Do you listen with your speaker grilles on or off? Why?

Do you listen with your speaker grilles on or off? Why?
Always on
35% (97 votes)
On most of the time
16% (44 votes)
Off most of the time
10% (29 votes)
Always off
29% (81 votes)
My speakers don't have removable grilles
10% (27 votes)
Total votes: 278

An argument could be made that most speakers are designed to sound best with their grilles intact, while others might reason that anything in front of a tweeter has got to be bad. Reader Gerald Neily wants to know if you prefer to listen with your speaker grilles on or off.

Matt Klein's picture

The Nautilus tweeters are enough of a magnet for guests to touch that I couldn't imaging leaving the grilles off when they, or their kids/pets, are around.

B.  Larsen's picture

Very few speaker manufacturers design their systems to be heard with their grilles on. If their desired sound comes from the grilles being left off, than that is how I would prefer to listen to them. A spectrum analyzer running both with the grilles on and off would yield different results. But now that I've said that, my children are old enough to not poke at the drivers. Besides, I bought these speakers because of the funky driver arrangement, so I'd kind of like to see them.

Norm Strong's picture

It isn't a matter of sound qualtiy; it's matter of looks and protection. My wife wouldn't allow me to leave the grille off. Not only does it look bad, but the speaker is apt to suffer damage during house cleaning.

Jan's picture

When you build yourself,why compromise?

Anonymous's picture

A loudspeaker should be an aesthetical object in the living room - no technical tool

Kurt Christie - Guelph, ON's picture

My Tannoy Churchills came with no grill

Anonymous's picture

better performance

Steve Schumacher's picture

My ADS L1290's look better with the grille's on.

Marino Mazzeo's picture

Protects my tweeter from dust. Audio difference is very insignicant.

Jon's picture

I take them off when I actually get to sit down for more than one disc!

Frosty's picture

Grandkids! Need I say more?

Bubba in SF's picture

Always on. Magneplanars.

Rich-Chicago's picture

My speakers are the Shearwater Hot Rods from Meadowlark Audio. Anyone familiar with Meadowlark will understand why the "grille socks" are off.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.View, CA's picture

My Acoustat speakers, with the grilles off, are ugly to behold (to the eye, not to the ear). Ugly, ugly, ugly! Also, the grille does keep some of the dust out.

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I use a pair of Alon IVs in one of my listening rooms in my home. These are really wonderful speakers for the price. However, with the grilles on, one can discern an audible "honk" in the midrange drivers. For their application (home theater), the honking is really not an issue. However, on rare occasions when I listen critically to "real music" through the Alons, the honk becomes bothersome, but when I remove the grilles, the honk disappears like a flock of geese.

Colin Robertson's picture

I have Vandersteens. Their grilles can't be removed (well they could but the speakers would be too ugly otherwise). Interesting you brought it up. Speaker designers should design speakers to sound their best with the grilles on, and some companies such as Paradigm, make the grilles an intgral part of the speaker, aligning flush with the drivers to reduce diffraction. Is it just me, or do others think that Wilson needs to re-design their grilles? Everytime I see a pair of Wilsons with the grilles off I shudder. They look so tacky with that velcro looking stuff to attach the grills. Come on! If someone is paying over 10Gs for a pair of speakers, they better look good, and sound good with the grilles on.

Bruno, Slovenia's picture

My speakers are Phase Linear Andromeda and they are very "big"( 160x60x15cm ) and i dont have place to put the grilles. I also have electronic crossover to adjust highs +-3db, depending on room.

MIkeyZ's picture

I have a small child in the house. The last thing I dare do is remove the grilles.

Anonymous's picture

My speakers were designed to be used with their grilles off and they sound better, more open that way

Anonymous's picture

If I could have the choice, the grilles would be always on, to protect my PRODIGY ML against dust ! But in fact they don't attract dust that much Philippe in PARIS

Bram Hillen's picture

I own a pair of B&W's Nautilus 802's. I like the way they look without grilles.

Daniel Emerson's picture

They look worse, but after trying them either way over the years, it's failry obvious that my speakers sound better without grilles.

Stephen Curling's picture

My four-year-old has forced me to purchase three sets of grilles for the same pair of speakers. Grilles need to stay on!

FvK's picture

The Sonus Faber Armati Homage speakers look unfinshed without their grilles.

KJ's picture

They're off by old habit.

Mannie Smith's picture

The grilles on the Avalon Monitors are part of the baffle/surround, so you must leave them on.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I own Thiel CS 2(the orginal) and the grill is a part of thefront baffle. Althought it can be removed the intergral baffle is then removed.

Rex's picture

The speakers (Vandersteen 5A) are specifically designed to be used with the grilles.

macksman's picture

We live with big, curious, slobbering Rottweilers. The Wilson Benesch Act One's look better and sound great with the grille cloth in place. Mack and Jake leave them alone but do go see what's up when Shamus or Teddy howl in their living room. Better to be covered.

Randy's picture

Yeah, maybe the Alons sound a bit better with the socks down, but they look butt ugly this way and IMO, looks do affect the listening experience, even with the lights dimmed.