Pros: Very competively priced. Potential to upgrade to MS1000. Excellent first headphone.
Cons: Open design means that I can't wear them everwhere. Sometimes slow delivery as Alessandro are dependant on Grado for stock.
As a European, most Grado products sold here are almost prohibitively expensive when compared to our American counterparts. A Grado Sr80 retails for £108 ($167/€125)on amazon.co.uk whilst in the states its $99 (£64/€74) from headphone.com at present exchange rates, a significant difference to anyone starting out or considering a Grado for purchase.
Through reading on this site I found a viable alternative, the MS1i. The fixed price with the Alessandro MS1i $110 (€83/£71) to anywhere in the world is very appealing especially outside North America. Delivery came to $14.20 which I did not have to pay for.
I've seen skullcandy retail at roughly the same price in bricks and mortar shops.
Sound wise I cannot compare it to Grados (as I am still waiting on my winning lottery ticket to fall from the sky), there are extensive comparisons done by people more eloquent and well versed in describing sound using words alone on this site but I will sat this that they are excellent to my ears.
The only comparison I can do with is the Head Direct Re0 and it does come up short of the Re0, it doesn't reproduce the mids as well, nor not all the subtle nuances in a song that the Re0 does but bass wise it does a better job and obviously the soundstage is superior putting you front row rather than on stage with the Re0. Music (especially rock or anything with a bit of bass) just seems more enjoyable coming from them, whilst I might not hear everything I possibly could with the Re0. I don't always want to analyse my music, but I always want to enjoy it.
This is my personal preference and I love the look of them, the matt black of the coil and the gold tip look very cool and very retro. The leather headband and the flicks of white lettering look very minimal. Not trying to be loud and brashy, more understated and self assured. They aren't very portable due to the long cable but the open design should mean that they aren't suited to public places so would suit private listening in a quiet den.
I would say that they aren't the most impressively constructed and feel a bit minimal in build quality but they haven't broken at my clumsy hands. Once they're looked after well they shouldn't break. The plug jack is the most sturdy I've encountered and most of the headphones/earphones I've broke have been at that point, so that is heartening.
Another feather in the cap is the upgrade to the MS1000, though I would have to buy another Ms1i.
I personally could wear them all day and don't find them fatiguing or uncomfortable. I know people talk of washing the pads in gentle soap to soften if your ears are sore but since I've come from vices such as skullcandy I felt no discomfort and have to be careful not to doze off wearing them.
The widehead band also distributes the weight well and since the majority of the weight is in the thick cable and Y-splitter it doesn't affect comfort.
I feel that I'm very lucky to experience these and if you have the inclination to try a Grado but haven't got the money then these are what I would recommend. If you want to enjoy your music more and can afford yourself a quiet spot to listen to then these sound brilliant.