• Welcome to The Audio Annex! If you have any trouble logging in or signing up, please contact 'admin - at - theaudioannex.com'. Enjoy!
  • HTTPS (secure web browser connection) has been enabled - just add "https://" to the start of the URL in your address bar, e.g. "https://theaudioannex.com/forum/"
  • Congratulations! If you're seeing this notice, it means you're connected to the new server. Go ahead and post as usual, enjoy!
  • I've just upgraded the forum software to Xenforo 2.0. Please let me know if you have any problems with it. I'm still working on installing styles... coming soon.

Grilles on or off?

FredtheFilmFan

Active Member
Just wondering what you guys do? Mine are always on, but I have 3 boys all under 6 years old. So, for the sake of my drivers, the grilles stay on. Just wondering if there is a major sonic improvement when removing the grilles.
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
Grills inherently hinder realism in reproduction - anything between you and the speaker must have some impact, right?

However, many manufacturers design the tone and performance of there speakers to be most balanced with the grills in place. With those systems, the grills are necessary if you want the most balanced sound.

I never design a speaker for grills on. Never have. Raised children in my home and have never had a problem.

But, you have to do what you have to do. Grills are necessary for some people.
 

FredtheFilmFan

Active Member
I've already had to pull money out of my PS3, the cd player in my wife's van, source out tubes for an amp that were broken and pull a tennis ball from a speaker port. Grilles=good. I was just wondering for movies/music after the kids go to bed if pulling the grilles off would make a difference. I guess I'd have to do my auto setup with the grilles off, too?
 

Zing

Retired Admin
Famous
Flint said:
Grills are necessary for some people.
True. They wouldn't be able to cook without them. :eusa-whistle:

Kudos to you Fred! :text-bravo:
 

FredtheFilmFan

Active Member
Where's Deacon? Isn't he the Grill Master? I remember somebody talking about cooking with charcoal instead of gas b/c it tastes better. That's some serious Grillin'!!
 

soundhound

Well-Known Member
I actually have grilles on both my subwoofers and the woofer section of my Voice of the Theater speakers. I have found that for some reason when people see a speaker cone, they have to push on it to see if it moves. Stupid.
 

heeman

Well-Known Member
Famous
soundhound said:
I actually have grilles on both my subwoofers and the woofer section of my Voice of the Theater speakers. I have found that for some reason when people see a speaker cone, they have to push on it to see if it moves. Stupid.

:text-+1: Yea, what's with that ......... leave my cones alone damn it!!!
 

Botch

I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S!
Superstar
soundhound said:
I actually have grilles on both my subwoofers and the woofer section of my Voice of the Theater speakers. I have found that for some reason when people see a speaker cone, they have to push on it to see if it moves. Stupid.
Humans.
When art museums put up signs "Do Not Touch" everybody has to touch the oil painting, or the mummy, or the P-51.
Ever see a "No Hunting" sign with no bullet holes in it? Me neither.
Stupid Humans.
:D
 

Yesfan70

I'm famous now bitches! vvvvv
Famous
heeman said:
:text-+1: Yea, what's with that ......... leave my cones alone damn it!!!


You sound like my wife.




My speakers have no grills, but until he gets older, little man is not allowed downstairs so I don't have to worry about any kid issues.


I would like to add some speakers to the living room, but I will go super cheap that way I'm not out of any expense should they become damaged.
 

Yesfan70

I'm famous now bitches! vvvvv
Famous
Another thing to think about is some speakers just look better without their grills. Take Bob R's new Studio 20s for example. If I had those speakers, the grills would be stored out of the way. Some of the B&W speakers are the same way.
 

Botch

I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S!
Superstar
Yesfan70 said:
Another thing to think about is some speakers just look better without their grills. Take Bob R's new Studio 20s for example. If I had those speakers, the grills would be stored out of the way. Some of the B&W speakers are the same way.
My Monitors are naked for the same reason, I couldn't hear a difference otherwise (granted, not a very good comparison was possible as my receiver had no "mono" mode...)
 

DIYer

Well-Known Member
Famous
soundhound said:
I have found that for some reason when people see a speaker cone, they have to push on it to see if it moves. Stupid.
So you kicked Razz out immediately, I suppose... :laughing:
 
D

Deleted member 133

Guest
I leave them on for protection.

I've never heard a difference between grilles on, or off, in my main HT system. The question caused me to recall a review of my speakers from the May 2003 edition of Audio. For those who recall that publication it did hugely detailed measurement and listening tests of gear that they reviewed - perhaps too much so. In any case, in that six page review here's a notable quotation: "Removing the grille had no noticeable effect on the sound."

Jeff Mackwood
 

FredtheFilmFan

Active Member
What got me thinking about this was the pics of Bob's new speakers w/o the grilles and of Flints also w/o grilles. The Studio 20's look fantastic w/o grilles and I assumed that there were sonic reasons that Flint did not have them on his speakers(although they look cool too, Flint).

That is some interesting stuff, Jeff. Do you know if there is a copy of the article on line?
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
While many people cannot hear the difference and the audibility will vary from speaker to speaker, you can measure the difference between the output of a speaker with the grill on versus the grill off:


Obvious different from the ACI Emerald XL speakers with the grill on and off.



hardly noticable difference with the Ascend Sierra 1 grill.



A clear difference with the AV123 Rocket RS250 speaker.



Clear difference, though less obvious, from the AV123 Mini Strata.



Dynaudio 110 measured grill effect.



Mordaunt Short MS902 grill effect.



SVS MBS01 version 1 grill effect.


Clearly something is going on. One could say they cannot hear the difference, but if it is measureable is could potentially be audible.

With all the audiophiles and geeks out there claiming they can hear the difference between two cables, between one power conditioner and another, between two amplifiers, or between two surround sound decoders where absolutely zero measureable difference exists, it seems to be we should take a very close look at the very clear and obvious measurable difference between using a grill and not using one.

Of course, the measurable difference is almost always in the midrange and treble, not in the lower midrange and bass. So using a grill on a lower frequency speaker is not going to be audible.
 

Haywood

Well-Known Member
Famous
With my speakers and my equipment in my acoustically untreated room, I am not able to discern much difference either way. My setup gives me very acceptable sound quality, but there is no comparison between what I have and what someone would experience in a proper acoustically treated environment. I think this has something to do with my inability to hear the lobing effect of my horizontal MTM center channel unless I'm more the six feet off center. I've always had my system in a general purpose living room where I've had to make compromises. Someday, I hope I have the luxury of a dedicated space where I can go completely nuts and obsess about speaker grills and horizonal center channels.
 
D

Deleted member 133

Guest
FredtheFilmFan said:
What got me thinking about this was the pics of Bob's new speakers w/o the grilles and of Flints also w/o grilles. The Studio 20's look fantastic w/o grilles and I assumed that there were sonic reasons that Flint did not have them on his speakers(although they look cool too, Flint).

That is some interesting stuff, Jeff. Do you know if there is a copy of the article on line?
Fred,

PM me your email address and I'll send you a copy.

The only reference to the grille is that one sentence that I quoted. I just found it interesting that in six pages of very detailed technical information, measurements and listening impressions that that is all they felt needed to be said on the subject. It also confirmed what I new from my own listening experience.

Flint,

I question neither your own data nor your listening experience (which is far more than my own).

I suppose that for any speaker the best answer would be to try it both ways and see if you notice a difference. Both on; both off; one on and one off; the other off and the other on. If it really makes no difference sonically, then it comes down to a choice between "protection" and "looks."

Fred's original post asked about "a major sonic improvement." I'm not sure than anyone is going that far, and quite frankly I'd be very surprised if any company would design a speaker for use with grilles on, where the result of removing them would be "a major sonic improvement." Could happen; but I'd be surprised.

Jeff Mackwood
 
D

Deleted member 133

Guest
Flint,

Follow-up comment / observation.

Looking at your graphs (take the RS250 as an example) the effect of grille on or off seems to be to either attenuate or emphasize a particular frequency in relation to another. My initial (obviously wrong) assumption would be that grille on would "muffle" the sound thereby resulting in only attenuation effects. But this does not seem to be the case. So there must be a lot more going on than just sound passing through cloth. Are we seeing reflections etc. from the grille structure itself? And if so is it therefore possible that for some speakers (like my Koss), where the structure is kept relatively far from the drivers - especially the mids and more so the tweeters - that all that could come into play is the cloth, and that the cloth itself might have a negligible effect?

What would happen to your curves if instead of putting grilles on, you only projected the sound through the same cloth material?

I guess what I'm wondering is if it's possible to design a grille "system" that has no effect.

Jeff
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
Jeff

There are many different aspects of the sound impact of a full grill assembly, both from the grill material (fabric, metal, foam, etc.) and the frame which holds it in place. I measure the full impact because that is what we hear - the full grill.

Fabric and foam tend to only attenuate the sound. In sme cases it can diffuse the sound and can have a benefit on the dispersion properties of a speaker. Metal rarely attenuates, but it can add other artifacts like reflection, diffraction, and comb filtering at specific frequencies.

The frame, however, almost always adds difraction, and that is what we usually attribute to the boosts in output when a grill is added to a speaker.

Many companies go to great lengths to reduce the impact of the grill by rounding edges of the frame or designing the frame assembly to mount flush with the speaker edges (Paradigm). However, all good speaker designers have to design their sound based on the presence of absence of the grill.
 

FredtheFilmFan

Active Member
Jeff, what you're saying there is a bit of my deeper questions about the grilles. Lets say that I treat my room for a grilles-on speaker, then remove the grilles, my room would no longer be ideal for the "New" setup? Or once the room is done properly, the speakers would no longer matter? As I write this, I'm starting to feel this is bordering on the esoteric, but if a power outlet can make a difference... :D

BTW, Canadians=Grille Americans=Grill just an observation.
 
Top