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Grilles or not?
I always leave the speaker grilles on for listening 28%  28%  [ 43 ]
I always remove the speaker grilles for listening 39%  39%  [ 61 ]
I only remove the grilles for critical listening sessions 13%  13%  [ 20 ]
My speakers don't have grilles 13%  13%  [ 20 ]
My speakers have unremovable grilles 7%  7%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 155
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:15 am 
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Location: London, ON, CA
My main speakers are a pair of Paradigm Reference Studio 100 v4, driven with Anthem separates. Paradigm recommends leaving the grilles on, as the speakers are apparently designed to have the flattest frequency response and reduced diffraction with them installed.

However, more recently I've been doing my careful listening with the grilles off ... the speakers are remarkably better unclothed. With the grilles on, the treble and midrange is closed in and sounds slightly dirty. With the grilles off, there is a lot more emotion and transparency, and seemingly much better dispersion (despite warnings from Paradigm about diffraction). Imaging is much improved, female vocalists are present in the room, the sound stage is much larger and more open and there is a nice sense of "air" and sweetness. That sense vanishes with the grilles installed.

I had a tone-deaf non-audio friend over a couple weeks ago, and during a song I removed the grilles. He commented how much better it sounded without any prompting.

In my opinion, it's almost like a $1000 speaker upgrade to remove the grilles (or a downgrade with them on, however you want to look at it).

Just wondering what the opinions are of CAM folks in this regard.

Edit: I've got kids, so the grilles stay on most of the time, even though they are super good about not touching *daddy's* speakers. Otherwise, I'd just store the grilles ...


Last edited by L-Man on Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:28 am 
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Location: Repentigny, QC, CA
Always better without!!! :o


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:30 am 
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I wasn't going to use the word "naked" so chose "unclothed" ... I would have been better to use a different metaphor ...


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:31 am 
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Location: East Toronto, ON, CA
I am of the opinion that if speaker is well made, and sounds highly musical, you won't even think about removing grills for you won't feel there is any need for improvement, it sounds terrific the way it is, with grills on that is.

In addition, the speaker manufacturer should encourage the potential owner to have the grills off, if it really makes a significant difference in improving the sound.

That's my cent and a half worth.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:36 am 
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I dislike the look of most grills. Mine are stored away in their original packing and have never been used. It irks me to see beautifully finished speakers drilled out for grill plugs or even worse, ugly pieces of Velcro. Understand some want grills but wish more manufactures adopt the hidden magnet type fastening method or at least a method that doesn't involve a noticeable fastening mechanism.

You don’t have a choice for never use grills so I just chose that my speakers do not have them.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:54 am 
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A reviewer from soundstage said this about the grilles on the Studio 100:

"Next was that treble I had been so wary of upon first glance. It had that oft-elusive quality, at least in this price range, of being extended yet refined at the same time. But there was something missing. On further listening it seemed as if there was a slight lack of transparency and air in the upper regions that was softening transient edges and artificially truncating delicate reverb trails. I decided to go against Paradigm's directions and remove the grilles, and thus the fabric from in front of the drivers, to hear if that was hurting the cause. Immediately I got an extra dollop of air and reverb that largely restored what had been missing -- edge diffraction be damned. I left the grills off for the remainder of the review period."

So, it's not just my imagination. The Paradigm grilles have a polycarbonate latticework to support the grillecloth, with a "hole" in the lattice where the tweeter is. I think that there is diffraction around that plastic "ring" under the grille cloth, as well as a very distinct audible effect on dispersion.

Perhaps there is even flutter of the whole lattice in the mid and bass regions, which is causing the sound to be veiled and "dirty" with the grilles on ... I've had earlier generations of Paradigm speakers that only had a cloth on an edge frame. I think this lattice grille design is not ideal.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:02 am 
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Location: Whitby, ON, CA
Couldn't take the grills off if I wanted to. My maggies wouldn't like that.. lol.. Also have an old pair of Nuance 440's where the grill won't come off either.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:04 am 
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Neil333 wrote:
Couldn't take the grills off if I wanted to. My maggies wouldn't like that.. lol.. Also have an old pair of Nuance 440's where the grill won't come off either.


Added an option for you and it reset the whole poll ... sorry!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:13 am 
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Currently, the speakers I have are stand-mounts with removable grill cloths, but I no longer have a dedicated listening room and my wife doesn't appreciate the look of exposed drivers, so they stay on. I occasionally remove them for critical listening sessions, but they sound very good either way (Redgum Manna).
Back when I had a dedicated listening room, I had TimeFRame 1000's and then Vandersteen 2CEsigs, so removing the grill cloth wasn't really an option :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:14 am 
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L-Man…don’t know if this has any value to you but found this article about moding a Studio 40. He replaces the tweeter and modifies the x-over which obviously doesn’t really pertain to your speakers but he does add felt to the inside of the grills to try and minimize diffraction.

http://users.accesscomm.ca/templed/audi ... index.html


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:41 am 
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Location: Abbotsford, BC, CA
It irks me to see beautifully finished speakers drilled out for grill plugs or even worse, ugly pieces of Velcro
+1
Every time I see the beautifully designed PMC speakers and then look at the drilled/plastic grill fasteners, it makes them look cheap. :x


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:17 am 
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Grills never leave the box/crate


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:18 am 
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PCM are not the only ones guilty of this. There is a hefty cost to hand picked exotic veneers that companies such as ProAc pride themselves with. And yet they spoil the look with plastic plugs – just doesn’t make sense to me. Especially when an alternative such as magnetic grills could be implemented with little to no extra cost.

There is also the question of durability. Who hasn’t broken at least 1 grill tab in their life?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:04 am 
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Location: Kamloops, BC, CA
No speaker grill. Grills are for BBQ's, not audio speakers.
8)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:11 am 
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ON baby!


Actually for Totem Hawks the factory recommends don't use the grills and I agree.


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