Pros: Amazing Soundstage, Precise Imaging, Nothing Short Of Breath-taking
I have just acquired my first set of Grado GS1000's, at approximately 3-4 years old, these are the non-i version.
They have only had a claimed 15-25 hours use prior to my initial testing, these cans are not broken in, they will require 100-200 hours before properly warmed.
I shall start by saying that I am far from an audio or electrical engineer; I just know what I like and what I don’t. Most of my HiFi experience comes from larger gear, but I ventured into the world of HiFi Can’s when I purchased a pair of Grado SR80i’s three or so years ago.
Since then, I have been using a pair of re-cabled AKG K701’s (Don’t even get me started on weather I think cabling actually does anything!).
- FLAC / M4A lossless audio
- 2011 Macbook Pro
- Fiio E10 DAC
- Little Dot MK/II can-amp
- Grado GS1000’s, with 15-25 hours use since new
- Wish You Were Here (Mastersound Limited Edition)
- Tool - Lateralus
- Hazmat Modine - Bahamut
- Cocorosie – Grey Oceans
- Doug Macloud - Brand New Eyes
- The Weekend – House Of Balloons
- Mighty Sam McClain – Sweet Dreams
- Telarc Collection, various tracks on Vol. 1 through 10.
The first thing I noticed about the GS1k’s (Other than the price tag!) is their, imaging – I’m not talking just about vocal imaging, not just treble or bass – The GS1k’s impress right through the range.
I found to obtain comfortable listening, I set the Macbook Pro to 70% volume, the Fiio 3.5 out of 8 and the Little Dot MK/II between 50 and 90%.
Comfort – Grado really have swayed from their pack here, the GS1k’s are very easy to wear, the large bowls, light cups and frame leave almost no pressure on the top of your head. I was quite surprised how good they sounded straight from my work computer’s sound card with no extra amplification, where the AKG’s would be struggling and flat the Grado’s sounded a lot more real.
As is well documented, the GS1k’s don’t conform to Grado’s usual strongly middle-focused display, they are much more well-rounded and so far have not been uncomfortable to listen to on any decently recorded albums.
Notable encounters with various recordings:
Listening to ‘Here I come again’, a track on Might Sam McClain’s album Sweet Dreams the GS1k’s carried the trumpet so well that I found myself looking over my right shoulder looking for a life band.
Telarc Collection – Vol 10 - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: Overture
Not my favorite piece of music, however, very well recorded and I think this track really displays systems capability to image sound that has been recorded from quite some distance (I’d love to see how they mic’d the room for this), the Grado’s performed well, although I did feel a bit disconnected from the music, feeling it sat a little far behind me, but I have found that with much of Volume 10.
Telarc Collection – Vol 8 - Montagues and Capulets: The GS1k’s performed well again, the bellowing of the tubers(?) sounded as sinister and as demonic as it should rightly do. As the music fades off to as whisper, I noticed no ‘bass-fade’ or lack of expression, for this I give the GS1k’s a big thumb up.
Tool – The Grudge, I was concentrating on spatial separation through a good part of the track, excellent cross-instrument differentiation (as you’d expect from one of the most well recorded albums of recent times), but the GS1k’s again impressed me. I believe Danny Carey’s drumming may have left me with two black eyes and sever bruising after the second time I listened to this.
Sit back with a nice peaty scotch and enjoy, I am love these cans.
Shame about the price when purchased new, I’d suggest looking for a quality second hand pair before splashing out the ridiculous asking price new.
If you have some no-so-well recorded albums – bin them, no, set them on FIRE because that is what owning these cans will make you want to do.
Edit: Reduced design score as the cable design could be a lot better, I'm pretty sure the stock cable won't last very long around the Y splitter.