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Grado PS1000 Headphones

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #114 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Soundstage, tonality, verve

Cons: Floppy and awkward

I'm not the reviewing type, but I wanted to make sure that these got another positive review. They have been, in my estimation, savagely and unfairly maligned on Head-Fi, mostly by people who have never owned them. Suffice to say that they are the most satisfying listen of all the headphones I own or have owned. Check my profile if you are interested in my many points of reference.

 

Yes, they have faults (a slight mid-range focus, mainly, but also they are awkward and heavy to the point of occasional distraction), but they have the most expansive sound stage, and enveloping presentation, of any headphone I have tried. The sound is vital, detailed, and alive. If you are looking for the "standard" Grado sound, you will be surprised, and maybe disappointed, because they do not have the immediacy that characterizes the SR60i through the RS1i. What they have is beyond all that.

 

Thanks for reading!

Posted

Pros: Detailed Spectrum - Realistic Imaging - Bass Quality & Depth - Extended Highs - Warm Midrange

Cons: Choice Materials - Can Be Overly Bright - Too Forward - Bass Surge Isn't Enough

Grado PS1000-1

 

The Grado PS1000 is considered one of the best headphones available in the headphone world and has been compared to the likes of the Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, the Audez’e LCD-3, and the HiFiMan HE-6. At $1600, the Grado PS1000 is one of the most expensive flagships currently available, and I really don’t see a need for a formal or well thought out introduction, as I’m sure most of you just want to know what’s the stuff with the PS1000’s. So without any further ado, we shall begin with the Grado PS1000 review.

 

It’s been a long journey for me in the audio industry, and even though it’s only been two years, I’ve been lucky enough to listen to almost every flagship extensively over the last year, and in doing so, have become very familiar with each sound signature. I’d had yet to hear the Grado PS1000, so when the opportunity came to audition the Grado PS1000 extensively next to the HD800 and several other flagships, I was very excited. After two months of rigorous testing (and over fifty hours of burn in), I was finally able to see how the PS1000’s performed, and it seems as though the PS1000’s really do deserve a top spot against the other flagships in the lineup. I will say however, that it starts to become up to pure preference, and not sound quality, when choosing among the various headphones available when flagships are concerned, and like the other flagships, the Grado PS1000 is extremely unique in its presentation.

 

Equipment & Testing Setup Precautions

Before I began initial testing, I had to make sure that I was using the best equipment available for the job, and while I couldn’t quite afford a ten thousand dollar amp and source, I could afford some hardware and software that’s considered high end by many. First, my choice of music was picked from a wide selection. Almost every genre, but with only the highest quality recordings, like Metallica’s Metallica (or the Black Album, as it’s commonly known) for classic metal and Eric Clapton’s Unplugged for rock. Among others were some electronica music and scores, coming from both Hans Zimmer and John Williams, all running through Fidelia and ripped into ALAC and FLAC. Testing gear included some of my own gear, like the Burson Audio HA-160DS, and one of my most detailed DAC’s, the Rein Audio X-DAC. And just for the budget friendly, I threw in a Schiit Valhalla to see how the PS1000’s would perform on budget level gear. Oh, and did I mention that I was lucky enough to have a high end source and amp that I was demo-ing as well? The HeadRoom Triple Stack, which included the BUDA, UDAC, and PSU, and all seemed to synergies perfectly with the PS1000.

 

Now, after all that rambling about setup equipment, flagships, and other nonsense, I desperately need to get to the actual sonics. The PS1000 comes off as being, in a nutshell, a very bright and edgy headphone at first listen, and needs a bit of burn in for the upper treble to be tamed, or otherwise the entire spectrum will sound like the infamous and rather nasty HD800 treble peak. After a lot of burn in though (I recommend over fifty plus, but didn’t hear much more difference between a twenty-four hour burn in period), everything warms up a tad, and while the whole presentation of the PS1000 is still a tad bit edgy and forward sounding, you’re able to examine and dissect the spectrum a little more without any issue of earaches.

 

Sonic Musings

As I began initial testing of the PS1000, I noticed something that struck me as being a very odd characteristic for such a detail enveloped and bright sounding headphone, and that was the bass quality. Not necessarily the bass quantity (that’s more LCD-2 & Denon D7000 like), but the bass quality was simply unparalleled. The bottom of the spectrum doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of power or coloration of something like the LCD-2, but it has such an amazing transient response. Notes start up impressively quick and decay just as swiftly, and while the PS1000 is missing the huge amount of slam of the LCD-2, I still feel as if the PS1000 has a much higher detail level and is much more articulate. While I still prefer the LCD-2 when it comes to DnB and other electronica songs, the PS1000 outclasses the LCD-2 in bass quality, but not bass quantity. Its pick your poison. The Sennhesier HD800 can’t be forgotten either, as it has a decent bass response as well. The HD800 has good, articulate bass, but even it falls behind the PS1000, and sounds quite thin and lifeless (compared to the PS1000’s rather full bass response, and that’ll surely be subject to opinion). Also, just as a side note, the HD800 doesn’t even compare to the LCD-2 in sheer power, whereas the PS1000 might be able to with proper amping, especially on the Triple Stack. The HD800 is faster and more detailed, but nowhere near as powerful, and without any coloration whatsoever. So the HD800, at least in my mind, isn’t even a contender when it comes to balancing out bass characteristics.

 

The midrange part of the spectrum has spiked much controversy among a lot of people when it comes to the multiple flagships, and this is where I think the three headphones that I’ve been testing couldn’t be any more different from apples to peppers (sweet vs. spicy). The Grado PS1000 generally comes off as being overly bright from the midrange to the lower treble, and then some. However, if you listen to a wide range of genres, like Sting and other varied slow rock music, then you’ll start to see the true nature of the PS1000’s, especially after burn in. The midrange is generally slightly warm, very forward and aggressive, and features a very detailed vocality presentation with a lot of coherency. The vocals are very forward, and aren’t as edgy as the HD800, but with a tad bit of richness being apparent in some male and female vocal artists. The PS1000 sits in between the cold, laid back, and thin sounding midrange of the HD800 and the LCD-2’s liquid, warm, and slightly laid back midrange. Not as coherent and enjoyable as the LCD-2, but not as layered and edgy as the HD800, which is something I enjoy greatly. A slightly warm midrange, with good instrumental separation, and a to die for vocality presentation. I’d only love it more if the PS1000’s midrange was a tad bit more laid back, as the aggressive nature of the midrange tends to suck out the enjoyable experience of the rest of the midrange.

 

Up top, the treble presence is where the PS1000’s differ more from the LCD-2, and less from the HD800. While I still think that the HD800 has the best extended and detail retrieval capabilities of any headphone that I’ve tested, it still has that slight peak that can be very hurtful on the ears, and neither the LCD-2 or the PS1000 have that after burn in. Like the midrange presence, the PS1000 sits right in between (except for forwardness) the HD800 and LCD-2 in terms of treble quantity and quality. The HD800 and LCD-2 are both rather passive up top (the LCD-2 being shadowed, whereas the HD800 is totally opposite that), while the PS1000, like all other Grado models, is very forward and aggressive sounding, with a lot of sparkle. The PS1000’s treble isn’t as cold as the HD800, and lacks the earsplitting peak on the HD800. Yes, the PS1000 is less extended than the HD800, but has a slightly more warm and smooth presence (but don’t make think that the PS1000 has a warm treble, because that’s not the case at all). On an ending note, the LCD-2 is like the PS1000’s polar opposite. The LCD-2 is much more smooth, much less extended, and much more laid back, with a slower transient response, almost the exact opposite of the PS1000.

 

Finally, we’ve come to the last and probably longest part of this review when it comes to sonics, the soundstage and imaging abilities of the PS1000 versus the LCD-2 and HD800. I’ll try to make this as short as possible and easy to understand. While the HD800 has the biggest and most wide soundstage of the three, it lacks naturalness and a realistic image. The HD800 separates instruments way too far apart, and the amount of air and layering space is unrealistic for me (a lot of people will disagree with me on that). The PS1000 has a much different soundstage. Since the forward nature of the PS1000 sucks out the space and the imaging capabilities, you might be blinded by what the PS1000 can achieve. The PS1000 has an incredible amount of depth that’s both realistic and true to life, and sounds perfect on the right recordings. While width is definitely subpar when compared to the HD800, the PS1000 places instruments more accurately around the entire soundstage than that of the HD800, whereas the HD800 has too much air surrounding everything. The LCD-2 falls behind both headphones when it comes to depth, width, and instrumental separation, at least in my plane of view.

 

The Design & Materials

While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the PS1000’s build quality and choice materials when I began initial testing, I feel as if though they’ve made a bigger impression on me throughout the majority of the testing period. The PS1000’s feature ear cups that are unlike that of the aluminum in the HD800 and the wood in the LCD-2. Instead, they feature a very nice, glossy (which used to be matte and would have been my preference) metal alloy that’s very heavy (500 grams) and vey prone to fingerprints and minuscule scratches. The PS1000’s really do need some kind of oleo phobic coating to help with fingerprints and scratches, as they can become quite annoying. The headband is made out of a nice leather material, and while it’s not the most padded headband that I have used, it fits nicely on the head and isn’t very finicky at all, although I know some will prefer a little more cushioning.

 

The actual ear cups themselves present a bit of a problem for me. While the bowls are comfortable for a short period of time and play a big part in the soundstage, I feel as if though they can feel a bit itchy after elongated use, and really wish that Grado could use a new material for their bowls, like some kind of memory foam. Additionally, due to the hefty weight of the PS1000’s, the ear cups tend to slide down on one’s ears after a while, and can slide around a lot if you aren’t staying stock still while listening to music. Being as it’s one of the bigger issues that people to report, I hope Grado looks into this in the future, as it would really help. On an ending note, the cable is very thick and sturdy and features OCC copper coupled with a quarter inch jack, the standard size for most high end headphones.

 

Final Thoughts

The Grado PS1000 is truly a world class headphone in it own right, and while it may not be the most popular headphone on the market right now when it comes tot he high end dynamics, orthodynamics, and electrostatics, I still feel as if though the PS1000 has a very unique sonic character that sets it apart from the other bad boys of the group. It has a lot of characteristics of other headphones like the LCD-2 and the HD800, but with its own attributes as well (soundstage depth and bass quality). If Grado can improve the materials and comfort level of the PS1000, they may have themselves a winner with the PS1000. On an ending note, I know a lot of people who have modded their Grado’s, and they say it’s very easy to change the sonic signature, so if you ever get bored, why not try a little DIY work, it may pay off.

Posted

Pros: Majestic and very full sounding, sound stage depth unparalled, bass detail is one of the best

Cons: Weight, headband needs to be re-trimmed in the long term, distant sounding recordings will sound even more sucked out.

IMG_1587 (1500x1125).jpg

 

Introduction:-

 

Thought it was high time that someone populated at least one profile review concerning these

much maligned flagship cans from Grado.

 

The PS1000 ranks alongside the other two flagships from Audio Technica and Ultrasone

- the W5000 and Edition 10 as the three outsiders of choice when any Head-Fier decides

to take a leap into the world of flagship ownership. Many of the common threads suggest

that this may be entirely logical and self evident - other players from Sennheiser, HiFiman

and Audeze are simply the superior product and their Head-Fi popularity backs this up.

 

However, that's not to say there is not some unexpected goodness to be found with these

unpopular top offerings - The Grado PS1000 is one such example.

 

Brief Notes:-

 

The PS1000 is a departure from the SR and RS series, Grado lovers familiar with those

ranges will find themselves either pleasantly surprised with 'la difference' or disappointed

that John Grado has not continued more of the same. Don't get me wrong, the PS1000 still

possesses that undeniable Grado sound, but the sheer presentation is so different.

 

Mids are placed just right on certain recordings, tracks which with the 325i felt a little too

forward are now seated back perfectly and the generous sound stage width and depth

allows for a much more immersive experience. 

 

The key word with these cans is 'Immersion' - they literally can involve you like no other

can, especially if you are already quite partial to the Grado house sound. Guitar still

bristles with excitement, piano is rendered authentically but this time around - bass

detail separates the PS1000 from it's SR/RS siblings - it's so nuanced and textured

that you sometimes wonder how such a well trodden track can somehow appear to

sound well - new all over again!

 

IMG_1589 (1500x1125).jpg

 

It may sound silly to draw such metaphor, but when I think of

the PS1000 in terms of faintly veiled military comparison, the

image of a 'Big Bertha' cannon from WW1 emerges.

 

Big_Bertha_02.jpg

 

 bigbertha.jpg

 

 Big, majestic, powerful, slightly unwieldy (ok, quite unwieldy)

 

 The PS1000 like Bertha when placed in the correct position

 with the right source, amp and recording delivers a sonic blow

 to devastate your senses, however, it does not take much of

 an imagination to think of the flipside - this big behemoth

 being placed in an awkward position, on seeping sand with

 a mismatched system and simply the wrong recording for

 it's tastes.

 

 The big majestic creation becomes a very expensive non

 event. The PS1000 will not turn crap into candy, furthermore

 unlike many truths about Grados - it does take a very nice

 source, correctly matched amp and a compromised view

 towards your record collection to thoroughly enjoy these.

 

 It's best to think of it as just randomly picking 10 tracks from

 the collection and ending up with the following results :-

 

 4 tracks will present in ho hum fashion, a further 4 will have

 you thinking that these are quite good - and those last two

 will have you searching for your tongue on the floor.

 

 They really can be that magnificent ~ however, this is the dilemma

 - they're not a trusty all terrain, do-it-all-can for many. These

 last few months, I've enjoyed them across all my material,

 taking the mediocrity with the sublime. It's not a position that

 I can see many Head-Fiers taking in that sense if this was the

 sole can in their repertoire.

 

 There's no such thing as a perfect set of cans and the PS1000

 changes nothing there - however, they do deserve forgiveness

 in all cases when they do fire the right salvo.

 

 These will never be a solid recommendation on Head-Fi - that

 time has passed, but I encourage anyone seeking an evolution

 of the Grado signature who is prepared to stick by these cans

 with the diligence and long term commitment of let's say being

 a HD800 owner - to consider them, to accept their shortcomings

 for the fact that your efforts will be rewarded, perhaps just as much

 if not more so than with any other flagship out there at the moment.

 

 They're a diamond in the rough - at a diamond price smile.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Grado PS1000 Headphones
Description:

The manufacture of the PS1000 housing is a complicated and proprietary process that results in a sonic signature and voicing that is the Grado hallmark. An important step in this process is the metal housing being stressed and then cured resulting in a unique aesthetic finish. As with all Grado products the most important aspect is the sound. If you are interested in owning the finest headphone Grado has ever produced then the PS1000 is the choice that will satisfy the most critical music lovers.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandGrado
EAN0411378038807
FeatureWeight - 3 Ounces
Height0.31 inches
Length1.43 inches
Weight2.54 pounds
Width1.06 inches
LabelGrado Labs
ManufacturerGrado Labs
ModelPS1000
MPNPS1000
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameMICROPHONE
PublisherGrado Labs
StudioGrado Labs
TitleGrado PS1000 - Headphones ( ear-cup )
UPC411378038807
Warranty1 year warranty
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

No one has edited this wiki yet - be the first! The headings below are just suggestions; feel free to make your own.

 

Related Media/Links:

Add related videos, links to item guides, etc.

 

 

Troubleshooting/Known Issues:

 

 If you must hang your PS1000's vertically - use a decent supporting stand like this :-

 

 sieveking_sound_omega_wooden_headphone_stand_2.jpg

 

 A straight bar hanger that supports from the middle of the headband

 may weaken the cup supports due to their hefty weight.

 

How To:

 

I will update with personal pictures in future - but I highly recommend a velcro or snap button aftermarket

leather/pleather headband that can be simply placed over the original Grado item. No need to tamper

with Johnny G's work.

 

 

Related Items and Accessories:

 

Amps recommended would be -

 

WA6 with a tube roll, Violectric V100/V181/V200, Sugden HA-4, 

 

 

 

 

 

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