Are you looking for a portable cabinet for home/studio recordings that can double up as a reliable speaker for small or medium gigs? We round up the best 1×12 guitar cabinets in the 2020 market with detailed reviews to help you make the right choice.
In our hunger for power, we often overlook how convenient and handy the 1×12 speaker cabinet can be. While 4×12 cabinets can provide copious power, they tend to be bulky, heavy and too loud for certain rooms or environments. It can be hard to justify the cost, space and weight of a bigger cabinet and their ensuing overkill.
The nifty 1×12 cabinets are single speaker cabinets that house 12 inch speakers – a configuration that is growing in popularity with the rise of home recording studios and small venue gigs. Unlike the 12” speakers that are ideal for brighter tones of jazz or blues, the 12” offers more power for rock, punk, metal etc. They also have a very different sonic footprint and outrival their 10” counterparts in 40 Hz to 5k Hz range.
These are important features to look for before you make your choice:
- Speaker Cone – Size and Material
- Back Design – Open Back or Closed Back
- Enclosure material and voice coil design
- Power (RMS) and wattage
Open back units have a wider output with more openness, better representation in the highs, and relatively less clarity. The closed back units, on the other hand, are more focused (especially the lows) but have a relatively cluttered projection.
The speakers don’t need too much consideration because most major brands have a tie-up with Celestion or Eminence – both of whom are well established in this domain. The type/model of the speaker will influence the power and tone – so make sure you are comfortable with what you settle for. In any case, you can always replace a speaker with an aftermarket option if you want to experiment.
And finally, the power (RMS) will determine how your cabinet pairs up with amp heads. The bigger amp heads need extra wattage and corresponding impedance from cabinets to provide extra headroom for overdrive tones. They can be pushed hard but that is not a primary consideration for our list as we are concerned about good units for small venues and home recording. Most of the 1×12 guitar cabinets are designed to match (pair up with) an equivalent amp head – like Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18 + TM112.
We have shortlisted some of the best 1×12 guitar cabinets on the market in 2020 to help you find one that suits your needs.
Table of Contents
#1 Orange PPC112C
- Speaker: 1×12” Celestion Vintage 30
- Color: Orange
- Power Handling (RMS): 60 watts
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Weight: 32.5 lbs
The Indonesia-made Power Projection Cabinet (PPC) Series is Orange Amplifiers bestselling unit in the category. It steadily ranks among the most popular choices across e-commerce platforms with glowing customer reviews and testimonials.
Construction & Specs: The cabinet instantly grabs your attention with the customary Orange tinted Baltic Birch plywood and a tolex grill where the Orange logo is proudly displayed. The tolex front is actually a hardwearing woven paper grill cloth. The overall construction and ‘skid-feet’ design are faultless. Despite the low weight, the amp feels durable and sturdy. The cabinet uses the well-renowned 12” Celestion V30, a crucial selling point for the product. The cabinet dimension are 550mm x 460mm x 290mm (W x H x D).
Sound/Tone: It is hard to go wrong with a Celestion V30, the go-to speaker for many great guitarists like Slash and Peter Frampton. The PPC112C is loud and beefy with a great presence in the mids. It has become famous for its capacity to handle lows as well, if not better than, 15” speakers. The clarity and bass reproduction are exemplary for the price and the highs are handled with identical finesse. If you are looking for a loud and reliable unit that can offer a thick and well-defined tone for your guitar, your search ends here.
Weight & Compatibility: At 32.5 lbs., it is lighter than most of the competitors on this list and a very portable unit. It would be best to pair the PPC112C with an Orange amp head like the Micro Dark 20w or the Micro Terror 20w but it can also handle a wide variety of non-Orange amp heads with ease.
Value: The brand recognition, well-balanced sound, reviews of thousands of customers, and the Celestion V30 make the Orange PPC112 a force to reckon with in this product category.
- Versatile tone with great balance
- Best bass reproduction in category
- Popular choice among online customers
- High value for money
#2 Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112
- Speaker: 1×12” Celestion GP12P-80
- Color: Black Nylon or Lacquered Tweed
- Power Handling: 80 watts
- Impedance: 8 ohms
- Weight: 41 lbs
Fender has always been a formidable name in the guitar-amp manufacturing space. The Hot Rode Deluxe 112 offers the iconic Fender tone in a loud, reliable and easy to use 1×12 cabinet at a highly affordable price.
Construction and Specs: The Cabinet is available in a black nylon or lacquered tweed finish at different price points. They both look gorgeous but the tweed has an enticing vintage styling and retro-appeal to it. The heavy-duty construction contributes to the weight. The Hot Rod Deluxe112 is also fitted with the Celestion G12P-80 speaker and offers a noise-isolated internal circuitry. The cabinet dimensions are 597 x476 x 266 mm (W x H x D).
Sound: From its inception on through to date, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has remained a favorite for blues and jazz players. This is the quintessential Fender sound in a premium 1×12 package. The projection is stout and the cabinet delivers a smooth high-end with rich and warm lows. The 12” Celestion speaker, as always, does not disappoint. It retains a distinct sonic finesse across the spectrum of mellow/sweet tones to heavier overdriven playing. The HRD112 will be a good choice for studio recordings and small/medium gigs, especially if you dig the Fender vibe.
Weight/Compatibility: This is one of the heaviest cabs on our list and weighs 41 lbs (18.59 kg). This cabinet pairs particularly well a matched Hot Rod Deluxe head but can be used with a wide variety of non-Fender options.
Value: The Deluxe offers tone, power, two color options, and ships with a speaker cable and fitted cover. At $299, it is an incredulous price tag for an iconic sound. Moreover, if you are willing to spend $50 more, you can opt for the George Benson version.
- Classic Fender vibe & tone
- Elegant styling and two finish options
- Good choice for rock, blues and jazz guitarists
- Good performance at affordable price
#3 Blackstar Venue Series HTV 112 MKII
- Speaker: 1×12” Celestion Loudspeaker
- Color: Black
- Power Rating (RMS): 80 watts
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Weight: 38.80lbs (17.6 kg)
Blackstar is a well-known brand in the valve amp domain and offers several musician-friendly and intuitive amplifiers. Among these, the HT Venue Series is gaining ground among its rivals as a competent cabinet that can deliver rich tones with decisive projection.
Construction & Specs: The vintage styled all-black HTV 112 MKII has a silver grill and a slanted open/closed back design. There is a removable back panel, which can be detached to turn it into an open-back speaker. The construction is rock-solid and the amp has a top-rate finish. The extension cabinet dimensions are 621mm x 530mm x 294mm (W x H x D).
Sound/Tone: Blackstar amps have a certain oomph that has led to a cult following among guitarists across the world. The Celestion Loudspeaker really delivers a cutting-edge sound that is hard to fault. It has an unmistakably rich response to overdrive and great projection because of the open back design.
Weight/Compatibility: At 38.80lbs (17.6 kg) it falls on the heavier side of amp cabinets on this list but this also represents the rugged construction of the unit. It is inherently voiced to perform well with any amp head from the HT Venue MKII Series.
Value: The HTV 112 MKII has first-rate sound, and solid construction. The top specs, tonal finesse and recording options make it a worthy contender for the amp head with the best value in the 1×12 category.
- Celestion Loudspeaker
- Heavy but rock-solid unit
- Rich bass response
- Great Value for Money
#4 Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister – TM112 Cab
- Speaker: 12” Celestion Vintage 30
- Material/Color: Black
- Power Handling: 60 watts
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Weight: 29 lbs (12.5 kg)
This German juggernaut has been a big name in the guitar amp domain since the 80s. The TM112 (and the Tubemeister Series in general) is a great way to access that exceptional tone sculpting designs without breaking the bank.
Construction: This is a sealed back cabinet made from dovetail birch ply (no MDF) with a complete seal and sturdy construction. The all-black housing is finished with a black vent and fitted with a 12” Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. The cabinet dimensions are 480 x 450 x 285 mm (W x H x D), and it considerably narrower than the Marshall or Orange cabs. .
Sounds: Like the Orange PPC112, the Celestion V30 raises up to the occasion once again to deliver an impressive bass response with the TM112 cabinet. If you are looking for plush modern overdrive tones, this is the cabinet to beat. The tones have bounteous warmth, rich mid-articulation and the end-result cuts through the mix like a knife through butter. Furthermore, you can push it really hard with a good all-tube or valve hybrid amp head like the Tubemeister 36. Even extended range guitars sound great with this unit.
Weight/Compatibility: At 29 lbs (12.5 kg), this is the lightest cabinet on our list. The cabinet is very portable and easy to carry around. The TM112 is a 60-watt soul mate to any good tube amp head and it pairs splendidly with the Tubemeister 18 or Grandmeister 36.
Value: The TM112 falls on the more expensive side of our list but it is loaded with great tone and features for this price point.While hard rock and metal players are bound to love the big sound, many others will find the Tubemesiter’s punch to satisfy their needs at small/medium venues.
- Very light and portable
- Celestion V30 Speaker
- Impressive bass response
- Pairs well with tube and hybrid amps
- Good for small gigs and home recordings
#5 Vox Black Cab Series – BC112-150
- Speaker: Celestion G12H-150 Redback
- Material/Color: Black
- Power Handling: 150w
- Impedance: 4 Ohms
- Weight: 38.90 lbs (17.64 kg)
As Vox puts it, the Black Cab series was designed for simplicity, versatility and uncompromising sound quality. Did they deliver? Yes, yes and yes!
Construction/Specs: The BC112 is a semi-open-back guitar cabinet with a straight front panel and a carry handle on the top. The Celestion g12H-150 Redback speaker has 4 Ohms impedance and 150w of input handling capacity. The cabinet dimensions are 520mm x 445mm x 260mm (W x H x D).
Sound: Vox brings clarity and loudness to a completely new level with this cabinet. Regardless of what genre you play, it is really hard to not fall in love with the UK-made Celestion Red speaker. The 12” speaker delivers a tight low-end with excellent power handling. The sonic profile has a commanding projection, rich mids and great overall balance.
Weight/Compatibility: At 38.90 lbs (17.46 kg), this tasty-sounding cabinet is among the heavier guitar cabinets on this list. Despite that, it is portable and easy to lug around without any discomfort. The BC112 has an affinity for its Vox Nutube Counterpart – the MVX150H or MVX150C1. It also sounds beautiful with the Vox AC series and the Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister or Tubemeister heads.
Value: The BC112-150 delivers premium sound quality and stage-ready tone. The Celestion Red and the commendable structural design make it a great option for guitarists looking for a versatile cabinet that can cover the entire spectrum of vintage to modern sounds.
- Good Projection
- Very lightweight and durable
- Sturdy Construction
- Higher price but good value for money
#6 PEAVEY 112-C 1×12 Tweed w/ Celestion Vintage 30
- Speaker: 12” Celestion Vintage 30
- Color: Tweed
- Power Handling: 60w
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Weight: 37.70 lbs (17kg)
The Peavey Club Series creeps up on the competitors with the formidable 112-C Tweed Cabinet that offers a truly classic tone and high-quality performance for a respectable price.
Construction: The vintage aesthetic is elegant and the old-skool Tweed Tolex finish is faultless. The cabinet houses a 12” Celestion V30 inside the 18mm durable plywood (no MDF or particle wood) construction. Construction wise, this cabinet really reflects Peavey’s stellar QA and attention to detail. The top handle for carrying it, the rubber feet under the amp, the convertible open/close back panel and the metal corners are welcome additions to the unit. The cabinet dimensions are 635mm x 533mm x 356mm (W x H x D).
Tone: The Peavey is a great all-round amp that will serve you well in small-to-medium gigs. The clean tones have a rich midrange with warmth in the lows and some tamed, but sweet, highs. The overdriven tones have a slightly compressed dynamic response, which fits heavier styles nicely. The unmistakable Celestion Vintage 30 tone is warm and articulate with great bass response. It seems like a thoughtful match to the retro styling and adds a lot of value to the cabinet. It is a good choice for rock and blues guitarists and can find favor among heavy metal lovers.
Weight/Compatibility: It weights a hefty 37.7lbs (17 kg) and ranks on the higher side among selections in our list. It can be paired with any head but it pairs distinctly well with a Peavey Classic 20 or 6505 mini head.
Value: PEAVEY 112-C offers superior tone and build quality for the price-tag. If you aren’t obsessed with a certain brand name on your cabinet, this 112-C can go head to head with any other unit in this segment and come out with flying colors.
- Solid Construction
- Vintage Aesthetic / Tweed Finish
- Versatile tone with rich bass response
- High value for money
#7 Marshall SV112
- Speaker: 12” Celestion V-Type Speaker
- Color: Black
- Power Handling: 70w
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Weight: 27.1 lbs (12.25 kg)
The Marshall amps have been revered throughout the past 50 years. They have been the definitive sound of rock ‘n’ roll music since the 60s.
Construction: The cabinet is made from durable tolex covered plywood. The sophisticated design and gold lining make the SV112 an absolute treat to look at. The top quality construction, design and finish live up to what one would expect from a highly renowned brand like Marshall. The cabinet dimensions are 500mm x 480 mm x 245 mm (W x H x D).
Tone: The British-made Cabinet combined with a British-made Celestion V-type speaker yields a…British tone! The sonic footprint of an all valve brit-tone is iconic and immediately recognizable. The SV112 is inspired by the classic 1959SLP sound that can be heard on numerous iconic records. The tones are smooth and the overdrive sounds refined with lots of crunch and sufficient headroom. The midrange growl is glorious and cuts through the mix with lots of brightness. The Marshall SV112 feels like an abridged version of the highly-coveted SLP tone at a very affordable price. What more can you ask for? Well, if you can spare the extra $100, you can pre-order the swanky Limited Edition SV112NB in Navy Levant.
Weight/Compatibility: The Marshall Sv112 is ultra-light for this segment and very portable. It also earns the distinction of being the lightest cabinet on our listThis unit was built to match the Marshall Studio Vintage 20 watt head.
Value: If you see a Marshall inscribed on any cabinet or amp, you don’t really need to second guess the tone or quality. That being said, the SV112 is nearly double the price of most other selections in this list. If the price tag does not bother you, you get what you pay for with the pristine tone, top-shelf construction and first-rate articulation.
- Pristine tone & articulation
- Sophisticated design & aesthetics
- Inspired by the 1959SLP
- Expensive but offers unmatched performance
A Final Word:
A 1×12 cabinet is a perfect option for any guitarist who wants to pair a low-powered amp head with a compact speaker. They have enough tone to hold fort in the studio, and will be sufficient for a power-packed live performance in a small or medium-sized venue.
The online market is flooded with dozens of offerings from many big and small brand names. We have taken into consideration the build quality, the project, reliability and frequency response as we compiled our list of the best 1×12 guitar cabinets. We hope our list will help narrow your choices and help you find the ideal companion for your guitar and amp head. As always – Happy Hunting!