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Grado Pad Choices And Mods

This Article discusses the differences between the various Grado pads available, as well as some of the more popular tweaks of these pads.


There are 5 main off-the-shelf pads for the Grado's/Alessandro's headphones:


  • S-cush "Comfie" Pads
  • L-Cush "Bowl" Pads
  • "Flat" Pads
  • Sennheiser 414 Pads
  • G-Cush "Jumbo" pads



S-Cush Pads: nicknamed comfies, true to their name, very comfortable, standard on the 60i, 80i and 125i and MS1. These pads allow for an increase in bass, but sacrifice clarity,openness, realism, and some sound-stage.





Quarter-modded Comfies:

This mod makes the comfy pads behave a lot like the TTVJ flats. By opening up the centers, an open chamber is created against the ear for the sound to travel through. simply take a round object (like a quarter), place it in the center of the pad, and cut around it with an exacto knife/razor. the results can be rough in appearence but function just wonderfully. This picture is of Bilavideo's "Quarter modded" pads.


S-cush quarter.jpg


L-Cush "Bowl" Pads:




These are the pads which come stock on the SR-225i and higher headphones. They create a small "donut" shape which sits on top of/around the ear. They leave the driver holes exposed and thus present a more "airy" presentation. By moving the drivers farther from the ears they also create a slightly larger sound-stage, although the sound-stage gains are not incredible, they are evident. By being more open they do however give a presentation that is biased more towards the high-end of the frequency spectrum. The Bowl pads do decrease the amount of bass in relationship to the amount of treble, and as such, those who find the Grado's sibilant already should not consider them. Another problem which many users have with the Bowl pads is that their semi-circum-aural design causes pressure and discomfort on the pinae of the ears that makes long listening sessions less enjoyable and even difficult.


They aren't right for everyone, but for some, especially those with modified Grado's that have stronger bass presence, the bowl pads are an upgrade which provide more realism, clarity, and distance to the music.


Among other places, the L-Cush can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Grado-L-Cush-Large-Replacement-Cushions/dp/B0006GCCO0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1310005355&sr=1-1



"Flat" Pads:


Only TTVJ Audio sells these now as far as I know for $35 USD/pr. They were designed for the vintage Grado such as the HP1000, SR100/200/300 and early RS1. If you put these on any current Grado/Alessandro models, you will experience something similar to the button Bass Boost on old school hifi amplifier. Bass will be very prominent.




Sennheiser 414 Pads:




Although these pads are not made for the Grado headphones, they are a direct fit onto them. These pads are very similar to the "Flat" pads, but are available far more cheaply. The downside is that they are flourescent yellow.


These pads have no center opening, but can be "Quarter Modded" just like the C-Cush pads to provide a more open presentation. The Senn 414 pads can be used either in their normal position, or flipped inside out and installed backwards to provide a smidge more distance between the driver and the ear. (Maverickmonk's Notes: Personally, I love the feeling of the Senn 414 pads, the foam is softer than the standard Grado pads)


To rectify the color, some have dyed their Senn pads, with varying degree's of success. (Maverickmonk's Notes: I used Rit dye and the results were very unsatisfying. Although the pads look wonderful, they now turn my ears black if I listen to them for more than 15 minutes! A higher quality, more permenent dye seeems to be required here)


In conclusion, the Sennheiser 414 pads are a cheap substitute for the Flat pads, they are comfortable, retain bass presence, yet allow a clean presentation, if you can stand the bumble-bee look or can find a method of dying them.


The Senn 414 pads are available to purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Cushions-Sennheiser-HD414-headphones/dp/B002B4OEZ0



Sennheiser HD414 pads quartermod

HD414 quarter.jpg


With the quartermods, the HD414 pads are supposed to more closely resemble the flat pads, but due to the consistancy difference, they still are not supposed to be quite the same


G-Cush "Jumbo" Pads



"Modded my SR125 with the G pads. The result was a bigger sound stage and a more wide open feel. On the other hand, because the drivers are further away and there is now "sound pocket" the high frequencies are a tad to bright." - maze400


Some modders glue t-shirt fabric to the inside of their G-cush pads to absorb some of the high-frequency ringing. More info on this mod in the ms1000 thread



All together now (right click "open image in new tab" to see the full size)


Grado Pads.jpg


Comments (19)

hd414 pads are not a substitute for flats, they are a different beast. I appreciate the right up though.. Also, you can lock that rit dye in.. I forgot what people use.. Vinegar and cold water? something along those lines.
Added picts from every pad I could grab and one pict beatles style.
I am using the G pads on my 325i's, makes them so much more comfortable and I like the sound too, highly recommended upgrade
I Modded my SR125 with the G pads. The result was a bigger sound stage and a more wide open feel. On the other hand, because the drivers are further away and there is now "sound pocket" the high frequencies are a tad to bright.
Many thanks for the pics! and Chris, I tried vinegar, I tried salt, nothing seems to fix the dye, which is a shame, because I love the comfort of the senn pads.
Apparently you need hot water, some salt and if you're feeling rad, maybe vinegar.
yeah, I might have just used too much die, I tried all of those, even machine washing them with oxyclean and salt, haha. I think I just made too concentrated a batch of dye
so people,witch mod you thing are better to improve just bass for rock listeners??
any answer would be highly appreciated

don't hesitate to get them for a bit more rumble, you will be shocked.
I can vouch for B and H photo.. Great online shop.
Excellent article, and much needed given all the options available! Would the OP consider adding maze400's comments regarding the effects of G pads to his article? (Or his own impressions?)
Has anyone tried the iGrado pads on say... the RS2i?
Doubt that they would even fit to begin with.
Are there any other (current) headphones with pads that could be used? The HD 414 seems to have been long phased out... and the L-cush is a bit expensive for my taste. (as are any remaining HD414 pads)
What about 3rd party cushions (other than TTVJ)? On eBay, some Chinese sellers are offering China-made L and S cushions for 1/4 the price of Grado OEMs. 
FYI. If you want a stock experience, just buy from any aftermarket that has the same shape, and apply some white glue (the type of glue kindergarden students normally use in their school projects) all over the front and back edges, and you got the stock pads. Some Chinese aftermarket pad makers make the pads the exact same shape as Grado stock pads.
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