Why are there so many wooden speakers?

I have noticed a problem within the speaker industry. 99% of speakers that come onto the marketplace are wooden, i.e MDF.
This is true of old speakers and new speakers. This is true of Dynaudio, B&W, Elac, Kef, revel, PMC, Focal, ATC the list goes on and on. This is a longstanding problem that has been deceiving audiophiles for decades and it requires a solution. 

The problem with a wooden box is that no matter what crossover or drivers you use, it will still sound like a wooden box. 
There is a limit to the sound you can get out of a wooden box so it is not possible to improve the sound just by using different drivers. Despite this, every year or two, the aforementioned companies put new speakers on the market claiming that they sound even better than what came before. In conclusion, we are being misled. 

I have no problem with MDF boxes per se. MDF is a good material to use. But if you want to make an even better speaker then you obviously need to use a better material. You cant use the same material and say you have made a better speaker. Thats false. 

Let's take the B&W 600 series for example. This is a series that has been going on for decades. 

Here is the latest speaker from their current series


There is no mention of what wood is used but I'm pretty sure its MDF. All they talk about is their continuum woofer and dome tweeter that goes up to 38khz. No mention of even improvements to the crossover let alone the cabinet.

I believe that this has gone on for long enough and audiophiles deserve better treatment. I don't know if a class action lawsuit is the answer but something needs to change.

Showing 4 responses by jon_5912

@timlub, have you ever considered using tiles to enforce a box?  I'm just a hobbyist who likes tinkering and I wondered if including a ceramic or porcelain tile in the wall would make a big improvement without costing much since they're mass produced and available for low cost per unit.  Say 3 layers of 1/4" mdf where there's a big square cut out of the middle layer that is filled with a  super stiff ceramic floor tile.  It'd add some time to construction but not much to materials and I'd think it eliminate almost all box flex in the low frequencies.  
I'm guessing most manufacturers don't know that other materials exist.  They don't know about aluminum, concrete, resins, etc. so they haven't considered using them.  If only you'd tell them they could do some tests and decide whether they think these other materials are better.  
If anyone was really curious about vibration control it'd be easy to add rigidity to a box.  Go to Home Depot, but a pack of ceramic or porcelain floor tiles, and attach them to the flat spots on the speakers.  Some double sided carpet tape might be enough to test with as long as the tile is completely flat.  Those tiles are extremely stiff and would definitely take any flex out of the box when attached adequately.  You could also embed metal in the MDF the way Merlin did to reduce box flex.  

I've been working on a concrete baffle kit for a while, I posted about it a couple of weeks ago.  I've got it to the point where there's something to show but it's not done yet, too many other higher priorities.

@cakyol - I think the cost of changing from MDF to something else is most likely of less benefit than making other changes so companies focus on improving drivers, etc.  If you can make a 5% performance improvement by spending $40 more on drivers and can make a 2% performance improvement by spending $40 more on a box, it's not a hard decision.  It's not that hard to understand.  Cost is a factor for almost everyone.  Sane buyers want the best return on their money.  Is it sane to demand that manufacturers spend money inefficiently?  (no)