Do Speaker Grills Affect Sound Quality?

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One of the components of a speaker is its grills, also referred to as speaker covers or cloths.

Various factors can affect the sound quality of your speakers, and you are most likely wondering whether the grills are one of them.

Speaker grills may affect sound quality, but the impact isn’t usually huge to the extent that it could go unnoticed.

Its designers design them with the listeners in mind, thus ensuring that the grills’ presence doesn’t interfere with the sound quality.

However, if they become loose or the design is defective, the sound quality is compromised, and here’s a detailed discussion on the matter.

By default, the grills aren’t designed to tamper with the sound of your speaker.

If there is any effect by any chance, it is usually too minimal to the extent that it often goes undetected.

All that’s necessary is stretching it enough and tightly, thus ensuring that the amplifier’s sound remains intact.

However, various design flaws compromise the speaker grills’ functionality, thus affecting the sound.

The most common mistake is designing speaker thrills that are too thick.

Attaching the cloth tightly and correctly is equally important.

Otherwise, it might vibrate and rattle, thus affecting the sound quality.

How Do Speaker Grills Affect Sound Quality?

Speaker grills affect sound quality in various ways, including the following;

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Diffraction

The thickness of your speaker grills affects the sound quality.

After all, if the grills are too thick, they increase the chances of diffraction responsible for relatively rough responses when the frequencies are high.

However, that’s avoidable if you select the right thickness.

Scattering the Sound

Speaker grills have perforations, and their sizes make a huge difference.

If those perforations are large, expect a relatively wide dispersion, high sound pressure, and high-frequency response.

In contrast, small perforation has a vice-versa effect characterized by narrow sound dispersion, low sound pressure, and low-frequency response.

Since the speaker grill has holes that scatter sounds, they impact its quality, but the intensity depends on size and shape.

Rattling

It occurs when the speaker grill is loose.

The extensive vibration and the consequent rattling sound reduce the speaker sound’s clarity, thus messing up what one can hear.

Absorbing Sound Waves

Often, people assume that cloth speaker covers are an ideal choice.

Whereas that’s true to a great extent since it neither reflects sound nor rattles, it also has its downside.

If you are using a cloth speaker grill that’s too thick, it will do more harm than good.

These clothes absorb sound waves, thus compromising the clarity of highs.

It is no secret that sounds waves with low-frequency wavelengths can pass through thick materials, but that’s different concerning their high-frequency wavelength counterparts.

Here is an indication of how the frequency wavelength affects the thickness that a sound wave can pass through;

  • A sound wave with a frequency wavelength of 20hz can pass through a thickness of up to 678 inches.
  • A sound wave with a frequency wavelength of 100hz can pass through a thickness of up to 135 inches.
  • A sound wave with a frequency wavelength of 500hz can pass through a thickness of up to 21.1 inches.
  • A sound wave with a frequency wavelength of 1000hz can pass through a thickness of up to 13.5 inches.
  • A sound wave with a frequency wavelength of 2500hz can pass through a thickness of up to 5.4 inches.
  • A sound wave with a frequency wavelength of 10000hz can pass through a thickness of up to 1.3 inches.
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So, if the thickness of the speaker grill is below 1.3 inches, it is hard, if not impossible, to affect the sound quality.

No wonder, most of the time, only extreme audiophiles experience it since sound waves absorption often goes unnoticed by most listeners.

Distortion Due to Sound Waves Reflection

The culprit of this consequence is usually the metal speaker grills.

Despite looking visually appealing, these grills also reflect sound waves, thus distorting the sound.

That’s why there are times these speakers muddle the music leading to unclear sounds.

Obstructing the Drivers

Drivers are responsible for sound production but must move freely to do this job excellently.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen if they are too close to the grills.

Such proximity compromises the drivers’ movement and, in worst-case scenarios, damages it.

However, this issue will not arise if the distance between the drivers and the speaker grills is 2 to 3 inches.

What Is the Purpose of Speaker Grills?

Speaker grills can affect sound quality, but they are put in place for a reason.

These components have various roles, including the following;

  • A speaker grill makes it attractive and visually appealing, thus resonating well with people concerned about the look.
  • If the speaker is exposed to sunlight, it is bound to spoil due to the UV rays, but the grills protect it from these dangers.
  • Foreign bodies also threaten your speakers’ internal parts, including the drivers, but grills prevent such incidences without compromising sound.
  • Speaker grills offer further protection by ensuring that not even fine particles such as dust reach the delicate components.
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Therefore, looking at the bigger picture, the speaker grills are in place for various reasons, and one must admit that one can’t ignore them.

Otherwise, there will be bigger problems besides the sound quality.

Should I Put Grills on My Speakers?

If your speakers have grills, it is advisable not to remove them.

You should also consider putting the speaker cover if your speakers don’t have them.

After all, the grills play a significant role in protecting the speakers.

What will prevent the foreign bodies, dust, other fine particles, and UV rays from damaging your speaker in the absence of the grills?

The speakers need that protection to last for a long time; thus, it is advisable to put them on or leave them intact, depending on your circumstances.

Besides, speaker grills won’t affect the sound quality as long as the design is correct, including the thickness, and you attach it correctly and tightly.

References

https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/grilles

https://blog.miscospeakers.com/speaker-grills-sound-quality

https://www.flanners.com/blog/do-you-need-speaker-grills

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