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Grado RS1i Appreciation thread - Page 12

post #166 of 1305

I've had the RS1i for coming up to two weeks now. I was so impressed with my SR225i I brought the RS1i after reading many posts which suggest the RS1i is a good upgrade over the 225's.

 

I haven't done any AB'ing but I think the improvement over the 225's is fairly subtle. They're a touch more neutral and rounded - and consequently less bright, with greater bass impact and a small increase in detail and airiness. I think they build on the best bits of the SR225i while moving somewhat in the direction of HD 650, another favourite headphone of mine (though I haven't used them since getting a pair of Grado's). With the RS1i I can listen all evening long while still enjoying the amazing way Grado's render guitar and communicate the emotion in the singer's voice.

 

I haven't found a genre I don't like with the RS1i, it does a good job with blues, classic and progressive rock, jazz and pop. Some recordings can still sound a little anaemic when compared to the HD 650 - but that's only because they are anaemic recordings. The extra body provided by the RS1i over the 225 does provide an improvement here.

 

I would say you're more than two thirds of the way there with the SR225i though, which makes the 225's great value in my opinion (and conversely makes the RS1i not such a great bargain, if I'm honest - but we're all familiar with the laws of diminishing returns here!).

 

Thanks to the thicker leather headband I find the RS1i is a good deal more comfortable than the 225's too. The only real discomfort I suffered with the 225's was the thin metal band pressing against my head through the thin vinyl cover.

 

I must confess a not insignificant draw to these headphones was the way they look. The mahogany cups really work well with the unique Grado styling, giving them a classy, vintage appearance. After all the comments I've read about Grado build quality I was a little concerned whether they would have any defects, but I'm pleased to say these look like a perfect example to my eyes.

 

I've been using my AMB M³ to drive my RS1i (and SR225i before them) and I'm very pleased with the pairing. I also have the Little Dot I+, which I know is a very popular amp to pair with Grado's. There's no doubt the I+ offers great value for money, but I find the bass lacks definition and it's not a very detailed amp by comparison. Personally, I think if you're going to shell out for the RS1i, it's also worth shelling out for a better amp to get the best out of these headphones. I haven't heard many solid state amps, but I think the M³ has a signature not dissimilar to tube based amps - it's certainly not overly bright. I've read MOSFET output stages have similar characteristics to tube output stages, so perhaps that's why.

 

IMG_3655.JPG


Edited by jr41 - 6/21/11 at 1:23pm
post #167 of 1305

Nice review, and always good to see pics! I had a similar experience going from the 225's, but once you get into the RS1's the 225's end up  being pretty much obsolete. I've tried quite a few amps with the Rs1is and the problem lies with the low impedance, they need lots of current which most SS amps will give them but because Grado's are bright they also benefit from a little tube warmth. Thats why the LD1+ is a very good choice. There arent many hybrid tube amps out there that cater for low impedance phones.

Also 2 weeks is still very early days with these guys... they're only going to get better. Enjoy!

post #168 of 1305

Thanks LugBug1 smily_headphones1.gif

 

Yeah, I'll likely sell the 225's. In fact I may well sell my HD 650 and the OTL tube amp I was using them with too as I don't see myself using them much either. (I did enjoy the 650's while they were my primary headphones though, so I don't want to act too hastily!).

 

I get the impression from the reading I've done that many people regard Grado's as quite a niche headphone, limited to only a selection of genres. Admittedly I'm a relatively inexperienced head-fi'er, but that's not been my experience with the RS1i (and to some degree with the 225's also). As I've said I'm quite happy listening to them for long periods with a variety of genres. They don't seem obviously imbalanced, or overly focused on a particular frequency band to me. If it could be said that they do have a focus, I would say it lies in the mids, which to my ears is the best place to shine the spot light. Vocals sound brilliant on these headphones and in some cases have improved my understanding of certain tracks. They clearly convey the emphasis and inclination in the singer's voice, which in turn sets the tone of the track (i.e. aggressive, melancholy, etc.).

 

Time will tell, but so far I can only see myself changing to another headphone due to upgradeitus, and not due to a particular flaw in the RS1i. I know from a brief listen to headphones such as the Beyerdynamic T1, that the RS1i isn't the last word in neutrality and detail. Though whether any of the other top tier headphones are as enjoyable and engaging remains to be seen.


Edited by jr41 - 6/22/11 at 5:45am
post #169 of 1305
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr41 View Post

Thanks LugBug1 smily_headphones1.gif

 

Yeah, I'll likely sell the 225's. In fact I may well sell my HD 650 and the OTL tube amp I was using them with too as I don't see myself using them much either. (I did enjoy the 650's while they were my primary headphones though, so I don't want to act too hastily!).

 

I get the impression from the reading I've done that many people regard Grado's as quite a niche headphone, limited to only a selection of genres. Admittedly I'm a relatively inexperienced head-fi'er, but that's not been my experience with the RS1i (and to some degree with the 225's also). As I've said I'm quite happy listening to them for long periods with a variety of genres. They don't seem obviously imbalanced, or overly focused on a particular frequency band to me. If it could be said that they do have a focus, I would say it lies in the mids, which to my ears is the best place to shine the spot light. Vocals sound brilliant on these headphones and in some cases have improved my understanding of certain tracks. They clearly convey the emphasis and inclination in the singer's voice, which in turn sets the tone of the track (i.e. aggressive, melancholy, etc.).

 

Time will tell, but so far I can only see myself changing to another headphone due to upgradeitus, and not due to a particular flaw in the RS1i. I know from a brief listen to headphones such as the Beyerdynamic T1, that the RS1i isn't the last word in neutrality and detail. Though whether any of the other top tier headphones are as enjoyable and engaging remains to be seen.



I would probably hang on to your 650's for a little while, its easy to get hooked on a new pair of phones but this doesn't always last. I use both the RS1's and 650's as my primary phones and think that they complement each other very well. They are both very different, I use the Grado's for jazz,  pop and ensemble music and my 650's more for orchestral. However, I've more recently been enjoying listening to classical with the RS1's as ive found that the 408a tubes in the LD1+ are able to deal with bigger more complex music peices, though not as well as the 650's but its a nice change all the same. The RS1's are a more coloured hp and can sound more fun than the laid back style of the Senns too. It doesn't seem that long ago that these were the 2 best phones on the market! its all changed now though with the arrival of the Orthos mob! I'm dying to try a pair of LCD2's but it will be long while before my wallet will allow it... rolleyes.gif  

 

Having said that, I still think that the RS1i's will be hard to beat for what they do, theres nothing quite like them for sheer fun in such a small can!  

 

post #170 of 1305

I eventually passed my 125s onto the girlfriend. Believe it or not, she actually liked their comfort a lot, and she one day might end up becoming something of an audiophile. She's got as far as noticing how compressed the dynamic range in the Glee songs are anyway - I'm genuinely proud of her.

 

I have to say, I miss them slightly - I'm tempted to pick up a pair of MS-1s sometime to keep as a 'wear in bed and don't mind if they get trashed' headphone.

 

Anyways, this is the RS1 thread, not the 'headphones that we got rid of in favour of RS1s', so here's a comment on them for classical music: I find my RS1i phones to be a bit strident for classical music, especially on violins. Generally, I prefer my 702s for classical, but I'm wondering if I can EQ down the highs a bit on the RS1s to enjoy classical a bit more. Problem is, as far as I'm aware, there's no way to EQ Spotify, which has taken over as my main source of music these days. Anyone have any tips with EQ on the RS1s, or on Spotify for that matter?

post #171 of 1305

Lately I listened to many headphones like D7000, W5000, AKG701,601, Beyers, Senn etc but RS1 were the only one which impressed me a lot. Their characteristic shows that they have that upper mids which could be pain for ears. At Matrix M Stage you hear it more or less often, depending also on recorded music. But when I heard the same cans at some DIY ss headamp I was just blown away how it sounds. And Im not a man whos getting excited by subtle changes. It was like honey and velvet with all details and that fantastic midrange for human voices.

So you either got some kind of weaker amp/spurce or you are just very sensitive for that RS1 peak at upper midrange - maybe try RS2 then?

post #172 of 1305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arleus View Post

 

: I find my RS1i phones to be a bit strident for classical music, especially on violins. Generally, I prefer my 702s for classical, but I'm wondering if I can EQ down the highs a bit on the RS1s to enjoy classical a bit more. Problem is, as far as I'm aware, there's no way to EQ Spotify, which has taken over as my main source of music these days. Anyone have any tips with EQ on the RS1s, or on Spotify for that matter?


For me the RS1's can be extremely good for string instuments especially string quartets for example. If you are finding them a little too much then I can only recommend tubes.. and the cheapest way to do that is with the good old little dot 1+. I use a tube pre-amp with built in dac fed to the LD1+ and find the sound to be most acceptable for classical. Very warm, but still very textured for violins, cellos's etc without sounding harsh in any way. Suppose its like all headpohnes, you need to fine tune them to your liking with your rig, never an EQ!!.

post #173 of 1305

Could you please tell me if anyone of you tried big pads from higer version to RS1? I believe it improves comfort but what about SQ?

 

nevermind. I just found post that it wasnt good pair...


Edited by zibra - 6/23/11 at 12:00pm
post #174 of 1305

Well, I never did find a way to EQ Spotify, so I went to plan B: the tape mod. And you know what? I think it's worked. Unfortunately, my hair makes a slight crinkling sound against the scotch tape I used. Well, barring getting a haircut (fat chance - I'm not going THAT far for the sake of sound), I guess I should pick up some normal sellotape. Anyone else use the tape mod on their RS1i? 

post #175 of 1305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arleus View Post

Well, I never did find a way to EQ Spotify, so I went to plan B: the tape mod. And you know what? I think it's worked. Unfortunately, my hair makes a slight crinkling sound against the scotch tape I used. Well, barring getting a haircut (fat chance - I'm not going THAT far for the sake of sound), I guess I should pick up some normal sellotape. Anyone else use the tape mod on their RS1i? 



No, but I do use it on my 225i's and it does add more bottom end presence and I don't think the soundstage is affected too much.. For my preference the RS1's don't need any extra bass its one of my favorite things about them, its pretty much spot on for me.   

 

post #176 of 1305

I was actually aiming to tame the upper-mid peak (following the logic from Tyll's post in the tape modded 225), and it seems to have smoothed them out a touch, in quite a pleasant way. The added weight to the low end was very marked though and is sounding really quite fun to me at the moment, but perhaps I'll tire of it eventually. Problem is, you can't both have your cake at eat it - it's probably that same peaky upper mid / high peak range that both makes guitars so brilliant, and strings a little strident. Well, I suppose I could buy another set of bowls. Hmm.

 

Judging by how much this thread has moved in the past few months though, I guess I'm posting to a pretty select crowd which, if I'm honest, is a bit of a shame.

post #177 of 1305
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arleus View Post

Anyone else use the tape mod on their RS1i? 


I use it on my RS-1's with great results.   They sound very balanced, without strident highs, and without any boomy bass... and... with good soundstage.

 

I'm not sure what factors have resulted in the very balanced sound of my RS-1's - it could be the burn in, or the source, or the impedance of the amps I use, or the tape mod... or... all of the above.  I don't know... but... they are incredible in all respects for most types of music, including classical.  They seem to mellow with burn in and age.

 

Whatever... they are incredible.
 

 


Edited by Gradofan2 - 7/3/11 at 9:30pm
post #178 of 1305

I don't know how many times I've sold the Grado RS1(i) for what promised to be a better headphone.  

It many ways, the AD2000, D7000, AKG K702, HD800, LCD-2, UE11, JH13/16-JH-3A, and even GS1000, PS1000, were better headphones but in all of them, I wanted them to sound like the Grado RS1.  I couldn't get away from it.  I missed the sound jumping out at you, the attack of the electric guitar, the harmonics of acoustic guitar floating around you, the intimate vocals, the punchy mid-bass and the paradox of warm and bright that only Grado RS1i can do. So now I'm back to Grado RS1i again and am loving it.  The Grado GR10 for portable on the go and Grado RS1i for home. Sometimes it's not about what is technically better but what is musically involving. At least for me. o2smile.gif

 

My Grado RS1 set up at it's best (in the past) for me was the Audio GD NFB-3 Dac with Mad Ear-HD.  Now sorry that I sold it off, this time I'm going to try the Bifrost Dac with the Asgard amp both from Schiit Audio.  

The Asgard while solid state is smooth and warm and should prove to be a good match for the Grado RS1i.

 

 


Edited by sling5s - 10/19/11 at 2:24pm
post #179 of 1305

"Sometimes it's not about what is technically better but what is musically involving"

 

+1 Agree and definitely how I feel about my RS1s as well.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sling5s View Post

I don't know how many times I've sold the Grado RS1(i) for what promised to be a better headphone.  

It many ways, the AD2000, D7000, AKG K702, HD800, LCD-2, UE11, JH13/16-JH-3A, and even GS1000, PS1000, were better headphones but in all of them, I wanted them to sound like the Grado RS1.  I couldn't get away from it.  I missed the sound jumping out at you, the attack of the electric guitar, the harmonics of acoustic guitar floating around you, the intimate vocals, the punchy mid-bass and the paradox of warm and bright that only Grado RS1i can do. So now I'm back to Grado RS1i again and am loving it.  The Grado GR10 for portable on the go and Grado RS1i for home. Sometimes it's not about what is technically better but what is musically involving. At least for me. o2smile.gif

 

My Grado RS1 set up at it's best (in the past) for me was the Audio GD NFB-3 Dac with Mad Ear-HD.  Now sorry that I sold it off, this time I'm going to try the Bifrost Dac with the Asgard amp both from Schiit Audio.  

The Asgard while solid state is smooth and warm and should prove to be a good match for the Grado RS1i.

 

 



 

post #180 of 1305
Quote:
Originally Posted by sling5s View Post

I don't know how many times I've sold the Grado RS1(i) for what promised to be a better headphone.  

It many ways, the AD2000, D7000, AKG K702, HD800, LCD-2, UE11, JH13/16-JH-3A, and even GS1000, PS1000, were better headphones but in all of them, I wanted them to sound like the Grado RS1.  I couldn't get away from it.  I missed the sound jumping out at you, the attack of the electric guitar, the harmonics of acoustic guitar floating around you, the intimate vocals, the punchy mid-bass and the paradox of warm and bright that only Grado RS1i can do. So now I'm back to Grado RS1i again and am loving it.  The Grado GR10 for portable on the go and Grado RS1i for home. Sometimes it's not about what is technically better but what is musically involving. At least for me. o2smile.gif

 

My Grado RS1 set up at it's best (in the past) for me was the Audio GD NFB-3 Dac with Mad Ear-HD.  Now sorry that I sold it off, this time I'm going to try the Bifrost Dac with the Asgard amp both from Schiit Audio.  

The Asgard while solid state is smooth and warm and should prove to be a good match for the Grado RS1i.

 

 



Great post, and although I havent heard all of the headphones you mentioned I have to agree. Thats why they'll always be a great headphone, nothing else for me does what they do! I'm nearly a year in now with my RS1i's and although I may buy other phones, I know for a fact that I'll never sell them.

 

Its the punchy " warm and bright" thing!

 

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