Oooh this one always opens a Pandora's Squeezebox. (hey that's a great band name!) Seriously though, wet and dry is a matter of taste.
You should ask yourself... "Self? What am I going to attempt to sound like on this accordion?" If you like that old-timey Sydney Brown sound, go wet young man, and mount an old flat mic on the outside. If you want a sound like Richard LeBouef, get a wet one and an external gooseneck mic. If you want a sound like Geno Delafose, again -- get a wet box and stick an internal mic inside. If you want that pure Cajun box sound, go dry.
The majority of Cajun box players lean towards a dry tuning. It's more-or-less the standard. BUT, consider this. You're thinking of buying machine made reeds. If one of them goes south on dry tuned box, you're gonna wish you'd gotten a wet tuned one. And since you aren't living "right next door to Texas" getting any reed repairs done might not be that easy.
That's my 5 cents wet,
R!ck (wet around the ears)
great band name
It does open up a box of sorts, this wet / dry thing. But there's more.
Consider Dry as first "C" box (if you can).
If you wind up getting less than a hand made it will be seemingly wet/tinny and ringy.
I say dry, only because you are at another crossroad.
If you don't know what you want, pickig from the two variations, I would encourage you to learn Traditional (w/ dry tuned). A good emersion and lengthy study, while getting aquainted with this contraption doing the Traditional French music, will always allow you to flirt with the Zydeco later on. Everything you will do as Traditional, will be the solid foundation for that stuff you can do on the Zydeco Boom Boom (sorry for that)side as well.
In my opinion.
Rick mentioned 5 cents. Don't let that confuse you.
Down the line when sound becomes appreciated and more a part of your core, you can have the best of both with tunning an accordion (having a builder do it)so that you have a semi wet tuned box... in this case Rick mentions 5 cents on the wet side. This happens to be my fav. as well. It somewhat emulates that old German Sterling sound that so many wish they could get hold of in fine working order (dont'cha wish ?) .
Electronics and Mics are things that you can deal with way later on, when things fall into place and you are ready to flap those gig wings. For now, accoustic playing is a peach with no need to plug up to any amplified pa or amp and hit it like Cajun Meatloaf, bat out you know what.
Now then... get those Kids a little cheep HERO accordion. They work for kids and Nonc's just fine.
My six yr. old Grand Daughter has one and it makes Pa Pa smile when she plays it... When I play that Hero it's a differant story; Construction workers,Kids, Ice cream trucks and Taco wagons magically appear and it winds up costing me!
I have both wet and dry tune accordions. I have a C that has a slightly wet tunning and a D that is heavily wet. One D box that is dry. I like them all. If you want me to I could send you a sound clip of a wet and dry accordion so that you can hear the difference. Just send me a request in my email and I will shoot one your way.
Wet means a fatter sound, slower vibrations ( think of a wide toothed comb being strummed ).. Dry tuning is faster and closer ( think of a fine toothed comb being strummed ).
Wet is where you hear a larger difference in tuning between the two or more reeds..and the dry tuning is almost unison tuning..( sounding all like the same reed )..
Wet tuning is slow gargle.. Dry is fast gargle..
Metaphors aren't accurate..but the idea is there..
Wet means the two primary reeds are tuned farther apart in pitch. When you add the two, the ear hears the resultant pitch as an addition of the two sine waves. The difference in the pitch gives you a slight higher pitch signal that rides on the main note. This gives an effect known as tremolo, or almost a vibrato tone. It really is very pleasing to the ear IMHO. It does not seem to be popular among tradtional Cajun accordionists however.
I am working with my first LA handmade which is very dry. I started out with an Ariette which was very wet in comparison. While a vastly inferior instrument, the Ariette does have a very pleasing sound.
'Wet' is that characteristic musette sound in french piano accordion melodies.
Think of the sound track to the original 'Sabrina' with Bogart and you have it...
When you hear it you will understand IMMEDIATELY. Don't sweat it!