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Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Grado Reference RS2 Headphones

Grado Reference RS2 Headphones

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #292 in Over-Ear


Pros: Gorgeous hand crafted design, transparent mids, intimate vocals, sparkly clear highs, deep detailed bass, very open sounding, easy to drive

Cons: Lacks bass impact, lacks subbass, grattles and looses control in higher volumes, uncomfortable

*note this is actually a rs2e review* Shame head fi doesn't have a product page for it*



Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure this is the cheapest wood headphone you can buy (well maybe the OG rs2). And it's beautiful. But does it sound as good as it looks?  TLDR: Yes it does, but not for all genres and not at high volumes.



Pros: Simple packaging, easy to unbox

Cons: Pizza box!!!, not many accessories


Ah the classic grado pizza box. Maybe it’s ridiculous, but it’s easy to unbox and that’s pretty much what you should expect for all grados.




Burn in

Pros: 95% of the burned in sound

Cons: none

You pretty much get 95% potential of the sound out of the box, a 50 hour burn in only netted marginally deeper and tighter bass with maybe the sound being slightly more refined.




Pros: Thick strong cable, handcrafted design, charming imperfections, looks, feels and smells good

Cons: Non removable cable


Smell, take a sniff, the leather smells nice and the wood is a bit spicy. You can tell these were handcrafted, and even though it was a bit imperfect (asymmetrical, a bit of extra string in the leather stitching and a small cut in the wood), it just adds to the handmade charm that I just adore. While I’m a bit annoyed with the non removable cables, at least it looks like it won’t break down for a 100 years. Nice, thick and strong.




Pros: Strong build with nice materials

Cons: Some cheap plastic

While the plastic is annoying and not glued straight and disappointing for the price point, it’s far better than some all plastic cans at the price and it’s still a sturdy flexible phone full of premium materials




Pros: Small and light, relatively short cable

Cons: chucky cable


It’s not really meant to be portable, but it’s surprisingly small, and it might work as a portable. The cable while chunky is a relatively short. So if you want to use these on the go, despite such a thing not being recommended for open back cans, it’s actually not that bad. When I went out with the rs2e and many other open back headphones, managed to get a decent enough volume to negate outside noise without the leakage reaching other people’s ears.





It’s open, so don't expect isolation. It’s not really the point of these cans anyways. But for an open headphone it leaks less than I thought it would be.





Pros: Inoffensive for half an hour

Cons: Goes downhill after that.


It’s a grado, so you don’t really expect comfort when going for these. Still, it hurts a lot with prolong usage, and at best it’s inoffensive but not particularly comfortable.




Wired unamped sound quality


Pros: Transparent mids, intimate vocals, sparkly airy highs with detailed and deep bass, consistent sound across different sources, intimate soundstage, solid separation. Decent imaging and detail.

Cons: A bit flat sounding, no bass impact


Grados are pretty easy to drive, and sound consistently good between my android, ipod touch, windows phone and even laptop. There is a bit of noise via my laptop but it’s not a big deal. There are problems with the sound, but it’s more a problem with the source rather than the can. I don’t expect much without a good amp or dac, and you shouldn't either.




Wired amp and dac via e07k


Pros: Same pros as unamped, with a exciting, louder sound

Cons: Grattles and becomes more sibilant with wobbly vocals at loud volumes, bass impact only slightly improved


You’re not really going to get that classic grado sound straight from a phone, but even a modest amp/dac like the E07k will bring out the excitement. As far as the mids and highs are concerned, it’s pretty much glorious. The soundstage while not big, is made use of very well, with solid imaging and separation. The thing that stands out the most however is the intimate aggressive sound. For all the sounds you get from mids and highs, they feel realistic, transparent and hits you in the face. The tops hats and cymbals are sizzlely and forward yet not fatiguing or overbearing. The mids while not as sweet or smooth like a akg or a sennheiser, is intimate, aggressive and exciting. Anything acoustic and live sounds brilliant with the rs2es. However the bass impact is still a bit lacking even with bass boost. You can hear the clean detailed bass but is by and large unexciting. And because of the louder attainable volume and the bass boost, rattling becomes easy to acquire even at (while high) still normal volumes. And even at a volume level without grattling (unless it’s quite low) some recordings sounds a bit bright and some vocals sound a bit wobbly. The sad thing is that at said high volumes the bass does impact sufficiently. And while at a lower volume the grattle, sibilance and wobbly vocals disappear, but you’re left with recessed boring bass.  I tried a replacement and while the grattling is a bit lessened, it’s still there.  This leaves me to conclusion that the rs2e just can’t handle amplified bass. To be fair, for anything that doesn't need thumping bass, I haven't heard anything that sounds as engaging as the rs2e. Well maybe the lcd 2 but you can buy 2 rs2es for such a headphone.






If you looking for a general purpose headphones, and a comfortable one at that, look somewhere else. There are a very few types of cans that can match a grado on acoustic or rock, and they're pretty good at classical and jazz. but if you even briefly listen to EDM, modern pop and other types of electronica, the low end will leave a lot to be desired. However if you already have a reference and a bass head can, adding these to your collection for rock or acoustic is highly recommended.





Pros: Great sound, Detailed, Resolution, Warm,

Cons: Pads are stiff right now.

Wow...where to start, as I said this is MY Audio Nirvana.

I suppose I should start by saying that I love the Grado sound, or at least I thought I did as I had only tried the sr80i and bought them and the 225i and was underwhelmed by the price to performance. The signature of the sr80i was a fantastic fit for me but I HATED  the high end. The Grado RS-2 were some what of a shock to me thinking the Grado sound was very in your face and Bright, with NO bass and a sibilant high end. The RS-2 are not at all like that in fact I think the 325is start to capture the house sound rather well but are still fathoms below the Vintage RS-2's.


Build: Well the 325is I fell are built better as they are....ya know METAL, but eh RS-2s are no slouch and head and shoulder above the sr series below the 325is. The wood is so fantastically treated and dark it's more of a work of art then a headphone cup. The headband is nice and soft and real leather which is nice. Other than that they are the "classic" Grado build.


Comfort: Well In the store with the incredibly used pads I found they quite comfortable. With new pads they start to die into my ears but that will change with age and it's not really that bad. People seem to complain about the headband hurting their head but I have never experienced that with any headphone as of yet and this is no exception.


Sound: OH MY GOD!!!! I was flabbergasted, awe struck, dumbfounded and beside my self. The RS-2 still retain that very rich , detailed, in your face, and involving midrande. The bass is still a bit lacking but blows the k500 and k601's away in that department. Bass texture is just dripping from the wooden cups and has a resonation that is almost Cello like in nature giving string and classical instruments such depth and warmth it's hard to find a comparison. The High end is MUCH MUCH smoother than the sr60-225i and DAMN SURE more smooth AND detailed then the GS1000 from direct comparison. The overall tone is a very pleasing tone, Rich involving mids complemented but such a detailed and textures bass with pretty descent extension and these are all tied to gather with a very clear and resolute high end that I can find neither hide nor hair of sibilance. Very warm overall and very VERY pleasing for my musical choices.


Overall I'm head over heals in love with these headphones, the warmth and resolution, almost two polar opposites rolled into one headphone but it pulls it off so pleasantly it's hard to find a downside other than the price. I wish they had made less of an impact on my funds but for performance like this I'm not going to whine.


Me and the man working the shop where I bought them from had a lengthy decision and from what we came up with the best way to describe them is like a fine wine. A full bodied richness with a bright splash and a smokey sultriness with oakie Woodie undertones pulled into a package with a warm exaction.


Grado Reference RS2 Headphones

The newest edition to the Grado family, the RS2 is the little brother of the RS1. The characteristics of the RS2 remain the same as its distinguished big brother's, with the hand crafted mahogany, but there is a smaller wooden air chamber. Although a miniature version of the RS1, they still maintain an overall sound that is pure Grado, warm harmonic color, full bodied vocals, excellent dynamics and ultra smooth top end. These truly are audiophile?s dream.

FeatureTranducer type - Dynamic / Operating principle - Open Air / Frequency response - 12-30 kJZ / SPL 1mV - 98 / Normal impedance - 32ohms
Weight3 pounds
LabelGrado Labs
List Price$495.00
ManufacturerGrado Labs
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameMICROPHONE
PublisherGrado Labs
StudioGrado Labs
TitleGrado Reference RS 2 - Headphones ( ear-cup )
Special FeaturesWhat does the i stand for in the new RS2i from Grado? Improved, that's what! The RS2i is the little brother of the RS1i. The RS2i has an upgraded driver and the new 8 conductor cable design. The characteristics of the RS2i remain the same as its distinguished big brother, with the new species of hand crafted mahogany, but with a smaller wooden air chamber. Although a miniature version of the RS1i, the RS2i still maintains an overall sound that is pure Grado, warm harmonic color, full bodied voca
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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