What's up with the 'Piano' gloss????

Forgive me if I'm just totally ignorant as to the inner workings of style. But why in the world has this super high gloss finish come to symbolize higher quality? I'm a wood worker, furniture builder, and a man who enjoys the joys of higher fidelity and I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would want some crazy, super-shiny, impossible to keep finish in their listening rooms, much less their home. Am I alone? Please say it ain't so. That is all.
I own piano black speakers. Love the finish...a classic that goes with any decor. PITA to keep clean, but everything has its price.
Hey cast my vote for piano gloss as well!! My Piega P10's are beautiful to look at and reallly not that much of a PITA to keep clean and free of dust and fingerprints.

I wouldn't pay the $2k upcharge for the privelege of buying my speakers with the piano gloss, but when buying used it was no problem.

IMO, they are gorgeous to look at, but as my daddy used to say: "said the man who kissed the cow, everybody to his own taste"!
Some people just have bad taste. Me, I love piano black ;)
So far you're alone. No doubt the sheen of beautiful, well finished wood is wonderful, but the gloss black has its own appeal. I still remember my old PSB Stratus minis fondly. Yes - PITA to keep up.

I have ML Ascent i's with the cheesy crinkle finish, and a pair here a year ago had gloss cabinets - Ooooooooowwwwwwwww.
I love my Piano gloss Andra 2's !
My Wilson Benesch Actll's are beautiful and great WAF with the Carbon Fibre sides, Cherrywood tops and fronts.

However, I love 'Piano' Black and will be tops on my list when I get hankering to change speakers.The PITA won't be an issue.
Sorry, I too have them and love the finish, and it has a very high WAF. (Especially since she knows to never to touch, (for cleaning purposes) any of my equipment. That is just one less thing for her to dust or clean!!)

I imagine that Hhdinc is feeling a bit like Burgess Meredeth in that old Twilight Zone episode. :-)
it goes great with my velvet painting of elvis.
As a woodworker you must realize the surface must be PERFECT with a gloss finish. Any waves or ripples will be accentuated by the shiny finish. Just look at restored cars. You won't see many that have mirror smooth finish.
Easier to cover up defects with veneer or pebble texture paint finish.
Kurt_ tank....Thanks for reminding me of Grandpa Gustafson in Grumpy Old Men. Burgess Meredith was great in that role.
I'm putting a piano black finish on a wood compenent case right now (I have primer dust on myself as I type). Cde is absolutely right. I'm not even spraying color yet. I've been sanding and priming for days. The smoother you get the finish the more "large scale" ripples, waves, or curves you are able to see. After I get the primer smooth and straight I'm hoping the color will be no problem!
Seems the piano gloss would go best with a contemporary decor, but I can't picture it working as well with antique or craftsman style furnishings. Probably why most manufacturers offer options.
Piano Gloss Black is a timeless classic...sort of like a black Tuxedo!
Hhdinc - I did a little bit of woodworking in my younger days, and I agree with you, that a rich wood finish is the way to go. My favorite speaker finish that I've seen was on a pair of Dynaudio 1.3SE monitors in Birdseye Maple. I sold them to upgrade, and now have higher quality Dynaudio's, albeit in a somewhat less attractive Rosewood finish. I've owned several black subwoofers before, and did not care for how they showed the dust.

I have traditional tastes... all black (speakers) strikes me as being more of an eclectic / modern taste.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that" (Seinfield reference)
I agree, people today just do not know the difference between different types of wood much less formica laminates. I have read ads that say walnut or cherry wood when really it is the stain color not the wood. Many Klipsch speakers are made with Birch ply and stained oak, cherry or walnut. I have a dead beat seller right now who put up a pair of speakers and listed them as cherry but they are walnut. As to black laminate, if people want to call a formica counter top high quality well I guess a VW is a Porsche.
I have a pair of Verity Audio Fidelio's. I saw and demoed a pair in high gloss black-----then I saw a pair in the makore wood finish which is a big $$$$ upgrade. They are to die for in the makore finish. I guess black is good if you like the modern look, but I could not pass on that knock out wood high gloss finish that Verity does. To each his or her own--it's really about the sound they reproduce-----------
I'm about to buy an unfinished plinth and want to do it in piano gloss black. Anybody have tips for me?
It is decor friendly????
I think speakers look great with a piano gloss finish.
However, I prefer my pianos' to have a nice wood veneer, like a a Quilted Big Leaf Maple.

As stated above; black is a color that is easiest to integrate into your average household. Growing up, I always associated gloss black with something expensive or of high quality. While that is certainly not a golden rule, I don't believe I am part of the minority in that respect.

When done right, piano gloss can look fantastic and compliment many rooms well - adding a touch of 'class' or maturity. Naturally, it is an absolute pain in the rear to keep clean. Finger prints, Dust, small marks - oh my!

While I tend to favor natural wood tones; I am unashamed to admit that I enjoy piano gloss!
Jab, I haven't seen too many speakers covered in formica. I think you mean vinyl wrap.
I had no idea that such a piddly observation would generate so much response. Thanks for the replies - Seems I'm basically alone. That's alright, I'm still listening to 78's too (through my 'pod, mind you). I'll stick with the good wood and the semi-gloss laquer for now. Cheers - hhdinc
How do you keep the high gloss finish from showing scratches from normal dusting and cleaning? Fine dust is abrasive and quickly leaves marks on the finish.
Maybe this is why they offer different finishes? The one that stumps me is the maple.

07-31-07: Don_s
How do you keep the high gloss finish from showing scratches from normal dusting and cleaning? Fine dust is abrasive and quickly leaves marks on the finish.

That's a problem. My speakers are new, so I have not dusted yet, but I know scratching will be a problem.

I have two ideas. First, vacuum rather than dust. Second, use an auto detailing spray like Mequire's Showtime Auto Detailer. Dry dusting is a definite no-no.
I too was/am amazed at how many have chimed in on this.My speakers are my first ever in piano gloss. I love their looks. I use the swiffer duster and then a micro fiber cloth---so far no marks on my Sophia 2's.
To each his own, but I like "Piano gloss" only on a piano. On most anything else, I associate high-gloss black with rent-to-own furniture. Jaybo's velvet Elvis comment was dead-on.

My preference is a fairly tight-grained wood veneer (maple, walnut, etc), finished with nothing more than stain and paste wax.
I knew I should have left this thread alone.
Our reference standard finish (Talon Loudspeakers) is piano gloss black. It is beautiful in my opinion and it is what sells the most--that's why it's become the standard (we do offer other custom finishes). As to keeping it looking perfect, there's a wonderful automotive product--Novus. Works well on my VPI acrylic turntable base too.
If I recall correctly, piano black came into vogue during the reign of Napoleon III in the 19th century, when everything had to become black, from furniture to old gilded candlesticks. . . and of course pianos. Furniture was discarded, candlestick got eventually scraped to reveal their original gilding, but those black pianos. . . were passed along reverentially from generation to generation in well-to-do households until. . . the North American babyboomer generation started to become financially comfortable and fell in love with the slightly funereal beauty of gleaming black pianos and with similarly attired gleaming black Italian furniture, expressly created just for them.
Expanding on Rives post, and my previous post, I think that "Piano Gloss" is very popular and probably has a higher universal "WAF" than other exotic woods or finishes.

Personally, I love exotic woods and finishes, but there is usually an expensive upgrade charge, so affordability might be a factor. And since most of us change gear rather frequently :-) exotic finishes that you or I might love could be a turn-off for a potential buyer.
I'm with you Hhdink. With all of the gorgeous woods available I can't understand the allure of the black gloss. Wood is natural, organic and beautiful if executed correctly. Black gloss is (IMHO) bulky looking and without character.

I have some beautiful wood furniture in my living room that I never tire of.
I concur Hman,looks good till it doesnt,then what?A regular guy will never get out blems,an experienced painter/bodyguy is challenged there IMHO.But as usual,one mans floor is another mans ceiling,good post,Bob
Novus...Could you please let us know which Novus product you use. I noticed they were several different products within their line. Thanks for your help.
i have owned two pair of piano black speakers. both were bought used so i didn't have any options. when i bought my used von schweikert dB99 speakers, there was also another pair finished in macassar ebony for about $5000 more. as much as i LOVE that ebony finish, i couldn't justify an additional $5k just for a different finish. had i been buying new, then i would've gone with ebony all the way. but i bought used and as such was at the mercy of what the seller and my wallet could agree on.
I use the #1 on the speakers to keep them clean and pretty much dust free and have had no need to use #2 or 3. I have used #1,2, and 3 on my VPI turntable, and it took a mediocre looking acrylic base and made it really incredible. #2 would probably work on the speakers if you had fine scratches, but I would try it on the back plate or some area not very visible first. I have also used a few automotive products including McGuire's top grade car wax.
Rives...Thank you for the help.
Car Wax on your 'tables? sounds like the latest Tweak -lol
I loved the hi gloss of my Piega p10's. Matched with several different rooms i put them in. I actually like the Burl walnut of the Avalons best but the Piano black was nice, too.

While I think that a Piano black gloss finish is beautiful in and of itself, my preference is also for natural woods.

That said, my AAD PMM1s (PMM1 = Piano Mini Monitor) and Zu Tones also in (custom) Piano Black look stunning. The main reason for picking this finish up was due to the decor of the room where they're situated. As many have stated above, the colour is easy to integrate into most decor - especially modern decor.

Great thread as I have piano finish speakers coming and also just took delivery of an MBL cdp which has quite a bit of high gloss acrylic surface on the top plate.

Rives - any special cloth you use or will microfiber do?

Do you feel like the Novus products will work the same for the high gloss acrylic on the MBL? Reading on them a bit it seems as if they should, just wondered as I've only seen the VPI in pics and the acrylic doesn't look high gloss, but I may have just seen poor pictures...
I'm using a lint free find cotton cloth. The Novus is designed for acrylic. It does a great job on my VPI, which is a high gloss.
Thanks Rives - I also heard back from MBL today. They recommend a product like Novus or Mequires with a microfibre detail cloth....