Pros: DIY and "Tailor Made", Comfort, Lightweight, Soundstage, Value for money
Cons: Fragile, may lack of intimacy
SennGrado 01 - by Esteboune
(01 because i love them so much, i will certainly build more)
i'm a French guy living in South-East Asia.
33 years old.
Still quite new to this fantastic world of Head-fi, started with a LittleDot Mkiii about 2 years ago.
10 years of Hi-Fi experience.
It is my first review by the way.
I really want to thank you all, active members of this great community. This forum is a tremendous source of information.
This specific project, the SennGrado, have been made possible thanks the people of this forum.
Thank you very much!
About 3 months ago, I discovered a thread named : “Post you Grado mods”
Needless to say that I have been quite astonished by some realizations…!
One week later, I bought myself a pair of Grado SR80e and really enjoyed modding it.
Inevitably, I ended up discovering the SennGrado. I read the reviews, the assembly tutorials, etc…
Next step: order all the parts!!! I was completely sold to the project.
2 weeks later, I was ready for the assembly; nevertheless, I was not ready for the audio quality!!!
ready for action.
Enough talking let me try to give you an honest review of this DIY project I enjoyed immensely.
Macbook Air -> Audirvana Plus -> Schiit Wyrd -> Arcam IrDac
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Pro-Ject RPM 1 Carbon (Ortofon 2M Red) -> Pro-ject Tube Box DS
Schiit Lyr 2 (Philips SQ tubes)
PS Audio Spout
B&W P7, Grado SR80e modded, Audeze LCD2.2F
My set-up for this review
Dire Straits – Money for nothing
Neil Young – Old Man
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
Miles Davis – So What
Jazz at the Pawnshop Vol1 – Limehouse Blues
Holst – The Planets – Mars
Tchaikovsky – 1812 Ouverture Op49
Daft Punk – Giorgio by Moroder
Massive Attack – Angel
This playlist has been made over the past year, and is composed first of all of tracks I deeply enjoy, but also to monitor sound quality.
Ex: sound stage, instruments separation, bass, middle, treble, vocals, dynamism…
I sourced for high quality components, Cups made from Indonesian Rosewood, aluminum Gimbals, Leather headband.
Rosewood Cups and Aluminium gimbal
Brown leather headband
I made the cable myself with Viablue products: T6S Jack 3.5, Y splitter, Silver Solder. The wire itself is Silver plated OCC Copper (Teflon) cable 24awg.
DIY cable - Silver plated OCC copper + Viablue.
As for the drivers, obviously, they come form Sennheiser PX100 ii.
The result is beyond my expectation.
Feels and definitely looks great.
The only complain is the G-cush grado pads. It is a bit ordinary and cheap to my point of view. Moreover, it is still new so fell like sandpaper and has a strong chemical smell…
The G-Cush pads. Feels like sandpaper...
The overall build quality is great; nevertheless, it is not as sturdy as the B&W p7 for instance. This specific pair of SennGrado (SG) is more delicate. I believe it requires a bit more caution during handling. 8.5/10
Ps: Those SennGrado look good on a headphone stand, for sure. I was on Skype with one of my friend yesterday, SennGrado over my ears, he told me:
"wow, what are those ugly headphones???!"
judge for yourself:
The Grado frame is kind of difficult to beat. The weight is very light. The G-Cush pads offer a wide surface of contact with the head and gently distribute the weight.
During this review, I found myself looking for the SennGrado… and they were over my ears!
Those SennGrado are by far my most confortable pair of headphones.
n.b: I do not comment on the discomfort of the brand new G-Cush pads as I know that they will get softer and will soon fell better.
Imaging / Soundstage:
From my point of view, Soundstage is one of the strengths of the SennGrado.
I guess the lightweight is also quite decisive in this area.
When I closed my eyes, without being able to actually feel the SennGrado on my head, the music completely surrounded me. It was magic for jazz (So what) or Classical (1812 ouverture).
The instruments separation is trully excellent.
In addition, the detail and resolution of the tracks/records are really well presented on the SennGrado.
As stated the presentation is very airy. I just discovered that it does not suit all the types of music.
The LCD2 has a much more intimate presentation, the music is more IN your head rather that AROUND (SG).
For Dreams or Grace, the intimacy given by the LCD2 is much more enjoyable that the airy presentation of the SennGrado.
I found the B&W p7 quite in the middle.
Grado SR80 is not as good, by far.
No problem here. Bass have a great texture, very well controlled. Authoritative but not overwhelming.
In Angel – Massive attack, the bass are very punchy and dynamic, not too forward. There is still plenty of room for the Vocals to be delivered.
No distortion noted.
Chrystal clear. Very clean Mids.
As stated above, even though the Vocals presentation is really good, sometimes they appear a bit lost!
That was the weak point of my Grado SR80e. I dislike the fact that the treble, on the SR80, are too much in front, very aggressive and overwhelming.
Well, the SennGrado solved it all!
The trebles are not harsh, perfect dosage.
The cymbals of Jimmy COBB in So What are present, enjoyable and yet not too loud.
Overall sound quality 8.5/10
They do sound goooood!
Pairing the SennGrado:
Type of Music:
I found that the SennGrado performed really well with an analog signal.
I’m having fantastic moments with my classical and jazz records.
The wide soundstage gives a lot space to each instrument, it is really super enjoyable.
Same conclusion for Electro, Giorgio by Moroder (Daft Punk) was a very pleasant listening session!
However, for more intimate music, I prefer my LCD2 and P7.
Easily driven by all my equipment, the SennGrado with the 32 Ohms drivers will pair well with all your devices.
Tidal + the Galaxy Note 5 is satisfying.
Zx2 to Aune B1 to SennGrado = Yummy
Out from the Sony ZX2 the SennGrado does benefit from the portable amp (aune b1). Impressive set up…!
However, the SennGrado is not what I call a portable headphone.
I love them!
Yes, i know, I made them, for sure. But also because they provide a lot of audio pleasure.
They completely outperform all the Grado(s) I listened to. (up the SR325e).
As for the LCD2, it is not the same league. The audeze give more details more presence and a warmer sound, but the SennGrado are a bit better for jazz and classical. (No generality here).
Still it is quite impressive that the SennGrado may be compare to the LCD2, without being ridiculous at all.
The SennGrado definitely won a special place on my desk, together with the LCD2.
The value for money of the SennGrado is quite awesome.
Just ordered a new Omega stand for the SennGrado
Finally, to go back to the DIY project, it was a lot of fun. Sourcing the parts, calling the suppliers, making the cable, and tracking the different packages!!!
Thanks for reading and of course, thanks for mentoring found lad like me in those great projects.