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General question for past and present Grado owners

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

The 325is was one of my inital choices for my very first pair of decent cans. When I first joined this forum and inquired about them, a few of the responders told me that Grado might not be a good choice for a first time headphone user. I ended up going with the AKG 242 HDs which I am very happy with. Currently though, a friend of mine who is also basically a headphone "beginner" is interested in the 325is. Forgive me in advance, as I am not very familiar with audiophile terms like "neutral" or "bright" just to name a few. Could someone explain why this model (or other Grados in general) might not be a good match for first timers? Thanks in advance for the knowledge!

post #2 of 34

They have alot of highs. They definitely do not try to tame the highs in music. Fake cymbals, hi-hats, snares, etc from hip hop could be a painful experience. Metal is a no-no.

post #3 of 34

225's and sr80's are ok. They might be more brighter than warmer sounding but are pretty good. The 125 and 325's may be hard to tolerate.

post #4 of 34

Call me the skeptic believer.  I'm a Grado guy whose second Grado (after the SR80) was the SR325i.  I jumped past the SR125 and SR225 because, for $300, I wanted to hear the best of Grado's Prestige Series.  I didn't have the $700 for an RS1, didn't want to spring $500 for an RS2, and was impressed that the 325 had all of the major features of the top Grado cans - minus the wood: 

 

--larger air chambers;

--metal grills instead of plastic;

--UHPLC wiring in the voice coils; and

--UHPLC wiring in the connecting cable.

 

Notwithstanding the fact that Grados most highly-coveted headphones (the PS1 and the HP1000) were encased in aluminum, the SR325 weathered a love/hate split between Grado lovers.  Some hailed it as a coup de force; others complained about its metal highs, complaining that it lacked the warmth of the woodies while overwhelming the listener with treble.  

 

To my ears, it was a great headphone.  Out of the box, I still preferred my SR80s, which had had so much TLC that I'd burned them in and then some.  But by the time I jumped to the RS1 (about five or six months later), I was already so stuck on these that the RS1 didn't impress me.  It would take the same degree of use and burn-in for the RS1 to surpass these as my favorite Grados (Of course, by then, I'd gotten lucky, landed a GS1000 and then run screaming into the night because its presentation was so different from what I'd expected).

 

If you want the conventional answer, the SR225 is considered - by many - to be the true top of the Prestige Series.  Many like it better because it's more restrained than the 325.  Of course, it has to be, given the plastic shells it uses as air chambers.  The 325 got no respect from those who said wood was the way.  Only now, after the triumph of aluminum in the hybrid PS1000, are people really giving the 325 a second look.  If you ask me, much of the crying about the 325 and its piercing highs, was psychological.  People saw those metal chambers and assumed this baby would be one cold monster.

 

I loved my 325, the way RS1 lovers love their RS1.  I though its sparkle was out of this world.  Did I ever think it could be shrill?  Yes, with certain tracks, it could be quite shrill.  But that's where you discover that all recordings are not equal.  Not only are some bitrates better, but the contrast in tonal balance between different recordings can be like night and day.  The Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why" is so warm (like a lot of early Linda Ronstadt) that it might as well be playing in the living room, in front of a Christmas tree and a roaring fire.  It feels like somebody left the heat on and it's time to take a walk in the snow.  On the other hand, Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and "Runnin' with the Devil" are cold and distant, as if they'd been recorded in the men's room (with no fire and no Christmas tree).

 

I use my iPod a lot, and the track levels on it are constantly forcing me to adjust the volume.  Whenever I felt the music a little grating, I'd cut back the volume a little.  It's easy to unwittingly crank the volume in an effort to repeat the high of that first song.  I've trained myself to do the opposite now.  I let the first song ring loud, then judiciously cut back a little as I listen longer.  It makes for better sessions and fewer worries about my hearing.

 

Whatever you do, don't pump the 325 through a really good, powerful, amp.  My M^3 with the variable bass boost may not impress anyone, but when I'd give the 325 a little extra bass, it would surprise me at how much it had to offer.  I could swap out the pads and dress it in jumbos and be blown away by its full sound.

 

The reason not to recommend the 325 as a first headphone is simply risk avoidance.  Since there has been a certain amount of controversy over this phone - with some Grado lovers throwing rocks at it - it might not be the best place to introduce the Grado line.  On the other hand, of all the Prestige cans in the line-up, this one - to my ears - blows all others away.  Mind you, I firmly believe you can make an SR60 sing, if you do the right things to it, but if you're looking for something great right out of the box, I'd forget what the crowd is saying and let the 325 do its thing.

post #5 of 34

If it is his first Grado, the 225i might be a better choice.

post #6 of 34

Grado SR325 has been through many changes over the years. The very early ones were painted in black with either silver or gold letterings. Most of them have the pink drivers (or they turned pink after a while, depends on who you talk to). A small number of them were fitted with HP1000 drivers. They have different sound signature compared to the silver or gold ones-smoother and have really good bass. I haven't heard the ones with HP1000 but do own two black pairs with the "regular" drivers (one of them all pink). They sound more like Joe's Grados(HP1000 or SR200 etc.) and are well known for reproducing electric guitar sound. Black SR325 is one of my favourate Grados past or present. Many times I reach out for them before RS1 and others.

 

post #7 of 34

The SR325i is such a polar headphone that you guys are recommending it even before he's said the type of music it would be used mostly for...

 

Seriously, it's a $300 headphone. You don't recommend such a polar headphone to a beginner without even first considering the music...

post #8 of 34

Hopefully this doesnt cause a shitstorm but has he or you ever worn grados?  Maybe the 325i is different, maybe Im crazy, but having worn sr60s, sr80s, and 225i's, I have to say that grados are possible the least comfortable things i have ever put on my head short of brillo pads

post #9 of 34

I dunno about that, I think Ultrasones are more uncomfortable.  Unless by comfort you are referring to sound quality. 

post #10 of 34

So far no one in this thread has recommended SR325i to the beginners or the OP.
You should at least wait till someone does so before you start your Grado bashing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

The SR325i is such a polar headphone that you guys are recommending it even before he's said the type of music it would be used mostly for...

 

Seriously, it's a $300 headphone. You don't recommend such a polar headphone to a beginner without even first considering the music...

post #11 of 34

I've been a Grado fan for three years. In the past I've owned the 80, 325i and GS-1000. Currently I have the HF-1, HF-2 and RS-1. I have listened to but never owned the 225. A reasonable progression for a new Grado fan would be 80, 225, RS-1, all the others are very good but these three maximize your listening enjoyment per dollar.

 

If I were in your shoes I'd save a few more bucks and keep my eyes open for a used RS-1. One just sold here for $400 however the price is usually higher, but less than $500. Good Luck.

post #12 of 34

^ I agree with fatcat - 80, 225, RS-1

post #13 of 34

Maybe adding HF2 to the picture since you can buy them again?

 

80, 225, RS1 or

80, 225, HF2.

post #14 of 34

Indeed you can pick up HF2 for a good price off the forums here.

post #15 of 34

 

Originally Posted by ConGrUenCy View Post

If it is his first Grado, the 225i might be a better choice.


It would certainly be a safer choice.  The 225 has a much safer "consumer satisfaction" rate.  Having heard both, I like the 325 better.
 

Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

The SR325i is such a polar headphone that you guys are recommending it even before he's said the type of music it would be used mostly for...

 

Seriously, it's a $300 headphone. You don't recommend such a polar headphone to a beginner without even first considering the music...


I'm not recommending the 325 per se.  I  just think it gets a bum rap. 
 

Originally Posted by erratik View Post

Hopefully this doesnt cause a shitstorm but has he or you ever worn grados?  Maybe the 325i is different, maybe Im crazy, but having worn sr60s, sr80s, and 225i's, I have to say that grados are possible the least comfortable things i have ever put on my head short of brillo pads


If you think Grados are uncomfortable, both the 325 and the HF2 are going to rank high on your list of Grados to avoid.  With their metal shells, these Grados are a bit heavier than either the plastics or the woodies.  Unlike the PS1000, they drop that weight directly on your ears.  So yeah, they will make your ears ache after a while.

 

I grew up when many headphones did just that.  Unless you went for circumaurals, you were signing up for eventual ear fatigue.  It was a fact of life.  After a while, it was time to take a break.  It didn't take long to "reset," but it was life with headphones.  These days, with the earbuds and IEMS - not to mention so many circumaurals - the discomfort of supraaurals is practically scandalous.  Maybe that's why Grado has continued to put his emphasis on circumaurals.  I don't know if Grado will ever make another supraaural, though "never say never" rises up to rebuke me.  I think supraaurals have become more the fashion in cheaper, lighter, cans.

 

I think it's interesting that Koss outfitted the PortaPro with temple pads to reduce aural pressure, even if they look weird.


Edited by Bilavideo - 7/28/10 at 9:19am
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