Quite a variety of posts on this subject. First of all the all amps add something...so saying the Grado doesn't add anything can only mean one of 2 things...1) you simply don't hear them(which is unlikely) or 2) the amp is no better than the jack in the cd player ot your stereo amplifier.
I have not heard the particular amplifier at length, but "Audiophiles" are not trying to achieve the "MOST" accurate sound. Indeed, Accuracy is a fallacy...it is impossible for a stereo system at any price with any current design to reproduce the symphonic orchestra to the exact parameters of the live performance...and you sure as hell are not going to do it with headphones.
The "High End" supposedly gets you closer to the live performance...that is BS...especially if they put on 90% of the pop recordings...which are so far removed from the live performance it's virtually unrecognisable.
No my fellow Audiophiles and Audio Enthusiasts...the Live performance is not what should be sought, indeed the live performance is FAR worse than your well recorded(or even so-so) albums. What should be sought is the best musical values -
One of the best definitions for high end audio from UHF MAGAZINE: Especially note the last paragraph:
"A high fidelity system will, to as great an extent as is technically possible, preserve the values that make great music what it is: moving, exciting, everything we seek it out for. Those values include melody, harmony and rhythm, but that's not an exhaustive list.
Some of the factors are a mystery. Why is it that a live concert can grab and hold all of our attention, whereas a recording seldom can? What is it that can pull you into a recording so that you put down whatever else you are doing? What causes the chills, the goosebumps that music can generate? I can only guess at them. What I do know is that the difference in musical involvement between one system and another can be huge. Surprisingly, perhaps, it is only indirectly related to cost. The best systems do cost a lot, to be sure, but some surprisingly affordable systems can deliver much of what we need music for.
Most people don't really listen to music. Perhaps that is because music has become so omnipresent, pouring from speakers in the kitchen, the car, the supermarket and the elevator. Listening to it would be like a fish paying attention to water. For background listening, of course, most moderately-priced systems are perfectly adequate, and unless they suffer from fearsome noises or really gross distortion, they can fill the void more than adequately. Though some such systems are falsely labelled "hi-fi," they are in fact what most audiophiles call "mid-fi"...a polite label that reserves the name "low-fi" for the telephone.
They do not invite close listening. Indeed, it is difficult to listen to one without getting the urge to read or indulge in some other activity. Because the musical values, which are the carrier of music's emotional message, are not transmitted, the music cannot accomplish whatever the composer and musicians had in mind. This is true not only of complex music, such as classical, but of all music. A rock band that would get you dancing in the aisles at a concert may not even make your foot tap when played through a mid-fi system. It is as though there were a filter to take out anything interesting. And in a sense there is.
High fidelity leaves out the filter.
Even a minimally competent high fidelity system can transmit the basic musical values of a recording. You will be able to follow the melody. You will feel the beat. You will perceive the harmonic structure of even dense orchestral pieces. And if the recording contains music that appeals to your soul, you will feel some of what you would have felt if the musicians had been there in front of you.
As you might expect, this is not entirely unrelated to the questions of frequency response, distortion and all the rest of the technical stuff, but any technical analysis is necessarily incomplete. Some systems, despite easily measurable flaws in technical performance, do nevertheless manage to make sounds that strongly resemble real music. At the same time, some components with awesome performance on technical tests are nearly unlistenable.