Best 8 Inch Guitar Speakers [Buyer's Guide + Reviews 2020]
Posted in Recording & Audio Equipment | Last Updated on May 1, 2020
When it comes to practicing at home you won't need to play as loud as possible. So using a 4x12 speaker cabinet is often unreasonable. There are several types of smaller speakers that provide high-quality sound at a much lower volume. Today we’re going to talk about 8-inch speakers. They are cheaper than their 10-inch counterparts and provide better sound than 6-inch speakers. But unfortunately, their model range is way shorter than the range of 12-inch speakers.
But, have no worries, we’ve spent a lot of hours in research and testing compiling a list with reviews of the top products on the market.
CELESTION Eight 15 8 ohm
The first brand you’ll hear when it comes to guitar speakers is of course Celestion. Their 12-inch Vintage 30 has become a standard speaker for players in many genres. But now we’re talking about his little brother, the Celestion Eight 15. It comes in 8-ohm or 4-ohm versions. If you’re not practicing in ultra-high gain sound, it’s a perfect choice for you. It has an almost flat frequency response in its frequency range between 100 Hz and 5 kHz with peaks at 1200 Hz and 2 kHz. The resonance frequency is 120 Hz. The exact shape of its FR:
If you’re playing on the clean sound or crunch, the Eight 15 gives you a balanced sound. Not so bright and not so fat. Also, this speaker can be a good starting point to your journey into sound. With almost flat frequency response the Eight 15 can serve as a good reference for your future tone.
Eminence Patriot 820H 8"
If you’re playing style is aggressive, take a look at the Eminence Patriot 820H. It’s a lightweight 20 Watt 4-ohm speaker with ceramic magnet. It has slightly cut mid-range with punchy lows and sharp highs. Its frequency range lies between 80 and 4600 Hz with resonance at 144 Hz. The Patriot is not as bright as the Eight 15, but is way punchier on crunch and less muddy at mid and high gain.
If you’re a rock or metal guitarist, the Patriot 820H won’t let your sound turn into mud. If you play on clean or crunch, it also gives you a very clear sound with lots of highs.
It's an almost perfect choice for a jazz or blues player. But the Jensen Mod 8-20 is also good at other genres. It’s smooth, chuggy and fat. The dominance of lows makes it not very suitable for many styles of metal, but if you try, the result may be very interesting. Also, it has a very distinct mid-cut. The other good thing is that the Mod 8-20 is available in 8-ohm and 4-ohm versions, so you can get the needed impedance for your amp.
This may not be the most versatile speaker, but if you prefer the smooth tone and not afraid of experiments, this can improve your sound and get you some inspiration.
Warehouse Guitar Speakers G8C 8" - Runner-up
Like any other company in our list, the Warehouse Guitar Speakers doesn’t have many 8-inch models in their model range. The only two are the WGS G8C and the G8A. The G8C is the affordable one from WGS. It has a smooth sound core with sharp highs. Don’t be afraid that your overdriven tone can turn into the mud; every note will be distinct with a punchy attack. The clean tone is warm and rich. Even though the core sound is smooth, the overall tone is brighter than the tone of Eminence Patriot 820. This makes the WGS G8C one of the most versatile speakers in our list.
Jensen - (C8R8)
This is the speaker with the brightest sound in our list. The Jensen Vintage C8R combines low-mid cut with treble boost and gets crystal clear tone on the clean channel of your amp. This also makes this speaker one of the best choices for an aggressive hi-gain sound. The other one is his AlNiCo-based counterpart, the P8R.
The overall tone of this speaker makes it something in between the Jensen Vintage P8R and the Jensen Mod (which stands for “modern”) 8-20. Tight and clear, the C8R will make your practice in heavy genres more enjoyable and get you the inspiration. The C8R is available in 8-ohm (the C8R8) and 4-ohm (the C8R4) versions.
Jensen - (P8R8)
The AlNiCo-based Jensen Vintage P8R is less tight and aggressive than his ceramic-based counterpart, but it provides a warmer tone and smooth overdrive. The main difference lies in high frequencies. The P8R has a treble cut at 8 kHz, but frequencies between 2 and 5 kHz are slightly boosted. Also, boosting at 1 kHz provides less tight sound.
At low frequencies, the P8R is identical to the C8R. The P8R is available in 8-ohm (the P8R8) and in 4-ohm (the P8R4) versions, so you can get the speaker that will match your amp’s output impedance.
G8A AlNiCo - (Honorable mention)
This is the most expensive speaker in our list. The Warehouse Guitar Speakers G8A is the eight-inch speaker at its maximum. Crystal clear, bright and warm, it gives you all of the AlNiCo-based speaker’s advantages at once. Every note is distinct even at the high gain sound. This may not be your choice if you prefer the smooth sound. But on the other hand, this is the most 8-inch speaker versatile speaker you can find.
The Buyer’s Guide
The first thing to know is that the 8-inch speakers are mostly suitable for practicing at low volume. They are cheaper, lighter and smaller than the most popular speakers, the 12-inches. But they also need an amplifier with low output power. For example, five out of six speakers from the list above are 20 Watt speakers. So they should not be used with the high output amplifier without an attenuator.
Also, you should check the impedance of the amp and the speaker. Using the 4-ohm speaker with an 8-ohm amplifier without an additional load box will damage your amp.
Next, you’ll get to know the sound of the speaker. Of course, you can look at is frequency response, but many people without special education would not understand anything from it. So if your combo amp supports the connection of an external speaker cabinet you can connect it to the cabinet equipped with the desired speaker and just listen to the sound.
The price also matters. The low-end speakers at most times are way worse than mid-range or high-end. But also the very expensive gear may not be better than cheaper ones. So before you spend money for an expensive speaker you have to listen to it and compare it with all the counterparts from your list.
If you don’t know exactly which type of sound you want to achieve in the future, take a look at speakers with mostly flat frequency responses, such as the Celestion Eight-15. Using this type of speaker as a reference you will know what you want – a mid-cut, a treble boost, or maybe overall smoother or brighter tone. Don’t forget to use the EQ section of your amp, it can dramatically change the whole tone and get you closer or farther from your desired tone.
Modern vs Vintage
Also, there’s a difference between the vintage style speakers and the modern style speakers. The vintage style speakers provide speaker distortion at lower volumes and their overall tone is considered to be warmer than the tone of modern style speakers. On the other hand, modern style speakers give you the possibility to hear only the amplifier’s distortion.
Let’s take a look at the material of the speaker’s magnet. There are two main types of magnets - the AlNiCo and the ceramic magnets. The ceramic magnets demagnetize easier and do not introduce compression and their tone is considered to be cleaner. But there is no significant difference in the tone.
The overall tone is produced by every part of the speaker’s construction and it’s not that easy to say how much the magnet affects the tone of this particular speaker.
Remember that these speakers mostly aren’t suitable for live concerts. But they are still loud enough to help you successfully take part in a jam session or a rehearsal. Also, if you prefer to record your guitar with a microphone they can provide you the desired tone with loud enough signal. And they still have a good tone on a relatively low volume.
So you can easily practice at home. But at the lowest possible volume, any speaker won’t get you its whole tone. You should find the lowest volume when the speaker gets its whole tone on your own or check its specs.
Handle it with care
Remember that though it’s just a speaker it’s still an electronic component. Keep it away from strong magnets and electric fields. Don’t let it get wet. Prevent overheating, this can cause serious problems and critically damage your gear.
Remember, the main part of the speaker is the magnet and at a certain temperature, it will lose its magnetic properties. Do not change the polarity; connect the plus wire to the plus contact. If you’re not familiar with the wiring process, look up some guides. The wiring process is not very complicated.
There are many great options on our list, that is why we are confident that one of them will certainly be your best choice. Happy Playing!