Are carbon fiber speaker cabinets inherently better than wood or metal ones

There seems to be a pretty big jump in speaker prices when moving to carbon fiber cabinetry when all else is equal (or what seems like equal). Is this because it is able to be molded into more acoustically correct shapes or simple the characteristics of the material?




Why did you say without the negatives of open baffle? I have own many box and Open Baffle speakers over the decades. My much preferred preference is OB, which allows the money spent/wasted on the unnecessary 3 sides to be spent on better drivers and XOs (assuming they are).

@tweak1 - to me the only negative of the open baffle design are their looks. If they are for a dedicated listening room (or man cave/basement) where a physics lab type look is not a big deal they're fine, versus in a den (where my system is) where you don't want them to look out of place or as a curiosity .

I had open baffle speakers for 25 years and liked them. Alons, but only the tweeter and midrange were open - but they were hidden behind a well designed grill so unless you walked up to them you wouldn't know they were open behind the drivers on top behind the front and side grill.

After all that time I had an opportunity to get a closeout bargain on a pair of KEF R500s that are thin piano black rectangles which are a more dynamic and detailed with better bass response. Alons were more relaxed. KEFs are improved tremendously by multi layer platforms I put them on (Symposium acoustics Stealth Segues) that both isolate them from the suspended floor and drain distortion from inside the cabinets. Much better than the spike/disc combos that KEF supplies. I wonder if the new R5 Metas are worth the huge price increase  (over 20% over the R5s which were a 10% bump above the R500s). KEF is now closing out the R5s which are a bargain. Big companies inventory miscalculations are a benefit to audiophiles, versus small ones who can manufacture very closely to demand.

I am still curious to hear from anyone who thinks the unusual potential shapes of carbon fiber speakers' cabinets adds to their SQ with all else being equal, or is it just a matter of the overall design.

@bdp24 I'm with you.  Adding mass/bracing to loudspeakers dramatically helps sound, especially when you're aware of the resonant frequencies you are trying to avoid.  Carbon fiber is for looks, not speaker structure- especially when variable density MDF is available for cheap (and is 95% of the time the actual cabinet with a carbon fiber veneer).  Ideas about rounded/elliptical cabinets or rooms- these are all mistakes to be avoided at all costs.  

@lonemountain: Right you are! To see how NOT to build a speaker enclosure, look inside a Tekton (no offense owners of them. They have their strengths, but a non-resonant enclosure is not one of them).

Another cost-effective way to damp enclosure wall resonances is a product designed by and made for Danny Richie of GR Research: NoRez. It has a  damping layer (with self-stick adhesive for attaching to the wall) topped with a 1" thick layer of open cell foam.. For an even cheaper method, Danny recommends gluing heavy floor tiles onto the interior walls. That works especially well with open baffle loudspeakers, which don't need the foam layer.

Years ago I worked for Jon Dahlquist as a his rep in Chicago.  He developed a series of loudspeakers called DQM that used Magnat drivers inside a revolutionary cabinet (to me anyway) using a double wall of variable density MDF with a layer of Nextel sprayed in between these two sheets.  About as inert as I had experienced up until that point.  Was the late 80s I think??? Well ahead of most, the idea of using the best drivers possible and an inert box.