Speaker grills on or off?


Which sound do you prefer from your speakers - with grill on or off?
50jess
I prefer them off provided they are designed to be removed of course (I have some speakers with "socks" that don't easily come off and they are ugly underneath).

That said, I always verify they aren't too brite with them removed.
My main speakers are a pair of Vandy 5, I prefer them grill on. I also have a pair of Focal CMS 50 in my study and I prefer them grill off.
I think it depends on the design(er) of the speaker. I know that some are made to have the grilles on. Try it and see which you prefer.
Sennheiser 600 headphones are much better without their grills and without that foam stuff.
In the living room I left them on in deference to my now ex wife, but in the man cave basement listening room, they were off.
it's almost identical to a woman weather you want her clothes on or off.
It depends on the speaker. I leave them on if there's too much high frequency energy. My keepers all are used with grills off.
I actually think mine sound better with them off. There's more energy and clarity on the high end. Not a huge amount, but noticable. But, that said, it's very rare that I actually bother to remove them. They're magnetized, and very literally could not be easier to remove and/or replace. Let this be a testament to my lazyness.
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When listening, grilles off. When not playing, grilles on.

I don't know if there really is a difference, but just in case the grilles arent absolutely acoustically transparent, I keep them off when listening seriously.
On. No huge difference either way.
Agree that it depends on the speaker. My bookshelves sound better off, more dynamic. In main system, floorstanders are noticeably more cohesive with grills on.
I personally don't like to stare into a big black speaker covers, I like seeing the woofers and the beautiful wood veneer. Soundwise I don't hear much difference.
Nobody owns a cat or two around here? Grills on.
i own macaw who likes shreading speaker grills.
Off, off, always off. I'm told this often leads to a divorce but hey, it leads to better sound.
A macaw that attacks speakers? You need to trade it in for a Norwegian Blue parrot.
no difference for me, although mfr says they are designed to play with them on. at best, I think with grills on, you keep dust and other particulates from settling on the components and damaging sunlight out too. (I am a little ocd about keeping things nice and clean.)

my Samoyed loves to sleep smack in front of the speakers with my music playing
I have never owned a speaker that I could hear a difference one way or the other. I had Harbeth's and the manufacturer recommended they be left on so I did. The wood on my current speakers (Daedalus) is so darn pretty I sometimes take off the grills just to admire the view but more often than not I leave on the grills and they sound just as wonderful. I think this is another one of those things that audiophiles can get twitchy about for no good reason.
My son was born during my first few years of more serious interest in audio. He's ten now. I have never taken the chance of using speakers with the grills off.
Definitely off - if you ask any musician, speakers sound closer to musical instruments with off for sure.
My paradigm studio's (v.5) all sounded more cohesive with better imaging with the grills on. I think they were designed so that the grills helped with dispersion and less diffraction.

Can't really tell with my kef's. They may sound more crisp, slightly better details with the grills off but it could just be in my head too.

Both my kef and my paradigms looked equally good with grills on or off but because my paradigms sounded better with them on, I left them on. My kef's grills come off and then go back on every couple days just cause I'm weird like that.'
DUH? whichever sounds better withat speaker in that room.
The decision needs to be made by your ears, your heart, and your soul. There is no right or wrong. For me and my Revels, grills off. For you, it may be different. The best part ? ... it's a zero expense experiment ! Listen to your speakers both ways, and have fun deciding which way sounds best.
Depends on the speakers. Some speakers such as the Thiel CS 2's were designed to be used with the grills on.
No question. OFF
I agree that dome speakers were designed with them to stay on.

Here's a thought; why not one on, one off ;-)
I am surprised by the number of people who don't hear a difference. I am extremely skeptical of a lot of tweaks/ cable differences but I have always heard a difference when removing grills.
I have almost every model of speaker that John Dunlavy designed and they all sound better with the grills off, no exceptions.
No question. OFF,unless you have to have them on because of children or cats...
I always have the grills off when listening to music. I can hear a clearer difference.
Grill's on or off? It boils down to how the designer miked the speaker in a anechoic chamber to achieve a perfectly flat response. Some designer's will mike and adjust the crossover with the grills on and some with the grills off.
Call the speaker company you plan on buying from and ask the engineer's if their speakers are adjusted in a chamber with the grills off or on. This is why some speakers sound better with the grills off and others with the grills on.
Well if you own Wilsons its no problem, they just fall off.......Why a speaker that expensive has no real good system to hold the grills on is crazy......So be it !!     autospec
I'm lucky. My speakers use Accuton drivers which have a permanently affixed metal grill. I get the best of both worlds: They don't interfere with the music and I can clearly see the drivers.

All the best,
Nonoise
I like designers who make speakers that look good with grills off (covers over the driver screws maybe, hidden grill holding magnets, etc.), and I particularly like tweeters designed to have little mesh screens on them to ward off poking, accidental or curiosity driven. I was talking to a guy at a local Extreme HiFi shop about that…specifically the exposed tweeters on a Magico…he said hey, it happens…damn…Shirley’s been drinking again and wondered about that tweeter...
i saw a report in the net years ago. it's an independent test using a microphone placed at a normal listening position, using scientific software and recording equipment to access the difference with speakers grills on and off. The results clearly reflects there are roll off in certain parts of the frequencies spectrum, not just in the treble or bass. 
So it does depends on the listener preference whether he like grills on or off. 
-phil
philipwu
173 posts
10-20-2016 6:00am
i saw a report in the net years ago. it’s an independent test using a microphone placed at a normal listening position, using scientific software and recording equipment to access the difference with speakers grills on and off. The results clearly reflects there are roll off in certain parts of the frequencies spectrum, not just in the treble or bass.
So it does depends on the listener preference whether he like grills on or off.

Sounds good. Do you have a link for the report you refer to? It sounds as if the report would be quite convincing but without seeing the report itself color me skeptical.

For example this report I’m linking to below appears to indicate that while there might be some measured differences they’re too small to explain the phenomenon. So perhaps the phenomenon is caused by something else other than aberrations the grills might produce. 

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/06/measurements-effect-of-speaker-grills.html


Cheers


geoff, i could not remember that magazine that was put up in the net. it wasn't in english though. i used 3rd party app for translation, but the graphs are easy to understand. 
philipwu
174 posts
10-21-2016 7:50am
geoff, i could not remember that magazine that was put up in the net. it wasn’t in english though. i used 3rd party app for translation, but the graphs are easy to understand.


Hi, Philip, one imagines test results can vary even for well intentioned careful testers. The test I linked to was also careful with easy to understand graphs and showed only very small differences that can easily be interpreted as inaudible.  Please note I’m NOT suggesting there aren’t audible differences between grills on and grills off. It's simply a case of measuring the WRONG thing. 

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I have Magico speakers none of them come with grills for best sound.

Easy answer: whichever sounds best to you. In my experience, most sound a little more transparent and open with the grills off, especially if the grill is perforated sheet metal. But some speakers a resonically engineered for the grills to be in place, in which case removing the grills *might* make the speakers sound a little bright.

In the case of my Maggies with permanently attached grills plus that I'm deliriously happy with the sound makes it a very convenient non-issue with me.
The manual recommends removing the grills of KEF Reference 107/2s for critical listening.  I usually leave the grills on.