Pros: Great for Rock/Metal, distorted guitar tone is not harsh
Cons: fatiguing after a couple hours, extremely cheap construction
My reference is primarily with inner ear monitors (UE10pro) and the Beyerdynamic DT770.
I've been listening to the SR225i's for a few days and have developed a few opinions... I've been wanting Grado's for a long time, but I've never jumped on a pair because of criticisms of cheap construction, narrow soundstage and overly colored mid-ranges. I finally jumped on the SR225i's because it seemed like the best I was going to do for $200 sound quality-wise and these are constantly referenced as some of the best "Rock" headphones.
I should note that I almost exclusively listen to Hard Rock and Power Metal. I understand that these genres aren't terribly popular for audiophiles, but the music is ideal for higher-end equipment because it's extremely bombastic with tons of textures that just blur to a mush with unworthy headphones. Power Metal itself is extremely fast so highly responsive drivers is critical to hear the detail.
I have found the SR225i's to represent these genre's extremely well. The more upfront mids sound better than the more neutral tuning on my ue10pros. The ur10pros mids can also sound harsh so I find myself tweaking the equalizer to up the highs a bit. I don't have to do any adjustments for the Grados, they sound phenomenal with no manipulation. The mids are much softer and the bass was far more punchy than the $900 monitors. The DT770s are not as clear and upfront and the bass is not as punchy. Since metal is notoriously lacking in bass, I thought the music was ideally represented by the Grados. Simply put, for the price, the audio is top notch. I'm using the headphones unamped, running them through my M-Audio Firewire 410 recording rig.
Comfort... This is going to be hard to adequately describe. I initially found the headphones to be extremely comfortable. I did not find the foam material to be irritating, but it did make my ears a bit warm. It wasn't until wearing them for about 2 hours that I started to get extremely uncomfortable. I have very sensitive Sinus' and the pressure from of the headphones really flared them up. I know my sinus is nowhere near the ear, but it still seemed to have an effect. I got instant relief when I took them off. Since I've only had them for a few days I don't know if this is going to be a long term issue. Overall, the comfort is good initially, but can get fatiguing over time. It's worth noting that I'm rather large (6'4"), have a longish/narrow head with small ears- my ears experienced no discomfort.
Build Quality is pretty pathetic. They really look cheap (the vinyl headband should be better, it looks terrible) . My wife could not believe they cost $200. Only the drivers and cable seem to be of decent quality. The rest of the materials would not be out of place in a Dollar store. I knew this going into buying them so I'm not upset, I just hope they hold up over time. This is the biggest gamble I'm taking. I'm surprised that Grado does not up the design and build quality a bit purely for advertising. Seeing these things has to be a pretty big turn-off for many buyers.
In the end, I'm rating this an overall 5 because the sound quality for this price point is really where the substance is at. I can put up with everything else as long as they work and continue to sound great. I'm delighted to sat that my high expectations have been met. For the genres of music i enjoy, these headphones are perfect.
These songs really shined for me:
Angra- Course of Nature
Dreamtale- Mortal Games
Gamma Ray- Hand of Fate
Highlord- Hand of God
Holy Knights- Glass Room
Olympos Mons- Locked in Chains (This one blew me away)
Pathfinder- Beyond the Space, Beyond the Time