OMG, just removed my speaker grills and the sound just opened up to a new level!

My recently purchased Focal Maestro Utopia speakers look so good with their black front baffle and side and back Camara white, I couldn’t even think about removing the grills to hear what they sound like with them off. With nobody around to voice their displeasure to seeing those drivers I boldly went were no man, or in this case myself, said he would never go and removed the grills. Hello, said the speakers
this is what I really sound like. I might not be as pretty, but love me for what really counts, how I sound,
not how I look. I have to say I love them even more and they’re not looking too bad either! 
Congratulations on your daring move! ;)

Yes, this is basic, one of the simplest and effective ways to improve speaker performance. I remove absolutely every speaker grill possible. Consider a speaker playing through a grill to be akin to firing a tomato at a strainer - it's a mess. Not much good comes from shoving a mesh/grill in front of drivers, despite the hoopla over Paradigm's grills on their new line. Sure, it has a more diffuse sound - because they're blocking half of it!  :(

Magnepans - all panels with fixed grills - suffer significant degradation of sound quality, too. I have the Kingsound King III electrostatic speakers, and the difference between grills on/off is striking, quite evident. 

I'm not as  impressed by speaker companies that put fixed grills on drivers. Wretched mistake, imo. At this point I don't know that I would own such a speaker (Aside from perhaps HT use, like the small, wall Maggies I use because they are inexpensive and get the job done).  :) 

There is one thing that can be beneficial about a grill; it can help tame a wickedly strident tweeter. 

Have your wife blindfold you , and see if you can really hear a difference. Do it 20 times , see how many times you get it right .
Amazing how after decades in audio still there are new discoveries to be made.
I didn’t think focal made removable grills over their tweeters? That the grills effect the sound of the lower fq’s makes me think they would be good sweater fabric.
Any decent wife or girlfriend would never be honest enough to allow myself to be fooled into believing they’re actually placing the grills back on when doing this experiment while blindfolded.
What about manufacturers that say their speakers are voiced with the grilles on. If true, taking the grilles off means what?
Focal Maestro 111 have a tweeter grill that’s magnetically attached. It can be easily removed, but I have serious concerns doing this. It seems so fragile and exposed when it’s removed.

what you would need to do is remove the crossover. And then have it retuned. That will make a bigger difference. You will not believe how big a difference it makes. 
I have tried my Focal speakers with the tweeter grills off when the speakers were new. It helped break up some of the upper frequency shrill/glare. But as they broke in that shrillness dissipated and I reinstalled the tweeter grills. I now think they sound better with the tweeter grills on.

The main covers over the mids and woofers have been off from day one. I think the raw speakers look great without the grills.

Have not used grills in the last 25 years.Took grills off my Avalon’s and Magicos does not use them on my 3rd pair. Focal is another wonderful sounding speaker.Good luck be well!!
I prefer the sound with the grills on my Sophias, I listen in a somewhat near field setup in an acoustically untreated room so this probably has a lot to do with that. Enjoy the music
Well, I don't know about "new level" but the effects of grills on output are readily measured.  Not just damping, but causing excess refraction, and making what would otherwise be very smooth output ragged, something I'm pretty sensitive to.

@Ozzy Highly encourage you to try felt around those tweets. :) You can buy PSA felt and cut holes with a hobby felt stamper.


Since the mid 1980s all my speakers (many) have been DIY.  Ev en though I have a supply of good grill cloth stored in my work shop I have never even considered putting grills over drivers.  My current favorites, tri-amplified fully horn loaded DSP controlled three ways have no need for grills.
you can advice to remove the drivers., and put it back later

HUGE Difference  IMHO
Welcome to Audiogon, where its April Fool's all day, every day, 24/7/365. 

Trying to come up with an April Fool's joke here is like trying to parody a liberal. Just give up. Can't be done. Don't even try. And even if you do, no one will get it anyway.
I have always found speakers I owned to sound better with grills off, but when I owned Spendor SP100, I was told that they were voiced with the grills on, and they always sounded better that way to me. I also owned the Spendor 9/1, and they were the same story. 
You can have my grills when you pry them off my cold dead hands

parody not so difficult 
My Legacy Signature II speakers from the 1990s have those heavy wood-framed grills that plug into holes in the cabinet.  The grills are about 3/4 inch deep, and there is a huge difference in sound, far superior without them.
removed every grill on every speaker I’ve owned since 1987, and they all sounded the same on or off.

   Cool story.
Vandersteen are designed to be played grills on 
Yep, had to remove the ‘socks’ of my 2CE Sigs while getting one of the acoustic couplers repaired. I know what they looked like without, but just plain ugly naked when seeing them for myself. Of course, some find them ugly anyway ;-)

But yes, Richard designed/voiced them with the socks on, as that is how they are inherently designed. I’ve grown to actually like them, regardless.

Funny, I’ve always left my speaker grills on, mostly out of fear of damage, and also dust, as I’ve always lived in older homes. 
Grills tend to affect the treble the most and works as an attenuation. If a speaker was intentionally voiced with the grills on then it will probably sound "better" with the grill on. Basically they probably add 1db or so to the treble so to counteract the attenuation caused by the grills.

The higher order affect of the grill is a little bit less apparent. A grill works like a filter, albeit a mechanical one, therefore it will filter out more and more toward the higher frequencies. That is the grill will attenuate the high frequencies but NOT by a fixed factor, but gradually toward the high frequencies. For example, at 10KHz, the attenuation is 1db, whereas at 15KHz it would be 1.5db, and at 20KHz by 2db.  And like any filter, the grill will add phase shift to the higher frequencies and phase shift generally is not a good thing.  A fixed 1db added on the tweeter probably will not undo the damage caused by the grill. It may help a little bit but won’t fix everything.

Regardless of the treble energy, removing the grill will most likely add some openess to the sound. By the way, "more trebles" does not mean "more openess".
removed every grill on every speaker I’ve owned since 1987, and they all sounded the same on or off.

   Cool story.

If that's true, then why didn't you leave them on so that they would look better?


Our Legacy Marquis Center came without any grill or even anyplace incorporated to attach one.. I wondered why, but I certainly don't have any complaints . 

I hear if you cut holes in your grills the same diameter as your drivers that it's a no-compromise solution.  
Just glad MC realizes it’s so hard to parody liberals since they’re always making so much sense. Now climate change deniers are another story all together. 
I guess MC is a pub?  I have to agree it's a lot more fun making a parody out of a pub.   
Harbeth speakers are designed to have the grilles so I'm not sure if saying removing the grille always improves the sound of a speaker.
OK....this makes me want to take them off my DQ10's tomorrow.  They sound fantastic but look hideous, but I could learn to live with it.

Interesting Subject! I helped design my Green Mountain Imago Speakers! I remember my designer sitting on the floor and switching capacitors while I listened! I got to choose what I liked! Then the tweaks began! First Marigo Green Dots on the mids and Dyna dome tweeters! Then the ribbons were Focal I think untouched! We added foam around the dome tweeters and that gave a more open sound!  The Crossovers are in external boxes with custom Kimber Cable! Plug In Modules were used to change Crossover Points! Everything we did made a difference! Now when it came to the grills! Definitely sounded better Without Them! They call me Goldenears! I use Tubes!😋
I generally prefer mine without grills, but don't often remove them.  It's easy to imagine that some recordings would sound better with the grills.  More detail is not always necessarily better.
Well, sounds like this topic is due for removal like another, couple days back. Someone must have blown a whistle. Speaker grilles: just learning from others, nothing insightful to add.

Pending removal,  the difficulty of parody is a two-way street. Boris Johnson is a conscious self-parody who pre-empts you; Donald Trump is an unconscious self-parody who pretermits you. At least one could parody Rachel Maddow with her three "in terms of" in every sentence.
(Channeling the 'Church Lady" of SNLs' D. Carvey....)

Listening to that Jungle Noise....I'll bet it makes your....nasty parts just tingle with excitement.  You just can't resist the urge to play those sounds...loud....louder.....Louder....LOUDER!  
You pull those grilles off, so you can See the drivers shiver 'n shake.....
Pulsing with those obviously Obscene rhythms.....
It makes you want to throw off your clothes....
Wiggle and convulse, twitch and shake....stomp, wave your parts..... the driving demonic bass line of.....
(camera switch)


This has been a PSA from your local AE/N~NAS~SsC (Audio Equipment/Naturalist~Nude Appreciation Society~Speaker subset Chapter), to provide an excuse as to why segments of our members prefer their 'reproducers' naked.  Your safety will not be compromised as a general rule.  However, if you find yourself in the company of one of our more 'extreme' members, refraining from the use of drugs and alcohol is advised.  Additional safety may be employed with the wearing of a good pair of running shoes, tasers, and 'brass knuckles'.
Extreme cases may require weaponry of your choice and skill set.

We now return you to the unscheduled program....*click*

You guys are so crazy....;)

...shrieking of parody paradoxes....

Do what you want....the cat will teach you otherwise....*inane laughter fades into the void of the Web....*

 I sometimes leave off for the look of the array of drivers,
 they are on %98 of the time.

for protection.  
Had a pair of BIC America dv84’s which NEEDED two layers of tshirt cut and taped over the grill to kill the shrill.
only pair ever had which needed a tweeter damping.
 Sounded amazing, and open airy,  but were too bright.

 I love the look of my speakers w the grills off, but with a 8 year old, I keep everything covered up

Great thread!  The friendly banter is just what I needed tonight 😁

Grills off for me while listening.  I must say though, the metal grills that ATC uses are very transparent sounding.  Studio Electric M4’s use an interesting ($400 optional) metal grill also, made from the same material as windscreens of professional microphones, apparently!
If I remember correctly, the Martin Logan series motion 40 and 60 towers w the folded tweeter, use metal grills, that’s quality,
mine are plastic wrapped in black thin fabric.

 Love those motion 60 Martin Logan speakers, but when I purchased mine, they were a bit more than I could manage.

 Such an amazing sounding speaker!
Sometimes, when speakers are too bright for someone's taste, they sound better with grilles on - more balanced. It depends on speakers, room, personal tastes, etc. My speakers are Silverline Sonata-III and I remove the grilles when I want them to sound more open.
The difference will be HUUUUGE! 😁 Kidding. I have metal grills and oddly doesn’t affect sound too dramatically. But there is a more loudness, focus and clarity without them. The speakers still sound great with the grills on though.
Sometimes it just feels better to remove the covers.
Just be sure to use plenty of SPF 50 on the exposed
skin to avoid ear burn. 

I always tell the fairer sex my speakers were voiced
with coverings removed.

If you do not notice any difference when the  grills are removed
save yourself some trouble and leave them in place.

-April Fools

My large SVS16 subwoofer has  very tough metal perforated grill. I have often wondered ,,,,why?

I leave the grills on my Tekton Double Impacts now. It gives the cat something to climb on. It keeps him occupied and off my water bed.
KEF R3 have really nice looking magnetic grills, but I do remove them when I listen.