Pros: Elegant and detailed sound with syrupy mids and extended low, plenty of air and space in big soundstage, warm and inviting vocals
Cons: The cable will broke because of unstoppable twisting cups (predictable Grado downer), need amping for full spectrum result
AH! Grado. Sir John Grado.
How can we not love you? How can we not hate you?
You never sold your soul to the market and still construct your headphones in America, your quality is still the same as in 1990 when you begin to create your first marvelous headphones with your wife in a small workbench while the company was on the verge of bankrupcy. As a mad scientist and sound poet, you discover one of the more musical driver of all time and design open back cups that give fresh oxygene to the musicality of every frequency. We know you like to listen to your creation with tube amp and surely prefer vinyl to CD or even SACD, you are from the old school for the better and the worst.
Now that your son begin to take your step, it could be for the better or the worst too, as from what I read he look like to be more a business man than an incurable audiophile.
Anyway, you create marvelous headphones with a unique soundsignature that fascinate today as much as 25 years ago.
For that, dear John Grado, you are a Jazzy God.
Yes, no need to read about you to know you LOVE Jazz, old smoky jazz, Duke and Lady Day, flying piano notes that decay in a dark room and doublebass that can be feel from the ears to the guts.
And as a Jazz aficionado, your headphones is a sent of God to me, the miracle I was waiting for without even knowing it.
I have had in my possession the Grado Alessandro, the Grado GS1000 too but the only one I kept is the Grado Sr325i wich I will review here.
This headphones are something special, a little bit excentric in the appearance I can say, with their heavy metal construction and gold color, you will not pass unremarked in the crownd with them on the head. As their sound leakage is enormous, I doubt you will feel socialy acceptable with them on too, well, I know kids nowadays play their music out loud on their smartphone, but this headphones isn't meant for kids at all, not the one that listen only to Pop and rap and boomy entertainment.
Talking about construction, the headband is made of real leather, construction is all metal and plastic and gold earcups made of very heavy metal that look indestructible.
Unfortunately, it is not. Because of the turning earcups the cable begin to broke on one side and inner wire are now visible and dangerously loose on my Sr325i. This happen with my Grado GS1000 too and I have to sell them because it was too expensive to repair. Their you have the number one Grado issue. You can solve this with your own ingeniosity and I will for sure next time, but to avoid the constant swirling that fatigue the cable to the point of breaking it you will need to construct something that hold the metal branch so it doesn't constantly turn.
The Sr325i came with the L-cush, but I try it with the bowl cup and it is more comfortable and improve even more the soundstage, the L-cush can make your ear touch the scring and you must know that if a hair get in the way between your ear and sound scring it will cause GRATTLE SOUNDS with some frequencies, having a bald head is very usefull with Grado because this grattle sound can occur with ALL their headphones.
I think the Grado Sr325i are the more ''bassy'' one of the SR serie. Compared to the Alessandro or Sr60 the extension in the low end is bigger and fuller. It is still punchy tough, but with more weight and realism, toms hit sound more natural and listening to doublebass or cello is a real treat. The bass is very addictive and accurate if not extremely fast, it flow in they air with confident and is a delight when the source is acoustic, a little less when it's from electronic music because grado have what I will call a Vintage sound that beg to be amped by a tube amplifier. For Classical, Jazz, Worldmusic and any instrumental based music it is eargasms, for modern rap, D&B, IDM and boomy pop it is not always a good combination.
Grado medium frequencies are the most important part of the Grado sound. From the Sr60 to the GS1000 you can't be indifferent about them. Their elegant and warm presentation is nothing short of mesmerising, you are drown in the vocals like in a pool of good champagne and can float on your back for hours listening to the fascinating bubbles (sorry for the strange metaphor!). The SR325i is no exception to the rule, I have goosebumps everytime im listening to female signers like Arianna Savall, Mazzy Star, Agnes Obel, Julia Holter or Billie Holiday...the medium range is foward but in a vast way and have good texture to it, instruments like violin and saxophone sound superb on the SR 325i. The overall sound is sometime enveloping and intimate concert-hall-style.
I read some reviews that said the treble is kind of bright with these Grado, I do not think that at all but I guess every ears are differently sensible to high frequencies. I don't find harsh or agressive the highs even if the details are very present and treble sparkle alot, for exemple the cymbals extend vastely wich I find very enjoyable, it had too to the full spectrum texture but never feel over forced, in fact, for my hardbeaten ears it sound relaxed and gentle. Harshness is more present when the Grado are not enough amped, it can sound okay with a low source but will GREATLY benifit of more amping, this way the sound doesn't struggle to get free and musicality is at his fullest. Any Grado will sound better if correctly amped I think.
This delactable Grado SR325i have a very impressive soundstage with incredible instruments separation, listening to Linda Perhacs right now I can picks all instruments and the voice shine in the middle of this beautifull musicality. The sound is unforgiving too with low quality music or overcompressed tracks. As it's sound signature can be detremental for some style of music I will not consider it as a all-arounder. Anyway it excell in beauty when the moment come and their a plenty of magical ones.
I never found a headphones that can sound good with all the style of music I listen too so I do not ask that to a headphones and what the Grado SR325i deliver me is over what I wish, I highly recommend these headphones and will refrain from given it 5 stars because of the swirling cable and earcups problem that can be very very frustrating.
Anyway, nothing import more than the sound and
GRADO SOUND GREAT.