Speaker appearance verses musicality.

Every one of the hi end speakers has a great finish on the outside. Some like a car finish others like fine furniture stains. There are some beautiful speakers out there but at what cost to the quality of sound? To approach the very best attainable sound shouldnt the speakers be covered with acoustic dampning material? Maybe so you could take it off in pieces to tailor your sound. DJ speakers and car subwoofers are covered. One reason maybe it wont show scratches like wood. Has anyone ever tried enveloping their whole speaker except for the drivers? I have a top firing speaker with 3 drivers on top and I cut out some auto acoustic damping material for the top and it smoothed out the sound along with a pair of Grado earphone replacement pads attacthed to my front firing tweeters. I attached them with double sided tape. Looks nice except my front grill wont fit. The top grill fits. Clarity of bells and cymbels was enhanced. Here is my point. Or question. Has anyone wrapped their whole speaker in acoustic carpeting or foam. OK I know it might sound ridiculus. But shouldnt room tuning start with the speakers? How much impact would a dampened speaker have? Ive only tried a little of the way. Anybody done their whole speaker and what results did they get? Not many people would chance ruining their finish or resale price. I guess it would be room dependent on how much you would get out of it. Oh, that tweeter tweek was in Stereophile several months ago. The writer puts foam around his tweeters and he said manufactures are reluctant to do so because of attractiveness. He believed in that tweek. I do know Signet speakers had foam cut out like a star around their tweeters. B&W places their tweeter on top away from the encloser! Mike
Why would you want to mess with a speaker that has already been designed to sound the best it can by the designer at a given price point? Speakers are usually braced internally to protect against standing waves and there effects. The drivers are projecting the sound wave into the room and will not be absorbed by the enclosure.

What you see being done in the auto or marine world has little to do with what you are trying to achieve at home do to the harsh environment found in automobiles and recreational boats. (Yachts and motor homes excluded).

Save your money and energy and buy more music to enjoy.
In the mid '80s, I was using a set of large TDL 4way floorstanding speakers. They baffle had a frame around it like many speakers of that time so that the grill could be inset. I had the same idea as you, based on suggestions in magazines. I carefully applied dense but not too thick acoustic felt around the tweeter, the midrange, and at standing edges of the frame near those drivers.
I also experimented with more, less, different combinations etc. The result in each case was that the blending of the drivers was lost and the sound became disjointed and incoherent.
I think the lesson is that the manufacturer may have considered the issue in the design process. It is still a good idea to try it if it is reversible.
There are speakers that are designed with felt type baffles. Gershman Avante Garde, Ensemble PA-1, and Tannoy Dimension are a few that come to mind, but they were surely voiced with that in mind.
ESP speakers were wrapped with foam. The larger the speaker the more this can affect the sound. Speakers like Duntech, Dunlavy or any large box speaker should be placed as far apart as possible to stop the cabinet itself from becoming a huge reflective surface that affects the quality of the sound.
My guess is that, for the most part, appearance is at least 50% of the buyer's decision. This hobby is not purely about sound quality.
Appearance often trumps performance in most things. In 22 rimfire rifles the maximum velocity is developed in a 19" barrel but most are considerably longer because manufactures learned that the average buyer would select the gun with the longest one. [No cracks about male buyers, Elizabeth].
just be sure you keep the box that the foam came in, your wife will need packing materials when she moves out.

or you could send me the box, my wife mainly hates cables, and those boxes aren't really big enough for most of her things.

seriously, though, i know some speakers are insulated like that internally. green mountain used to put felt (or something like it) around many of their drivers, if i'm not mistaken.

then there are speakers like gallo and vandersteen (ones like the 2c) that take different paths to trying to eliminate resonance...
Glad you brought this up. I've been wondering about the same thing for years. If I ever (doubtful) build my own speakers, I think this is the approach I'll take. I think it would be a lot easier, less expensive and sound better.
Shadorne, "My guess is that, for the most part, appearance is at least 50% of the buyer's decision. This hobby is not purely about sound quality."

It's obviously still very early in the year, but in my opinion, this will win the "Audiogon Understatement Of The Year Award" for 2011.
I'm not concerned with WAF, but an ugly speaker is a problem for me since I don't listen in a dark room.

I don't like speakers that look like a chiminero, a stack of assorted boxes, an alien creature, etc.

I see no reason why a speaker can't look and sound good at the same time, albeit sometimes at a higher price.

Some speakers like the lower priced Vandersteen are not ugly, just not fancy and I could still live with something honest like that (personally prefer more style).
You pay for both appearance/build quality as well as sound quality.

How much of each matters to each individual and how much they are willing to pay for it is a personal decision along with the rest.
01-24-11: Shadorne
"My guess is that, for the most part, appearance is at least 50% of the buyer's decision. This hobby is not purely about sound quality.”

01-24-11: Trelja
"It's obviously still very early in the year, but in my opinion, this will win the "Audiogon Understatement Of The Year Award" for 2011.”

Really? I expected a response to Shadorne’s post, but in the other direction. Wow!
Sonus Faber "GUARNERI" Vs Shindo "604"

Take a look ... and then ... feed them with your favorit track

And after this quick session, ask your self :
How on Earth this ugly washing machine (Shindo) can be the love of my life?

Yes we feel free to admire the beauty in every form, (even on a cable) & especially at the most visible of our components....our speakers.
But at the time that we were going to choose for a thing to live with it on every day basis, it is not our decorative needs that wins at last !
After all the price of admision for a "hi-end" speaker is comparable to an antique object of art of a much higher beauty factor & "pride of ownership" so, no matter how we are lusting over the "Guarneri", it is our hearing that beats it's sexy sight !
Therefore it is my belief that we own to ourself to avoid the spider's web & give a chance to the honest but ugly.
You will never know until you hear it !!!

(I use the Guarneri as an example of beauty so, please do not take my words for granted until you hear it too.)

That's a good comparison!

I'm sure I'd pick the more substantial Shindo's if I could afford them all other things aside, especially with the field coil drivers, and in a suitable larger room.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Ok...I'll say it:

My guess is that, for the most part, sound quality is at best 50% of the buyer's decision. This hobby is not purely about aesthetics.
Some of the worlds best performing speakers do not have a fancy appearance. Magnepans, Vandersteens, plain flat black Merlins, Green Mountains are just a few that come to mind. All capable of amazing performance, but cosmetically bland.

I owned some stunning speakers that pleased the wife visually but never made the music magic. They were sold at a loss to buy the cosmetically bland.

Here is the best analogy, the EX-wife was stunning and gorgeous on the outside, but overloaded easily, spewed distortion, eventually wound up with a bloated midrange and despised the hifi music hobby!

Stick with performance and what's on the inside for true happiness!
DJ speakers and car subwoofers aren't covered with any special acoustic dampening material. it's called carpet. in the case of automobiles. it's meant to match car carpet, in the case of DJ speakers... DJ's move their equipment a lot and carpet works as a good lightweight protection for their gear. it has nothing at all to do with sound quality.