Aluminium, kevlar, paper and plastic are all common materials used to make speaker cones. JVC is the only manufacturer we've ever come across to use actual wood.
JVC's thinking isn't completely off the wall. The company believes using wood - and birch in particular - improves frequency response and helps to produce a more natural sound.
And just to ensure the cones don't crack when pressed in the machine, the wood is first soaked in sake – Japanese rice wine. Tom Waits' may have claimed 'The piano has been drinking', but likewise these speakers have had a tipple of their own before reaching your living room.
The 'WD10s are two-way floorstanding loudspeakers: each contains two, 10.5cm wood cone bass drivers and a 2cm wood dome tweeter. Considering their height, they're remarkably thin and slender. They're single-wired, and come supplied with their own – spikeless – bass plates.
Slothful sonic characterSpin a tune, and the first thing that grabs your attention is the sense of scale – or rather, the lack of it. Considering their size, the 'WD10s are very sonically restrained.
More after the break
As a result, Lady Ga-Ga's Poker Face lacks sufficient weight, solidity and slam. Music like this requires great impact, but the JVCs don't have the ability to drive the music along.
The lack of bass weight also means that the treble sticks out and sounds bright.
Test them with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and the JVCs' slow, slothful character hinders the music: they don't convey the urgency it demands.
Detail levels, to be fair, aren't substandard, but they can't compete with the best at this price level.
Wooden speaker cones is a fascinating idea. In this case it's better in theory than practise.