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iGrado review

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Thread Starter 
I owe quite a few headphone review to head-fi, including my impreesions of the Stax SR-001 system. that's still under construction.

Here's my review of the iGrado's to keep you going. Enjoy!



iGrado Review for head-fi.org

For the life of me, I can’t really remember the reason for buying the igrado’s, because I wasn't a fan. There are three distinct reasons for this;

1) I’m not a fan of neckband headphones, I think they are a pointless design, and what’s wrong with a headband?

2) my past experience of neckband headphones including the Sennheiser PMX60’s, have been a very uncomfortable affair at best.

3) grado themselves (and by experience with my SR60 /125 haven’t been the most comfortable headphones, and I thought that the igrado's would be the same.

The first and tragic thing I need to report, but I'm well willing to overlook, was that when the headphones arrived from iheadphones.co.uk there was a slight leaning to one side, and I concluded that there was some fault with them.

iheadphones was very quick at sending me a replacement (following usual returns procedures) and so I had my third pair of Grado headphones.


My First impressions.

I'm trying to hold my enthusiasm back at this point so lets deal with the negative points first.

I always feel that when you buy a pair of headphones from grado that’s what you get, headphones! I can only comment on the headphones I’ve had.
There is no ceremony with grado.

Oh sure you might be privileged to get an adaptor plug, but where’s the extension cables, the replacement earpads, the fake leather carrying pouches or the fancy plastic glasses (type) case that the sennheiser PX100/200 has?

The only other negative (but not serious point) is the lack of grado insignia on the headphones. All there is, is a cheap “grado” label (that fell off on the third day). I want to show off, I want to tell people that I have taste, and that these aren’t your average cheap headphones.

No disrespect, but my friend has a cheap and cheerful pair of white neckband headphones that he got from the market. I don’t give the impression that these are cheap and nasty headphones. I want to be seen as a part of the grado crowd.

Maybe a nice 'Grado' insignia on the back of the silver ear grills.



Build quality


they don’t feel like the most expensive headphones on the planet, all plastic, but they do feel well built and durable. As for the foam earpads, some have a habit of wearing out fairly quickly if used a lot. And that goes for many headphones not just grado.

I'm happy to say that the foam earpads bear no resemblance to the more grown up grado’s, which is a very good thing. The pads are quite thick but most of all comfortable.

The cable is worth mentioning, because it’s a kind of rubbery thing instead of a plastic cable. It's similar to the Sennheiser CX300.




Comfort

since I mentioned comfort, lets talk about that for a few moments. Now I have made some wild claims but that’s because I'm so shocked at how comfortable they feel. But without gong overboard let’s not kid ourselves. These are still neckband headphones.

They are comfortable, but unless positioned right, you might feel an aching on your upper ears, but it more a ......... it’s not a major discomfort, and something that some of you might not even notice.

The best part is the lovely comfortable earpads though.




The Sound


Grado SR60 drivers. Real or marketing hype?

That’s one thing that I thought, yeah right! And because I got rid of my SR60’s I can’t really comment, but the igrado’s are impressive which ever way you hear them.

I don’t think John Grado could make a claim like that unless it was true, but it’s what they done to the driver that might be the issue.

It’s not as though I’m expecting the same performance or sound, because in the U.K. the igrados are less than half the price of the SR60’s.

The igrado’s don’t seem to suffer that classic Grado ‘brightness’ though, which is why I ask the question, if they have used the SR60 drivers, what have they done to them?

Using them outside, the bass of the igrado’s is more predominant. Now I don’t have the technical know how on why this is, so I’ll leave that explanation to someone who’s far more knowledgeable than me.


O.K. Who do you want first, Sennheiser PX100 or 200. I’m just going to plug them straight into the ipod shuffle.


Lets go through all three.


Amy Winehouse: Rehab

100: nothing to complain about, very clear with good sound-staging. Amy’s in the middle where she should be, drums behind her, with the occasional drums from the left.

Verse two the bass is kicking in a little. But, generally there’s a crackling all through the song, you know that crackling you get when the battery starts to give way. I’ll put it down to the recording.


200: switching over to the 200, the whole song seems to have calmed down a bit, although that crackling is more prominent.

There is more clarity, and the bass, although not as full, it allows the mids to come through a little better.


iGrado: jumping to the igrados you can notice a jump in ......everything. the bass is fuller, if not deeper, but it’s as though someone’s just turned the music up to 11.

It's a more confidant richer sound. Its fuller on bass, and sounds far more grown up than both the Sennheiser twins.

Because the sound is fuller, identify the individual instruments, is a touch easier. Maybe the definition for Amy’s voice isn’t as clear as the 100’s but the forcefulness of the sound makes them my choice.

That annoying cracking is still there, but because I'm concentrating more on the full bass, it’s less noticeable than the twins.


Round 1: the iGrado’s




Kinda New (Dirty South 07 Remix)

electronic/ dance track


100’s: brilliant song and a great performance form the 100’s. This track has nice easy going bass, and the sennheisers perform well.


200: oh dear it’s all gone wrong for the 200’s. Yes they offer more clarity than the 100’s but where the bass? Better defined the 200’s might be, but there’s not enough bass performance to satisfy me.

It's a hard one between the twins. It's bass (100’s) or clarity (200’s)


iGrados: it’s not necessarily a clear winner here. Again they blast in terms of volume, but the 200’s are a touch sweeter (bass aside).

It seems to offer the best of both worlds, but here I'm not sure that’s a good choice.

Round 2: I think it’s easiest to knock the 100’s out because the igrado’s are better in all respects. Although again I’d put the igrado’s ahead, I’d be missing the sweeter sound of the 200’s even if the bass is lacking.

........iGrado’s but at a whisker.




Arctic Monkeys: Brainstorm

A very fast rock track


100’s; sounds very impressive, very fast, and the Sennheisers keep up. Lovely and clear, with amazing sound staging.

Beautiful performance Sennheiser.


200’s: oh no, it’s not looking/sounding good for the 200’s. Although the sound staging is better, it just sounds muddy. The vocals are swamping the rest of the song. It's not really a bad thing, just more pronounced.

But in a word, no! It just doesn’t work. Now that’s a surprise because I was really impressed with the change that the Go-Vibe V5 had on the 200’s. But on it’s own, with the Arctic Monkeys, with the ipod shuffle, it’s just not floating me boat.


iGrado: there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Once again the bass comes through, and the whole performance is more neutral. The vocals are less pronounced, but again the competition is from the 100’s this time.

Sure the iGrado’s are fuller, but the 100’s offer better clarity. There is nothing wrong with the sound staging, that’s first-class.



Round 3: it’s the iGrado’s for a fuller sound or the 100’s for better clarity. I’m leaving the decision up to you this time.



Quick plug into my Go-vibe V5 (i really must get another headphone amp)

The difference is quite clear, no not the music is clear, but there’s a fair bit of weight added to the bottom end as well.

To be honest, my ipod shuffle could do with a bit of a boost, to get it near the sound levels i like, but that might not suit everyone. but put simply there is a good improvement with the Go-Vibe.



Quick Conclusion. Brace yourself

I’m going to have my say hear and whether you agree with me or not, that’s your choice. The simple fact is, I really, really love the iGrado’s, for the simple fact of I’m getting board of the Sennheiser twins.

I feel that the 100/200 have been on the market long enough, and with good reason, don’t get me wrong. They are very good, capable headphones, but I just think:

1) They're old hat,

2) Its time that we all move on.


That might sound really harsh on what is after all a very good pair of headphones, and dare I say previous class leaders. Yes I did say previously because I do think that the iGrado’s are the new class leaders.

Sure they might not have fancy accessories like the Twins, but I think that John Grado has spent the money on the performance instead of frilly bits, and you can hear it.

The PX100 and 200 deserve a place in the ‘headphone hall of fame’, and let the igrado’s take it’s place.

I’ve loved my 200’s over the years. They’ve served me well, and they’ve been on many travels with me, but even though they igrado’s don’t fold like the 200’s, I’m finding that the iGrado’s are getting more use now.
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
oops sorry, can you delete this post, it's a duplicate.
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