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Koa vs Koa

By Michael Pelland August 08, 2018

Birthday week!
Since I was a little kid my grandmother spoiled the crap out of me during my Birthday. Elizabeth (Tis) was her name and she taught me many things, including how to cook #menthatcancook. I miss her dearly. One thing (other than her Chicken and Dumplings) that stuck with me, is my Birthday celebration. There is no freekin’ “day” in mine. It is a full week and my wife, Beth… finally figured it out. I get a week, to celebrate my Birthday... all thanks to Grandma E.

Friday is Koa day.
I spent almost 3 full years, waiting to listen to Koa. I wanted to hear how it sounded in the construction of our speakers. Last summer, we did it and I never talked about it much. There had been some interesting times at my start-up company and this became one of  the last things on my mind. However, it is my Birthday week and I get to do my thing and today.... I declare... is Koa day. (Actually, a guy named Gregg called me about Koa and HIS story, sparked this Blog). I have spent considerable time listening to tonewoods and particularly, these beauties.

Wood is Good.
Each one of our tonewoods resonate differently. I have been working with these tonewoods for years and spent considerable time attempting to understand what makes a speaker made of a particular wood, sound different. We don’t use MDF (well, technically we do, as our waste piece for our CNC. It is made from MDF) we don’t use plastic, none of it. We make our speakers the way a musical instrument would be constructed and the different woods, sound…. well, different. We also make all our stuff, by hand, right here in the middle of Wisconsin. All the discussion on Chinese tariffs means nothing to us. It is and has been; all about the music and our use of tonewoods. I am an engineer, which means I am naturally curious (socially challenged, too?) and searching for this answer, consumes me.

Specific Gravity.
Turns out it is super relevant to how a speaker sounds. It is a term us engineers use to determine density. BUT grain – plays a large role too. There is nothing better to understand this, than these two Koa speakers. The straight grain resembles an interesting Mahogany, with dark and light streaks (go ahead and spin the two speakers above and see what I mean) and the appearance of “gold” flakes in the patterns. Almost a golden “ribboning”, It’s beautiful – and this grain patterning, shows up in the tonal properties of the speaker. It sounds like a harder or more dense - Mahogany. Pops on the highs, with a bit of “mud” in the notes, well balanced and soothing to my ear.

The figured Koa is UNREAL looking. If this thing did not play music, people would want to hang around it. It IS the cool-kids table. The figured wood, makes for more interlocking grains and harder or MORE dense. So, she REALLY pops on the highs and pounds out the lows, with a crispness of a ripe apple, or in tonewoods speak…. A Maple speaker, blended with a Black Walnut.

Which is best?
As most who read this Blog know, Mahogany is my personal favorite and my ear prefers the straight grain Koa, but they both sound great. I enjoy listening to Jazz and similar types of music and this version of our Koa tonewood is my favorite. All this said, I am immersed in some studies on vibration of our tonewoods and tirelessly working to increase vibrations.  To all you folks out there that think the speaker cabinet should be neutral, I whole heartedly disagree. It is the vibrations that bring “life” back to your music and one day, you may decide to agree with me. 

Stay Tuned

P


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