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MS-1 vs. SR-60

post #1 of 137
Thread Starter 
I'm not asking for advice on which one to buy...I already have both. I'm just listing the differences I perceive between the two. So, I've heard over and over and over that the MS-1s are better than the SR-80s...and have read that they are more "laid back" and more refined, and that they lie somewhere between the SR-125s and SR-225s in terms of SQ. That they're the best headphones south of $200. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Published Specs

Here are the differences spec-wise (published sources from their respective web sites):

MS-1

Transducer type: Dynamic
Operating principle: Open air
Frequency response: 20 - 22K Hz
SPL lmV: 100
Nominal impedance: 32 Ohms
Driver match db: 0.1
Features:
- Vented diaphragm
- Non resonant air chamber
- UHPLC voice coil wire
- Standard copper connecting cord
Price: $ 99.00

SR-60

Tranducer type: dynamic
Operating principle: open air
Frequency response: 20-20
SPL 1mV: 98
Normal impedance: 32ohms
Driver matched db: .1
Price: $69....cheaper from TTVJ.

Now you may look at the freq response, and SPL and say "whoa, those are major differences, dude". Sit down Spicoli. It's not your turn to talk.

Physical Differences

Two things I noticed:

The foam pads on my MS-1s are a teensy, tiny bit firmer and the pores in the foam are a teeny bit larger. I only noticed after ABing them several times...the SR-60s felt softer compared to the MS-1s. Could be caused by usage and breakdown. So, the foam density may or may not be intentional on Grado's part. Slap on a set of 414 pads or Grado bowls like most people do, and this difference goes straight out the window.

The screen holes on the MS-1s are slightly larger. Same number of holes...it's just that the MS-1 screen is made of a different plastic material and the holes are cut out a tiny bit larger.

Oh yeah...and the "SR-60" button is missing. The button, IMO, was a way to clean up the look of the headphones...so you don't have to look at the back of the driver...and that silver thing inside of the headphones...whatever it's called.

Build quality is the same. The Alessandros still have flawed bits of plastic.

Now...what you've all been waiting for...

Sound Quality

The MS-1s didn't come with a bag of magic powder to make them sound better. To briefly summarize: the MS-1s and SR-60s are indistinguishable. Let me repeat: the MS-1s and SR-60s are indistinguishable. I ABed these things 100 times. The Alessandros are not more laid back. If you're looking for a more laid back sound, the iGrados will do this for you. With the mod, they just as detailed, more lush, and a bit more bassy than the MS-1s and SR-60s. The iGrados are less fatiguing than both.

Pad choice is much more critical when you want to upgrade the sound. Both come with comfies. I like the comfy sound...much more forward and more engaging. Swapping with bowls increases the sound stage, tames the highs (remember...the MS-1s are just as shrill as the SR-60s...can't say shrill...but you see what I'm getting at), and gives the sound a more 3D effect.

Misc.

You'd think that since you're paying $30 or more extra for these things, that they'd include an adapter to plug it into a 1/8 (or 1/4) headphone jack. You won't find one...you'll have to purchase one separately.

Not that this is a biggie, but my MS-1s didn't include the warranty information sheet included with all of my other Grado headphones.

I do have to give props to Alessandro service. I received my headphones in less than a week, and George e-mailed me personally to adjust an error I made on my order.

Conclusion:

If you want a set of cans that mimics the higher-end Grados (the 125, 225, 325) and are on a budget, the SR-80s are the way to go. They're $5 cheapter than the MS-1s. If you're curious about the MS-1 sound or the SR-60 sound, you can always purchase a set of comfies from TTVJ for $10. If you have the MS-1s already and want to experience the higher-end Grado sound, buy a pair of bowls for $15. This will hold you over until you make your next significant upgrade.

One more time...

the MS-1s and SR-60s are indistinguishable
post #2 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookR1;3005070One more time...

[B
the MS-1s and SR-60s are indistinguishable[/B]
But they do use different drivers, you know. Oh, and about your comment on iGrado, did you know it shares the same driver with the SR60?
post #3 of 137
Thread Starter 
Different drivers or not, they both sound the same. The drivers have the same db tolerances. At the end of the day, you're listening to music, not specifications.

Yes...I was aware that the SR-60s and the iGrados share the same drivers.
post #4 of 137
Its been a while, but when I had them both, I didn't think they sounded exactly alike. I did find the MS1's to be less aggressive. I guess everyone's ears are different.
post #5 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookR1 View Post
The drivers have the same db tolerances.
Tolerances have nothing to do with sound signature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookR1 View Post
At the end of the day, you're listening to music, not specifications.
I actually listen to nothing but test tones all day. I think that's the best way to tell how good your gear is. When I'm not listening to test tones I look at frequency response charts so I know which headphone's drivers are 0.05db better matched than other headphones. Because that's important.

post #6 of 137
Thread Starter 
If you don't believe me, or if you think my ears are flawed, then AB them. I would love to share comparisons with someone else.
post #7 of 137
Haven't got any Grados on my head, but one thing is strange: why Alessandro made with Grado new headphone model if they are exactly the same as SR60?
Marketing? Well, Grado Labs are not good at it.
post #8 of 137
Thread Starter 
If I were to guess...it may be a way to appeal to markets outside the U.S. This is pure speculation, of course. Think about it...Grado headphones are way overpriced overseas. They make a deal with Alessandro who relabels them and sells them to markets overseas. Why Grado doesn't do it directly, I'm not sure. There may be legal aspects we don't see. Import restrictions? Who knows. It could also be that they're trying to target the audio engineer market. Rebranding the same item and targeting towards different audiences. That's the American way...just look at the auto industry. I would love to learn the answer to this question.
post #9 of 137
nice comparison, not surprising at all.

more reason to just stick to my sr60 and igrado.
post #10 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookR1 View Post
Misc.

You'd think that since you're paying $30 or more extra for these things, that they'd include an adapter to plug it into a 1/8 (or 1/4) headphone jack. You won't find one...you'll have to purchase one separately.
They do if you choose the option. Seems a bit unfair blaming this on Alessandro when all you have to do is properly read the webpage. If you choose the option with miniplug a 1/4" adapter is included.
post #11 of 137
BrookR1,

Boy you sure aren't afraid to stir the pot! My hat goes off to you for voicing opinions that may court the wrath of the MS-1 fan community...I just hope you are wearing a flame-retardant suit!

Seriously though, you bring up some valid points for discussion and it will be interesting to see how this thread develops. I just wish I owned (or have listened to) a pair of SR-60s so I could throw my observations into the fray.

As you know from the MS-1 Fan thread, I recently picked up some MS-1s to replace my overly bright/sibliant (but otherwise much loved) SR-80s. I am still generating my impressions, but one thing I can say is that I absolutely hate comfy pads (& unmodded Senn414 pads) as they restrict too much of the detail for me. I am waiting for my Grado bowls to arrive so I can do an "apples vs. apples" MS-1/SR-80 comparison.
post #12 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAmish View Post
BrookR1,

Seriously though, you bring up some valid points for discussion and it will be interesting to see how this thread develops. I just wish I owned (or have listened to) a pair of SR-60s so I could throw my observations into the fray.
I mentioned the same thing about not hearing the SR-60 in the Senn vs Grado vs Alessandro poll here a couple weeks ago. I would also like to hear the SR-60 to be able to draw a valid conclusion.

....I really hated not being able to vote in that poll.
post #13 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookR1 View Post
Pad choice is much more critical when you want to upgrade the sound. the MS-1s and SR-60s are indistinguishable
Interesting.

I once carefully compared my SR60s with a pair of SR225s for a good long while at a headphone meet. My conclusion, for my own purposes, was that if there was a difference it was not worth a plug nickel.

I am a little surprised to hear the MS-1s sound equally similar.

Often enough, the two drivers on Grado headphones do not even match each other adequately. There are many instances of people complaining about easily audible differences between the left and right drivers on the same pair of Grado headphones. This renders Grado's claims of driver matching hard to believe. At best, their driver matching is far worse than average. Ever heard of a pair of V6s where the drivers didn't match? Variations within models (one SR60 compared to another) may well be greater than the average difference between different models (SR60 vs. SR225).

Whether one agrees or disagrees, it's food for thought, with some empirical evidence to back it up.

I have a pair of SR60s and love them, but won't be upgrading through the Grado line. I agree -- pad choice is key. I've got radio shack, comfy, and Senn HD414 pads.
post #14 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyramjet View Post
They do if you choose the option. Seems a bit unfair blaming this on Alessandro when all you have to do is properly read the webpage. If you choose the option with miniplug a 1/4" adapter is included.
That's right, they do!

I got mine 1/8 with 1/4 adapter!
post #15 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dept_of_Alchemy View Post
Tolerances have nothing to do with sound signature.



I actually listen to nothing but test tones all day. I think that's the best way to tell how good your gear is. When I'm not listening to test tones I look at frequency response charts so I know which headphone's drivers are 0.05db better matched than other headphones. Because that's important.

IMO I'm just the opposite. If it cannot perform my music well, it is useless to me.
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