Depends on the individual speaker .... Full stop.
For a sizeable chunk of the large "more affordable" price strata speakers , a range of "No" to ... "Meh?" To " a Questionable maybe" , to ..... and in some unique cases w/o generalization to all = " yeah.... OK.... A bit maybe , I guess = yes". In any case it's not going to be any seismic difference.
However, on a case-by-case basis, for the high-end speaker gear it is different. Again.... = it depends but with a greater perfirmance differential sensitivity probably brought on by the superior resolution capabilities of the $$$ matched system in lock-step with the selection of speaker.
Just as a sample guideline, MY $12k+ speakers are neither recommended to have their grills off, and in actual listening experiences, there is no discernible change nor improvement.
I have heard others where at least the PERCEPTION of a slight improvement was observed.
It may have been more either the esoteric effects - warts and all - of tweaking reflection point damping in the listening room environment; or an alternate repositioning of the speaker placement within that room .... Dunno for sure.
My grills are never on, I keep them in storage.
Some tweeters benefit from foam on the grill to modify the dispersion. In those cases you will see something attached to the back of the grill in from nt of the tweeter. In that case leave it on. Otherwise it's just personal preference.
"Seasoned audiophiles take the speaker grills off for serious listening"
And where did you get that information? There are many speakers that come with non removable grills including the Harbeths that I own, as a matter of fact the designer warns against removal. All speakers are different and one size does not fit all!
My grills are part of the actual driver and cannot be removed. They are Accuton drivers and are perforated metal. Until I had these, I always removed the grills.
They don't seem to have any effect on the sound, but it's hard to tell since I can't remove them.
All the best,
My consensus is that those grills have one purpose, dust protectors. Anything in front of the speakers regardless of how thin hampers the sound. Common sense.
I remove them when I fire the system up.
Listen to them on, listen to them off. There is your answer.
I just bought Nola KO's and they are off.
Grills are always off for serious listening. I know that some speaker manufacturers state that their speakers are designed to have the grills on, but I have yet to listen to a speaker that wasn't improved if the grills could be removed.
I listened to my Esoteric MG-10s both ways and decided to keep them off while listening. I put them on when not in use to protect the drivers.
Let them puppies breath...lmbo
Reread my comment and that was the first thing went thru my mind *grinz
Whenever possible I prefer speaker grills on.
This is because I find speaker drivers distracting to look at, especially the "look at me" type so often favored in high end audio. Seeing the drivers makes me too aware of what is actually making the sounds - I see the tweeter and think "those are making the high frequencies." Whereas once the drivers are covered in grills, the technology is hidden and I appreciate the imaging more. This is especially true when I turn down the lights and often can't even see the front face of speakers with grills on.
No speaker grill is perfectly transparent sound-wise of course, though sometimes I can find that an advantage with a slightly tipped up sounding speaker.
That said, some speakers just sound obviously better with the grills off (or don't even offer grills) so I'm "stuck" listening to them that way.
I know this is at odds with the feelings of many (most?) audiophiles who seem to operate on the concept of "I want to see ever bit of technology I paid for right in front of me when I turn my system on."
I'm of the cleaner, subtle school preferring the technology to disappear during the experience.
That said I DO love the look of tube amps and a great looking speaker with a rich finish.
I have never owned a speaker in the last 20 years that did not sound better with the grills off...
Do manufacturers "voice" the speaker with the grill on? I own Magnepans , 3.7's , and obviously the "grills" can be removed. Would be one ugly speaker I think if they weren't covered!..And they still sound great. Plus the ribbon tweeters would be in great danger unprotected.
My speakers don't have them.
If you have more than two speakers in the room the grills should also be removed from the other speakers, even if they're not hooked up. I'm not hot doggin' ya.
When the grills can come off, then off they go. I like looking at those round things juggling around......
One of the reasons I like my Silverline Preludes is the fact that the mid-bass drivers are finished with a plastic ring covering the screws, and the tweeter has a little metal screen (dispersion and dent prevention). The covers remain off mostly (with the following exception), although they lend a formal look when on (parties). All unscreened metal tweeters (or any tweeter) can be poked easily and I don't want to be around the Magico owner when a yuppie guest pokes her manicured finger into the beryllium...no no no.