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Do you consider any Grado headphone as High-end? - Page 4

post #46 of 60
I like the PS-1, RS-1, Headphile-modded HF-1 and regular HF-1. I don't like the HP-2 or Alessandro MS2i as much.

I don't consider any of these Grados to be high-end. To me, a high-end headphone needs to be highly refined and detailed, among other things. A headphone with average/low details such as the HF-1 can be very enjoyable to listen to, but it isn't very refined or detailed.

In terms of refinement and details, the Grados aren't at the level of several headphones I do consider to be high-end, including:

W5000
L3000
R10
Qualia
HE60
HE90
SR-Omega
SR-007
SR-007Mk2
4070
K1000

This list is highly exclusive. I also wouldn't include the Lambda Pro, AD2000, W11JPN, W2002, HD650 or K701 in it.
post #47 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool_Torpedo View Post
^ Yep, Headroom's page is a fantastic resource of measurements and it's great that someone offers that publicly. It's a pity that Tyll hasn't replied to my e-mail asking him if they had the PS-1, HP-2 or R10 measured.

You're completely right, measuring headphones is very difficult, and having the adequate equipment is very expensive (mostly for the microphone and the calibration tools). However I've had the chance to compare the measurements made using top-notch gear and affordable one of the very same cans using the same amp to feed them, and results are quite consistent above 150Hz and below 10-12KHz. Into that range differences are quite negligible (in the +/- 2dB) if we consider that most untrained people hardly notice differences below 3dB in a frequency band, especially if it's quite narrow. Unless a gross mistake is made while taking the measurements, I find that most of the ones available out there correlate quite accurately with the "serious" ones properly made.
The big problem is the bass below 100-150Hz and it gets worse the lower you go. In that range is where the response is less predictable looking at the charts.

Anyway, if you can compare masurements from the same source, made using the very same protocol, they're very helpful for their offering you the chance to compare something that you already know how it sounds, to something you'd like to know. Headroom measurements have perfectly predicted how I'd perceive the sound of some phones just by comparison of their frequency graphs to the HD600's, which I know very very well and have had measured in different test systems.

Unfortunately there's much more to measure -and probably things that we already don't know how to measure- than the frequency response. However it's a good starting point.

Rgrds

Excellent info! I am sure the community would love to see some of those measurements if you still had them and were willing to post them. Awesome that you had access to that type of resource to measure cans, what a great tool. I think the biggest thing is simply protocol, stereophile is very objective when it comes to their measurements, and are very forthright with their procedure. Wish the same due diligence was given to headphones. I would love to see a measurement of the resonances that are triggered from an enclosure of a headphone, if possible, like how they do with speakers. Spectral plots, IMD analysis, sky is the limit. Let's hope for the future.
post #48 of 60
None of the in-production ones I have heard would qualify as high-end imo, but with the exception of some few amazing systems that ran them. I still love 'em for their fun factor though.
post #49 of 60
Thread Starter 
I keep some of those charts in my computer and uploaded a few to imageshack, but I forgot how to access to them. I'll post for your comparison the graphs from the HD600.

This is the result as measured with an affordable microphone and a domestic dummy ear:



And this is the response graph when measured with a $3000+ Earthworks microphone, using a custom dummy ear with the right external ear cannal diameter and length, and professional Apogee sound interface and software:



The "amateur" system gets measurements quite close to the professional one, but making the peaks shallower and enhancing the SPL at the frequencies where it's less linear than the Earthworks mike. You can see how the differences are huge below 100Hz and above 10KHz.

Rgrds
post #50 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool_Torpedo View Post
I keep some of those charts in my computer and uploaded a few to imageshack, but I forgot how to access to them. I'll post for your comparison the graphs from the HD600.

This is the result as measured with an affordable microphone and a domestic dummy ear:



And this is the response graph when measured with a $3000+ Earthworks microphone, using a custom dummy ear with the right external ear cannal diameter and length, and professional Apogee sound interface and software:



The "amateur" system gets measurements quite close to the professional one, but making the peaks shallower and enhancing the SPL at the frequencies where it's less linear than the Earthworks mike. You can see how the differences are huge below 100Hz and above 10KHz.

Rgrds

That is pretty cool, I would suggest if you had the time starting a thread on how to cheaply measure headphones for users, and detail what kind of mic, software program, tips for accurate measurement, etc. Or if you had a link, feel free to post it so that others could get a nice read. I think it would be great to add to the mix of headphone measurements to compliment what already exists with headroom, if not to reinforce the aspects of sound that are consistent with the measurements that exist.
post #51 of 60
As for the best headphones ever (very top echelon), I would say the HP-2 and PS-1 have equal refinement, detail, etc. but one more flat and accurate the other more euphonic (matter of preference).

I have to say the GS-1000, RS-1 come very very close to the above but when put next to them fall a bit short of the very best in the refinement area.

My favorite headphones are the K-1000 and HP-2. I like accurate, get out of the way of the music, headphones with high resolve and detail. It doesn’t get any better - than those two - just different.

That being said and on certain recordings with well recorded natural music, the GS-1000 is the best headphone in the world. On other recordings it sounds very colored with high frequency issues. It's definitely an anomaly of a headphone.

I was going to keep the K-1000s and HP-2s only (sold my RS-1s - miss them ), but the GS-1000 I just can't part with.

To answer the OPs question, I would say the RS-2 and up would be considered true high end from the Grado line.
post #52 of 60
Thread Starter 
He, he, he, I wish I were able to provide all that info. Measurements were made by a couple of friends of mine. One is a sound engineer who works mastering recordings and live events, he owns the professional system since he uses it at his work. The other one is also a telecom engineer who enjoys DIY audio and is very skilled building speakers, but doesn't need a pro system, so he set up an affordable one to measure his speakers and introduced some modifications to measure phones as well.

I'm trying to get the one having the pro system to measure my Grados, modded D5000 and some other cans, but he's very busy this time of the year, lots of live concerts to master. Hopefully after the summer.

Rgrds
post #53 of 60
Couldn't come back to this thread for a while. Thanks Zanth and Torpedo for the reply to my post. Very interesting.

Coming back to the original question, although I'm the fist one saying that the PS-1 lacks the level of detail found in some (if not all) other High-end cans, with the right equipment they allow me to be "there" even with that handicap, which in theory is almost a show-stopper.

This is not about being "fun" or "enjoyable" (as the ESW9 could be, for example), but about a realistic presentation of the music. Even with some lack of detail, it can capture "the essence" of the music.

It's like the final paintings of Tiziano or Velazquez or even Rembrant for that matter. They lack the detail of some early paintings, yet still capture the "soul" of the people and scenes. Actually in a much better way most of the time.

Apologies for such subjective comments instead of more precise reasoning behind my impressions, but that's the way I feel it.
post #54 of 60
No need to apologize. When it comes down to it defining what it high-end, ultimately subjective opinions will enter the foray. Some won't believe any dynamic phone can be high-end. It's Stax (or HE90) or bust. What you described though, is something often missed by those in the audiophile community..."soul" or "life" or "essence" or any number of words that describe what people are feeling when they listen to a select headphone. In the case of Grados, these attributes are often used to describe them.
post #55 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
Couldn't come back to this thread for a while. Thanks Zanth and Torpedo for the reply to my post. Very interesting.

Coming back to the original question, although I'm the fist one saying that the PS-1 lacks the level of detail found in some (if not all) other High-end cans, with the right equipment they allow me to be "there" even with that handicap, which in theory is almost a show-stopper.

This is not about being "fun" or "enjoyable" (as the ESW9 could be, for example), but about a realistic presentation of the music. Even with some lack of detail, it can capture "the essence" of the music.

It's like the final paintings of Tiziano or Velazquez or even Rembrant for that matter. They lack the detail of some early paintings, yet still capture the "soul" of the people and scenes. Actually in a much better way most of the time.

Apologies for such subjective comments instead of more precise reasoning behind my impressions, but that's the way I feel it.
I find very interesting and worth elaborating that concept of "level of detail".

IMHO it's impossible to know what's the real level of detail any recording is keeping inside, unless you were there when it was made. It's true that some phones -or speakers for that matter- seem to dig deeper in the mix and extract layers of detail and "microinformation" that other transducers seem to obscure, or present in a more subdued way. But I can't help wondering if that detail is really there, if it was originally there at the level I'm hearing it, or if it's just a part of the "fireworks" and make up that some phones and pieces of kit can work out, to satisfy the demands of some people that place a lot of importance in detail rendition and subjective resolution.

I much prefer to pay attention to the whole result and how the phones/system can drive me into the music and its complexities of meaning, than just dissecting the sounds. I don't think detail, real or phoney is worth much attention as a single performance feature. It's worth as much as it contributes to expose the interesting things of music, otherwise I don't have real interest in knowing if the conductor dropped his baton, the singer licks her lips, or the trumpetist in the back row farted by the end of the third movement. In fact having those "informative" clues too enhanced would distract me from the important things.
I don't think any proficient sound engineer paid much attention to it when making the recording, and probably if some gear enhances that, it's just making it up to satisfy other audio demands which aren't the ones that interest me most.

Rgrds
post #56 of 60
I agree with Nomads comment.The PS-1 does not have the detail of other high end cans but it has a flowing full sound.Listening last night to them via my old SDS-XLR connected to the AMR CD77 was magnificent
post #57 of 60
to elaborate on the 'soul/life' topic, there is a school of thought that states the use of such phrases to discuss equipment is just an excuse to compensate for lack of something. that may very well be technically true, but that has nothing to do with enjoyment of music. i frown on audiophiles because most of them only care about hearing irrelevant detail in recordings like 'lips plucking' and other nonsense. i used to think that people who still use vintage gears were just stubborn geezers but after actually hearing/comparing vintage with newer gear, i can see why they still prefer the homogeneous vintage sound because it's more about playing 'tunes' over playing 'sounds'.

i would without question rather listen to music that i enjoy on a cheap ass ten dollar radio than music that i think is garbage on a high end system.
post #58 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob N View Post
I agree with Nomads comment.The PS-1 does not have the detail of other high end cans but it has a flowing full sound.Listening last night to them via my old SDS-XLR connected to the AMR CD77 was magnificent
does the single ended PS-1 get any headtime, or not really since you also have a balanced pair with an SDS XLR. does the PS-1 perform well balanced like the RS-1 does.
post #59 of 60
Hi Folks,
I have heard the STAX, 650's, HP1's, RS1's and the GS1000's...it is a question of preference...they are all competitive and kick ass in their own right. I own the GS1000's. A buddy of mine prefers the RS1's...I could argue forever as to why the GS1000's are better...and we can all do the same. For my money the GS1000's make me happy when I listen to music...is that enough to say??
post #60 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by wpfloridian View Post
For my money the GS1000's make be happy when I listen to music...is that enough to say??
For sane people...yes I'd agree too, depending on what one is considering in their musical playback, they are of course high end. I often use the example that of the phones we list as top tier or even one notch below, these headphones are so far beyond what most people would think as high-end it isn't even funny. Therefore, the vast majority of phones on the board would be high-end. What is the absolute high-end? That will depend on one's definition.

I know folks who scoff at high efficiency speakers and low powered SETs. These contraptions can't be considered high-end no matter what the cost! I have the folks who own such system who complain that high powered SS amps and the monster speakers that go along with them sure can sound LOUD and detail on a macroscale but they lose out on the nimbleness of a tune, inner details, finesse and an overall musical feel. Who wins? No one.

I would put Grados in a SET/High efficiency speaker class as a comparison with Stax and the big O classed with Martin Logans and say the R10's, Qualias and L3000's with Sonus Faber, Wilson and Avalon respectively. Each has their own strength and each is considered high-end but simply an approach to the high-end that differs from others. No better, no worse overall, not when the entire experience is taken to be graded. Dividing up aspects of sound and music playback, some models will excel over others but no one phone rules them all.
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