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post #946 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post
 

I used to very much enjoy the Grado sound, but eventually I began to really crave a flatter response. It would be nice to find a Grado that struck a balance between the typical Grado house sound and a flat/neutral presentation. I know the two are not complimentary, but if such a sound could be found ....

Alessandro MS Pro? 

post #947 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loretta View Post
 

Alessandro MS Pro? 

 

I had an HF2 (very similar I believe) which I liked, but still a little tilted toward mids for my taste, thanks.

post #948 of 3411

Guess I'm one of the heretics that love the G-Cush with my 325i.  Grado and comfort do it for me.

post #949 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post
 

I used to very much enjoy the Grado sound, but eventually I began to really crave a flatter response. It would be nice to find a Grado that struck a balance between the typical Grado house sound and a flat/neutral presentation. I know the two are not complimentary, but if such a sound could be found ....

 

caveat: i've never heard the GS/PS

 

but personally i wouldn't want a change in the house sound at all.  the reason I love my RS1 so much is because of how they sound....i think Grado's are like a convertible sports car, so much fun to drive but you probably don't want one as your only ride (for myself, having a grado and an orthodynamic is the best of all worlds)

 

now...the only thing I would ever ask for in my RS1 is slightly more bass without impacting anything else in the signature, even slightly...i love them that much.  everything i've read about the GS/PS say that the bass is there, but there is a larger impact on the rest of the sound.  maybe i'll like it when i hear it, but my RS1i is pure gold to me and i can't wait to start hearing reports on the RS1e, but if there was a headphone i really want to try it's the ps1k!  

post #950 of 3411
ABOUT THE SOUND OF THE PS1000

Among the many pairs of headphones that I have hoarded over the years, the Grado PS1000 is among my favorites. If you dabble in Audio long enough, however, you know this: audio gears are not perfect, far from it. So this may be the right place to share with you my experience with the old PS1000, which I have owned for a few years now. These are my opinions influenced by my own sonic and musical bias. I have not heard the new PS1000e, but based on MacedonianHero’s excellent review, its sound should be very similar to that of the old PS1000.

Ergonomics

The Grado PS1000 is a big pair of headphones with huge ear pads. They fit me fine but you may not get a good fit even at the smallest adjustment if your head is small. Also, be gentle with the sliding adjustment rods. They use a pressure-fit between metal rod and the plastic housing so once they get loose, they cannot be re-tightened and may have to be replaced.

Voicing of the PS1000

The PS1000 was by a wide margin the hardest headphones for me to work with and that included the Sennheiser HD800 and the HiFiMan HE-6. There were many obvious things to love about the PS1000: large soundstage (second only to the Sennheiser HD800); solid if a bit bloated bass, and rounded but well-articulated midrange. Alas, the PS1000 weaknesses were not subtle either: a reedy, raspy upper-midrange and a piercing treble that make female voices (my favorite) thoroughly un-enjoyable. Shrieking banshees came to mind several times. Overall, the PS1000 has a U-shape sound that is particularly exaggerated in the upper register. Its sibling, the GS1000 has similar voicing but is more forgiving because of reduced high-frequency extension.

Cables

The Grado PS1000 was positively allergic to silver, whether it's silver coating or pure silver (though I have not tried the Silver Widow, a silver-gold wire from Toxic Cables). Sure, its slightly loose bass benefited from more tightness and speed with silver cables but, oh that wretched treble! The sound seemed to pierce through your ear drums. I cringed every time Allison Krauss hit a high note. The guitar rift on Atlanta cut (Now That I have Found You, SACD) sounded like it was from a tiny mandolin with thin metal strings. I found that OCC wires can tame this piercing treble, though not completely. Unfortunately, with the tiny cable holes through these cans, my selections were limited to relatively small wires. I ended up with the Toxic Cable Black Widow (OCC stranded Litz copper). I think smaller gauge OCC wires used in the Copper Venom (also from Toxic Cables) would have performed even better.

Amplifiers

Most solid-state (SS) amplifiers I tried with the PS1000 failed, and fail ungracefully they did. The Schiit Mjolnir, Burson HA-160D and Soloist pumped so much treble energy into the PS1000 that they were practically unlistenable. Even the ultra-clean, smooth sounding and usually dependable Vioelectric V200 (single-ended; Germany) was unable to tame the PS1000 treble to my satisfaction. The balanced Vioelectric V181 fared no better. The Bryston BHA-1 was among the few SS amps capable of delivering a clean and smooth sound through the PS1000. The treble was still a little bright but thankfully free of screeching banshees, no small feat in itself. However, the Bryston sounded oddly dull, perhaps due to the suck-out in the middle of the U-shape sound of the PS1000. For SS amps, I had to go well beyond my usual price range to find amplifiers that work optimally with the PS1000. The HeadRoom GX-S Mk2 and Bakoon HA-21 were two SS amps I found that matched well with the PS1000, producing beautiful sound with punchy bass, smooth, airy and well-articulated midrange with plenty of inner details, and silky smooth trebles. There were two surprises on my amplifier search. First was how bad the PS1000 sounded with many hybrid amps. The liquid midrange of tubes was all but gone, replaced by a raspy, harsh sound with these usually reliable hybrid amps: Apex Peak/Volcano, Cavalli Liquid Fire and the Red Wine Audio Covina/Bellina. The Eddie Current Super 7 fared better but still retained enough harshness and glare to be ultimately rejected. The best tube/hybrid amps for pairing with the PS1000 I found were the Woo WA5 and the EAR HP-4. While brightness (sibilance and harshness) was reduced to a very low level with these superb amps, it was not eliminated though the overall sound was highly musical and enjoyable. (I was told that excellent sound--which I have not heard--was achieved with the combination of the PS1000 and Apex Pinnacle).

My Favorite combination

The real shocker was how well the inexpensive and unassuming little tube amp, the MAD Ear+ HD (from Mapletree Audio, Canada) performed with the Grado. The combination PS1000/Black widow OCC/MAD Ear+ D was simply magical: punchy bass, liquid midrange with good focus, center image and articulation, and a smooth treble from which all banshees were banished. The PS1000 lost a bit of its soundstage and inner details but the overall sound was eminently musical. With hind sight, these results should not be surprising as the MAD Ear+ HD has a forward midrange and limited extension into both the low and high frequencies, characteristics that perfectly compensate for the voicing of the PS1000.

Summary

In a nutshell, the Grado PS1000 is a great pair of headphones that I will keep listening to for many years to come. It has a rare combination of punchy bass, liquid midrange, fine details and large soundstage. That it has great musicality is undeniable but it is also very picky about associated components. It must be approached with care. It took me a lot of work to get these headphones to sound right but when they do, it’s magic!
post #951 of 3411

Great review Justin_Time. It doesn't sound like I would at all do well with the PS1000. I think if a voicing is so amp dependent then the voicing is flawed. Shame, I keep wanting to go back and try Grado, but that overly presented high energy just doesn't cut it for me, especially with the plethora of bright poorly mastered albums out there.

post #952 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

Well..I've had my PS1000e headphones for a few days now and I was able to A-B them to my (now sold) PS1000s and here are some of my findings:

Physical Differences:
Not much to report here. The drivers are red and 50mm in the PS1000e and the cable is thicker (12 conductors vs. 8). Oh and the new models state "PS1000e" tongue.gif . Beyond that, I can't really find any differences. For a full listing of the changes, I'll simply refer you to the Grado website:

http://www.gradolabs.com/headphones/professional-series/item/23-ps1000e



PS1000 on the left and PS1000e on the right

Now onto the important stuff...how do they compare sonically...

Well, the PS1000e's have retained the classic Grado sound and they just rock! As well, they are voiced very closely to each other. Right off the bat, you'll notice that the PS1000e are slightly more efficient (99.8dB vs 98dB), so you'll have to turn down your volume knob a wee bit with the newer Grados to volume match. 

Some of my test tracks used:
Led Zeppelin I, II, III (new 2014 remasters)
Perfect Circle: Thirteenth Step
Pink Floyd DSoTM and WYWH (2011 remasters)
U2 Joshua Tree

Setup used:
CDs played through my Cambridge Audio CDP --> Bryston BDA-2 DAC --> GS-X Mk2

As I mentioned, both headphones sound like PS1000s, but the new "e" versions have bass that seems a bit more controlled and goes down a bit deeper. One thing that has limited Grados has been their sub-bass performance; especially when I compare them to the Audeze headphones I have on hand (LCD-X and LCD-XC), but the newer PS1000e's do an admirable job. Again, the differences between these and the original PS1000s are not night and day in this department, but during my frequency sweeps, I was happily surprised by the PS1000e's performance down low. 

The mids are classic Grado, yes there's a bit of a "U" with these headphones (like the PS1000s and RS1/RS1is), but the music just flows from these headphones and I can't stop smiling. smile.gif



The treble on both the PS1000 and PS1000e was very similarly voiced to my ears and sometimes very difficult to tell the differences. So it's very hard for me to comment further on these differences. But all I can say is that the treble can be a bit much if your amp/dac/source/music is tilted that way. It's kept me away from these headphones for quite some time. Then I got to hear them in my home on my setup and all I can say is that is definitely no longer the case.

One area that was a bit more of a profound change was the sound staging. I was surprised to immediately hear the very good imaging capabilities of the PS1000e's. They are very expansive when called for with some orchestral music I used, but when needed with some Zeppelin or Sabbath, they were still upfront and just rocked! The PS1000s offer a very good amount of sound staging, but the PS1000e's have kicked this up a notch and aren't too far behind my HD800s in that regard.

Both the PS1000 and PS1000e are fantastic headphones and worthy flagships for the company. I'm pleased to see Grado continue to improve their product offerings with the new "e"nhancements. 
those are some sexy headphones... Y'know, I don't really see why grado gets so much hate. What's wrong with a colored sound? I don't see audeze or V-Moda getting flak. I don't think I'm gonna buy a P1000e anytime soon since I'm saving for an AKG K812, but I most definitely will try to get one of the lower end ones. I love rock (I do own every def Leppard ever made which is 11 not counting the live ones... Also own 30 more classic rock albums.)... And I also am one of those people who has a wide enough interest in music (30-40's big band, jpop, electronic, rock, orchestra, 70's-80's pop and rock... Just a few.) to enjoy almost every headphone you put in front of me.
post #953 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

I pretty much hear them the same as the graph...the mid-bass excess has been the one point of contention with me and the GS1000s. Hopefully the GS1000e fixes that. But, they are the most comfortable Grado's in production.

 



MacedonianHero,

I completely agree. However, the GS1000 is less extended into the high frequencies, so there is much less problem with the sibilant and strident sound with the GS1000 than with the PS1000.

You have an excellent amp, the GS-X Mk2, that pairs extremely well with the PS1000, not so much with the GS1000. Most tube/hybrid amps with a forward midrange with easily solve the GS1000 deficiency. And yes, tthe GS1000 is a whole lot more comfortable to wear than the PS1000.

Cheers,

J_T(ST)
post #954 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisCHORDDubstep View Post



those are some sexy headphones... Y'know, I don't really see why grado gets so much hate. What's wrong with a colored sound? I don't see audeze or V-Moda getting flak. I don't think I'm gonna buy a P1000e anytime soon since I'm saving for an AKG K812, but I most definitely will try to get one of the lower end ones. I love rock (I do own every def Leppard ever made which is 11 not counting the live ones... Also own 30 more classic rock albums.)... And I also am one of those people who has a wide enough interest in music (30-40's big band, jpop, electronic, rock, orchestra, 70's-80's pop and rock... Just a few.) to enjoy almost every headphone you put in front of me.

 



I do not hate the Grado. Far from it. Butt like the Moon, the PS1000 is a harsh mistress--I hope Heinlein forgives me for this.

With the wrong associated gears, these headphones will drive you nuts. But when things are right, that is pure sonic bliss.

For rock, the GS1000, which has a bloom in the upper-bass, will work great. Lots of punchy beats and great slams! Get a forward-sounding amp, and you are ready to rock!

The GS1000 are also very comfortable to wear. And I love those wooden hockey pucks.

J_T(ST)
post #955 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

ABOUT THE SOUND OF THE PS1000

Among the many pairs of headphones that I have hoarded over the years, the Grado PS1000 is among my favorites. If you dabble in Audio long enough, however, you know this: audio gears are not perfect, far from it. So this may be the right place to share with you my experience with the old PS1000, which I have owned for a few years now. These are my opinions influenced by my own sonic and musical bias. I have not heard the new PS1000e, but based on MacedonianHero’s excellent review, its sound should be very similar to that of the old PS1000.

Ergonomics

The Grado PS1000 is a big pair of headphones with huge ear pads. They fit me fine but you may not get a good fit even at the smallest adjustment if your head is small. Also, be gentle with the sliding adjustment rods. They use a pressure-fit between metal rod and the plastic housing so once they get loose, they cannot be re-tightened and may have to be replaced.

Voicing of the PS1000

The PS1000 was by a wide margin the hardest headphones for me to work with and that included the Sennheiser HD800 and the HiFiMan HE-6. There were many obvious things to love about the PS1000: large soundstage (second only to the Sennheiser HD800); solid if a bit bloated bass, and rounded but well-articulated midrange. Alas, the PS1000 weaknesses were not subtle either: a reedy, raspy upper-midrange and a piercing treble that make female voices (my favorite) thoroughly un-enjoyable. Shrieking banshees came to mind several times. Overall, the PS1000 has a U-shape sound that is particularly exaggerated in the upper register. Its sibling, the GS1000 has similar voicing but is more forgiving because of reduced high-frequency extension.

Cables

The Grado PS1000 was positively allergic to silver, whether it's silver coating or pure silver (though I have not tried the Silver Widow, a silver-gold wire from Toxic Cables). Sure, its slightly loose bass benefited from more tightness and speed with silver cables but, oh that wretched treble! The sound seemed to pierce through your ear drums. I cringed every time Allison Krauss hit a high note. The guitar rift on Atlanta cut (Now That I have Found You, SACD) sounded like it was from a tiny mandolin with thin metal strings. I found that OCC wires can tame this piercing treble, though not completely. Unfortunately, with the tiny cable holes through these cans, my selections were limited to relatively small wires. I ended up with the Toxic Cable Black Widow (OCC stranded Litz copper). I think smaller gauge OCC wires used in the Copper Venom (also from Toxic Cables) would have performed even better.

Amplifiers

Most solid-state (SS) amplifiers I tried with the PS1000 failed, and fail ungracefully they did. The Schiit Mjolnir, Burson HA-160D and Soloist pumped so much treble energy into the PS1000 that they were practically unlistenable. Even the ultra-clean, smooth sounding and usually dependable Vioelectric V200 (single-ended; Germany) was unable to tame the PS1000 treble to my satisfaction. The balanced Vioelectric V181 fared no better. The Bryston BHA-1 was among the few SS amps capable of delivering a clean and smooth sound through the PS1000. The treble was still a little bright but thankfully free of screeching banshees, no small feat in itself. However, the Bryston sounded oddly dull, perhaps due to the suck-out in the middle of the U-shape sound of the PS1000. For SS amps, I had to go well beyond my usual price range to find amplifiers that work optimally with the PS1000. The HeadRoom GX-S Mk2 and Bakoon HA-21 were two SS amps I found that matched well with the PS1000, producing beautiful sound with punchy bass, smooth, airy and well-articulated midrange with plenty of inner details, and silky smooth trebles. There were two surprises on my amplifier search. First was how bad the PS1000 sounded with many hybrid amps. The liquid midrange of tubes was all but gone, replaced by a raspy, harsh sound with these usually reliable hybrid amps: Apex Peak/Volcano, Cavalli Liquid Fire and the Red Wine Audio Covina/Bellina. The Eddie Current Super 7 fared better but still retained enough harshness and glare to be ultimately rejected. The best tube/hybrid amps for pairing with the PS1000 I found were the Woo WA5 and the EAR HP-4. While brightness (sibilance and harshness) was reduced to a very low level with these superb amps, it was not eliminated though the overall sound was highly musical and enjoyable. (I was told that excellent sound--which I have not heard--was achieved with the combination of the PS1000 and Apex Pinnacle).

My Favorite combination

The real shocker was how well the inexpensive and unassuming little tube amp, the MAD Ear+ HD (from Mapletree Audio, Canada) performed with the Grado. The combination PS1000/Black widow OCC/MAD Ear+ D was simply magical: punchy bass, liquid midrange with good focus, center image and articulation, and a smooth treble from which all banshees were banished. The PS1000 lost a bit of its soundstage and inner details but the overall sound was eminently musical. With hind sight, these results should not be surprising as the MAD Ear+ HD has a forward midrange and limited extension into both the low and high frequencies, characteristics that perfectly compensate for the voicing of the PS1000.

Summary

In a nutshell, the Grado PS1000 is a great pair of headphones that I will keep listening to for many years to come. It has a rare combination of punchy bass, liquid midrange, fine details and large soundstage. That it has great musicality is undeniable but it is also very picky about associated components. It must be approached with care. It took me a lot of work to get these headphones to sound right but when they do, it’s magic!


Yeah, that little Mad  Ear amp is a work horse....incredible with all grado's that I have heard...also doing an admirable job with my HD800  :smile:

post #956 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisCHORDDubstep View Post


those are some sexy headphones... Y'know, I don't really see why grado gets so much hate. What's wrong with a colored sound? I don't see audeze or V-Moda getting flak. I don't think I'm gonna buy a P1000e anytime soon since I'm saving for an AKG K812, but I most definitely will try to get one of the lower end ones. I love rock (I do own every def Leppard ever made which is 11 not counting the live ones... Also own 30 more classic rock albums.)... And I also am one of those people who has a wide enough interest in music (30-40's big band, jpop, electronic, rock, orchestra, 70's-80's pop and rock... Just a few.) to enjoy almost every headphone you put in front of me.

 

 

I can tell you a big reason why they get hate, cause it's something I really looked into when I first started getting into this side of the hobby in late 2011. At that time Grado was already being criticized quite a lot, and I almost disregarded a buddy's suggestion to try some Grados because of what I was reading here on head-fi. I did end up buying some SR80s, though, and I was blown away. It was exactly the sort of sound I wanted, and I loved that Grado was a small American company with a great heritage, just like my favorite speaker manufacturer - Magnepan. Anyway, Grados used to be the most popular headphones on head-fi. I had several people tell me that, and when I looked into that claim I found it to be true. What happened, though, was people started getting more into measuring headphones and objectively evaluating measured performance. When that happened you had the folks who legitimately just wanted a headphone with what was considered to be good measurables, but you also had a large group of folks who, as is human nature a lot of the time, wanted to be "right". They wanted to be able to make purchase decisions where they could have something to back them up in the event they got into a discussion/debate about which product was better than another. (This is not unique to headphones, of course...you see it in most aspects of life where decisions are involved.) So since Grados didn't measure well in the eyes of many, all of a sudden they became the red-headed stepchild. 

 

I started looking into this because 1) I loved them, and 2) it made no sense as to why a headphone line that everyone loved would just fall out of favor at the drop of a hat. And this is what I found out. There are a lot of "right-fighters" out there, and that has contributed in large part to the Grado hate. The thing is, Grado will tell you directly that they are focused on music as art, and their headphones are tuned by ear, not by measurements and graphs. So it's just silly to criticize them for not measuring well to begin with. If someone wants a headphone that looks pretty on charts, there are LOTS of options out there for them. Grado takes a different approach, and I think it's great. I have really enjoyed their headphones over the last few years and I'll always have Grados in my collection. 

post #957 of 3411

I had three Grado's in a row before I moved away from the sound (SR 125, 225i, HF2). I certainly do not hate Grado, and for some rock and more intimate music styles what I have heard from Grado is quite engaging; however, the models I heard were just too tizzy up top and in general forward to offer for my preferences, a well balanced sound. This has made me afraid to sink money into their expensive models that may correct some of this when I can spend the same money and go to other sound signatures that are no less lively and engaging without as much sonic penalty. I sometimes think that the good folks at Grado have taken the stance that it is better to stick to an approach that could be improved and insist that it is everybody else who is incorrect. As has been touched on here, when I started here at head-fi Grado was very well regarded with a broad base of support. Not so much now from what I can tell. Over and over and over you read about the difficult to handle highs and overly forward presentation. I sometimes feel this is a company that refuses to accept that consumer taste has changed in the face of more, and very good competition. Of course it is their right to stick with their sound philosophy even if that means constantly watching marketshare fade away.

 

I want to try a better Grado, but I am plain and simple too worried that no matter where you move in the line, that sound will always be front and center. Anyway, very sorry to have taken the thread in another direction, I am just frustrated by feeling so trapped.

post #958 of 3411

I don't see that Grado is insisting that anyone else is incorrect...they just have a particular approach that they believe in.

post #959 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post
 

I don't see that Grado is insisting that anyone else is incorrect...they just have a particular approach that they believe in.


I know, I was exaggerating intentionally, but in effect it does sometimes feel that they must feel others are "less-correct" if they refuse to seriously respond to widespread criticism.

post #960 of 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisCHORDDubstep View Post


those are some sexy headphones... Y'know, I don't really see why grado gets so much hate. What's wrong with a colored sound? I don't see audeze or V-Moda getting flak. I don't think I'm gonna buy a P1000e anytime soon since I'm saving for an AKG K812, but I most definitely will try to get one of the lower end ones. I love rock (I do own every def Leppard ever made which is 11 not counting the live ones... Also own 30 more classic rock albums.)... And I also am one of those people who has a wide enough interest in music (30-40's big band, jpop, electronic, rock, orchestra, 70's-80's pop and rock... Just a few.) to enjoy almost every headphone you put in front of me.

 

If you like your rock (and goodness do I ever!), Grados are fantastic. The advantage I find with the PS1000/PS1000e is that they work very well for jazz and classical too (pretty much everything I listen too).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
 

I pretty much hear them the same as the graph...the mid-bass excess has been the one point of contention with me and the GS1000s. Hopefully the GS1000e fixes that. But, they are the most comfortable Grado's in production.

 



MacedonianHero,

I completely agree. However, the GS1000 is less extended into the high frequencies, so there is much less problem with the sibilant and strident sound with the GS1000 than with the PS1000.

You have an excellent amp, the GS-X Mk2, that pairs extremely well with the PS1000, not so much with the GS1000. Most tube/hybrid amps with a forward midrange with easily solve the GS1000 deficiency. And yes, tthe GS1000 is a whole lot more comfortable to wear than the PS1000.

Cheers,

J_T(ST)

I've tried the GS1000/1000i on tube amps as well...not even the MAD Ear+HD could get them to where I wanted them. Luckily the GS-X Mk2 works brilliantly with the PS1000e's...funny, I haven't found a headphone or IEM that doesn't sound great with the GS-X.

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