Mike, it took me by surprise as well.
I have made a little progress in the finishing process. I have decided that I am going to tint the speakers. Here is a 4:1 yellow with an 8:1 red mix (using denatured alcohol), this was sprayed with a small spray bottle followed by two wiped on coats of arm r seal.
This is getting close to what I am looking for but still a bit dark. BTW, I tried tinting the shellac, the result was similar but the grain was noticeably less defined, tinting the veneer first followed by shellac looks like the way to go on this project.
I played with my new sprayer today, I believe this is gong to work out well. I practiced on a piece of paperback cherry. I sprayed yellow followed by two applications of red. I believe with a few more practice sessions I will get the mix to something approaching what I am looking for. It appears I will be able to use multiple applications to get to the right shade.
With the sprayer working out, I am re-thinking what to use as a top coat. I was going to use arm r seal, but spraying opens up options . My current spray scedule looks like this: yellow tint followed by red tint , then clear shellac, looking for top coat recommendations.
Here is a pic of the cherry with the tints: