Why REL Acoustics Stopped Offering Subwoofers in a Wood Finish

Often this is from long-term REL owners back 20, 25 years ago. We used to offer several different wood finishes. So we get asked all the time. Why don’t you make wood anymore? The answer is really simple. We could get away with something in the late nineties that before and since has never been possible.

I don’t know why, but for 10, 12 years, cherry was the wood the world over. That was the best arable would finish from about 1992 to probably 2005. And that was great. And there was a certain latitude within cherry. It could be a light, almost pinkish cherry. It could be a little darker. But everybody’s sort of forgave and forgotten if it was off just a little bit in terms of hue and intensity, that was fine.

It’s been a riot ever since. There is no world consensus on what kinds or, or types of words make sense. So for example, in Scandinavia they tend to run towards much cooler, whiter woods and white, not a great surprise. You get down into Southern Europe, Italy, Spain, you start getting some things like smoked oak really interesting a rich complicated look. That’s a tiny subset of humanity that is doing that even within those countries. So, we can’t do it. People go, yeah, but I own a pair of speakers and they’re Rosewood. Surely Rosewood is something that has been seen as a luxury wood for hundreds of years. It has and the only problem is that there is really no working definition of Rosewood.

There are 20 major genus of Rosewood and they run the entire gamut from almost like a pink stained maple, very light, all the way to Santos Palisander and that doesn’t even take into account the way that different speaker manufacturers actually tint and color their role. Don’t believe me, go look up Bowers and Wilkins Rosewood and put it right next to Monitor Audio’s Rosewood, completely different tribes, completely different, or ostensibly originating from the same culture, right?

They’re both British companies, but completely different. So we can’t be in a position where we’re being asked to make something that somebody has an idea. You have an idea of what Rosewood is and it’s fabricated based on your own experience of your speakers in that room. We’re delivering something that is a perfectly wonderful Rosewood that would clash completely with your idea of it.

So that’s one of the reasons that we’ve run into that situation where we just can’t get into that business anymore.

July 12, 2021 - Posted in: Sound Insights