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Grado RS1i Impressions thread

post #1 of 1424
Thread Starter 

I owned a pair of 1996 RS1's until a couple of years ago. I was thrilled by them. I was not thrilled with the sound after 1 channel went out and Grado Labs replaced the drivers maybe 5 years back. There was a bit of brittleness in the highs that I never heard in my original drivers. Break-in did not make it change completely either. my only Grado Labs letdown. and they were far from horrible, but I was spoiled.
I have since had PS1's which I loved, but found to be too heavy to wear for long sessions.

So I just took the plunge and decided to give the RS1i a try. I am extremely glad I did. As much as I disliked the new drivers 5 years ago right outta the box, I love the sound of these - even with barely any hours on them. Not sure since I can't a/b them, but I'd absolutely swear these baby's are faster than my vintage were (vs brighter like my last go-round) and there is clearly "more better bass" than even my vintage pair had with their original drivers broken in for years. I am as impressed again as I was in 1996 (through around 2004). Actually more so.

I decided not to get an old pair as I would be afraid of an old driver going out and my not being able to replace it, and after paying the insanely inflated prices for a vintage that would be tough to take. After some soul searching I decided that I trust John and John (Grado and his long time chief engineer) from my having experience with rs1, ps1, gs1000, sr325, sr60 and many cartridges from Master to the Statement. My trust was well founded. John Grado is not some scam artist - the RS1i changes are not "smoke and mirrors". These are the real deal, killer RS1's!!! and I am one happy guy!

post #2 of 1424
i love my RS1i's as well. glad to finally see a appreciation thread and someone that has experience with past RS1 models. i've heard before that the RS1i had come pretty close to the vintage models but was never clear. i am very glad to hear where it stands now that i read your post. i am happy as well that i chose the improved version over the classic and saved some money by not getting a vintage pair.
post #3 of 1424
thanks for the post, i too am a long time grado fan, used to have the rs2, and wondered what if? i knew in order to get my sound right i need to wait until i had the proper amp and can all at once. one day i just went and bought everything i needed to make my musical dream come true. so, today after maybe 200 hours of burn in i sit every day and am taken aback with every new song i put through my new system. i say new song merely because every song has so much more music, detail, character, speed, accuracy....... i could go on and on, since i bought my cans, and a b'ed others, i have retired everything i have owned, i have had senns, sonys, beyers, many thousands of dollars later i have gotten where i want to be, some say they are colored? and maybe so? but i do know that i have not found any music they simply dont do better than any other can i have had in house. if they are colored than great, they are colored beautiful, rich and creamy. i have since began listening to music i did not like before, why? because my rs1i's make everything sound soooooooooo good. try them, you'll never go back.
post #4 of 1424
Interesting, I'm looking at RS-1is as my next step, but what equipment are you using these with?
post #5 of 1424
Including my new RS1i, I have owned four different pairs of RS1's starting with the original in 1995. Along the way I have tried most of other top phones but always returned to the RS1. After an extended detour with Denon D7000's then the Senn HD 800, I realized I just wasn't having as much fun listening. So I decided to try an RS1i. Wow! The fun is back all the way. I'll say it clearly. The RS1i is by far the best sounding phone I have owned since I got my HP-2's back in 1992.
post #6 of 1424
I'm glad that the RS1i has been out long enough, now, that we're starting to see some comparisons between some of the older RS1's and this latest version.

I came very close to deciding on the RS1i over the HF-2. I haven't received the HF-2 yet, but I'm not convinced that it is a superior headphone, but rather a different flavor.

I've got a feeling that I'll eventually own the RS1i as my primary headphone in the long run. The person who chronicled their journey over many years, sampling different brands, that came back to the RS1 in the end, is probably where I'll be in a few years....
post #7 of 1424
the RS1i is my first pair of Grado's. I tried a variety of other phones before that including HD650's, and the RS1i is just my happy "let's enjoy the music" headphone. A bit different from the monitors that I record and mix music on.
post #8 of 1424
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhancakes View Post
Interesting, I'm looking at RS-1is as my next step, but what equipment are you using these with?
what is it you are wondering? is your question about amps, or sources or phono stage preamps or turntables or cables or...what?

i'm sure many will tell you they have successfully used RS1i's/rs1's and all the other grado headphones with endless amounts of gear, as i have. but what are you really trying to figure out?
post #9 of 1424
sources and amps
post #10 of 1424
source? anything. you just need a good amp/dac, even the smaller variety is great on grados they dont need much oomph to drive them to splendor, even straight out of your comp they show their tendency towards magic. i use the headroom ultra desktop amp straight out of my macbook pro, i did upgrade the cables to cardas big reds, and the kimber usb, a huge difference here as well. and the combo is just.......... words have no value here.
post #11 of 1424
best thing about Grados are that they are very easy to drive with the exception of maybe GS1000 and HP2.

all they need is current. Most SS, hybrid, or transformer coupled can provide this. i particularly like my RS1i driven through the TC7520, D10, glite, and mapletree.
post #12 of 1424
Quote:
Originally Posted by SemiAudiophile View Post
best thing about Grados are that they are very easy to drive with the exception of maybe GS1000 and HP2.

all they need is current. Most SS, hybrid, or transformer coupled can provide this. i particularly like my RS1i driven through the TC7520, D10, glite, and mapletree.
Yeah this is more of what I'm looking for. I just like to know what they find the rs1i matches up with best. I mean, if you think it sounds good with anything, I guess that's good too. But it doesn't help me much with deciding what I want to get.
post #13 of 1424
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhancakes View Post
I mean, if you think it sounds good with anything, I guess that's good too. But it doesn't help me much with deciding what I want to get.
that depends on your budget: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/dac...-rs-1s-439693/
post #14 of 1424
yup it all depends on your budget, i kinda broke the budget when i purchased my set up, but i knew it was to be the last i would do for a long time, so in the long run, i get every penny of what i paid for. and i might add, the cables you use, when rising to this degree of musical capability is almost as important as your amp/dac. rat shack, or supplied interconnects will choke off 10-15 % of the beauty of the cans.
post #15 of 1424
Yep I used to use my RS-1s all the time, unfortunately I don't have a headphone jack anywhere on my system anymore. Now the only headphones I use regularly are the Etymotic RS-4s with a 160GB Ipod when travelling, sounds really good especially with all my CDs stored in uncompressed WAV format. Anyway the RS-1s really are great headphones, but they wouldn't make good airplane phones with the open back and all, they're like speakers on your head. The guy next to you might just get annoyed lol...
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