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General question for past and present Grado owners - Page 2

post #16 of 34

 

The 325i are an "acquired taste" AFAIC.  It's advisable to begin with the SR-60i and/or [even better] the 80i and make sure you like the Grado sound first.  The 325i are treble-prominent, and with the right upstream gear can sound remarkable, but they are not really typical of the SR series, and not everyone's cup of tea.

post #17 of 34

Talking about the weight of a pair of headphone- Can you imagine someone choosing between Sennheiser HD414 and Grado HP1000 in the past?

post #18 of 34

im waiting. im waiting.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcf View Post

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.


 

Edited by wind016 - 7/28/10 at 10:43am
post #19 of 34

I'm too bashful to bash Grado.

post #20 of 34

 If someone does recommend SR325i as a first headphone. I might just join you for the attack. :-)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

im waiting. im waiting.
 


 
post #21 of 34

Not to recommend anything in particular but if hes hellbent on spending that kind of money maybe he should consider the DT880/600

 

 

edit: i say that because that much money seems like an awful lot for a "first pair" 


Edited by erratik - 7/28/10 at 8:41pm
post #22 of 34

 

Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

im waiting. im waiting.
 


 


I'll be your Huckleberry.  The 325 wasn't my first headphone.  It was my second.  I started with the SR80, then jumped to the SR325i - something like four to six weeks later.  I wasn't any worse for the wear.

 

On the other hand, what is a "first" headphone, anyway?  Who hasn't had a headphone in their entire life?  Where did this guy grow up?  A tropical island in the South Pacific around 300 nautical miles south-southwest of Fiji?  Come to think of it, my first "headphone" of sorts was an earphone, back when I was a child and there were these things called reel-to-reel and an earphone was a single, echoey junker that fit into one ear.  

 

I got my first set of actual headphones when I was 11 or 12, which I used to listen to a cassette tape of the soundtrack from Star Wars.  The cassette player - purchased by my father from Kmart (so he could listen to some radio preacher's "special offering") had an earphone jack.  My headphones only had the 1/4" connector, so I sawed it off and spliced the wires together so I could get sound in both cups.  Back in those days, earphone jacks were my new best friend, because I was cutting them up to make homemade interconnects between the earphone jack on a transistor radio and the auxiliary mic on that Kmart tape recorder.  I didn't know what I was doing, sort of like now, but it seemed that if you could connect the mic to the speaker, you could get clean sound - albeit in mono - and make your own bootleg recordings.

 

Napster Flintstone.

 

I soon figured out that the trick wouldn't work on a regular mic jack, and it almost didn't work on the auxiliary jack (because of the gain) till I pulled a volume control out of a radio that went into the trash and used it to attenuate the gain.  For a dollar a cassette, I supplied all my friends with recordings off the radio, clean recordings they could use instead of paying $1.25 for a 45 (Proving that iTunes really is a bargain today).  My first headphones were big, circumaurals with telephone handset cable (that curly stuff) in big, thick, black.  They were heavy, still managed to give me ear fatigue and, by today's standards, pretty pathetic helmeted monsters.  But the sound coursing through them - mono though it was - was huge compared to the cheap speakers on my "portable gear."

 

One thing I didn't like about them was that mono sound.  I didn't realize the gap until one day, hanging out with my violin instructor, and listening to my albums on his loudspeakers.  I had no idea you could separate the channels like that.  He explained the concept of stereo to me, which had me then tearing up portable record players so I could wire my headphones separately.  Because I didn't know how to make a stereo jack, my headphones were spliced directly to the stereo speakers, which then made it necessary to concoct another volume control to attenuate the huge surge in sound, even at low levels.  Even after I got my first component stereo with its own separate receiver, I was blown away by how much better my neighbor's headphones sounded.  He had these flat, silver, on-ears headphones that just killed the junk I had.  (He as an optometrist with a decent collection of vinyl.)

 

I eventually tore my headphones up, as I keep doing, to see what made them run.  Those ugly mothers had paper cones.  They were replaced by another giant pair from Woolworth, until I bought a pair of portables from a friend at the beginning of the 80s.  These were fashionably low-profile, sitting just outside the ear canal, a precursor to the earbuds that were coming.  In the mid-80s, I was serving a Mormon mission in Utah, when a companion of mine shared with me these teeny-tiny things - earbuds of some sort.  They didn't sound as full but they had a certain elegance.

 

In the mid-90s, I bought a pair of Sony studio-monitor headphones - black monsters with the telephone cable - which were $99 (but I got them half price).  These sounded genuinely better, but when they developed a short in the cable, nothing I could find on the cheap had any decent sound.  It was all muffled, as if one were hearing opera sung by someone with a mouth full of marbles.  I had heard Bose headphones in one of the Bose outlets in a mall, and had been impressed by the big boom-boom of the bass.  I wasn't, however, ready to shill out what seemed like a lot of money, nor would my wife have stood for it at that time.  I was still trying to get my law practice off the ground.  We needed all the money we could get to pay for Rolm phones and signage.  Those Bose headphones were more than what I spent on research through Westlaw.  I can remember talking to somebody at a Circuit City (now closed) and saying I was looking for something "like Bose."  This guy (still drinking the Kool-Aid) said they didn't have anything "like Bose," and that if I wanted the "Bose sound," I would need to just dig deep and buy Bose.

 

Around the beginning of the millennium, I was searching the internet when I found some reviews of the Grados and decided to give these babies a shot.  Nobody was selling them locally, so I took the second cheapest plunge I could: The SR80.  When I got them, it really was like falling in love.  The bass wasn't overwhelming, but the clarity took me back to the high-end cans of my optometrist friend.  I call the SR80s "my first real headphones" because they are what put me on the path to headfi-related bankruptcy.  About a month or so after I got them, I threw down the $300 to buy the 325i's.  As I've mentioned before, I wasn't all that impressed with them, compared to the SR80s I had burned in.  But by the time I moved up again - six months later - to the RS1, I found these BNIBs taking a backseat to my burned-in 325s.

 

Until I burned in my RS1s, I couldn't appreciate what they had to offer because the 325s were worn and in the groove.  I even scuffed them good during a nasty fall off my skateboard (though my goldies fared better than two fingers on my right hand).  I don't know if a newbie would be able to appreciate a 325 for what it is.  I sometimes think there's an unspoken disappointment with those who buy mid-to-high before they've had a chance to wallow in the sewers.  Such people will never know what it was like to eat fried baloney - and like it.  Till I'd scored my first 225, I couldn't understand why so many 225 lovers were so catty about the 325, crying "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!"  

 

So yeah, maybe your buddy shouldn't start with the 325, just as you don't buy your kid a Porsche when he's 16.  Take your buddy to Walmart.  Let him buy stuff off hooks and listen to them for a while.  Then, when he's ready to get serious,  let him begin to taste some better things.  Maybe he's not ready - emotionally or financially - for the Stax Omega or the HD800.  Maybe he'd gag if you told him those PS1000s really did cost $1,700.  He'd probably gag if you showed him the HF2s that cost $500 (before Todd the Vinyl Junkie cut all our throats with his one great deal of a lifetime).

 

If your buddy wants to go Grado, let him eat cake - while listening to an SR60.  And when he later sells it, tell him to look me up.  I need more spare parts for my Frankenphones.


Edited by Bilavideo - 7/28/10 at 10:09pm
post #23 of 34

I have an orignal set of silver aluminum sr325s, and I have had one hell of a time trying to tam them. I agree that the sr225 is best of both worlds, between the RS2 and the sr60/80s.

 

The 325s, even the new ones are bright but the thing about them is if you can fin the right amp, the right earpad configuration, and just luck, you have some of the best rock headphones around. The midrange is to die for, and there is bass locked up within, it just needs the right amp to bring out the best of them.

 

I nearly wrote mine off after doing some light mods until I just got a Grace 901 headphone amp, and it seems just made for Grados of all shapes and sizes. I am sure the woodies would be the best match, with a tubed inmput source, wow, i can only imagine how seet that would sound. The 325s are all about the midrange, good male and female vocals, good acoustic work with the guitar, they really will pull you in with the right music and setup. I am sitting here amazed at the headstage, on get this, sludge metal, some of the vocals and other sounds seem to hecoming from all over, and it is holographic, as if you could each out and touch that source of sound. The snares and toms are also snappy and these actually poduce bass, something my other setups wouldn;t manage, which was the headphone out on my mackie mixer and also a presonus hp-4. The hp-4 was really good actually, clean power, but the volue pots were all messed up, the gradce uses resistive leveling so there is not going to be any worries that a traditional pot would bring about.

 

If you lik rock and smaller jazz groups, and some indie pop, go for the 325s and dial them in. If you want electronic music, you have to do like me and plug in something like ATm50s or senn HD600s or better. I have my HD555s about 98% to being a set of HD600s, so I stick with them, oh and beyer DT880s are just wonderful, or this thing can drive 600ohm 990s, or something, but that doesn't help you. I would buy the 325s, because i can tell you they grow with your setup and have tricks up their sleeves. The 325is that are out now solve a lot of the issues in the older sr325s that I have, and I have done my best to even the score, but mine are probably still not as good as a well done pair of 225s. The 325is though, I would not hesitate to buy if I was in the buying mood and wante grados less than RS2. (i am ging to ge a pair of rs2s now that I can drive them well, also, continue to use my tubed output DAC, as nothing before has broght out the weetness of the tubes. Now withthat into the mixer and the mixer main outs into the Grace, i can control everything I need, including a bit of EQ.)


Edited by yashu - 7/28/10 at 11:51pm
post #24 of 34

It might be mistaken for audiophile snobbery, but the 325 is just one of those polarising headphones. It's got a very aggressive sound that people either love, or cannot tolerate. For that reason alone, it's a high risk choice as a first foray into pricey headphones. The purpose of the exercise is too enjoy what you buy, and there's less guarantee of that with the 325.

 

It's one of those phnoes people should be well aware of what they're buying before doing so.

post #25 of 34

get some sr-60s. He has no idea what he likes and the 60s are not much of a financial investment. If he really enjoys the sr-60s down the road he can simply upgrade up the grado line.

post #26 of 34

The sr325i was the first higher end headphone that I got and I think it was a very good first headphone for me. I'm not sure if others would feel the same though. I got into headphones when I had to move temporarily for a job and couldn't move my speaker system. I'd had years of listening through high-end speaker systems and normally like the relaxed sound that comes from large BBC monitors. I'd also spent time with mid level IEMs and knew what they could  and couldn't do in relation to speakers. Switching to headphones I knew I wasn't going to get the same experience as I'd had from speakers so went for something good, but different. The sr325i fitted the bill for me and I still love them. It even got me to pick up a pair of GS1000s.

 

If you have some experience with higher end audio equipment then I think that there is a lot to enjoy with the sr325i. If you're just starting out then there are better offerings from Grado at the lower end and depending upon personal tastes other manufacturers may be better. I'd recommend starting with low end Grados and upgrading once you know what you want improved with the next set (or I suppose it is possible not to want to upgrade... nah). Then you've got a good pair of secondary 'phones or some cash towards the upgrade and some knowledge of what you want.

post #27 of 34

I don;t know,you kids today.My first set of headphones were ex army wartime bakerlite with metal head bands.I was so engrossed with what i was listening to that i never noticed if they were uncomfortable or not.After them every pair of phones has felt like audio bliss.Go for the 325is;s ,if you don;t like them now,put them in the attic for twenty years or so,by which time your failing hearing will have caught up with them.They will either sound great or be worth lots as vintage phones. PS ,I love mine.

post #28 of 34

What other stuff have you got in your attic?

My first pair of proper headphones were Beyer DT550 (not as vintage as yours). I was looking to buy a pair of headphone that I could use with my hi fi system at home as well as my walkman. Bought them from a shop on Tottenham Court Rd, London. I had to choose between a pair of Sennheiser (HD414 I believe, with the all black plastic and yellow earpads) and the Beyer. To this day I still remember my first impressions about those two headphones. The Sennheiser had a very clean and detailed sound (almost like a Grado). The Beyer on the other hand was smoother and seemed to have a bigger soundstage. Looking back now I was probably still not used to anything digital and the Beyer sounded more analog to me, even thoght they were both coming throught a cd player. I actually resisted getting a cd player for a long time. One day I decided to buy a budget cd player (a Marantz cd 52 or something) just to try it out. I couldn't stand it at all and returned it within two days. Took me a while before I bought another cd player. By then it became clear that cd was taking over. Anyway, on that day I ended up buying the Beyer and later on found out that they sounded really terrible on a walkman! I was using them mainly for my home hi fi system for years until they started to fall apart. A pair of Sony V6 was next.

If only we can still listen to headphones before we buy it will make things a lot easier. We wouldn't have endless disscusions about what certain phones sound like.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallace View Post

I don;t know,you kids today.My first set of headphones were ex army wartime bakerlite with metal head bands.I was so engrossed with what i was listening to that i never noticed if they were uncomfortable or not.After them every pair of phones has felt like audio bliss.Go for the 325is;s ,if you don;t like them now,put them in the attic for twenty years or so,by which time your failing hearing will have caught up with them.They will either sound great or be worth lots as vintage phones. PS ,I love mine.

post #29 of 34

On comfort. grados are ok for an album or 2 then you need a break.After all how many people listen for more than 2 hours anyway. I do at work but that is a different story. They start hurting a bit after 1 1/2 or so hours. Then I take a break.

post #30 of 34

I could listen to grados all day and I have several consecutive hours logged on sr-60s and sr-225s with no problem.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by headphonejunkie View Post

On comfort. grados are ok for an album or 2 then you need a break.After all how many people listen for more than 2 hours anyway. I do at work but that is a different story. They start hurting a bit after 1 1/2 or so hours. Then I take a break.

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