Poll: Do You Take the Grill Covers Off Your Speakers?

I recently purchased a new pair of speakers, and have found myself asking a question that never seemed applicable before: Should I leave the speakers on display in my room with the grill covers on or off? What do you do?

Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of photos of home theater rooms where the owners removed the speaker grill covers to show off the tweeters and woofers. I never did this myself because… well… none of the speakers I ever owned previously looked very attractive with the covers off. But now I’ve bought a pair of nice towers, and I’m a little torn.

Speakers at Screen

On the one hand, I kind of like the looks of these towers when I can see all the horns. On the other hand, do I really want the speakers to draw attention to themselves, or is it better to let them disappear into the room as much as possible so that a viewer’s eyes are drawn to the movie screen?

Speaker with cover
Speaker without cover

For what it’s worth, my wife says she likes them with the covers left on, but she doesn’t much care either way.

Do You Take the Grill Covers Off Your Speakers?

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23 comments

  1. T.J. Kats

    Voted no but for practical reasons. I have three kids (8,6,3) and although they are good about not touching stuff they shouldn’t the risk of accident is always there.

    I like the look of speakers without the grills so if I didn’t have the kids I would probably go that way.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      They’re Cambridge Soundworks T205 towers. No longer in production. (The company doesn’t even make home theater speakers anymore.) I’ll have more to say about them on Friday.

      • T.J. Kats

        Ok. I knew you had wanted to stay with the Cambridge but didn’t know if hat was then or if you switched it up.

  2. timcharger

    “my wife says she likes them with the covers left on”

    Why isn’t that a choice?

    Plus if I take the covers off, I need to store even more stuff. I have enough junk everywhere. Leaving the covers on saves space.

  3. I leave my grills on if just for a little protection from dust and minor bumps. I think they look a little more elegant with the grills on.

  4. Cliff Greenough

    I voted for “Yes, I like to see the tweeters and woofers” because I really do! I don’t have any kids or pets so that’s a non-issue. In the living room (my two channel system), I have Cello Amati’s and there’s nothing fancy looking about the drivers but there a lot of them (4 woofers, 16 midranges and 16 tweeters total between all four cabinets) so it would be cool to see that many drivers staring at you but I leave them on because they do look classier that way in their honey oak cabinets. Besides, where would I put 12 speaker grills? (Each cabinet has three facets of drivers)

    In my theater, I switch between grills off and grills on. I have the B&W THX surround package (3 FCM8’s, 2 SCM8’s and 2 PCS8’s) and with the grills on, they looks very classy in the black and grey room. But with the grills off, the yellow Kevlar midbass drivers look really cool and stand out, making quite the statement. But I run into the same issue, where do I put 9 speaker grills? Due to this fact, I leave them on more than I take them off. If I had space to put them somewhere, I would leave them all the time cuz it just looks so bitchin’.

    I feel ya timcharger!

  5. Geordie2004

    Voted yes because it makes (or seems to make) my speakers sound better! This might just be a placebo effect, though.

    • What would happen if you listen to some Placebo music through your speakers, and you experience said placebo effect? Meta-placebo? Placeboception?

  6. Chris

    For stereo/ music listening, take those suckers off and marvel at the beauty of your loudspeakers and drivers!
    For movies, put the covers on or better yet hide them behind an AT screen. In HT mode, you only want to see the movie, with the sound magically happening.
    Cheers

  7. Justin

    They look great both with grills off and on. I really like the mahogany and they appear to be in good condition! Very nice!
    I voted no because I also have a little one and cats who would love an opportunity to destroy something I love.

  8. justin park

    i have Definitive Technology BP8060 towers, CS8060 center, Studiomonitor 350 bookshelves, SR8040 surrounds and all have the DT corporate socks so I can’t remove the grills.

    Otherwise, with my previous B&W speakers, I kept the grills off. Not only to show off those awesome gold Kevlar drivers but also the sound quality is better with grills off.

  9. C.C. 95

    Completey subjective thing. I have completely different setups in different rooms. Music studio- grills off, Movie room- hidden speakers, Library- grills on.
    If you DO keep grills on- the one adjustment I DO make is taking off the brand Placard (leaving it an unadorned grill).

  10. Mark Rohaley

    I would say they are to keep dust out & that is why I wear mine on (lol)…but dust is real & probably not good on my Emit’s …Infinity Qa’s which I love…man want Qb’s though…to try a 3 way but Infinity is quite a grand speaker…40 years for me & still love em! With my Sansui 5000 too–excellent! Have 2 Sansui 5000A’s also in mint condition all 3 mint…I do not see how any receiver could sound better and doin 75 watts into 4 ohms…nice I also have a few other Sansui’s..

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