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Any Grado RS-1 vs ATH-AD2000 comparisions?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I currently have the AD2000s and really like them. I like the forward midrange sound. My primary music listening is acoustic rock, jazz and blues. What are some of the RS-1 strengths and weakness compared to the AD2000.

Thanks
Greg
post #2 of 18

Without Going Into Detail...

I think I prefer my AD2000's to my RS-1's.

The RS-1's may be a wee bit warmer, and a wee bit richer - and they sound exceptional with acoustic guitar.

But... the AD2000's sound almost as warm and rich, and they're also great with acoustic guitar... while having somewhat clearer mids and highs, and with better soundstage and air. I think the bass is about "a wash."

I believe... if I could only have one... it would be the AD2000's. I had the RS-1's long before the AD2000's - the AD2000's surprised me with their great balanced sound.
post #3 of 18
Bump for this thread. These are the two at the top of my list as well.
post #4 of 18
Sorry to bump a really old thread, but does anyone have more information about this comparison?
post #5 of 18
Grado RS1 eats AD2000 for breakfast!

Asr did a nice comparison on the two.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_72 View Post
Grado RS1 eats AD2000 for breakfast!

Asr did a nice comparison on the two.
Thanks, but from Asr's signature he doesn't seem to have the RS-1 anymore (only his AD2000), I guess this says a lot about which one is better.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by nauxolo View Post
Thanks, but from Asr's signature he doesn't seem to have the RS-1 anymore (only his AD2000), I guess this says a lot about which one is better.
Asr prefered the AD2000, but this has nothing to do with which one is the best. There are many prefering Grados to AD2000.

Which one I like more depend on day/mood/music etc. There isn't a simple answer.
post #8 of 18
For me, the RS1's are more natural, without weird midrange colorations, very dynamic, realistic. I tried the AD2000's once and don't think about them any more. I'm waiting for my friend to receive the RS1's as I'll make final decision what is better as the complement to the GS1000's - the RS1's or the RS2's?
post #9 of 18
I've been comparing the ATH-AD2000 and RS-1 every night for the last 3 weeks, as I own both and I'm trying to decide which I like better (and will sell the other).

The ATH-AD2000 has great soundstaging and much more expansive headstage. Each instrument has a lot more space between each other than with the RS-1. There's also slightly better upper mid-range PRaT, while the RS-1 has better upper bass PRaT (more impactful attack on the notes.) The ATH-AD2000 are also cooler sounding than the RS-1.

The RS-1 have this great mix of upper and mid-bass impact. There's something just unique and special about the thump and impact of the RS-1 in the this frequency region that is missing in non-Grado headphones. Even the GS1000 lacks this a little bit in comparison to the RS-1, RS-2 and lower end Grados (SR-125s for ex). The ATH-AD2000 almost sound like there's a hole in the upper bass region compared to the RS-1. This can be annoying, but only when comparing it to the RS-1. The mid and upper bass on the ATH-AD2000 sound like your listening to it from another room- distant and slightly hollow in comparison to the RS-1.

The ATH-AD2000 have better resolution, each instrument is crystal clear where the RS-1 sound muddier in comparison, as if one is listening to them through a closed door. I should note though, that the resolution on the ATH-AD2000 is second to none that I've ever heard (though I haven't heard ultra-high end headphones). The ATH-AD2000 have revealed micro details (like a breath here or mumble there) that I didn't notice at first on the RS-1. Once I notice it on the ATH-AD2000 then I can find it on the RS-1, but it went unobserved on very familiar tracks until I auditioned the ATH-AD2000. The RS-1 isn't muddy necessarily, just in comparison to the ATH-AD2000.

The RS-1 gets your foot thumping and is just really pleasing to listen too even though they lack the soundstaging and very expansive headstaging on the ATH-AD2000. Overall, I find that I can't live without the Grado upper and mid-bass thump, even though it's almost certainly a coloration of the music. I also find the treble on the ATH-AD2000 a bit fatiguing with the wrong interconnects. I suggest a VERY warm sounding set of interconnects with the ATH-AD2000.

The ATH-AD2000 are clearly better detail oriented and resolving headphones that have very good PRaT and great sound/headstaging. The RS-1 have better low frequency content and that wonderful Grado upper bass thump. They don't separate each instrument as well as the ATH-AD2000, but this can be a matter of taste since the RS-1 do present a more cohesive presentation. By this I mean the instruments sound closer together on the RS-1. The RS-1 also have more upper bass PraT and almost as much upper upper mid-range PraT (they may be equal to the ATH-AD2000 but just don't stand out as much because the RS-1 thumpiness extends through a greater frequency range.)

I've done my comparisons listening to modern Rock, Techno and Jazz. I don't like either of these headphones very much for classical. For classical I listen to my Victor HP-DX1000 which are amazing for every type of classical I can throw at it. I've used both a very tubey sounding starving student millet hybrid and a solid state Eddie Current EC/SS. I've used both silver and copper interconnects and the excellent Keces DA-151 DAC.

The comfort on each headphone is high, but the ATH-AD2000 took strong-arm adjusting of the metal top band to fit my smallish head. It was horrible at first and I almost returned them immediately when I first tried them on. Now it's actually more comfortable than the RS-1s, which I find very comfortable.

The jury is still out as to which I like better. They both have their strengths and short comings. If I could combine the two I'd be really happy. The ATH-AD2000 actually remind me of the GS1000 in terms of the soundstaging. I really liked the GS1000 but couldn't get passed their recessed mids and ultimately returned them. The GS1000 are uber lower-bass heavy and very fatiguing after a few minutes to my ears (I still have good hearing- those who suffer from lower-bass deafness from too many Rock concerts without earplugs will probably love it).

There are some tracks (Techno especially) that just sound more pleasing on the RS-1 and other tracks with less mid bass content (some Rock) that sound better on the ATH-AD2000, though overall the RS-1 sounds better an most tracks. I'll probably keep the RS-1 but I'll miss the ATH-AD2000. It's really been grueling trying to decide between these two.

Interestingly, during the colder weather and noticeably drier air I've gotten some pretty sever static electricity shocks from the ATH-AD2000. Once, while sitting at my desk, my wife walked up behind me and touched my shoulder. OMFG, I thought I was getting electroshock therapy through the ATH-AD2000!!! I reflexively through the headphones off my head! They even triggered some kind of feedback cutoff circuit in the DAC and turned it silent. This has happened a couple of times, though to lesser degrees, even when my cat hops up on the desk and rubs against me.
post #10 of 18
It's not true the GS1000's lack midrange. They just need proper burn-in, it's more difficult and takes longer than with the RS1/RS2. In direct comparison, the GS1000's blow away in terms of midrange timbre and quality the RS2's while I could say at the same time the RS2's midrange is great. I guess the Keces is the bottleneck in your system, really. I am using a source which is in a equal/higher class than the North Star 192 (compared on several headphones, headphone amps, IC's and even loudspeaker rig) and believe me, unless you get rid of the op-amps in the signal line (you've got them in the DA151.1) you won't hear full GS1000 capabilities. There is only one op-amp not like op-amp but it's a different story.

Great thanks for the comparison and congrats on the right decision.
post #11 of 18
Very interesting writeup indeed, PuffyElvis!

Perhaps it's because I run them balanced from OTL tubes (LD MK VI via Black Dragon, to be precise), and certainly because I use them for much less mid-bass heavy material (which I reserve for my HD650's), but I find the AD2K's to be absolutely stellar, without many of the shortcomings you describe

I have not spent significant time with RS-1's or 2's in my current setup, and have never A/B'd them with the AD2K's - and perhaps this fact prevents me from noting what you perceive as a lack of musicality with heavier rock tracks, when comparing the two hp's. Frankly though, it is the lack of sound layering, and the "compressed" feeling to the stage, that turns me off of the grados in general!

In the end, maybe it isnt fair to compare these two cans directly, and the two arent really close enough in signature at all, to justify deciding on one over the other . In fact, a wide-soundstage, detail-oriented, midrange-accurate, medium-bass set of cans with extended highs such as the AD2K, can probably sit happily side-by-side with an in-your-face soundstage, warm-midrange, slightly-exaggerated-upper-bass hp like the RS-1's






BTW, your comparison of the AD2K's to the GS1000's is spot-on to what I feel as well: a very similar presentation, with more detail, as well as midrange power and elegance, in the Audio Technicas. Maybe I just dont have what it takes to drive the GS1000's properly...
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffyElvis View Post
There are some tracks (Techno especially) that just sound more pleasing on the RS-1 and other tracks with less mid bass content (some Rock) that sound better on the ATH-AD2000, though overall the RS-1 sounds better an most tracks. I'll probably keep the RS-1 but I'll miss the ATH-AD2000. It's really been grueling trying to decide between these two.
Nice comparison. But before you sell off your AD2000, may I suggest you try the pad mod on them:
Audio Technica Earpad Mod

Apparently it has more of an effect than I thought it had back when I created that thread, as can be seen from the measurements here:
http://flauschigerbaer.jalbum.net/Fr...ad2000_mod.png
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by big-ban View Post
Apparently it has more of an effect than I thought it had back when I created that thread, as can be seen from the measurements here:
http://flauschigerbaer.jalbum.net/Fr...ad2000_mod.png
That is VERY interesting. I'm going to take your advice and try the pad mod. It looks like you get around a 3db gain at some of the lower frequencies. That might just do the trick. I'll report back my findings. Thanks for the info!

I have been told that the GS1000 require high end up stream components, specifically on the amp side of things. I did find that the EC/SS gave the GS1000 more midrange, but still not enough to my liking. I've never heard that the op amp in a DAC could negatively effect the midrange on the GS1000.

I really fell in love with the GS1000 when I first heard them, they had that wonderful Grado sound but with great sound staging and incredible bass extension. You felt like you were right on stage during the concert. Really a remarkable feat of engineering! I was also heart broken when my ears began to ache after 5-10 minutes of listening. Turning the volume down just left the midrange too quiet.

I let the GS1000, and all my headphones for that matter, burn in for about 120 hours before serious listening. The biggest change I noticed was with the RS-1, which sounded horrible when I first plugged them in out of the box. The ATH-AD2000 matured nicely too, but had impressive PRaT right out of the box. It made me sit up and say WOW!

I'm listening to the ATH-AD2000 right now- Dexter Gordon, the Panther. Nice classic jazz. This recording has strong left-right channel separation. The sax is almost full left channel and the symbol almost full right channel. Sounds great on the ATH-AD2000 though- OMG LOL, I thought I was wearing the ATH-AD2000 right now, went to switch to the RS-1 and realized I was actually wearing the RS-1s! That's what it's been like comparing these headphones... both sound so nice. Ok, got the ATH-AD2000 on now... Yup, better instrument separation- the symbols stand out more, piano is more distinct too... but it lacks that nice upper bass twang that lets you forget what you're wearing.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffyElvis View Post
That is VERY interesting. I'm going to take your advice and try the pad mod. It looks like you get around a 3db gain at some of the lower frequencies. That might just do the trick. I'll report back my findings. Thanks for the info!
Keep in mind though that it's actually more than just 3 db "bass & lower mids boost" because at the same time the upper midrange goes down by a few db. It's always a game of relative amounts - to accentuate a special frequency band you've gotta "save" some db in a few other areas.
That's what most people don't realize when they keep dreaming of perfect headphones: full and warm bass, present mids, crystal clear highs and lots of air don't work all at the same time. There are always drawbacks. The most neutral headphones which represent most of those traits hardly ever sound exciting, but more or less boring and analytical. At least that's the observations I made. The K701 measures almost flat - and in being that flat, it not only sounds wrong to me for listening to anything other than classical, it just sounds boring. And I don't want to be bored to death, I want to enjoy music.

Back to topic: if you're interested in more Frequency Response Measurements, check the thread I recently created:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/hea...phones-388711/
I've been trying to promote my findings but it seems most people don't care much for the work I did. It's a bit sad because I thought it was nice approach to making discussions a little bit more objective. You know, personally, I'd been looking for conclusive AT Frequency Response Measurements for quite a while, so I decided to do my own. Sort of helps to put things into perspective, I've learned quite a bit from doing this.
post #15 of 18
To my ears,RS1 is far better, different class.
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