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Grado SR-60i Impressions (from a hi-fi noob/jazz and classical listener)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 


So I got lots of good help here in my deliberations a couple of weeks ago, and ignored most of it. Somebody, perhaps just being nice, invited me to post a reaction to my new Grado SR-60is when they came in, not that Head-Fi is hurting for information on them. But maybe this can help my doppelganger someday in the future.
I listen to lots of jazz and blues, with a bit of pop, and was hoping to dive a little deeper into classical music with my new investment.
I considered the HD-555s and the AD700s. I clipped the Senns because of all the complaints of cracking and falling apart. The AD700s seemed risky for fit and bass. I ended up making a bizarre pivot and nabbed the Grados, figuring the warnings about them not being suited for jazz and classical was just audiophile snobbery (no offense!) And hey, made in the USA.
So now I've had them for a day. Some burn-in, and a sampling of my jazz (Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch"), classical (E. Power Biggs/Philadelphia Orchestra doing Saint-Saëns "Carnival of the Animals" plus some of Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations) and pop/rock (Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" and some crunchy Frank Black).
My impressions...
How are you supposed to enjoy music on headphones that feel like this? Okay, I'm definitely maxing them out...didn't know I had such a big head...but it's sort of like a woodworking clamp on my skull. The "comfy" pads feel sort of cheap, in that they itch and burn very quickly.
Trying to move past that into the sound - I see what folks mean when they describe these phones as "forward." Certain sounds, like cellos and violins, felt like they were getting a little too touchy-feely with my eardrum. Surprisingly, I didn't find loud guitars to be at all grating - perhaps part of the Grados orientation toward rock music.
I also dismissed the warnings about lack of soundstage - again, I figured folks who had a million pairs of headphones were just too picky - but I'll never doubt a (near-)consensus around here again. Everything is vibrant and full-bodied, but every element feels locked into a cutthroat competition for headspace.
I should give these more time, definitely more burn-in. I anticipated being bowled over by the sound quality, but apparently I did well over the years with my meager budget, always buying KSC75s and JVC Flats. Those are cheap, but pretty clear considering. I never, ever thought I'd wear a pair that made the JVC flats feel comfortable by comparison, but the Grados do it. 
And now that I know I have a sasquatch skull, I'm giving those AD700s another look...
P.S. - As a relief from the above negativity, I had the opposite experience with another hp purchase that arrived with the Grados. I grabbed the Panasonic RP-HV094 Simple Ear Buds off of Amazon, as they're going for little over $3. Just looking for knockaround earbuds for listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Hot holy hell, though, do they sound unexpectedly decent. I feared dollar store quality, but they're more like JVC Gumy quality for a fraction of the price. Tiny bit of cord noise, but a good deal.
post #2 of 21

Well, burn in could help, both your cans and your brain.  Give 'em some time.  Also, there are mods for the comfort zone that might help.  Check 'em out.  I'm a big jazz and classical fan, if that matters, and enlarging the sound stage is a big help for those genres.  FWIW, I didn't like the comfort level of my 325s.  I took the expensive(?) way out and got G-Cushes and I'm pretty sure they fit the 60s.  Just a thought.

post #3 of 21

Grados are certainly not for everyone. However, I personally found them to be one of the most satisfying and exciting headphones I've ever tried. I went from the SR60 and climbed all the way up to the GS1000 and RS-1 because of this excitement. This forum probably has more members and contributors thanks to the SR60 gateway drug.


If you find you just don't like the sound after more time with them, they just might not be your cup of tea. Other headphones like the Sony MDR-V6, Audio-Technica AD700, or Denon AH-D1001 might be more to your liking.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

The more I listen, the more I am convinced the comfort is just spoiling the sound for me.


Unfortunately, I haven't seen any mods that would play nice with Headroom's return policy.

post #5 of 21

yea, I got the doughnut pads, they take abit of the bass away but they stop the highs from rapeing your ears.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

I love the idea of those $45 circumaural pads Grado sells, but once you've bumped the budget up to $125 I think there might be better options.


Personally, giving lots of thought to the HARX900 and the AKG k240S.

post #7 of 21

wow good think I got them when they were 45


post #8 of 21

Be sure to loosen up the band. This might help with the comfort issues.


Note that you can try to "quarter mod" the pads. In principle this means just cutting small holes to the pads. This helped immensely with my pair of iGrados. Before the mod bass felt veiled. Dunno how it affects SR-60, though. There are some awesome mods at this thread btw.

post #9 of 21

dude, the pads do nothing to the sound, I tried it raw and then pads, they sound the same. also how are the Igrado I was looking into them*thinking of selling my 80i's*

post #10 of 21
Originally Posted by WhiteCrow View Post

dude, the pads do nothing to the sound, I tried it raw and then pads, they sound the same. also how are the Igrado I was looking into them*thinking of selling my 80i's*

iGrados don't quite match the performance of their other models (I've used SR-125 and SR-325is actively). Quarted modded version seems way bassier than vanilla SR-125. No idea how it compares to SR-125is...


In this case comfort may be an issue as well. I just can't wear them more than a few hours at tops.


Depending on your preferences you might find something more suitable in the same price range.

post #11 of 21

yea, just looking at that option hahaa.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well, bbophead and others were right - time helps. Bending the band also helps a ton. 


Now I'm not getting clamped, but the earpads are still unpleasant; and I can't stress how very, very right folks are about these not being great headphones for classical. Clear enough, but the stage is too tight and everything is too...yeah, "in your face," as everybody says. At least for my own preferences, which I didn't know could be so strong either way.


Given my issues, I'm just gonna go ahead and order the AD700 tonight.

post #13 of 21

yea, I'm working on some headphone "persona" pictures if you will, the Grados would be a spiky haird punk rocker, they are sharp, fast, in your face and unrelenting.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

So would the Sennheiser's be a bearded professor in a cheap suit?

post #15 of 21

From what I understand, the SR-60i's are designed to be modded. See Bilavideo's Grado Mod Thread. They're cheap enough to where you wont feel too uncomfortable opening them up ( I still havent opened my Sr225's, not balls yet sigh).


Also, try using the Grados with Eric Clapton Uplugged or any Acoustic Album (Alice in Chains). IMO that is where they truly shine. I own a pair of AD700s also, and while more comfortable than the Grados (not by much, the grado headband is VERY bendable and necessary for comfort.), they dont quite have the detail of my 225i's.


AFAIK, the 225 and sr 60 use the same driver. Its all a matter of modding.

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