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Grado SR-80

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #4 in On-Ear


Pros: Very musical, dynamic, fast and very detailed.

Cons: Can be a bit harsh sounding sometimes. And comfort can be a little rough at times.

Not a review, just my little opinion on these nice headphones.


My Grado SR80s are the older ones (Not the new 'i' version) I'm guessing my SR80s were made around in 2001-2003 etc.


All I can say these SR80s are very musical sounding headphones, and they can sure boogie too.


I think the SR80s are one of Grado's best headphones in my opinion. And can sound just as good as headphones costing £250+. Very good value for money !!







Pros: great sound, light weight, cool retro styling, made in USA

Cons: crappy cord, not very durable

A couple of years ago, I took the bait and bought my set of Grado SR80s. Its been mostly love ever since.


I adore the sound, which is pretty spectacular, especially at this price. Could use a little more robust bass, but i just pump up the bass with EQ. Sound is really clear and musical.


They're easily powered by a computer or ipod. I tried a CMOY with mine but didn't notice much if any difference.


They're lightweight, and since I live in a small Manhattan apartment and have my phones on ALL the time, the light weight is key. I can wear these for hours and experience very little discomfort.


I love the retro styling. Some hate it. I don't. To me, its like those old boxy Volvos. Unique and cool.


The ear pads are not great, and i will probably replace them soon.


But the REAL problem with the Grado SR80s is the cord. I HATE it. Not only has mine broken twice and needed to be re-soldered, but it twists up all the time in an annoying fashion. I had to solder on a new plug too, as the original one had a short in it.


I don't like the Y-splitter, as I prefer the cord going into just one side of the headphone. I also really prefer a coiled cable to a straight one.


But for this price, i can't complain too much. I just really wish Grado would make these with a robust cord. And if it was coiled, even better. Its no wonder so many are forced to re-cable Grados.


One other thing...because they're open, sound leakage is huge. They are not good for public transportation. They are not good if you're in the same room with someone who doesn't want to hear the sound coming out of your headphones. I use them at home, and I live alone, so this is not a an issue for me.


So, to sum up, as much as I dislike the cord, these headphones still rate just about a 5 because the sound is just so good at such a low price.




Pros: Warm but mostly uncolored, transparent

Cons: cord material and reliability

I've owned a pair of SR-80s since 1996 when my old Yamaha phones collapsed beyond repair. I auditioned a pair of SR-60s at a local high-end store, and when I was ready, got a pair.  I was very disappointed!  It wasn't at all the sound I had heard in the audition.  I was unhappy enough to return them, and in a newsgroup (remember them?) complained about my experience.  Group members had been praising the SR-60s at the time, and I couldn't get behind that.  To my surprise, I got an email from Joe Grado asking for my shipping address!  He offered me a pair of the SR-80s, said if I liked them, I could pay for them, and if not, give them to somebody else.  Can you imagine that?  Needless to say, after listening to them for a few weeks, I sent them a check for payment in full. 


I've owned that pair ever since. They've traveled, been outside in the cold, rain, and sun.  I changed the ear paids to Sennheiser pads, replaced the cord myself once, then had Grado do it twice.  But I still have them, still use them almost every day.  They are very affected by the output impedance of the amp that drives them.  They're ok in an iPod, but fantastic if you hit them with a good solid low Z source.  


They're pleasant, soothing, as spacious to listen to, but I can't mix on them.  I do some filed recording, and they just make everything sound TOO good.  But for pleasure, they're my choice. 


The cord is weak spot.  It's thick and in cold temperatures acts as stiff as a garden hose.  The strain relief at the ear cups is just a blob of glue, which pops off and then you break a wire in the cup.  My own replacement was Mogami Neglex wire, which held up better, but wasn't really headphone wire.  The stock pads from the 1990s were hot, and the on-ear Sennheiser HD414 pads fit fine, and though you lose a bit of the top and bottom, still retain the character of the original phones.  When I got them back from repair, they had black pads installed, similar to the 414 pads.  Nice, worked well, but dissolved in a few years.  So, I'm back to the 414 pads...for now.  I'm due to send these in for a rehab soon. 


I recently auditioned a bunch of headphones back at that original high-end store.  The sound of the SR-80s still beat even the $600 Sennheisers (don't recall the model), but the amp used was pretty much junk, and my amp is way better.  But today's SR-80s are pretty much the same as the mid 1990s ones I have, if perhaps a bit less "weathered". 




Pros: Affordable, Precise, exceptional clarity, look great, plenty of mods available.

Cons: A little lacking in soundscape, You really NEED the Grado L-Cush pads.

I could not recommend SR-80i's any higher to someone that's looking in that price range.

I did months and months of research before settling for a pair, I read just about every review out there.

Realistically I do not think that for the money you could get yourself a better can.

I fitted Grado L-Cush (from the SR-325i) pads to mine and it made the world of difference, not just to comfort but to the audible landscape.


Pros: Fabulous sound, but I use it only while trying to fall asleep

Cons: Terrible, terrible foam

I have had it for a very long time. Smooth, rich sound. I use it exclusively with my iPhone and iPod nowadays.


The foam just ripped even though I gave it TLC! I wrote to the company and a received a snarky response from a smart-ass there - he must hate working there, or what. As a result, I was determihed not to buy it from them and shaped my own foam - looks like the wheels on the Flintstones car, but works!


Pros: Amazing sound for the buck -- real lows, real highs with only a bit of harshness on occasion

Cons: Crappy build quality. Cheap foam ear pads which lead to fatigue. The plastic sheathing covering the individual can feeds will crack and cut wires.

So, I bought these for my office some years back. They were better than average for office listening, with the open design suitable for not entirely ignoring one's colleagues. I was underwhelmed by the physical design, but listen for a little while and that mostly goes away. If you're very careful with them, they might even last more than a year or two... but alas, that was not my case. 


The problem is the cable... specifically, the cabling after the split. They used some sheathing material over the wires to each speaker which did not age well. In my case, it cracked, and eventually one of those surprisingly sharp pieces cut one of the wires, and that was that... until early 2015. 


I got myself a PonoPlayer for Christmas, and I've been playing with different headphones. One thing I noticed was that, compared to other PMPs and smartphones, I was getting unexpectedly good sound out of some phones and earbuds I had pretty much written off. And I hadn't even played with balanced mode on the Pono (separate differential connection to each speaker). So I bought a $10 cable from Monoprice, with two 3.5mm jacks at either end. Cut it in half, and rewired the SR-80i with separate cables per ear -- the 1940's styling of the Grados actually made this pretty easy, they're simple to take apart. 


And now -- best sound ever. Really starting to remember why I liked these back in 2011, only they're better than ever with the Pono and the balanced connection. 


Pros: Great mids, Tight lows, Soundstage

Cons: Isolation, Sometimes fatiguing and overly bright

The Grado SR80i is one of the entry-level models in an extensive lineup. It is the first "high-end" over-ear headphone I had bought.


On my first listen it seemed like a huge step-up from all the previous (cheap) cans that I had owned. The soundstage was noticeably much wider. The lows seemed tighter and the overall timing got much better. To my ears, the soundstage did not vary too much in width but did in depth when I switched over to better sources. For me, the most stellar aspect of this product would be the mids. The richness/fullness of the mid-range is what these cans are all about. The lows are also good but at times seemed a little loose and leaky. The highs seemed clear and usually non-sibilant but with some recordings, they feel a tad too bright. There is usually no need for additional amplification however the volume needs to be turned quite a bit as compared to IEMs. Also, I did not notice any difference in the sound with amp-ing. Details are good but not of the level of some of my better IEMs.


As a metalhead, like many others, I agree that these cans are ideal for fast-paced, aggressive musical genres. Although I must admit that I liked it even better with some high-res Jazz classics. It really opens up classic heavy metal albums like Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets". There is this certain "punch" in the sound of these cans that really bring up the excitement levels in the listener. Guitar riffs feel over the top and shredding away in a layer of their own. Acoustic instruments have nice airyness in their tone. Sadly though, I would disagree that these cans can be used for all and any sub-genres of rock/metal. Infact for styles like doom, stoner and black metal, the overall presentation felt somewhat congested. The overall cleanliness and instrument separation dipped noticeably. I feel the numerous community-mods have already brought some improvements in these areas.


Isolation-wise, these cans just cannot be taken outdoors. The open-back design greatly affects isolation even though that is one of the primary factors that make the SR80i sound like it does. It is a bit of a no brainer when it comes to indoor usage. Listening to these is usually a very "personal" and "private" affair.


Comfort-wise, I did not have any considerable issues but the sound signature does give quite a headache when listening for an extended period. However, if I were to trade an awesome, exciting, in-your face sound for an interval of headaches, I'd happily do so. The build quality is acceptable although the plastic parts feel somewhat cheap and not very well finished. A 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter is the only included accessory and is rather chunky and very well built. The design is somewhat old-school when compared to other products but it does not bother me.


Everything said, I feel its $100 well spent especially when it gets you in the mood to raise the metal horns do some good ol' headbanging.


Pros: Fantastic sound for not a lot of money. Absolutely no regrets in buying mine.

Cons: Look far cheaper than they sound, which can also be said for the SR225's. Read on....

These are great, and actually deserve more credit than I was giving them.


With a view to upgrading, I tried my SR80s out against AKG K701's, and Grado SR225's. If you're interested in what I had to say, check out the thread at http://www.head-fi.org/t/698953/grado-sr80-to-akg-k701-an-upgrade




Pros: Everything about this headphone, especially for the price

Cons: Made from cheap materials once you break them down, can be blown out easily if you listen to music loud

The Grado SR-80 has been on pretty much every list of best value in headphones ever made (or at least any that know what they're talking about) and they're there for a good f***ing reason. These are probably some of the best audiophile headphones priced under $150 dollars ever made. They have a great sound all the way from their warm, fun bass to their nice and detailed mids, to their fairly open and airy sounding highs. This last bit is enabled by their open-backed design, which does allow some sound to leak, but you know that if you're buying open back headphones. There's really not much to say. These headphones look great, sound great, feel great, and have an insanely great price. If you're looking for a pair of headphones that show off why Grado has become a household name among many headphone enthusiasts then look no further than the AMERICAN company's timeless classic: the SR-80. 


Pros: Great sound for the price/performance

Cons: Open back headphone

Build quality - I can say that in the 5 years of use the only thing wrong with these headphones were the pads falling apart.  And there is a very small tear in the cable sheath near the Y connector.  I have never got the gradle sound that some people get.  So to me the build quality is great for the design if you treat them well they will last a long time. They have plastic cups with plastic and metal gimble and metal headband that is covered in leather looking plastic material, the cable is very thick and sturdy. If someone wraps up the cable they will see the cable sheath tear away from Y adapter and expose the cable, Please do not wrap/roll,mistreat this cable and it will last a long time.


Audio - These headphones will accentuate the highs very well and that can be uncomfortable at times, I only experienced with very loud volumes though.  The bass in the SR80's do not have much impact it does go low it just will not slam.  The mid range sound is nearly flat nothing that will stick out as bad or good they match the headphone very well though.  If you like to listen to live/recorded guitar solos try these as they really do love that kind of music. I would not use these if you are looking for slamming bass they just do not perform this at all. 


Comfort -  I generally do not like on the ear headphones I wear glasses so they can be uncomfortable. The original pads did not work well for me so I got a set of G pads and it was more comfortable but it does change the sound slightly for me I liked it but some people would not.  These headphone bands are just a thin piece of metal if you are careful you can bend it to be comfortable for your head.  


Over all - Good sound, easily modified, Can adjust the comfort for your head. Can have some issues with the cable and sound if mistreated.  

Grado SR-80

Grado SR 80 befor the i and and comfys...

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