So you want to cover your exposed speaker drivers, and you’re looking for the best speaker fabric out there. Speaker fabric is useful for all kinds of DIY projects, such as replacing the old or damaged speaker cloth, building a speaker enclosure, or covering up routers and other equipment.
When you have significantly large speakers, it’s common for the fabric to be damaged. Another scenario could be your cats decided to use the speaker mesh as a scratching post, tearing it to shreds, and leaving the speaker’s drivers exposed.
There are some important things that you need to know about speaker fabric. I’ll cover the most important points in this article.
What is Speaker Fabric?
Speaker fabric is a material that is acoustically transparent and protects internal speaker drivers. The fabric is most commonly used to prevent dust from entering the speaker enclosers. Speaker fabric can go by other names, such as “speaker mesh”, “grille cloth” and “speaker grill”.
The purpose of the fabric is to allow sound to pass through while preventing dust and other pollutants from entering the speaker enclosure. For that reason, speaker fabric has a low thread count, and it’s often designed in a mesh pattern, with a couple of additional layers.
What’s great about this material is there are many different patterns and styles available, so you can create a unique look for your speakers.
What Material is Speaker Fabric Made From?
Speaker fabric is usually made from a synthetic material such as polyester. The exact material will depend on the company that manufactures it, but 9 times out of 10 it will be polyester with a low thread count.
Recommended Speaker Fabrics:
The easiest way to avoid problems with speaker cloth is to buy the specific material that you need.
Here are a couple of good choices:
This fabric is black, very thin, and visually transparent. You’ll still be able to see the drivers on your speakers but the cloth will protect the speakers from dust.
Here’s a speaker grill that has a heavy and more durable feel. It looks like a black net, but it does a good job of protecting speakers from damage.
You’ll likely have to cut the fabric to match the dimensions of your speakers and make sure to stretch it tight.
Does Speaker Grill Cloth Affect Sound?
Good quality speaker grill cloth does not affect sound quality because it’s acoustically transparent which means sound can pass through with no loss. The main purpose of the material is to improve the aesthetics of speakers while also keeping contaminants out of the sensitive components.
It mostly boils down to a matter of personal preference. Some people claim their speakers sound better with no fabric, while others say the opposite.
I personally recommend using speaker fabric because it can prolong the life of your speakers by preventing dust and other damage. It’s especially important to cover the speakers if you have young children or pets in your home.
However, there are low-quality speaker meshes that can reduce the sound quality of your speakers. For that reason, it’s important to learn how to spot the differences between good and bad speaker fabric.
How to Test Acoustic Transparent Fabric:
The best way to test if a fabric is acoustically transparent is to hold the fabric up to your mouth, put a hand behind it, and breathe on it. If you can feel your breath on your hand behind the fabric, the material is probably acoustically transparent.
However, if you don’t feel your breath on your hand, it’s likely not a good option. The breath test is a good way to check for acoustic transparency because if air can get through the material then the sound can too.
Other Uses for Speaker Fabric:
Speaker cloth is a useful material and it can be used for all kinds of projects.
Here are some of the most common:
Re-Clothing Old Speaker Mesh:
Do you have large speakers that look like they’ve been attacked by a wild animal? It can definitely be an eye-sore, especially when they’re in the living room. Replacing the protection cloth on the old speakers can bring new life to them. It’s a relatively simple project too.
Hiding Routers & Other Transmitters:
Since the material is acoustically transparent, wireless signals can pass through with no issues. You could use the fabric to create an enclosure for a router or other wireless transmitters. It can also help reduce cable clutter.
The Bottom Line:
If you have some speakers that don’t have a protection mesh, it’s recommended to spend some time covering them up with a good quality speaker fabric. When your speakers are protected, they’ll not only look better, but they’ll last longer too. And you can always replace the mesh later on.