punk.
1×12 guitar cabinets – How do you know which one to buy?
Well, here are some parameters for you to focus on while making the purchase:
- The enclosure type and material
- The material used in the speaker cone
- The magnet type
- The design of the voice coil
- Is it an open back, or a closed back speaker?
- Ported or unported?
- Power handling and wattage
So, beginning with the enclosure- always get an open back enclosure if you are practicing with a bunch of other guys and all of you have a single sound output, i.e. the single 12” guitar cabinet. Closed back cabinets will produce a much more focused and controlled sound, especially on the low-ends, while open-backs will have a slightly more wide soundstage, with less distinct low-ends.
The speaker cone material is also of paramount importance, a heavier and less flexible material will result in flatter treble and warmer bass while a lighter material will allow the mids and highs to shine brightly.
Neodymium magnets are the best, while ceramic magnets are the cheapest. Heavier magnets give the speaker extra response and a punchier sound. Wide voice coils are better for low-mid range frequencies, while narrower voice coils are more suited to reproducing treble and highs. Ported cabinets sound warmer and more balanced, but that will also depend on the speaker’s design.
Ported cabinets sound warmer and more balanced, but that will also depend on the speaker’s design. Non-ported cabinets will tend to have a more suppressed, controlled sound signature, and need less power. Power handling and wattage are not the most important, although extra wattage means that your guitar cabinet can be paired up with a bigger amp, and you will have more headroom to work with when you overdrive the amp.