WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor)and Speakers

How important is the fabric on speakers to their sound? If I changed the covers of my speakers to a more decorative fabric to please my girlfriend, would that really be a big deal? Obviously, I wouldn't cover them with wool blankets, but would, for example, a light silk really sound that much different than whatever the manufacturers use? Given that many audiophiles think that the shape of their AC cords dramatically affect the sound, it is interesting that no one seems to discuss this topic. Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated.
That is really good point! My ACI Sapphire sound much much better with the cloth off. However, Linn Tukan and other Linn speakers have problem solved by using the silk "sock". And as you said, difference in sound can be quite obvious.
Good question. Perhaps your own or another speaker manufacturer can supply more information. Carl at this site is also a speaker hobbyist and may have tried different fabric. My old Castle Isis speakers would look super in a paisley print from Liberty of London. LOL. I tried Tukans with and without the sock and could detect no sonic difference, but is was very thin and translucent.
Some Manufacturers are designing speakers to be used with the covers. I wander why it's taken them this long to figure this out.
One thing to keep in mind is your speakers will have no resale value with this modifacation. As far as effect on sound I think you will most likely make it worse than stock grill cloth.......unless these are cheap disposable speakers I would be very careful and check with speaker manf.
My B&W P5 Speakers sound better to me with the grills on. System matching may matter here, don't know.
Hi Dekay, do you know if one get this 'Liberty of London' paisley-patterned cloth from within the USA? Thanks.
Ekmaia: No, sorry I don't. I would assume that the fabrics that they use are made exclusively for their ties. I own five of their paisley ties, because I like the fabric, which is why this particular company came to mind when making my little joke. I do not even know if the ties are available in the US for that matter. The ones that I have all came from the UK. Since I am already in the process of boring everyone to tears I may as well add that I first became aware of the clothing shop from an old "spy spoof" movie from the 60's, starring the same actor that starred in "The Time Machine," that featured the shop when selecting a wardrobe for the reluctant spy in training. Rod somebody, I think.
Vandersteen uses grill cloth that they call "sonically transparent"-- this is essential to Vand. as they use a "boxless" design and have the cloth on all four sides, and it's not removeable. The point being that the cloth they use is carefully chosen and very important. Megasam, above gives good advice. Craig.
Thanks Dragon. The Vandersteen fabric is not very transparent (visualy), I wonder what the trick of the weave is? I have witnessed people using "whatever" replacement fabric in the 70's on KLH and AR speakers with not so good sonic results. I wonder if there is a DIY speaker forum with info on the subject?
Interpreting womens taste is extremely dangerous, and stupid to attempt, but I think small, well finished and unnoticable are some key ordered factors. The women in my family have commented on how furniturally acceptable my Audio Physic Virgo speakers are. They hated my vandersteens 3A's. Another area that you might want to look at is distance from wall. AP's need to be out a bit to sound good (easily slideable). British speakers: Rogers and Linns tend to be small, and sound very good even when placed right against a wall (their backs). I've never heard them, but NHT's are supposed to be quite good, and are made to have their backs right against a wall. A little big, but they might fly if placed on either side of a television.
Yes, grilles make a difference! On some speakers more than others, as some are engineered for sound with the grilles on(very few), and the actual fabric used may or may not be acoustically transparent. If the grilles are not detachable, then make sure you don't kill your sound by putting any old cloth over your drivers. Also, try to make your significant other part of the buying process in the first place, and avoid many problems. Not to mention, audio enthusiast or not, another set of ears can't hurt, and you can educate those ears to be a great asset, if she is not very experienced in audio comparisons. Heck, you may even want to say nothing and get her uninfluenced(by you at least) opinion on what she is hearing- you may get some real insight. I know I have.
We can all guess ... but the truth is in a trial. You can try to order spare grilles from the manufacturer of your speakers. Cover them with diferent materials and LISTEN. I'd be interested in what your ears tell you.
The bass list probably has some advice. Being a DIY speaker builder, my experience is the refraction from the grill frame is the bigger culprit that the cloth itself. IE the speaker sounds the with grill frame with and without cloth. So I remove the grills when I listen for a slightly better sound. I would say if they are removable cover them in whatever (to gain domestic bliss) and then remove when listening. Now if I could only figure a way to hide cables! Any advice would be appreciated.