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Other reviewers have convinced me my SR80i is defective. Sent them to Grado. They agreed and replaced the drivers.

A Review On: Grado SR80i Headphones

Grado SR80i Headphones

Rated # 17 in Over-Ear
See all 40 reviews
Purchased on:
Price paid: $99.00
Posted · Updated · 3314 Views · 9 Comments

Pros: It's a Grado

Cons: Way too much energy at the high midrange and treble. After repair, perhaps just a little aggressive in the highs.

Based in the reviews I read here I purchased the SR80i last July 2012.

I thought they were way to bright, or as someone else said "ice picks" in the ears.

I thought perhaps I needed an amp - and over the course of several months used Fiio E6, Fiio E17, and JDS O2. No improvement!

I continued to listen with a Senn Px100 (original latest versions) and most enjoyably the VModa M80.

Through all these experiences my confidence in my listening opinion grew.

So, based on all the fine reviewers and reader comments on this wonderful website, I am going to send the to Grado for evaluation and repair. I'm convinced they are defective. I thought of selling them here or on Amazon - but since I think something is wrong with them, that wouldn't be fair to the buyer.

We will see if Grado can turn these into something resembling what others have described.

I will be back when they return from Brooklyn!


The only note provided by Grado was "serviced." And they sound radically different than what I sent to Grado. (6/3/13 Grado advised that they replaced the drivers.)

They now are quite listenable and sound like others have glowingly described them. It will take awhile for me to get their measure but my impression so far is very positive.

So what have I learned through this experience?

1. Trust what the bulk of Head-FI reviewers have to say.
2. Trust my judgement and my ears.

And now I have another valued pair of cans!

Thanks again to all for your help.


My first pair of 80i's I destroyed by accident, but they were definitley not ice picks. So I purchased the 325is and Iv'e been listening to them for about 6 months now, (awesome headphone) but there was just something about the 80i that was stuck in the back of my head, so I purchased another pair a little over a week ago, and purchased Vibrolabs (classic) wooden cups along with (L) cushions for them, and I can't seem to take them off my head.
I hope everything works out and you did get a defected pair, so you can hear how awesome they are when you get them back.
Good luck!
it might be the actual sound sig
maybe the music you listen to doesnt match the headphone eg. r&b, electronic...etc
So, you used a low end amp, an amp that doesn't give much improvement over most laptops (The E17 is all about the DAC), and an amp that would be an INCREDIBLY bad pairing for the SR-80i. If anything, the O2 will further the SR-80i's tonality, not tame it.
I listened to SR80 straight from an iPhone and it sounds amazing for the price. I was so shocked.
But the sound is very unique unlike anything I listen before, a buttery smooth high end, a mild bass
that is very pleasing to the ears.
Thanks to all for the responses.
Takato14: Very surprised about your characterization of the O2 as anything other than flat as that as been the predominant opinion expressed on this website. But I defer to your opinion as you obviously have had much more experience than I.
Fuzzyash: I listen to a broad range of music from Mahler to Paramore to Marsalis to Muse to Jack Johnson, etc. What I demand of a listening set up is its ability to render all this music pleasant and listenable. I love detail, but not at the expense of musicality. I do not find my possibly defective SR80i musical at all; the tonality is all wrong.
The PX100s could use more bottom end, and perhaps more lower midrange.
The M80s provide the most pleasant listening experience for me, but more midrange energy might be welcome.
I am thinking of trying the Senn HD598.
This is one expensive hobby.
Grados are reknown for that aggressive treble that is amazing with rock. Your Grado isn't defective. It is what it is, some people like it and some don't.. You are in the latter category, and no amp or dac is going to change that. If you prefer darker sound signature, you should try some Sennheisers.
The O2 may be neutral but it's still sharp and crisp, which will make the highs of the SR-80 worse before it makes them better.
That's another thing though, you either like Grados or you don't.
The sr80i doesn't chose you! You need to be chosen before you can appreciate it's sound. :D
Kidding aside I think it is not actually defective but maybe you are just comfortable on your previous headphones sounds and your'e trying to hear that sounds in the sr80i which is not gonna happen. Many people and reviews I've read is that the grado was their first decent pair and they like what they hear.
Since my Grados were repaired by Grado (they were indeed defective), I have taken them off my head only to wash my hair. (Slight exaggeration only.) My current experience with them is now fully aligned with others on Head-Fi.
I am now easily able to differentiate between good and bad recordings and I'm updating all my MP3s to the highest bit rates because I can hear now hear the difference between 256 and 320.
and.................I'm now beginning to consider upgrading to the SR225i's. I have already changed to the L-cush pads, and boy they do they ever help differentiate good recordings from bad.
Might I also say that this website has been invaluable in guiding my headphone purchases and listening enjoyment. Thanks.
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