I am finally ready to chime in here. I have been a Grado fan starting with phono carts since 1980. In about 1998 I got SR60's and SR225's. They lasted me until 2010 when I started taking head-fi seriously, goodbye wallet...
I now have SR325's, RS1i's, PS500 and PS1000. The 325's are wonderful when they break in. The RS1i's are smooth and rich with a little tendency toward darkness, but not much. The PS500's give a bigger soundstage, and mine do not seem to overemphasize bass but seem just right. When listening to opera I hear the performers sliding around the stage in their slippers with the RS1i's, but with the PS500 I also hear how far they are from the walls.
The PS1000's present everything in seemingly correct perspective and capture almost microscopic detail. They are
very involving and every type of music is well-represented, though I don't play them loud enough to satisfy me with
rock. I believe I could but just won't chance it...
I use a Bottlehead Smack amp or the headphone jack in my AVA Transcendance 8+ preamp. The PS1000's give me the same presentation as my Tannoy Canterbury SE's. As a result, I am no longer on the merry-go-round and will not buy
any more gear unless the lottery selects me, then that is another list:L3000:
Great post. Really gave me a good perspective on the differences between the more popular models. I've had the sr80i's and the sr225i's within the past year. Haven't heard any of the other models, but i'm really interested in the ps500's. Probably won't be until next year before I can afford them. You've done a good job of making the wait harder.