I had already posted my impressions/review of my loaner pair previously, but figured this would be a good place to post here below:
"Finally got a chance to hear the Grado HF-2 today at absorbine's when Beely brought his set to the meeting. Not only that, he was nice enough to loan them to me as well. Listened a bit at Mike's on the Zana, and my first thought was "whoa, this sounds pretty much like a PS-1", or as what Jim calls them, baby ps-1's.
Fired them up a bit on the moth this evening, and I am really really really impressed. I can't get over how much they remind me of the PS-1's, but the bass is not as big, which to my ears is a good thing. I have always listened to and preferred bowls on the PS-1's, but even then the bass can get a bit overbearing. With the HF-2 I found it to share the same fullness in the mids but slightly lesser bass which I find to be more balanced. The top end has a nice sparkle on top without the sizzle that plagues some of the John grados, and I do feel it has a similar cohesiveness, a liquidity that runs from bottom to top with a nice full sound, very enjoyable.
Other than the slightly less bass quantity, I found that the HF-2 did NOT have the upper midrange glare, what I call "shout" that I have heard on practically every John Grado can, including the post vintage RS-1's, PS-1, and GS1000. On first impression I find them even more balanced than the PS-1, the PS-1 was to me the most balanced and refined John Grado can though the bass being a bit too heavy and the upper midrange shout still present. The HF-2 to my ears doesn't have those 2 issues hence why I find them more balanced. I would be curious to hear the PS-1000's as Todd as described the HF-2 as a baby ps1000. All impressions are with bowls - the flats make them sound very weird to me, more closed in, the bass becomes muddy and congested, just like how the PS-1 sounds to my ears on flats, somewhat unlistenable to me past 5 minutes. Also it has been maybe a couple of months since I have had PS-1's in house so take the acoustic memory effect into...effect.
Build quality - at least on Billy's pair the glue on the rim of the inner wooden chamber to the outer aluminum chamber is done pretty nicely. I was surpised to see that the whole inner chamber, even the part that is within the outer enclosure, is wood, and it appears the aluminum is braced around a wooden chamber. Interesting. I wish the etching of the letters was maybe a bit deeper, but I don't feel like playing the les garten card either.
I am happy with my order with Todd, and I shall continue to bother Todd about shipment with a call tomorrow. I would also like to thank Billy for loaning them out to me, he probably was getting annoyed by how often I bug him about them."
The one I have on loan now is one of the 1st 20 with the "correct" spelling. My only quibble about them is that the etching is not very deep. It looks like the new batch has nicer, deeper etching, but of course the lettering mistake. No biggie. I find it surprising no one has commented on how the whole inside of the headphone, both under the pads and within the outer enclosure, is completely wood/mahogany, with the aluminum appearing to brace around the wood.