Omigod!! I know. I get a headache thinking about matching colors. Wood is sooooo tricky.
Perhaps your dealer can recommend an interior designer or a color consultant. Don't overlook the Feng Shui implications.
And astrology should always be consulted.
It's so hard to know if this maple mood is for real or just a passing fancy. What if 2 years from now you're just all teak or oak or cypress?
Get a manicure and a facial and think it over some more. You just have to relax in order to choose confidently.
Have you thought about emailing Oprah?
If you can't decide, maple is an excellent choice. Because the light colour is neutral, it goes with everything colourwise. Stylewise, it looks better with modern or transitional furnishings. It can look out of place with antique style furnishings that have a richer, deeper wood colour. The bird's eye is maple particularly striking. High WAF if that is a consideration for you.
I have cherry speakers. My rack, however, is rosewood. The two look absolutely horrible together.
Looking good is important if you have your rig in the living room and a significant other who must also be happy. Not all audiophiles keep their rigs in damp, dark basements where they can listen in solitude with nothing to disturb them except the whirring of the propellors on their beanies.
Light colors on floorstanders make them conspicuous - not a good idea. Dark colours are much more popular if you ever need to sell it. Dark colors will match more things that light colors.
Macrojack: I laughed on AudioGon for the first time in two years because of your post. This is almost like having Slappy back!
Shadorne - I'm trying to convince myself that your opening statement is not true but I can't... I really like the light color but for exactly the reasons you stated (conspicuous and resale value plus it's more money) I'm thinking you're right...
I would not get light colors. When I listen to speakers
the brighter colors can be distracting and annoying
especially if the sun or a bright light shines on it;
there could be glare, too.
Darker wood is always my preference and better for resale,
I confess to caring about visuals, certainly including speaker finish. My speakers are in my living room, so like it or not, they are part of the furniture in my main living space.
Like Notec, I find birdseye maple appealing, but I agree with the general sentiment here that it is much too light to blend well into many rooms.
If you are dealing with a small manufacturer, one fun possibility would be to see if they would let you supply your own veneer. Certainly Wood (http://www.certainlywood.com/) has an incredible selection, and they are very helpful. My guess is that for most speaker sizes, the added cost would not be that substantial, depending, of course, on the veneers selected. After consulting with Oprah, I settled on the Figured Walnut, which is interesting without being obtrusive, and I have been quite pleased. John
Shadorne is correct IMO regarding maple's visual characteristics. In most domestic interiors, maple provides a higher contrast with it's environment. Thus, it looks more conspicuous. I disagree as to it categorically being "not a good idea." ( An obvious statement if you look at my system :-). These sorts of judgements are subjective, otherwise interior design wouldn't offer such disparate examples of taste as one sees going into any good furniture gallery. I totally agree with Markphd, in modern and transitional settings, maple can work very well. I do think you have to be of a mindset that you want to celebrate the physical presence of your equipment if you choose maple, it's not a "blend with the background" kind of wood.
Maple works best on speakers with low impedance/sensitivity and of course solid state amps.
If you're using tubes, a dark color is always the choice.
I like speakers with Cryo treated grill cloth.
Okay, so should your Mpingo discs match your speaker, or contrast? Do they still make those things?
Maple will look fantastic in most rooms. Only if you have dark carpets, walls and other funiture will it be an issue. We've got several maple pieces and my Vienna Acoustics are maple, which looks great in a bright, airy space. The grill is brown.
Black.. Always a popular choice, always re-sells quickest cause its universal... Always goes with mostly anything you match up to it.. Yep its a speaker, are you really going to hide it anyway? Especially with the black grills sticking out, but then again you can go with Maple and white or brown grills if possible..Fact is audio gear is audio gear in the end, and black will always do it in most cases, and go with any other wood or colors on your rack or in the room you choose.
I use to try and get a little wild myself with colors, woods, and go for something different, but even then every time returned to black again, and equipment in black or silver will not matter so you can always mix and match.
But of course makes no difference if its yours in the end, and you want something else, than go for your gut...
REALLY good speakers disappear so it doesnt really matter:)