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The Return of the Grado

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 



I bought a pair of Grado SR60 in the mid-nineties. The first time I heard them, plugged into my audio system, I swear they brought tears to my eyes. I had never heard sound so expansive, so well-defined. (My experience with audiophile-quality sound then, as now, was limited.) But, I knew when I first heard the Grados what good sound meant. The pair became my everyday headphones. Time passed, I went overseas for a number of years, leaving the Grados behind, packed in a suitcase with other valuables sitting in the basement of a friend. I recently came back, retrieved the suitcase and the Grados, excited at the prospect of hearing that special sound again. Six years has passed since I last saw the headphones. The pads looked a little frayed, but not much worse for wear. I plugged the headphones into my laptop and fired up some music. Alas! Gone was the control and clarity. Frankly, the phones sounded muddled. Imagine my disappointment. Now, I am wondering if the passage of time has somehow affected the headphones, even though there are no outward signs of damage to the drivers. I don't know if it's the headphones, or the (admittedly) less-than-audiophile quality of the sound drivers on the laptop. Or, perhaps, my ears have changed. Time plays tricks on mere mortals :) I would love to have some feedback. Is it possible to have the headphones tested somehow?


P.S. In the intervening time, I've been listening to closed-ear headphones, like the ATH-ES7 and a pair of Crossroads Mylar Ones.

Edited by jhumur - 11/27/10 at 7:34pm
post #2 of 13

It must be your ears because I'm almost positive that drivers cannot wear out, it could be your pads? Everybody talks about Grado pads falling apart. Or maybe it IS your ears.


But I don't know much, I've never experienced anything like your situation. I'd wait to see what some of the more knowledgable people have to say lol

post #3 of 13

Well I don't know about a couple of years, but the first time I heard the DT990s I was blown away. Few months after that though, tried it again and it sounded like a sibilant mess. Same setup and same cans. Kinda weird eh?

post #4 of 13

Did you blow some canned air into the cans to clear any dust and debris as it could effect the sound rolling of the drivers.  I'm assuming when you stored them, the temperature and humidity wasn't drastic from one to the other as you mentioned it was stored in a basement, which can be very humid.  Also, what were you listening with the SR60 six years ago?  If you still have that, power it up and see if you go back in time.  Laptops as the only only source are notorious for making good cans sound bad.  I would try a different source such as a CD player or DAP and see if you get different results.  The Grado pads can change the sound to a limit, but not enough to sound muddy.  It may be be worth changing as it's the cheapest test, or give them a good wash.  I wash my L-cushions about every 3 months with very mild soap, let them dry, and after over a year, they still look like new.

Edited by alphaphoenix - 11/27/10 at 9:11pm
post #5 of 13

It could also be that, in your mind, you made the Grado experience you had left behind much better than it had ever really been, so when you finally got back to the real thing it couldn't compare to your heightened expectations.


As has been mentioned, laptops aren't exactly the last word in sound quality. Are you sure some sort of weird digital processing effect or an EQ isn't flipped on by mistake?

post #6 of 13
I think your pads bit the dust. You can find new ones at www.ttvj.com. They probably deteriorated over the years.
post #7 of 13

The main difference maker I see is that you plugged them into your "audio system" and were wowed.  Plugged them into your laptop and said wow these suck.  Source material is probably garbage.  

post #8 of 13


Originally Posted by VulgarDisplay View Post

The main difference maker I see is that you plugged them into your "audio system" and were wowed.  Plugged them into your laptop and said wow these suck.  Source material is probably garbage.  

post #9 of 13


Another vote for source quality!


Your first Grado experience on your audio equipment was probably CD and or Integrated Amp jack --  Now your source is Laptop!


If you are gonna use laptop and you want quality, you may want to consider an Amp to drive your headphones.

Edited by Clicker7 - 11/28/10 at 4:51am
post #10 of 13

I'd agree that it's probably the source and your memory of the great sound combined.  Also, cominb back to the Grados after extended time with other cans will definitey skew your impressions of them.


I remember, as a kid (AF brat), whenever we PCS'd I couldn't wait for all my toys to arrive at our new location.  In my mind and memory, whatever toy I was really looking forward to having again was the bestest and coolest, ever!  Then, as clockwork (and it never failed), when the actual toys arrived, I was always slightly disappointed because they didn't quite measure up to my memory of them.


post #11 of 13

can you post pictures? i would love to see how mid-nineties sr60s look like.rolleyes.gif

plus, it would help us identify the problem quicker.

post #12 of 13

I'd also second the suggestion on cleaning out the housing/drivers. Any gunk in their that has collected over the years would certainly influence the sound. And if the pads have deteriorated, it's even quite possible that some of the foam has fallen in. I've heard of that happening with old Grados in another thread.

post #13 of 13

definitely the source problem.

laptop onboard soundcard sounded crappy no matter how good they say it was.


all you need is a good soundcard and a good amp to pair with your sr60


also try to reuse your old source like most of us here said.

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