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Alessandro MS1 Review

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

A couple of weeks ago I received mritt400's Alessandro MS1 headphones and have been meaning to make a review thread since then, but have been busy with school (it was the end of the semester, and I had a failing grade or two). But, I have finally found some time for the review, so here goes.

This is going to be my first review thread, so bear with me!

 

*All ratings are based on my own personal experience and preferences, so YMMV

 

Build Quality

When I received the package with the headphones in it, I tore it open and - like I do with everything I receive in the mail - just looked at it for a while.  My first observations were that there was a lot of plastic on it.  I knew the driver casings were made of plastic ahead of time, just from threads I've read on here, but I was nonetheless surprised after seeing it in person.  

 

That said, the build quality of the HP's were overall respectable.  I don't think they'll have any issues with loosening up over time, as the parts holding the cups to the headband seem strong.  And, since Mritt has had them for, well, however long he's had them, what little concern I had was assuaged. 

 

I like the cable in terms of feel/quality, but I have a few issues.  The first is the length.  It's a rather awkward cable in that respect.  It's a little too short (IMO, of course) for home use, but too long for mobile use.  If you'd even want to use it for a portable setup lol!  Also, the Y-connector that splits the cable for the dual entry can setup bothers me.  It seems to me that the cable is squished to get out of the connector to go to the headphones. It's probably nothing, but it seems like an improper way to treat a cable.

 

Overall:7/10

 

While made of plastic, all the parts seem sturdy and more solid than I'd have thought. The cable is thick and sturdy, but an awkward length with a quirk or two.  I think a 7/10 is fair, but I can be rather critical of build quality. So take my rating with a grain of salt.  Moving on!

 

Comfort and Fit

After listening to these for a total of ~4 hours in the two weeks before today, I didn't get much time for checking the comfort over time.  However, today I've got a total of 4 hours of non-stop listening in, and I must say that these are the MOST comfortable headphone's I've had the pleasure of listening to.  As long as the "comfies" are on, anyways.  I find that the L-cush pads that I got with these made my ears start protesting after around 30 minutes.  It's a shame, as I preferred the sound of the L-cush pads over the comfies.  But I digress.  More on that later.

 

Overall:10/10 w/comfies and 4/10 w/L-cush

 

 

Moving on to the reason you're all here,

 

Sound Quality

*All music listened to was either 320 kbps MP3, WAV, or ALAC.  I used my home-made Cmoy amp for this test.

 

When I first listened to the MS1's, one phrase pervaded my thoughts: Where's the bass?  

However, after listening for a while I realized that my ears had been corrupted by the mid-tier Sony earbuds I'd had for portable use for around 3 months.  After breaking free from the sound I was used to, I had a moment of clarity.  THIS is what bass should sound like!  It's there and it goes deep, but it has a beautiful subtlety to it.  Bass guitars have a nice slap, drums don't overpower the rest of the song.  What was anemic before is now well-defined. A particular example of the awesome sound these 'phones give drums is "Frank Sinatra" from Cake's "Fashion Nugget"  These HP's should suffice for anything I listen to except perhaps the occasional Lil' Jon banger, when I want to be overwhelmed by bass, haha.

Going past the bass, I feel I should probably mention other aspects of the sonic signature tongue_smile.gif

 

I will admit that the first thing I thought about the sound before listening was fear of over-bright treble, as I've experienced in one of my friends pairs of SR-60's.  But, I was pleasantly surprised after listening.  It appears that Grado toned the treble down for these. It has a wonderful character to it, crisp and clear with very little (if any) sibilance.  I love the sound of hi-hats through these!  I would say that they are a bright enough to sound right, but not so bright that they have sibilance problems.  Think Goldilockssmily_headphones1.gif

 

I have some mixed feelings about the midrange.  In most songs they are fine.  Not extravagant, but definitely adequate.  There's no "velvet" here, mainly (what is to me) accurate reproduction.  In certain songs, however, they can be a bit recessed.  For example, "Wildflower" by Cee-Lo Green seems like he's behind a veil, which isn't a problem on his other songs from "The Lady Killer." Another song was "Kids With Guns" by Gorillaz.  The mids just didn't seem assertive enough to me.  I could be imagining it, though.

 

Overall: 9/10

 

In Summary:

These headphones are worth their price tag.  Even if I hadn't gotten this pair for free (courtesy of Mritt's generosity), I'd be willing to pay upwards of $150 for these.  They offer solid highs, lovely lows, and mostly acceptable mids. These will stay with me for a while, at least until I decide it's time to pass the goodwill on.

 

And, for those who own pair of or have heard some AKG K141s, these sound quite like them but the bass is IMO less bloated and are more suited to listening than the AKG's, assuming you like well-formed bass over quantities of bass.

 

 

 

Hopefully this review was helpful to someone, and you can all look forward to future reviews when/if I upgrade my earbuds.

post #2 of 24

I can't believe that with as active as this forum is, no one has time to notice a good review when they see one. Great review, and welcome to the world of Grado, where the people start thinking of mods before they even get the headphones. gs1000.gif

post #3 of 24

nice review, enjoy them!

post #4 of 24

Nice review. I'm a big fan of the Alessandro.

post #5 of 24

Nice review. I have my ms1-i's for one year and I'm addicted to the sound with bowls (l-cush) and the tape mod.

post #6 of 24

might as well bump this thread as it's a nice effort, and perhaps some of the newbies will benefit from reading it and considering these fine phones.

post #7 of 24

Nice review.

 

I love my MS1s.  They are worlds better sounding than the SR60 imo.  They have better bass without the fatigue I get with the Grados.

 

To me they are the gold standard in open cans under $150.

post #8 of 24

Haven't been on in a while and I just came across this - Great review, modskwod.  Glad you enjoy them.

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by plainsong View Post

I can't believe that with as active as this forum is, no one has time to notice a good review when they see one. Great review, and welcome to the world of Grado, where the people start thinking of mods before they even get the headphones. gs1000.gif

Totally agree, coming late to the game here but this was a great review.  Have the Alessandro MS1's on my wish list.  

 

Curious where the best place to buy a pair?               Thx

 

------

Update - After some searching, I was able to find some posts on how to buy these.  Looks like you go directly to the Alessandro site.


Edited by EventVista - 5/29/12 at 3:00pm
post #10 of 24

My first grados were Alessando MS1s. I first put them on and I felt like my ears were getting drilled. My ears had become very used to the mellow ATH ESW9.

 

But I gave it some time. a little brain burn in did the trick and I fell in love with the lively sound. The MS1 were some very enjoyable and lively headphones.

 

And it started a journey moving up the ladder with multiple grados. RS2, HF2, PS1000, then RS1 and GS1000. They’ve all been very fun to listen to. I’ll always have a grado in the house.

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

My first grados were Alessando MS1s. I first put them on and I felt like my ears were getting drilled. My ears had become very used to the mellow ATH ESW9.....

 

 

If I end up buying a higher end product, I am really leaning toward the Grados or Alessandro for my first swim with the cool kids.   I appreciate the insight on the ATH ESW9, you got me curious and I did some poking around on these since I never knew about this model.  What a great looking pair of headphones.   It sounds like you moved on from them, but I was curious how they compare to your more expensive Grados?  You talked about the ESW9's being mellow, and was curious if this was a trait that some of the Grados line shared?


Edited by EventVista - 5/29/12 at 11:59pm
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by EventVista View Post

 

If I end up buying a higher end product, I am really leaning toward the Grados or Alessandro for my first swim with the cool kids.   I appreciate the insight on the ATH ESW9, you got me curious and I did some poking around on these since I never knew about this model.  What a great looking pair of headphones.   It sounds like you moved on from them, but I was curious how they compare to your more expensive Grados?  You talked about the ESW9's being mellow, and was curious if this was a trait that some of the Grados line shared?

 

To answer your question, not really. the closest possible comparison is the HF2 (possibly PS500) as is has reduced treble and  a bigger bass emphasis compared to the other models in the line. The HF2 takes the lower range of mids and makes them a bit lush and bloomy by having a hump in the FR, which is maybe, kinda similar to the ESW9. But it still has more treble energy than the EWS9.

 

But the ESW9 doesn't have that airiness and openness of the grados. but it's been a while since I've listened to those cans so my memory can be off when it comes to details like soundstage and instrument separation.the only thing I remember clearly was the darker tonality of them.

post #13 of 24
Great review, but surprised you didn't mention discomfort with the headband. I get a sore head after a couple of hours. I believe this is an issue with all Grado/Allesandro's. Yesterday I saw a headband cushion on Amazon for only $9 that I'm ordering. Looks similar to the one from Breyerdynamics, but easier to order. smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brault View Post

Great review, but surprised you didn't mention discomfort with the headband. I get a sore head after a couple of hours. I believe this is an issue with all Grado/Allesandro's. Yesterday I saw a headband cushion on Amazon for only $9 that I'm ordering. Looks similar to the one from Breyerdynamics, but easier to order. smily_headphones1.gif

 

While the headbands of the SR series from Grado and the MS series from Alessandro are essentially the same - with the exception of leather being used on the SR-325/325i/325is and the MS-2i, I never experienced any pain with the 8 or so pair of Grados and Alessandros that I've owned.  The headphones are not heavy enough that it would be a weight issue presenting a problem with pressing on the head.  If anything, it might be the arc of the headband itself.  To some degree, this can be slowly adjusted via bending the band accordingly.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brault View Post

Great review, but surprised you didn't mention discomfort with the headband. I get a sore head after a couple of hours. I believe this is an issue with all Grado/Allesandro's. Yesterday I saw a headband cushion on Amazon for only $9 that I'm ordering. Looks similar to the one from Breyerdynamics, but easier to order. smily_headphones1.gif

There's a cooler option too, from headphonelounge.com. My little Grados all dressed up and waiting for cups:

271

Made a world of difference.
Edited by Magick Man - 6/1/12 at 11:21am
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