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Musical instrument varnish on the inside of a cabinet?
Musical instrument varnish on the inside of a cabinet?
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Old 2nd April 2012, 12:46 PM   #1
Oscillate is offline Oscillate  United States
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Default Musical instrument varnish on the inside of a cabinet?

At first I was going to post this in another audio forum. Then, I got to thinking
about it and realized that a single driver speaker probably best approximates
a musical instrument ...that and because the folks on this forum seem to favor
using real woods & Baltic birch to construct thier speakers rather than MDF
and other composites of that ilk.

So anyway, if I understand this correctly, the idea behind the choice of cabinet
materials is to construct an acoustic air space as required by the driver or by a
particular design (ex transmission line) and to prevent vibrations and resonance?

But does that air space have to be acoustically inert/dead? What about the timbre?
Has anyone done work with different woods and used musical instrument varnish
or lacquer on the inside of the enclosure ...just to achieve a desirable tone/timbre?

Again, this idea seems to be most at home with wideband single driver enclosures.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 12:58 PM   #2
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I think if you want this varnish to have effect, you got to have Enclosure with thin walls that resonates and vibrates, like this:
Das Saba Cello

big thread about such enclosures:

Last edited by DYNABLASTERTUNERS; 2nd April 2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 02:03 PM   #3
bear is offline bear
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Musical instrument varnish on the inside of a cabinet?
If your enclosure vibrates to any significant extent, then you are introducing out of phase energy that will interact with the output of the speaker itself. That's an interesting idea, but it can not by definition be an accurate portrayal of the input signal. Wood walls can not be made to start and stop in any clean way that is controlled or can be controlled by the speaker's output.

If you like the idea of large surfaces making sound, consider ESL or planar magnetic drivers... of course varnish plays no role there.

Varnishes and shellacs have been applied to speaker cones...

http://www.bearlabs.com -- Btw, I don't actually know anything, FYI -- every once in a while I say something that makes sense... ]
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Old 2nd April 2012, 03:20 PM   #4
benb is offline benb  United States
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If you look inside guitars and violin-family instruments, you'll see the varnish/finish is only on the outside.

A "good sounding" musical instrument body has many resonances spaced over several frequency bands, but it's still a resonant body and these resonances strongly shape the sound.

But this is what you DON'T want in a good quality speaker, where you want any resonances to be damped as much as practical. Good speaker cabinets are thick and don't vibrate (noticeably) from the sound generated, unlike the thin bodies of guitars and violins.
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