Maple: A Tonal Expression

Maple: A Tonal Expression

Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.  

Princeton Audio

Don’t get us wrong; we love the looks of the Site:1! And we think you will too…and your family and your friends. At a recent party of music lovers, the Site:1 drew in many listeners because of its style and good looks. But it’s all about the music, and the beauty of the music is in your ears…what you hear.

The quality of a speaker is primarily a function of the design of the enclosure, the capabilities of the driver, and an electronic “path” that doesn’t add or subtract from the producer's intent. Our last message spoke to the shape of our enclosure - the triangle – as illustrative of the importance of this aspect. And the electronics that drive this speaker are at the heart of our intellectual property. But Luthiers have known for hundreds of years that different species of wood have different tonal qualities, and we wanted you also to share in this aspect of Craft Audio.

Why is old growth spruce revered for the sound board of the violin family? The sound board is the wood on the front face of the instrument, right beneath the strings. The body of the instrument captures some of the sonic energy, and resonates it to the listener with an entire complement of overtones, nuance, and volume. Spruce has a combination of hard winter and softer summer growth rings which, combined with its relative light weight, creates the high sound velocity that efficiently transmits the audio energy between the string and the body of the instrument. 


Interestingly, Maple, one of our tonewood offerings, is the classic match of spruce for the sides and back of the instrument body. Its strength and weight introduce brightness, while the spruce brings resonance; a time-tested combination.

Other species have also been used as instrumental tonewoods with great success, notably rosewood, mahogany, and cedar. Each has its own qualities, and sometimes its drawbacks.

We’ve worked hard to make sure that all our products don’t artificially color the music. But to the discerning ear, the qualities of each of our tonewoods have a subtle impact on the sound you’ll hear, allowing you to choose an experience based not just on the look you desire.

We’ll start with Maple, the heaviest of our tonewoods. You may be familiar with its use as flooring for basketball courts and bowling alleys. Why is it used there? Because of its strength. Our woodworking team knows this well: Maple is beautiful to work with as it machines very well, and produces crisp and accurate edges…and it can make your equipment work a little harder too! It also finishes beautifully. It has very small pores, enabling a beautiful finish without excessive use of fillers. If you want a custom finish, Maple serves well because of its neutral color.

Maple’s higher density produces a brighter, prominent sound.  This benefit includes the bass and treble which coupled with its excellent separation results in a strong, crisp audio experience coveted by many listeners today. Some listeners describe it as less “mellow” than other tonewoods.

With these resonant properties, maple is used in a wide range of music instruments.  Whether in the backs and sides of premium violins or as the traditional go-to for the necks of guitars made by the world’s finest, its ability to highlight and amplify full ranges of sound ensure that the music is produced in a true form with minimal diminishing in treble and bass.

  In terms of a Site:1, what you get is a tight and crisp sound that captures the entirety of the music it plays.  Its wide range of responses work fluidly to create a beautiful brightness that reflect its clean, linear personality.  For those who appreciate the highest highs and lowest lows, there is no better tonewood option.