which woods would give us the best sound

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Forum topic by clevelandblocks posted 12-09-2014 08:58 PM 1055 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 687 days

12-09-2014 08:58 PM

We make all natural acoustic wood amplifiers for cell phones. Which woods would give us the best sound? Has anyone used wood as an amplifier in this type of way that could give us any advise? Any help would be great.

11 replies so far

View lepelerin's profile


471 posts in 1748 days

#1 posted 12-09-2014 09:14 PM

no idea but the best way to know is to try testing different woods with your own design. Good luck

View mike1950's profile


359 posts in 1221 days

#2 posted 12-09-2014 09:18 PM

Big leaf maple- they use it for Guitars

-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1774 days

#3 posted 12-09-2014 11:08 PM

Hedge, Osage Orange, Bois D’arc or whatever you want to call it is commonly used in duck calls because of it’s superior tonal qualities.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2798 days

#4 posted 12-09-2014 11:29 PM

How something sounds is strictly subjective. The type of sound you’re looking for will influence the choices. Do you want a distinct sound signature or a neutral sound that passes on the original signal with little coloration?

Guitar amplifiers use a multitude of woods from old growth pine to plywood to hardwoods. A lot of acoustic guitars use Sitka spruce tops, with rosewood, mahogany, or maple backs/sides, among other things. The primary woods used in violins are spruce and maple. Many electric bass guitars favor swamp ash. All are looking for a specific signature sound that satisfies a particular purpose. Highend home audio speakers tend to use MDF, dense ply, sonotube, and materials that more acoustically inert, with as little sound of their own as possible, so they can hear the original recording with as little change to it as possible.

“lepelerin” has the right idea with experimentation. Try several….the size, thickness and bracing of the panels all make a difference too, so experiment with that aspect too.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Rob's profile


225 posts in 2409 days

#5 posted 12-10-2014 12:56 AM

Stradivarius violins were made from spruce for the top, willow for the internal blocks and linings, and maple for the back, ribs, and neck. Antonio Stradivari got the wood choices correct.

View TravisH's profile


438 posts in 1358 days

#6 posted 12-10-2014 02:39 AM

This is outside of my range of expertise but I have to ask. Is a cell phone as the primary sound source ever going to give a best sound? Is this more about just making it louder. I don’t think of the phones my wife has had (all the i phone series) and odds and ends prior ever having a good sound.

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#7 posted 12-10-2014 04:20 AM

Rosewood would be worth trying. It’s a good percussion
tonewood. Paudauk is commonly used in tongue
drum tops and may be cheaper than rosewood.

I would not mess with bracing. Just use something thick enough
to not need it. You’ll save labor and have fewer returns.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7727 posts in 1803 days

#8 posted 12-10-2014 05:22 AM

Spruce (stringed instrument tops) and padauk (xylophone keys) are both excellent woods with completely different tonal qualities, those are just two examples. Soft woods will be muddier but warmer, hard woods will be clearer but colder. I mention it to emphasize that you will need to experiment a bit. What I can pass along is second hand—there is a guy selling passive amplifiers who says he tried all sorts of woods and settled on a type of pine (I can’t remember which species) because it was a good combination of warmth and sound. So you might try a couple soft woods and a couple hard woods and see which you like better.


View Planeman40's profile


790 posts in 2184 days

#9 posted 12-11-2014 06:00 PM

Do a Google search on “wood options for musical instrument soundboards”. A while back I found an excellent written article by a supplier of soundboards. It was surprising the number of woods he mentioned. All were softwoods somewhat akin to spruce including cedar, the best being Sitka spruce. Be aware the demand for spruce soundboard wood is such that most of the available Sitka spruce trees of this quality in Alaska have been used up and are becoming rare, meaning very expensive. But there are alternatives! I would think the Russians and Finns would have an ample supply of equivalent Spruce trees. I wonder why they don’t supply the market.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View bobro's profile


308 posts in 733 days

#10 posted 12-11-2014 08:10 PM

A spruce soundboard acts much like a drum head- it is part of creating the sound, not just amplifying it. The wood on a guitar or violin which corresponds to the megaphone-like nature of the item in question here is the wood of the sides and back. So, rosewood, maple, and so on.

Loren’s suggestion of padouk is right on, because it’s hard and reflective like rosewood, so it will be loud, but also has a “warm” resonance when set to resonating, which is something that will definitely happen with the design depicted.

The cleanest, loudest, and least colored sound for this megaphone or horn (strictly speaking, that’s what it is) would probably be a space-age composite material like they use on the rounded backs of Ovation guitars, but obviously this device is as much about aesthetics as sound.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View jdmaher's profile


381 posts in 2002 days

#11 posted 12-11-2014 11:14 PM


Well said! Nice explanation.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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