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The great thing about investing in home stereo speakers is that once you have a pair you like, there’s no reason you can’t keep them for a very long time. A good pair of bookshelf speakers can be connected to technology both new and old, meaning you’ll be just as likely to be able to use stereo speakers with a vintage turntable as you would the latest TV. In fact, speakers are so low-maintenance that you might just start to take them for granted. But you should, in fact, do some basic care for your speakers — and that starts with learning how to clean speakers.
If you haven’t really looked under the hood of your stereo speakers, then it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with the names of the parts and the different components of a pair of bookshelf speakers. As with any audio gear, you can get infinitely granular, but these are the main components to familiarize yourself with.
- Cabinet: The cabinet, as the name suggests, is the enclosure that houses the inner components. It can be made from wood, MDF or other materials.
- Grille: The grille on most speakers is made from a thin cloth material, and it serves as a protective cover for the drivers. The grille is typically removable, either using magnets or posts.
- Drivers: Simply put, the drivers make sound happen. Most bookshelf speakers have a tweeter for high frequencies and a woofer for mid-range and low frequencies. These are typically round and cone-shaped, and you can see them if you remove the grille.
When cleaning your stereo speakers, it’s important to remember that you don’t want to do more harm than good. You don’t want to damage the cabinet, and you definitely don’t want to damage the tweeter or woofer. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay away from any harsh chemicals, avoid excessive moisture and in general, be gentle.
Klipsch is one of the leading audio brands for both music and home theater stereo speakers, so it’s no surprise they have a guide to speaker maintenance. You likely already have most of what you need, and it should only take a couple of minutes to clean your speakers.
Cleaning the Cabinet and Drivers
As with any cleaning task, one of the best places to start is with yourself: wash your hands. To clean the cabinet, simply give it a wipe with a wet microfiber cloth. This microfiber cloth should not be dripping wet, but rather simply slightly damp. This will help prevent the water from damaging the mechanical components. A dry microfiber cloth should be used to wipe off any excess moisture.
A dry cloth can be used to (very gently) wipe the speaker cones, such as the mid-range or woofer. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow the dust off any of the more sensitive components that shouldn’t be handled. What about the tweeter? Dynaudio, a Danish speaker maker in business since 1977, puts it simply; “Back away from the tweeter.”
Cleaning the Grille
Klipsch suggests using a lint roller for cleaning your speaker grille. This will pick up any dust and debris that might be sitting on the grille, improving the visual look of your speakers. With the grille, it’s important to be gentle as well. Speaker grilles tend to be pretty delicate because they have to be light enough to not obstruct the sound. This may not be an issue for everyone, because many people like to leave the grilles off their speakers, either for aesthetic or sound quality reasons.
What You Need To Clean Your Speakers
You don’t need any special equipment to clean your speakers, and you might already have much of this at home. But if you don’t, check out the links below to pick up whatever you need.
1. Scotch-Brite Lint Roller
This lint roller from Scotch-Brite can be used on the grille, and it’s also great to have around the house for clothes and upholstered furniture. Each roll includes 60 sheets.
2. iDuster Compressed Air Duster
If you’ve never used a compressed air duster before, it’s a good way to clean out the hard-to-reach crevices of a keyboard. It can also be used to blow dust off the speakers.
3. Scotch-Brite 3-in-1 Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
A microfiber cleaning cloth is handy for so many tasks around the house, and this cloth can be used for dusting, including cleaning the cabinet on a pair of bookshelf or freestanding speakers.
The Best Speakers To Buy for an Upgrade
If you’re ready to upgrade from a smart speaker for at-home music listening, or you want to improve the audio coming from your TV for movie marathons, then consider some of these speakers. They include passive speakers (which will need to be connected to a stereo) as well as active speakers, which can be plugged directly into an audio source, such as a turntable.
1. Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker
Klipsch is a legendary brand that’s been in the business since 1946. Their speakers are notable for the distinctive copper-toned woofer. They’re stylish enough that you’re likely to want to leave the grille off. These are powered Bluetooth speakers, so you don’t need a stereo to connect these to your turntable or stream music directly from your phone. They also have a built-in phono pre-amp, making it easier to connect a turntable. They’re not cheap, but considering how much they can do, these speakers are a great value.
2. Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System
Sony makes just about every kind of consumer electronics under the sun, so it’s easy to take them for granted. But they consistently deliver some of the best audio equipment for the price. These passive speakers are a great example. They’re a three-driver speaker, including a woofer, a tweeter and a super tweeter. Three-driver speakers are rare at this price point, or at higher price points, for that matter. These are passive, so you’ll need to connect them to a stereo.
3. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier offers one of the best values for speakers in the business, so it’s no surprise they’re as popular as they are. These powered speakers can be connected using a 3.5mm output or an RCA cable.