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Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Oct 22, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    hi i just want to know that why wood is used to make the speakers ?why
    not plastic?
  2. Wood has higher strength and stiffness to weight ratios than
    plastics do.
  3. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    I suspect it's naturally better damped (less resonant) too.

  4. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    "Plastic" covers a pretty wide range.

    I suspect that it's because for the price, wood delivers good acoustic
    properties for the price. I also suspect that it's because there's a
    bit of voodoo in high-end acoustic design, and wood appeals to the
    liquid-nitrogen-dipped-vacuum-tube crowd more than cruddy old plastic does.

    I also know of many cheaper speaker enclosures that are made of
    pressboard, some small but good-sounding speakers that are made of die
    cast aluminum (re. Bose), and some small but good-sounding speakers with
    labyrinths that are made of plastic (Bose again).


    Tim Wescott
    Wescott Design Services

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  5. Note that you can find many "mini stereos" that have plastic boxes
    for the speakers. And of course, any boombox uses plastic.

    It's not so much the material, as the quality. Cheap wooden speaker
    boxes will rattle and shake, while strong wood boxes won't. Cheap
    plastic, and the same problem, strong plastic less likely. Metal
    can have its own problems, but also done properly make good speakers.

    Apart from anything else, wood is an easy material to work. Plastic
    requires a process that isn't so economically feasible unless you
    are making a lot, the setup costs is too much.

    In the old days, when there was a variety of hobby electronic magazines,
    speaker construction articles were common. All kinds of material were
    used. Cardboard boxes, though they were reinforced and sealed up
    well. Concrete sewer pipes. Ironically, some of those could afford
    to use out of the ordinary things that supplied a nice strong box,
    because unlike commercial endeavors, shipping the heavy materials
    was not an issue, and someone building their own could live with what
    others might consider "ugly".

    The box in itself means nothing. It's there to make sure the sound
    comes out of the front of the speaker (and any port, if there is one),
    rather than from all over. You don't want the box to get in the way
    of the sound (or want the effect to be as limited as possible).

  6. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    Actually, real wood is not such a great material for speaker boxes.
    The preferred material is Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) which
    is a wood composite. It is quite dense and "dead", which is ideal
    because you don't want the box itself to vibrate, only the air inside
    it. (It just happens to be inexpensive as well... one of the very few
    instances where cheaper is better!) I suspect if you look carefully,
    you'll notice that many speakers that look like real wood are really
    wood *veneer* over MDF.

    Plastic is actually not so bad for those tiny little computer or ipod
    speakers, since they are small enough so that it's easy to get a
    fairly rigid plastic structure just by shaping it properly. Panels
    that appear flat on the outside can easily have ribs internally to
    keep them rigid. This same method would undoubtedly work on
    a full-sized enclosure, but the higher forces and lower frequencies
    that we expect from full-sized speakers would mean that the
    reinforcements would be prohibitively large, heavy, and expensive to

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    DAQARTA v3.50
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