Grovemade Wood Speakers and Amp review

Grovemade's meticulously crafted Wood Speakers sound as unique as they look

Grovemade’s Wood Speakers drench your eyes and ears with gorgeous wood and warm, rich sound.
Grovemade’s Wood Speakers drench your eyes and ears with gorgeous wood and warm, rich sound.
Grovemade’s Wood Speakers drench your eyes and ears with gorgeous wood and warm, rich sound.


  • Gorgeous aesthetic
  • Simple Setup
  • Full sound, surprising bass
  • Excellent imaging/nearfield listening


  • Muted highs
  • Expensive

Ken Tomita and his crew of craftsmen at Grovemade don’t sit still. From bamboo iPhone cases to pocket knives and now real wood desk accessories, they’re always pushing to create something beautifully unique. And the perfect compliment to any wood-bedecked desktop was obvious: wood speakers!

The only problem was, nobody at Grovemade had any experience in audio, and as you can see from Grovemade’s product portfolio, the company doesn’t do “off the shelf.” Fortunately for Tomita, industrial designer and speaker maker Joey Roth shares Grovemade’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, and was only too happy to collaborate. The two got together, made a speaker baby, and the Grovemade Wood Speakers & Amp was born.

Available in solid Maple ($500) and Walnut ($600), Grovemade’s new speakers look as interesting as they sound, and the way they’re made is equally fascinating. Here’s what makes the Wood Speakers & Amp special, along with our take on whether you should invest in a pair.

It’s the wood that makes it good

The speakers in this system are hard not to marvel at, and after watching how they are made and understanding how they work, we can say with confidence they truly are a marvel. In a happy confluence of form and function, the reason the speakers look so good is also the reason they sound very good.

The nautilus-looking hole up top is not just decoration, it’s actually the business end of what audio engineers call a back-loaded (or rear-loaded) horn design. This is not a new concept, but you don’t see it very often any more. The idea is to extend bass presence and depth by reinforcing the low frequencies coming from the back of a smaller driver like the 2-inch full range driver at use here. The bass is passed through a long channel built inside the cabinet, and emerges deeper and louder.

The use of a 2-inch full-range driver, rather than a midwoofer-tweeter combination, is also very deliberate. Not only does it keep the speakers smaller, but a full-range driver doesn’t need a crossover, which tends to suck energy out at an easily audible part of the frequency spectrum, creating a sort of dip in the sound. A single point-source of sound also avoids some tricky acoustical problems inherent in speakers with more than one driver. The result — in theory anyway – is a speaker with really good stereo effects and imaging properties.

Finishing off the speakers is a leather-clad strip of stainless steel, which serves as both the speaker’s stand and its grill. On the back of the speakers, you’ll see two high-quality binding posts for connection to the included amplifier.

The Amp portion of this system uses a 25-watt per channel digital amplifier, and is outfitted with only one set of analog RCA inputs. Modified binding posts link to the speakers thanks to included cloth-covered speaker cables. A 3.5 mm to stereo RCA cable is included so the speakers can be hooked up to any number of laptops or PCs, turntables, tablets, phone … anything with an analog output, really.

Oh, and the volume knob? It feels awesome to turn. Grovemade considered aluminum, but ultimately chose to go with stainless steel instead, and that was a very smart move from a touch perspective. The potentiometer the knob controls is also high-quality, offering smooth volume adjustment.

As warm as they look

To be sure, the Wood Speakers & Amp sound unlike any other so-called computer speakers we’ve heard before. Typically, computer speakers are very inexpensive, sound flimsy and tinny up top, and are either anemic in the bass because of their size, or booming due to a cheaply-built separate subwoofer – you get what you pay for. There are some exceptions: Edifier’s E25 Luna Eclipse remain some of the best-sounding computer speakers we’ve reviewed, especially at the price.

The Wood Speakers & Amp sound unlike any other computer speakers we’ve heard before.

On the other end of the spectrum you have professional studio speakers, which are also designed for near-field listening and produce outstanding bass, but they are large and expensive.

The Wood Speakers & Amp by Grovemade fit somewhere in the middle of the price spectrum, very low on the size spectrum, and, especially considering their size, above average on the sound quality spectrum. But it’s the speakers’ sound signature – their sonic character – that really sets them apart.

Unlike their tinny, brash brethren, these are very laid back, “warm” sounding speakers. The bass response has far more punch and depth than any speaker system using two 2-inch drivers has a right to sound. It’s not that faked “one-note” bass, either. The tonality is spot on, with upright bass notes that were strong, resonant, and full of well-defined, woody tone.

The midrange is pleasantly un-colored, yielding vocals that sound authentic and natural. We listened to vocalists varying from Keb’ Mo to Inara George of The Bird and the Bee, and we always felt like we heard the same vocal timbres we got from high-quality headphones and much larger speakers.

Grovemade Walnut Speakers and Amp
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

It was in the treble, though, that we found ourselves wanting for more, and that’s odd because we usually end up having to criticize for being too aggressive in the treble. It’s not that the Wood Speakers lack treble entirely — there’s enough for sibilants to be heard — and there’s still some edge to brass instrument. But where cymbals should shimmer and sizzle, we felt there was a distinct lack of sizzle. It’s the “air” of the sound that we miss a little. But we were surprised to note that the more we listened, the less we missed that aspect of the sound. The Wood Speakers have a rich, luxurious appeal when listened to up close that we found infectious.

And the Wood Speakers really do sound best when you are up close to them, with the speakers as close to ear level as you can get them. That’s what near-field listening is all about: intimacy. And the Wood Speakers pull this off really well, with perfectly contiguous imaging, a surprisingly deep sound stage with instruments sounding both close and far away, and perhaps best of all, pinpoint center imaging that’s so real you will swear that voices are coming out of your computer’s monitor (or whatever else you have between them).

The included Amp is no slouch, either. It delivers plenty of power to the Wood Speakers to support sound that is free of obvious distortion at high volumes. And at low volumes, the speakers perform remarkably well, with plenty of bass support sticking around.


The Wood Speakers & Amp are among the sexiest desktop sound systems we’ve seen yet. Fortunately, they also sound as good as they look, so long as you aren’t into acerbic treble (and, hey, some folks are). Good luck stopping with the speakers, though. If you choose to make the investment for your desk, you’ll want to get the rest of the awesome stuff Grovemade makes to go with them. Regardless, the addition of these speakers to your space will instantly class it up, and most certainly get your friends’ attention.

Product Review

Step aside, Sonos: Riva's Concert is the best smart speaker you can buy

The Riva Concert series speaker is a fantastic, small-profile smart speaker with Alexa integration, truly excellent sound, and great looks, making it the perfect addition to your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

Between sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Streaming services blast past networks for the most scripted TV shows in 2018

For the first time in history, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, produced more original scripted series than broadcast or cable channels, setting a new record for the number of TV shows on the air.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Movies & TV

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘The X-Files’ with the show’s 10 best episodes

The X-Files premiered 25 years ago, so here are the 10 best episodes of the award-winning sci-fi series. From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes from all 11 seasons of the hit series.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films online.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Home Theater

What is Terrarium TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Terrarium TV offered a way to watch movies & TV for free, but now after a troubled existence, the app's developer has shut it down, and offered an ominous message to users on his way out.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.