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A subwoofer cover is a fabric, metal, or plastic cap that protects the speaker from dust infiltration and physical damage. Also referred to as a grille, the cover functions as an aesthetic addition, as well as a shield. Some subwoofer covers are removable, whereas others can be permanently attached. Proper care of the subwoofer cover will ensure a long speaker life with appealing bass.
One of the most common cover types is fabric. Many speaker owners are familiar with the thin, mesh sheath that surrounds the front of the speaker cone. This subwoofer cover type functions best for a home theater system, rather than a vehicle installation. The fabric sheath does not provide impact protection, but stops dust from settling on the speaker's cone. Excess dust can easily distort the bass output by adding unnecessary weight to the cone as it tries to vibrate sound waves outward.
Metal or plastic covers offer speaker protection, especially for a vehicle installation. The majority of car subwoofer owners place their speakers in the car trunk; however, the subwoofer can become damaged from loose items striking the front cone. The hard metal or plastic cover commonly forms a star or crisscross shape across the speaker, creating a shield against moving items.
The main drawback to the metal or plastic subwoofer cover type is the lack of dust protection. As a result, the best application for the hard cover is an enclosed car trunk installation where dust is not a primary concern. Home theater speaker applications are more affected by dust than by impact damage.
The metal and plastic subwoofer cover types normally attach to a speaker by simply pressing the cover against the speaker cone's outer edge, effectively clicking it into place. Removing the cover usually entails prying it loose with a small flat head screwdriver. Fabric covers can be removable or non-removable, depending on the manufacturer. The removable fabric types use a plastic ring attachment, much like the metal and plastic covers. Non-removable types are permanently attached, and are commonly installed on smaller subwoofer speakers.
Covers should be cleaned periodically since dirt and dust debris affects the overall bass output. Consumers can remove the metal and plastic covers, cleaning them with a moist rag. Removable fabric covers can be rinsed off, eliminating accumulated dust. In contrast, non-removable fabric grilles can usually be cleaned with a vacuum attachment, or even spot cleaned with a moist towel for any stubborn stains.