It has been a very long time since I've been truly impressed and wowed by a set of headphones. Not since the first listening experience I had with the Sennheiser HD800 have I been this stunned. I had heard the stock version of the 325i a few times and it didn't do anything for me and it was a set I wanted to avoid. But, a friend of mine insisted I try the woodie version and that I would eat my words about them...I am no grado fan. I decided to take this persons advice since he has never steered me wrong in the past. I purchased from a user here on headfi.
When they first arrived I was very surprised by the massive sound difference from the stock aluminum version I've heard in the past, to this woodied version. I really didn't stop listening to them for the entire first day, they sound FANTASTIC right out of my sansa clip+ ( currently waiting for my Tomahawk to arrive )
Anyway, the woodie 325i presentation is the one I've been in search for, for nearly 15 years. Now, I have heard the RS1i before and this version is only similar after I did a simple earpad mod. I purchased the Gcush pads in advance and used them until just recently. They are okay, they definitely make that stage awesome, but the bass wasn't to my liking, and it was still uncomfortable! I snapped a few pics and noticed my old sennheiser HD 485 pads laying on my desk, unused. I said to myself "why not? " and slapped them right ontop of the very worn pads that came with it. I almost fell right off my couch when I booted the sansa clip up and played some tunes.
The Sennheiser HD485 pads are simply astonishing and well tailored for the grado 325i. I am actually shocked nobody tried this before me and made it public. You can buy a like new HD485 for $30 in like new condition these days and just strip it for parts instead of using the Gcush that currently cost $45. After a swift trip to the dollar store, I glued the flat side of the grado stock pads to the underside of the HD485 pads. I am beyond impressed. Not only are they way more comfortable than the Gcush pads, but they increase the quality and deepness of the bass a lot. The stage it creates is just excellent. I am not even sure what else to say about it except...wow. The Gcush were listed for sale on craigslist for some quick cash, they sold in less than a few hours.
For those interested, the HD485 headband peels right off without a problem and will fit almost perfectly under the 325i headband. One may need to trim a tiny little piece off as you can see in a picture below to make it perfect. But, I prefer it without the hd485 band, or any band really. I tried the beyer band, I disliked it.
you can see a tiny little piece sitting out on each side, that little piece of plastic can be cut easily :P
Overall I am astounded by the quality difference from stock to woody. I will definitely shorter the stock cable, I do not see a reason to change or recable it, it sounds pretty amazing and very rs1ish due to the Sennheiser HD485 pads. Man...the sound stage created is by far my favorite of all time for this type of a price range. I went from really disliking grado, to having a woody 325i become my favorite open back set of all time. The stock version is beyond harsh on my ears, I really disliked it...i mean really...but this woodie job is not only engaging but also lush and natural. There is no fatigue what so ever, both in comfort and sound. The only gripe I have is that I really didnt enjoy the sound that much with the stock pads. The Sennheiser HD 485 pads made a significant difference and made them a completely different sounding set, and one I have searched nearly a decade for.
The hd485 pads can work just like the stock pads do but the drivers still rested on your ears a little. They needed a flat base, something to give them a boost and it seemed like the stock pads were perfect. Together they mimic the Gcush and do a MUCH nicer job in sound and comfort.
Edited by swbf2cheater - 11/22/10 at 8:18am