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My First Open Back Headphones

A Review On: Grado SR80i Headphones

Grado SR80i Headphones

Rated # 17 in Over-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
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Pros: Juicy Mids, Engaging listen.

Cons: Comfort might be an issue, Construction might appear flimsy, Fatigue.

So the Grados represent my first headphone purchase, let alone an open backed design. Throughout the "research period" that I usually give myself, I was considering between the Creative Aurvana Live! and the Grados. Although both headphones are well received in this community, I noticed more favorable reviews on the SR80is. One of the few things of which intrigued me into purchasing these headphones just by reading the reviews were, 'Grado Soundsignature' , 'Juicy Midrange', 'Punchy Bass', 'A rockers headphone' and a 'mighty attack'. For a good while, I kept doing my research, reading into all the different reviews pertaining to these headphones and after an audition with the CAL! and the SR80is, I chose the Grado over the CAL! simply because I felt that the SR80is had a better balance in terms of sound (tested them with Florence+the Machine's Ceremonials album) The SR80is at that time, had a less emphasised bass over the CAL.


I bought these headphones 6 months ago and I was in love with their performance when I bought them. 

(Compared with Hifiman RE0 as a neutral reference)

Sound Quality



Soap&Skin - Sleep

Gotye - State of the Art

Antony & The Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish(cut the world ver.)


As compared to the UE600 I had before purchasing these, the bass response is better in both presence and accuracy. Although it does not have that much of a visceral impact that some might seek, the quantity of the bass to my ears were sufficient, not overpowering the midrange, but rather enhancing the overall music experience. With bass notes on piano tracks such as Soap&Skin's - Sleep having the perfect balance of bass quantity to my ears. Gotye's State of the Art also plays well with these headphones, with the bass contributing to the groovy bass notes of the song. With that being said, the bass is consistent with the rest of the frequency range, not trying to steal the show. But compared to my RE0, the SR80i presents its bass with an increased mid-bass presence.




Antony & The Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish(cut the world ver.)

Antony & The Johnsons - Kiss My Name(cut the world ver.)


As many of us know, Antony posses one heck of a voice, paired with an orchestra, these are a treat to the ears in terms of mid range. The SR80is present the track rather deliciously, the instruments used in the orchestra are given more energy and attack, the drums in the intro of Kiss My Name prove it. Many a time, I find myself repeating the track just for the drums, and staying for the entire song. It makes Antony's song much more engaging, if it wasnt already. However, the midrange sounds rather stuffy compared to the Hifimans, somewhat lacking the amount of "air" in the presentation of the sound that I am accustomed to in the RE0




Kalafina - ARIA

Florence and the Machine - Spectrum


The treble is energetic, however it sounds like the treble takes a step back behind the mids, as vocal presence is perceived to be more distant, with the SR80i bringing forward the presentation of instruments instead. That being said, this was being compared to the RE0s. Initially, before purchasing the RE0, I felt that the SR80is still do vocals well, but they do give way to mids if the track demands for it. Kalafina's collective effort in singing ARIA was done justice too, with the grados providing the required treble energy to properly display the abilities of the musical trio. Same has to be said for Florence Welch's voice. I couldnt stop listening to these songs (with vocal/treble heavy presence when I got these)


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