Wood is an amazing material to work with. It has a life of its own and each piece has a unique history that is communicated through its grain pattern. No matter how you cut a timber or which species you are working with, no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. This may be seen as a drawback to a material used in mass production but, for us, we see this as a unique starting point to design from. Our products are meant to resonate on a very personal level with their owners. Rather than providing multicolor skins that one might clad their product in, the individual nature of the solid wood in our products makes each owners speaker totally unique to them.
Wood feels good in the hand. It has a tactile quality that makes you want to touch it, run your fingers over it. There are not many other materials that inspire this kind of interaction but when sanded and finished well, wood does. We don’t dissuade people from this in fact we highlight the natural feeling of our walnut by finishing it in hand applied oil. This penetrating finish seals the wood without covering up the texture of the wood. Trust me, when someone picks up a PWS they cannot put it down. They will inspect it, tell us how cool it looks and then cradle the product in one hand and stroke the cabinet with their other. Without fail this is how it goes down.
Wood speakers sound great. As a material, wood has a resonant quality that cannot be matched by plastics or composites. Where as plastics are hard and acoustically reflective wood is relatively soft and has a surface quality that helps attenuate high frequency sound when used as an acoustical chamber. This is what contributes to the warmth that people speak of the when describing the sound of wood speakers and headphones.
We focus on materiality because, while our speakers sound great, the “stuff” of our products makes them valuable to our customers in a way that no other brand can claim. Our customers want to touch and hold our products. They don’t want to put them down. Ask yourself, when was the last time you owned an audio product that couldn’t put down?
We don’t do this to lay claim to an "artisanal" movement nor are we looking to a bygone era when things were more “authentic”. Rather, we focus on these things because we believe they help to bring people closer to their music. Making products that our customers respond to on a physical levels makes our products more valuable to them and worth the money they have spent. This also makes is less likely that you will find Grain Audio speakers cluttering a landfill down the road. Designing our products this way is not retro, it is a completely modern and responsible position to take as a company.
Chris Weir, vp of design