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.
Pros: 95% of the burned in sound
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.