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Some thoughts on GS1000s

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I had the chance to have on loan a pair of burned-in GS1000s to listen on my own system. Don't take this with anything less than a healthy helping of salt, because I feel that there are several caveats with regards to my impression. The most glaring one is amplification: I'm using the headphone jack on my Stello DP200 pre-amp. While there's nothing wrong with the amplification circuit itself (pure discrete, Class-A, SS output), I know there are way better out there. But since my system is mainly geared toward the K1000s, I really have no need for a headphone-only amp, and for those times when I need to hear conventional headphones, the headphone jack on my Stello has served adequately. At the least, it's enough for me to form a somewhat meaningful opinion about a headphone's sound.

First, comfort and construction are pretty good. I like the wood on this specific pair. The finish is very smooth and looks quite good reflecting light. The comfort is first-rate: very light weight, the headband is way better than the cheaper Grado models. Although it doesn't really stand up to the HP1s in terms of durability, I feel that the GS1000 is still much better than the Prestige series.

Sound-wise, these are very interesting. But let me just say this: this is not your regular Grado. In fact, I think if you are a hardcore RS-1 fan, chances are you probably won't really like the GS1000. There is no immediate WOW factor with these. In fact, on first listen, the midrange seems really recessed, but as my hearing adjusted, it slowly filled out, although it's still not where I would like it to be. It is not immediately rich and seductive like the RS-1's midrange on a good tube, and there is a kind of distant feeling with the midrange on first listen.

Bass: probably the first thing people notice. There is a lot of it, and I mean A LOT. As of now, I feel that it's not as textured as I would like, but there is certainly impact. The GS1000 also does not lack for bass extension.

Highs: this can get sibilant, harsh, and tizzy quick if your recording is crap.

Soundstage: very big for a conventional headphone, but after the K1000s, everything else just sounds not as big as I'd like. Still, nothing to scoff at. Imaging is good: there are no obvious 2 or 3-blob effects.

But by far the biggest thing that stuck to me is how recording-dependent the GS1000 is: the difference is literally night and day. On bad recordings, these things are nearly unlistenable. The bass is all over the place, trampling on the mids, the highs are sharp enough to pierce your ear drums. I listened to Californication just to see how bad bad recordings would sound, and oh boy that was a BIG mistake. I literally had to tear the GS1000s off within 10 seconds.

However, once I played some of my best recordings, the GS1000s sound like a totally different animal: the midrange filled out nicely, the bass tightened up dramatically, and the highs, while still a bit tipped up, is no longer sibilant and harsh, but provide a very nice sparkle on top. On excellent recordings, the GS1000 provides a very very very enjoyable listening experience.

I only have two real complaints against the GS1000s so far. First, the bass. While it is textured and tight on good recordings, it still has a tendency to become boomy. To me, the GS1000s produce bass decay that is longer than natural, so there isn't enough air between bass notes to really separate them. This is most noticeable on upright bass plucks in my jazz SACDs. The bass is full-bodied, but I do wish that there is more air between each bass note. There's plenty of separation and air in the midrange and the treble.

Second real complaint: the GS1000 has a tendency to be sibilant. This is greatly reduced, almost to the point of non-existence, on good recordings. But there are still rare occasions when I feel that sibilants are emphasized more than natural.

But like I said, there is a caveat to my listening impressions. I'm sure that with a better amp, both of my complaints can be addressed to an extent, perhaps enough for me to be no longer bothered by them. The slight midrange recession that I was experiencing, in my speculation, can be solved if only the bass would tighten up and the sibilance reduced, because right now I feel that it is these two things that are not keeping the frequency response as even as I like.

Other than those two complaints, I really like the GS1000s a lot, and like I said, my amping definitely made those two problems worse than they probably are. With better amplification, I'm pretty confident that those two problems can be reduced, and when they are, the midrange will come out a little bit better. In other words, I see real potential in the GS1000s to make it worth my while to find better equipment to support them. I think my source is pretty decent, so all I'm really looking for is better amplification. So if you know any synergistic amps, let me know. I will probably end up with my own pair sometimes in the future, but it's good to start thinking about what I am going to drive them with.

And now I can understand why those sensitive to high frequencies don't like the GS1000s, and I wouldn't blame them. But since I'm not as sensitive to HF, I have a better experience. I can also understand why a hardcore RS-1 fan might not like these, because the midrange is not as exciting or seductive, although it might be more "natural" in the objective sense of the word. And if the majority of your recordings are bad, then the GS1000s are definitely NOT for you: they are just brutally bad with bad recordings.

So those are my thoughts, I know, pretty scattered, but this isn't meant to be a serious review or impressions thread.
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
Forgot one thing: the timbre. I really like the way GS1000s portray acoustic/wood instruments, it just sounds very real and natural. It's not as good as producing the timbre of heavily-distorted electric guitar tones as the RS-1s, but still very enjoyable. I was listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the GS1000s, while sounding really good, doesn't capture the kind of high-octane energy that the RS-1s do. This isn't really a knock on the GS1000s, but it is definitely a different presentation that will turn off some traditional Grado fans. Personally, I like both kind of presentation, even though the GS1000s do the technical things better.
post #3 of 21
Oh man, are you reading my mind

I was just thinking to post something like that and I see your post... EXPLANE

Well, never mind. I just decide to give the GS1 a second chance. After cracking them down, kind of, I am chilled and more open now. But than again, reading your post bring me back to my earlier impressions. However I never experienced GS1 with Melos or other amps, that seems to have better synergy with them. So, like I said second chance... And yes, they are on their way to me and the exiting growing at the moment. Pfff, I really like my K1 plus having MS PRO at home can make a bit easy to compare this time.
Thanks for bringing this up
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackmore View Post
Oh man, are you reading my mind

I was just thinking to post something like that and I see your post... EXPLANE

Well, never mind. I just decide to give the GS1 a second chance. After cracking them down, kind of, I am chilled and more open now. But than again, reading your post bring me back to my earlier impressions. However I never experienced GS1 with Melos or other amps, that seems to have better synergy with them. So, like I said second chance... And yes, they are on their way to me and the exiting growing at the moment. Pfff, I really like my K1 plus having MS PRO at home can make a bit easy to compare this time.
Thanks for bringing this up
I remember your, let's just say, very unfavorable impression of the GS1000s lol. Actually I did not like the GS1000s when I first listened to them, but now I'm much more receptive to their sound. I'm listening to some James Taylor, and the GS1000s really do justice with acoustic instruments, even at low levels.
post #5 of 21
Yeah, if not saying worse... However I always try to give my impressions like they are and not like they could be, you know...
Anyway, I try a lot different phones lately, and that's the only way to go to hear and to learn, IMO.
I truly hope that GS1 wouldn't do anything for me, cos if they do I will be lost for sure this time.
Yeah, I know what people may think right now, LIES-LIES.
But from my hart I really want to like them. Unfortunately, we didn’t have love from the first sight, but maybe the second will do. One problem is my amp. Just don’t think he have that synergy that GS1 needs. Power is there, a lot of it, but the rest not sure...
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
But since my system is mainly geared toward the K1000s...
What's good for K1000 is "Bad" for GS1000. K1000 needs bass, but GS1000 has more than enough. None of my 4 tube amps works well with GS1000, including the MAD EAR+ HD which has very high synergy with my other Grado cans. I ended up with the SS amp.

To my ears, GS1000 is on the other side of the Grado sound tracks, but the sound signature and refinements fit my taste very well. Actually, it's a complement to my RS-1. I think GS1000 is a very respectable contender to K1000, but this is only in my own environment. This also meant that I'm on a quest to improve my K1000 rig.

Strings/Acoustics instruments is the reason why I'd never leave my GS1000....Try Yo-Yo Ma Cello....
post #7 of 21
I just recently compared a GS1000 and my RS1. The listening session was rather brief, but a few things really stood out. First, the G1000 is massive when compared to the RS1. The enclosures and pads had to be about twice the size. In terms of sound, the GS1000 has a huge sound stage, but it clearly lacks the punch/forwardness of the RS1. And I totally agree that the GS1000 is not a typical Grado headphone - i.e., seems very different from the Grado signature sound.
post #8 of 21
Nice impressions. Pretty accurate to their signature IMHO. Also, 3x331m nailed it as far as it being a contendor to the K1Ks.

The bass while lacking in texture compared to other phones (can't think of many that do texture and depth well actually), is absolutely controlled by a good amp. With my Melos (there are better combos but at a higher price), and X-cans v.3 the bass actually seems lacking it is so controlled. The boominess you talk about is completely gone.

The biggest benefit compared to the K1K is the bass weight. When a tom tom is whacked on a K1K, it seems accurate but not "real" becuase it is thin compared to how it sounds live. On the GS-1000,you feel the full depth and it seems more realistic at least in weight - as an example. Also, the timbre on the GS-1000 like the RS-1 is better than the K1Ks.

I still like the K1K the best. Like you said on high quality recordings the GS-1000 may actually be more enjoyeable, while not as accurate. I prefer the more accurate, but the GS-1000 is definately competative, and probably more musical in a colored way.

The high frequency spike "sibilence" is on par with the HE-90. Amps can help to not exagerate it, but it will still be there.

I think the GS-1000 was originally hyped and hated (mostly because of price and because it wasn't a better RS-1, but different). Now I think as people go back, they realise John's hearing is still pretty good, and he released this phone above the legendary RS-1 for a reason - Like the RS-1, however, it's not perfect...
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post
GS-1000 was originally hyped and hated. Now I think as people go back, they realise John's hearing is still pretty good, and he released this phone above the legendary RS-1 for a reason - Like the RS-1, however, it's not perfect...
Very nice post and well put.
I agree largely with the notion that John Grado is no fool, and although there are many similar views from some of the same players in every single GS/RS thread ( both for against either phone ), this will always be the case with certain phones, Grado in particular..
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Like I said, I think the extent of the two problems I heard is probably due to my un-optimized amplification. While I've heard the same problems that I did before, this time, in my own system, it is a lot better than I remember. In fact, it is so much better that I think with the right amplification, I will no longer be bothered by them.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
One more thing: no matter whichever way I try to bend the headband, there is always a spot in the middle that exerts a pressure point on my head, and it gets fatiguing after a while. How do you guys solve that problem?
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
One more thing: no matter whichever way I try to bend the headband, there is always a spot in the middle that exerts a pressure point on my head, and it gets fatiguing after a while. How do you guys solve that problem?
Grow thicker hair...

I never had problem with Grado bands. I guess my hair is thick enough that I don't feel the pressure.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
One more thing: no matter whichever way I try to bend the headband, there is always a spot in the middle that exerts a pressure point on my head, and it gets fatiguing after a while. How do you guys solve that problem?
I just move them around. Actually, I notice this too and the best solution is to go to a craft store and get some soft pads and stick them under the headband (thinking I need to do this myself).
post #14 of 21
The first impression could be misleading. I am glad the real picture of G1K is emerging and should receive greater praise that it deserves. I has been listening to Grado's phones from SR80 ---- to GS1000.

I must also say RS-1 is like a stunning architecture that impresses people at the first time, very straight forward. Why not. On the other hand, G1K has balanced and detailed, and a little coloration some wheres, that together make it produce wonderful, profound and mature sounds.
post #15 of 21
Ah, i see.
have you played around with Eq to see what happens when you get less bass out of it?
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