It has come as a great surprise to me but I am now an rs1i owner. I'm usually an IEM guy and have been settled on Shure 535 for a few years now, sourced from an iPhone 4 via a Fiio E7. It's a combination that has worked well for me for a long time and many hours of flying time. I have been working at a clients site in the US for about a month now and wearing the 535 for 8 hours at a time every day was giving me sore ears not to mention major frights when someone came up behind me to ask me something, you just can't hear them coming with the 535 in. What is a major benefit on flights is a major draw back in an office. I decided I would get some over the ear phones to make putting them on and off easier and open back so that i can hear people when they start talking to me.
Being in the land of the free and Grado's I thought I would give them a try. I did the research and decided that I would go all out and try the PS1000. This morning I went to a local Grado stockist in Ann Arbour and found out that PS1000 are not to be found lying around in every store. They did have PS500 and said they are probably 70 to 80% of the sound quality of the 1000 so I settled in for an hour and listened to them. I had my just upgraded iPhone 5 with Fostex HP-1P as a source. Well I was really disappointed I really didn't like the sound from the PS500. It was bright almost to the point of pain. The bass was pretty muddy and over powering. When compared to my Shure's the coloration was very marked and not for the better. On classical tracks the strings were jarring and vocals lost all traces of mellowness. I tried a wide range of music but just couldn't bring myself to like them. I thought perhaps this was the 'Grado sound' that I had read so much about, if it was it just wasn't for me. After chatting with the store owner I decided I would still give the 1000 a chance as it is reviewed as having a more natural sound. I asked if there were any other stores in the area and I was directed to speak to Harry at Audio Dimensions in Royal Oak. As it was on my way home I just called in. He had a good stock of Grado phones but alas still no PS1000. He did have a set of rs1i on demo and suggested I give them a try. Wow chalk and cheese!!! These were wonderfully mellow. I sat listening to track after track from my test playlist then switched to shuffle and up popped Duffy singing Syrup and Honey, boy a better description of that vocal can't be found. I just couldn't believe the difference of the rs1i with the PS500 so I tried another pair of PS500 along side the rs1i and that absolutely convinced me that the rs1i were the phones for me. Harry was a real gent and I listened to some amazing speakers while I was there as well but they were just way too big for the hand baggage on the way home.
I'm now ensconsed at my desk working happily away with wonderful mellow sounds permeating my brain. I currently have them running from the Fiio, running as a DAC/AMP from my macbook, and they sound as rich as with the Fostex from the iPhone. These phones are going to be my listening staple from now on. I'm tempted to get a fireflys valve DAC/AMP to team up with the desktop computer in my office and keep the Fiio paired with the laptop for travel and the Fostex/iPhone for longer for on site visits. The Shure's will be staying in my pocket for flights and impromptue listening and I will try some PS1000 at some point, just to satisfy my curiosity, but right now I am a very surprised but very happy owner of the Grado RS1i