What's your favorite speaker finish?


There are so many beautiful wood veneer speaker finishes that manufactures offer in there premium lines....What are some of your favorites? Cherry, Mahogany, Birdseye Maple, Yew, Rosewood, Walnut etc?
jla
Anyone that knows me on this site knows I love the Black Lacquer...Mainly because I have most every speaker in the Mirage lineup...However, at one point I did have a pair of Vienna Beethovens in Cherry... they were very nice looking...excellent finish.. sound left something to be desired...
Joe
Custom Audio LLC
I have had a couple speakers in light Cherry, I would say they have been/are my favorites.
I used to get walnut to match my furniture. After I moved, I got cherry to match the house's cabinets and shelves. More recently, as I've spent more on speakers, I've let my wife pick the finish to help enhance WAF, and we've gotten Morado on Thiel 3.6s and gloss black on WATT/Puppy 6s.
Black.

If the speaker visually disappears, it will seem to psychologically sonically disappear.
The cheaper one
Funny you should ask that, since I have had a dedicated listening room for over twenty years, I would not mind the best sounding speakers available in some el cheapo Nextel or flat black industrial crap-type finish, I think. I wonder how much of a speaker's price goes towards the finish? Right now I have the "rosenut" finish on my Paradigms. I don't think that there is such a thing as a "rosenut" tree, but with the aid of stain, anything is possible. My former Thiels were light oak, simply owing to the fact that it was the only pair locally available. Given a choice, morado from Thiel is nice.
I prefer piano black lacquer,despise the ordinary black painted finish like Dunlavy does. Can't understand why anybody would want that finish. Have Brazilian RoseWood currently thought it too dark at first its looking better every day. Cherry is nice also.
My favorite is Rosenut from paradigm or Dark cherry from B&W.
Birdseye Maple! I love that stuff! I want some Vandersteen 5's slathered in Birdseye. The Ferrari colors on the Wilsons are cool too but you need the right decor for big red or yellow speakers.
Wow....wasn't expecting so many responses. The reason I created this thread has to do with the fact that I like many of the finishes available. I am waiting to receive a pair of ProAc's in Yew which should be interesting. According to many Yew along with Ebony are supposedly some of the most beautiful veneers in the ProAc line. Maybe that is why there is a several hundred dollar premium for them. It was a tough call though, the dark red mahaogany, light cherry as well as birdeyes maple were all very tempting.
Piano black lacquer.Light cherry would do nicely too.
That's easy....... Rosewood, Mahogany, and Cherry (IN THAT ORDER!!!!! LOL!!!!!).

--Charles--
Definitely some type of maple: figured (curly), Birds-eye, or maybe quilted (though havent' seen that on a speaker - too expensive/rare). I have Aerial 5s in curly maple- very nice, like all Aerial veneers. I had Aliante Pininfarina One Zetas with solid cherry sides and currently have Aerial 6s in Cherry (veneer), which is also quite nice though I still prefer maple. Have Martin Logan CLS in Walnut, which is rare for those as most were black or light oak, it's a dark wood but nice with a tight grain structure. When I get better (and ambitious) at woodworking I will build a set of frames for them from solid figured maple I think. Have a custom solid-maple rack from a cabinet maker, with birds-eye veneered shelves. (www.bjtanner.com is the rack maker - Zoethecus styling but better quality).

For a look at many types of veneering, including many unique figured types (burls, crotches, quilted, birdseyes), see: www.certainlywood.com. Check out the quilted maple -quite unique! Cocobolo is a nice wood too though I haven't seen it used on speakers, but the Teres turntables use it for bases sometimes.

Personally black (of any variety) is my *last* choice of finish on speakers. So many components are already black, who needs more of that?

-Ed
Definitely some type of maple: figured (curly), Birds-eye, or maybe quilted (though havent' seen that on a speaker - too expensive/rare). I have Aerial 5s in curly maple- very nice, like all Aerial veneers. I had Aliante Pininfarina One Zetas with solid cherry sides and currently have Aerial 6s in Cherry (veneer), which is also quite nice though I still prefer maple. Have Martin Logan CLS in Walnut, which is rare for those as most were black or light oak, it's a dark wood but nice with a tight grain structure. When I get better (and ambitious) at woodworking I will build a set of frames for them from solid figured maple I think. Have a custom solid-maple rack from a cabinet maker, with birds-eye veneered shelves. (www.bjtanner.com is the rack maker - Zoethecus styling but better quality).

For a look at many types of veneering, including many unique figured types (burls, crotches, quilted, birdseyes), see: www.certainlywood.com. Check out the quilted maple -quite unique! Cocobolo is a nice wood too though I haven't seen it used on speakers, but the Teres turntables use it for bases sometimes.

Personally black (of any variety) is my *last* choice of finish on speakers. So many components are already black, who needs more of that?

-Ed
I try to avoid bird poop maple, curly fries, and rosebud, but did enjoy Citizen Kane. Mahogany is my favorite but a better sounding and cheaper set of black speakers would be OK too.
Thanks for the great website Ed. Glad to see I am not the only one who would chose black as a last choice. Although on the right speaker (Wilson) black lacquer is beautiful. Flat black or black ash is another story.....
"I wonder how much of a speaker's price goes towards the finish?" Quite a bit actually, or certainly can be. I think Vandersteen addresses that on his site somewhere (or did years ago) and why he likes the "sock" look so he can put money into the sound of the unit. Thiel's CS.5 were an additional $400 (maybe $350, still alot) for the top four finishes on a base price $1,450 pr of speakers with the standard 4 finishes.

Personnally, the quality of unit; design, drivers, etc.; is first for me--the finish is kind of secondary (I don't want good looking but crappy sounding speakers--they're not hard to find). It also depends on the design. I would never want a pair of original Nautilus in Mappa Burl or any wood.

Here's some Beauties posted yesterday:
http://www.madisound.com/cgi-bin/discuss.cgi?read=217210
Merlin's red lacquer (ruby heart red?), and I generally like rosewood and stained cherry.
Fingered Bubinga.
Quad has a new line of dynamic speakers with high grade piano finish standard, starting at only about $700. So it can be done. They are made in China (explains a lot) but they are getting nothing but glowing reviews so they might be good. The Totem 1s I had were really attractive in mahogany and the fine cherry finish I have seen on Vienna speakers is very nice. I love fancy grain wood but prefer finer grain wood finish on speakers.
The Tiger's eye finish on the B&W Signature 800 is my favorite to look at. Second is the Santos Rosewood finish on my Vienna Acoustic Beethoven's.
Piano Black Lacquor.
I'm a ProAc owner, and it seems many people who purchase these speakers favor English yew. My Tablette 50 Signatures are ebony and my Response 1SCs are rosewood.

However, I've been contemplating building the ProAc 2.5 DIY project and if I do I'll most likely be using a very "non-manufacturer" finish such as padauk veneer which is a beautiful orange with undulating waves and streaks of red. I've also thought of trying bubinga, teak, Hawaiian Koa and chakte viga.
Black is my favorite and if anybody has ever owned a custom painted black Harley, you understand the affinity. Every single piece I own is black and the wood accents/racks are light. (oak, maple) Of course, having VR4 Gen III's helps contribute to the overall blackness & if they were all wood I'd prefer the curly maple. I think it would add minimum 1k to the cost, if not more.
My Audio Notes Makore finish in piano gloss is very fine
black-ash.
There are many nice finishes. If you want the best psychological soundstage, match the speaker to the wall or the wall to the speaker as close as possible. Of course, you could always turn out all the lights or close your eyes if you really must have a "look at me " speaker. I painted the wall behind my speaker’s dark plum. My speakers are all black and they disappear against the wall.

Stewart
Lipstick Red.
I chose the natural cherry finish for my B&W Nautilus 802's, 4 B&W 805's (rear surround)and my REL Stentor because, combined with the black laquer finish of my Pioneer Elite Pro 720 with the B&W HTM1 on top - the result was absolutely stunning. The natural cherry finish comes to life against the backdrop of the Elite.
A good grade of Brazilian rosewood is wonderful. Alas, what one mostly sees is far too dark because the low-contrast wood is far more plentiful and thus costs the builder less.

Bubinga is beautiful and becoming more popular but most builders and cabinet makers go "Huh?" when you mention it.

Brazilian kingwood is stunning and resembles rosewood as does tulipwood, also from Brazil.

Perhaps most beautiful of all to me is witch's hair mahogany but it is nearly impossible to find at any price.

That being said, I've paid for custom wood furniture but would never pay extra for custom finishes on my speakers. I know I'll keep my furniture forever.

will
Natalie: Black Piano Liquor or Liqueur.... oh......lacquer!!! Rats I was hoping for a new
type finish for speakers in which you listen
and feel good at the same time!!!!
I share with other's views that a choice is dependent upon the woodwork in the room and other furniture that the speakers will share space with. I am not partial to black lacquer, myself. Too shiny for my taste, they show dust and finger prints too easily, and I have found that some of the finishes can be surface scratched very easily unless one is VERY careful.

My grandfather was a furniture builder and taught me how to work with veneers many moons ago. The most beautiful speakers I ever owned were a pair of the old Larger Advents that I custom-covered in Brazilian Rosewood BURL veneer. After applying the veneer, all surface were then hand rubbed with danish oil and powdered pumice. Incredible. I ultimately gave these to a girlfriend in college whom I thought I would marry. Wrong! Wish I still had those cases. Hate to think what it would cost to buy such large pieces of that burl wood today!

Off the shelf, I like the build quality and wood selection of many of the Sonus Fabers. One of these days, when I am retired from HAVING to work, I will build my own cases. Always thought this would be a fun hobby/sideline.
Martin Logan's deep, rich, honey-toned solid walnut frames on their CLS.
I'm a big fan of Thiel speakers. I currently have a set of Thiel 3.5s in laquered Teak that I think are quite good looking. And I'm planning to move up to a pair of Thiel 3.6s in a month or so in either the Rosewood or Morado cabinets.
Hey Rmsr - I thought I was the only one with Walnut CLS! ;-) Agreed they look great. Definitely their best wood choice IMHO. I asked them about Maple frames but they wouldnt' make them. Ah well.

-Ed