Other than appearance, there is no particular reason to use a cover over a recessed, Lightning type cone, is there?

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Protection. Spun cones are very delicate.

But can support string tension without collapsing?

Think of it kind of like a pop can. It can take large amounts of force straight down, but tap it on the side and it caves. Also very easy to pierce. 

Got it, thanks, but I note that most I see on CBGs are not covered.

I thought it was just $10 of decoration to justify marking up the retail price another $100, bwahahaha

You're right. Many CBG cones are not covered. You don't have to put one on, and probably be okay.  

I get your point though, thanks.

To my mind JL nailed it, purely decoration, and to add finish to a gaping hole, very limited sonic effect, and i suspect your cone only needs physical protection in a war zone, and if so, it would be made of kevlar

If I use the copper cone, I kind of hate to cover it if not necessary, and as I'm just a front porch player, opportunities for damage are minimal.

Milt is correct the spun aluminium cones are very delicate and rely on on their shape for strength.Deform the shape weaken the cone.

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