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I've noticed that my NHT SuperOnes subjectively sound better when i remove the grilles. Specifically, the off axis sound from the tweeter seems better. This is most noticeble if i'm sitting in between the speakers very close to the speaker wall (since the speaker drivers aren't pointing directly at me) The highs just sound clearer and brighter. Is this normal? Also, are speakers supposed to have the grilles on or is just for looks?
 

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Many, if not most, speakers sound better with the grilles off. The material attenuates the sound, and as you noticed can affect dispersion.

Some speakers like my Green Mountain Audio Europas are voiced with the grilles on, and sound worse with them off. Good thing, since they are ugly as sin with grilles!

Usually your mfgr will be honest and tell you if they sound better on or off.
 

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My AR.com DIY speakers sound best with the grills on; they image better this way. However, most speakers I've had sound best with the grills off. Speakers primarily are marketed for use with the grills on, even if they may sound better with them off. However, I'm more of a function over form kind of guy and prefer a better sounding speaker over how they look. Besides, I prefer how a speaker looks with the grill off anyway.
 

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I read somewhere that most speakers are designed with the grills off, and the grills are added later when marketing gets involved. They design the grills to have as little effect on the sound as possible, which sometimes doesn't work that well. In most cases there is very little difference either way.


I own M&K 850's which were designed with the grills on, and the mfg, recommends to leave them on in the owners manual.


Greg
 
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