Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Curiosity Killed This Cat/A Grado trial
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Curiosity Killed This Cat/A Grado trial

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well, I've been reading so much about Grado at this site I thought I'd better sample them if I'm gonna stick around and feel honest. Naturally, I'd heard them in the past and remembered them as sounding very good. Since my return to headphones I've been using the Senn 600s, which I love. But with all the Grado fans lurking around here, I thought I'd better round out my collection. It wasn't easy getting a set of RS80s (I decided to start(?) my Grado journey with the 80s since the investment is relative minor and it seemed a good jumping in point.) I live in Thailand and there's no Grado dealer in Bangkok. I had to wait till a friend travelled to Singapore and had him track down the sole Grado dealer there, buying me a pair at exactly list price in the US - $95 dollars. My intial impression is that I sort of went the wrong route. I started at the top of the food chain (The Senns at $240 - okay, quit laughing you Sony RH10 owners, and you know who you are!) and then skipped back to the entry level Grados. I guess I'm a bit let down. Of course, what was I expecting? To find $95 headphones comparable to some costing, tentatively, three times as much? No, I suppose not. But what I did expect was a little Grado "magic". Something that made all the talk and awards they recieve seem of merit. Honestly, compared to the rich quality of the Senns, the Grados just sound a bit flat. I don't get any of the sense of refinement or spaciousness that I get with the Senns. Some people have likened the Senns to being in the front row of a performance, while the Grados are like sitting on stage with the band. I'd have to venture the Grados are definetly like sitting closer - but sitting closer to a pair of speakers and not instruments (Redwood is gonna kill me). Okay, look, I've only had them two days and these are just a first impression. Not to open up the can of worms called "break-in" time, but I really hope something loosens up on these cans. Bass extension isn't what I remember on them, but what I'd really love is for the treble to chill out a bit. They seem very prone - overly prone - to project sibilance. I'm afraind, right now, the RS80 are getting ready to tread the same path as my V6s - out the "overly bright" door. Go ahead now. Attack me. No offense will be taken.
post #2 of 23
It's too bad people feel they can't express honest opinions in here anymore. Everyone's so afraid of upsetting other headphone owners, or being ridiculed for expressing a contrary opinion about a "highly regarded" set of cans.

I've said it before and I'll say it again-- I don't care at all for Grado phones, and I don't feel like a dunce, a newbie, or a "tin ear" for having that opinion. They have a distinct sound of their own that's immediately apparent. Some people like it-- I didn't and it looks like you don't either. You shouldn't have to feel guilty for feeling that way.

Lets all please keep posting our TRUE thoughts. Don't equivocate or pander to other members. The value of the community goes way down if that happens.

post #3 of 23
Unfortunately, you did land on one of the more sibilant Grados out there. If you wanted a similar performance as your Sennheisers, with the "Grado magic", you would have had to splurge on the RS-1, or even better, the Allesandro MSP. I've discovered that while all the other Grados contain sibilance, the RS-1/MSP have none to speak of strangely. But, at twice the price of the Sennheisers, you'd have to be really pining for that Grado magic to want a pair over the Sennheisers.
post #4 of 23

Re: Curiosity Killed This Cat/A Grado trial

Originally posted by chadbang
[...] I'd have to venture the Grados are definetly like sitting closer - but sitting closer to a pair of speakers and not instruments (Redwood is gonna kill me). [...]

Huh? Me ? being the most peaceful being in...ah... my room?

No, but seriously, why do think that? Of all the people here, why do you fear me?

BTW: I find the SR-80 absolutely horrible. Doesn't come anywhere close to the Senns


post #5 of 23
I think I've been honest in stating my preference for the Grado sound.............but I've also stated that I enjoy all my headphones, from the KSC-35s to the HP-1s, and everything in between. For the past few days, I've been listening to, and thoroughly enjoying my vintage AKG K340s hooked up to my Penguin amp and Panasonic portable. The Penguin gives them just enough of an "edge" to the sound to bring the midrange a bit more forward. These are immensely smooth, well-balanced headphones which I had kinda forgotten about when I started listening to Grados. I really enjoy listening to all my headphones and I would never presume to say that one is better than the other in all aspects. They each have their plusses and minuses. So when someone says they don't like a particular headphone, I take no offense, and realize that as Vertigo is so fond of saying, "Different strokes.............."
post #6 of 23
I just got a pair of MS-1's Friday to try out the Grado sound, going from a Sennheiser HD580. People say the MS-1's are like the SR80's and SR125's, but I don't notice any kind of harsh treble mentioned in some reviews of the Grado Prestige headphones. Could it be because of the pads I'm using? These are definitely not bowl pads or doughnut pads, and completely cover the drivers (are they the comfy?).

These definitely have a more forward presentation than the Sennheisers, but I'm guessing that a lot of it has to do with how the drivers are right next to the ears, separated only by the pads. Maybe this is where the extra Grado bass impact comes from too. I remember feeling a similar impact when I was a user of the cheap Optimus Nova-71's and was trying out the Optimus Nova 35's (whichever was the equivalent of the Koss KTX-Pro). This kind of impact definitely works well with the music I listen to. With the Sennheisers, it seems as though music is surrounding you, but with these Grados, it feels like the all sound is being shoved directly at your earholes.

Based on other headphones I've listened to, the Sennheisers are much more neutral in bass than these Grados, but there doesn't seem to be any more treble than with the Sennheisers.

The MS-1's turn out to be more exciting to listen to, but doesn't have the airiness of the Sennheisers. The Sennheisers fit well with mood music and anything where a feeling of openness is intended, like when watching a movie. The Grados are for those times when you just want to rock. I'm going to have a very hard time deciding whether I should keep these MS-1's.
post #7 of 23
chadbang said...

Go ahead now. Attack me. No offense will be taken.
Alrighty, you asked for it!

"... English bed-wetting type!"
"I fart in your general direction!"
"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"
"Now go away, or I shall insult you a second time!"

Sorry, I thought the thread could use a little humor.

So this won't be a complete waste of space, never be afraid to express your opinions. We should know better than to have knee-jerk reactions by now.
post #8 of 23

Overall, though...

...I think there's no denying that Grado in general offers a tremendous value for the money (at most any of the many price points), especially in contrast to similarly-priced Senns. That's my own personal bottom line.

Speaking of all the trash-talkin' about Grados above, I do understand the criticisms and am wondering if having a set of 600s will provide any worthwhile fun. I have RS-1s...can anyone give their opinion on this, assuming I have the $275 to blow on the 600s and am relatively eager for a more diverse listening experience (i.e. having both to use in different contexts)?

= (^^) (-) % %

p.s. also, where's a good place to buy them for a low price new or lightly used?
post #9 of 23
Go ahead now. Attack me. No offense will be taken.
We are not that bad are we?
So you are not thrilled with the Grado sound.
No biggie.
post #10 of 23
Matt, if you have the money, definitely get yourself a pair of Senns.
Yeah, they are not as forward-sounding as Grados, but their sound is lush and rich and absolutely musical.
If you want to lean back, relax and just enjoy the music, the Senns are hard to beat.


post #11 of 23
You are so dead!!!

But really, there is no one headphone for everyone. And not all Grados sound the same, so you should give up on them yet. Or give up, I won't care. As long as you are happy.
post #12 of 23
p.s. also, where's a good place to buy them for a low price new or lightly used?
I believe that Jan Meier at Meier Audio sells them for $220 delivered...............I think that's the best price around. And Jan is a pleasure to deal with. I wouid also recommend the HD-600s for the different sound they provide. To my ears, for classical and large orchestral pieces, they're tough to beat.
post #13 of 23
The Grado magic is alive and well. I had my RS-1 and was very happy with it...But just to make sure that I didn't get ripped off, I bought a used pair of HD-580s....I plugged them into my RA-1 (granted, not the best amp for them), and was suddenly very pleased I had bought the RS-1. Yeah, I guess the Senns are more "neutral," "accurate," or "laid back," but I would just classify them as boring. I listen to almost all classical, and I found that even in comparisons with orchestral works, I liked the RS-1s....There is something very wonderful with the Grado sound (the Grado RS-1 sound, at least)--the fact that the soundstage seems expanded to the left and right of you (as opposed to the Senns which feel like flat speakers pushed against your head.)

I've compared the two cans quite a few times, and I always come back to the harmonic sounds of the grados. I understand that many, many others don't feel this way, but I sure do!

post #14 of 23
Put those SR80's to loop for a few weeks before doing anything rash. They will open up and become more liquid in due time. They will never be as refined as the 580's, but what do you expect?

If sibiliance is still a problem after lengthy breakin throw your source out the window
post #15 of 23
Actually, I like all my phones, too - excluding most of the ones that came with my portables. I liked my K240Ms in their time, I really enjoyed the K400, I still love the K501, I really dig the DT531 - and now I find the SR80 really nice with my new portable mp3/cd-player.

Nevertheless, I'd say best value for the money are the K501 (fine & airy sound, very good comfort, build quality king) and the DT531 (very nice & involving sound, good comfort, proper build quality), whereas the SR80 would be: nice sound (from the portable - couldn't try them at home, yet), mediocre comfort, acceptable build quality. And if you want another judgement from my side on the Philips HP890, I recently tried: fine & very balanced sound, good comfort, high build quality - I just haven't bought it, yet...

So, all in all, though I can't second the opinion that Grado delivers high value for the money, I don't regret my purchase of the SR80.

Greetings from SF!

Manfred / Lini
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Curiosity Killed This Cat/A Grado trial