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Newbie disenchanted with Grados.. please help!

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

I used to be really into DJing and have had a pair of Technics rp-dj1200 that I've used for the past 10 years. I recently decided that if music is so important to me, I should get myself a decent pair of headphones. So after much reading and deliberation, I settled on the Grado 225's. They arrived the other day, and to my surprise, I wasn't blown away. Sure, there is a definite clarity to them, and the open-ears are an interesting change, but I can't get over the lack of bass? What's more, I find the mid-treble presence really fatiguing. 

 

So after muuch more reading, my thinking is to send them back and perhaps shoot for the Grado Rs-2's. However I'm still concerned this may have the same lack of bass issue. Is this the case?

Forgive me if  I'm being naive, but I have to go with what sounds best to my ears...

 

I'd really appreciate some seasoned advice: are there other headphones that I should more seriously consider?

 

Budget < $600

I enjoy blues-rock music. 

I'm in love with wooden cans.

I apparently want a strong bass phone.

Can be open/ closed, but really like a light weight

Really don't want to use a headphone amp.

 

I was thinking perhaps the Denon 5000 (although slightly over budget) but do they need an amp? Darth Beyers? Rs-2s?

 

Thanks folks!

 

*******************UPDATE************************

 

 

Hey everyone. Thanks again for all your input. ISoo... since my last post, I have both ordered and received the W1000xs. I am very happy with them! To my inexperienced audiophile ear, I hear sweet sweet mids, a bass that extends with impact that is not overpowering, and highs that are toned down from the grados but still present in a very pleasant way. That being said, I'm plugged in directly to my on- board computer's sound card (I know, I know... I'm sorry!!!!!!), and so I can only imagine how much I'm missing out on. I do have a groovy old turntable with M-Audio monitors so I look forward to plugging them in there soon. 

 

I think my only minor gripe is that they're really not sturdy on my head. Only gentle head-bopping seems to be allowed for, and what's more is, the little lever arm things don't seem to have enough resistance to keep the phones from pulling themselves down on my face. They create a very cool weightless sensation to the AT's, but lol I'm seriously worried about premature wrinkles from a headphone that causing my skin to sag! Not really, but it is uncomfortable. 

 

I've read about the rubber band mod,  I've tried it out, and it's really working nicely. The phones are clamping tighter and not sliding down so much. But I'm going to be honest... paying $700 for beautiful wood headphones and having to shove a silly rubber band on them to make them sit properly is something that I feel I shouldn't have to do. It's also a bit unsightly. I'm trying to debate the trade-off, because the sound is beautiful. 

 

There is a return policy on these for the next couple days, and so I'm trying to weigh up my options. I'm going to be honest, listening to these great cans has made me fall in love with what great headphones can do. Are there other ones that can/ should take the place of these? I'd say I'm willing to up my budget to $1000. Open or closed is a non-issue, and I would like a light headphone with wood (Apologies to all those who recommended Beyers/ Ultrasones... wonderful recommendations, and definitely options I would have considered if they had any wooden detailing). The wood bit may be a bit superficial, but I dabble in luthery, and so I have this a special, albeit idiosyncratic, interest/ appreciation for wood craftsmanship. Sound-wise, something like the AT's would be awesome. 

 

My considerations so far:

**MsPro: nice neutral sound, with good bass. I actually find Grados to be really comfortable. But holy schnikes, I think I might grow old before Alessandro answers the phone there. Have been trying to call for 2 weeks to find out what the return policy/ wait time is 

**Denon D7000: heard great things. Apparently mid are a bit lacklustre, but that's not a serious deal-breaker. Had a pair of denon's in my DJing days and the earcup snapped off not two-weeks into owning them. Still a bit upset about the quality. Has this changed much?

**Audeze LCD-2: Very attractive can, but I believe its quite heavy? I get really bad headaches when I wear heavy headphones, and so this has put me off a bit. I'm also quite surprised that they can put a thing of foam on the headrest like that. Seems a bit cheap?

**1000's Grados: honestly, not very interested, given the high end on the treble, and my run-in with the 225's.

**Stick with AT's and deal with my rubber band/ paint it black (great song btw). They’re also easy to drive, which is a plus.

**Anything else?

 

Please excuse the soliloquy, but I really know from nothing, and I would very much appreciate the advice of those with more experience. To others that have commented, I realize that I may soon be purchasing an amp, and now understand the purpose of them. I have an old 1960's Ampeg bass amp that is too creamy for words, and the thought of adding that level of warmth to any headphone really excites me. I however do want to settle on a set of cans first.

 

Much thanks.


Edited by magnaton - 2/24/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 50

I would say the perfect Grado for you is the Alessandro MS-Pro. I listen to all kinds of bass heavy music such as Trance, House, Electronica and I find the MS-Pro provides a hefty bass slam that goes way deep down into the 10-20hrtz range. This was coming from the Beyer DT990. Yep I prefered the bass of the MS-Pro to that of a Beyer DT990. 

post #3 of 50

I don't think the OP knows if he wants "strong bass" or not. I definitely find Grados to be weak in the bass department and overly bright. Grado bass isn't exactly what I would ever call neutral.

 

I think the ATH W1000X maybe for you OP for blues and rock as it seems to match most of your requirements. Look into it. It has exceptional bass response, soundstage, and mids. Furthermore, I thought the W1000X were better than the Denon D7000s. Denons had problems with laid back vocals that the W1000X didn't have and it annoyed the crap out of me.

post #4 of 50

I never found grado bass to be lacking.

I think your strong bass would mean a lot of bass, right?

To me grado has a very strong upper bass that really kick. Though, it doesn't offer a lot of bass (like the beat).

If your are looking for sth that has a lot of bass (not just kicking upper bass) look elsewhere.

Plus, if you thing sr225 is too bright (like too much high and mid) for you I don't think you will love other grado can.

 

PS.

Have you tried burning them in yet? It could get you more bass and less annoying high

post #5 of 50

If you didn't like the bass of the 225's you won't like the RS2's. You mentioned you were into DJing so I'm guessing you like your music bass heavy which means you should stay away from Grados.

post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your input. These are some really great recommendations

hotsport, yes, I am referring to a lot of bass not just the kick. Forgive me for not using the right terminology. 

 

As per your recommendations, it really does seem to be a choice between the Ms-Pro and the ATH W1000X. Does anyone have experience with comparing these two directly? From what I've researched, the W1000X will probably have more bass (which I prefer), but the Ms-Pro's seem less reliant on an amp (which I prefer as well). Which way would you suggest I go?

 

Again, thank you for your help, and I look forward to hearing what you think...

post #7 of 50

Seriously, factor in an amp from your budget. Most of the bassy cans suffers from boomy/untamed sound that would make listening fatiguing after a while. A solid-state amp would usually tame the sound a little, making basslines tighter and more enjoyable. Something that you would definitely find pleasurable for blues-rock. 

 

By the way, are you sure you want lots of bass for rock music? My impression of rock music is mid-centred, with clarity on both ends (e.g. clean and crisp shredding, detailed snare with audible bassdrum, tight and detailed bass). By making the sound bass-centred, you are less likely to enjoy the interaction between the instruments. Oh! There are exceptions of course. I do plug in my darths now and then for some crazy bass and drum centred rock pieces, but on the whole mids seems to be more important for rock. 

post #8 of 50

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=343&graphID[]=373

 

Take that as you will for a comparison of the RS2 vs the 225i.

post #9 of 50


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by magnaton View Post

Thank you all for your input. These are some really great recommendations

hotsport, yes, I am referring to a lot of bass not just the kick. Forgive me for not using the right terminology. 

 

As per your recommendations, it really does seem to be a choice between the Ms-Pro and the ATH W1000X. Does anyone have experience with comparing these two directly? From what I've researched, the W1000X will probably have more bass (which I prefer), but the Ms-Pro's seem less reliant on an amp (which I prefer as well). Which way would you suggest I go?

 

Again, thank you for your help, and I look forward to hearing what you think...



I think a comparison between the ATH-W1000X and the MS-pro would be an excellent idea.

 

Before you've got your selection "narrowed down" to just those two, you may want to keep in mind the audio-technicas are closed, whereas the Allessandro/Grado option is open (very open). This may affect your decision. I'll do a search.

post #10 of 50
Audio Technicas have very nice mids. As for amping, I've never preferred one headphone over another solely on the fact one was not amplified to full potential. ATH are generally easy to amp anyways. IMO ATH W1000X are better all around for any genre, but won't have the crispy strong treble of Grado.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnaton View Post

Thank you all for your input. These are some really great recommendations

hotsport, yes, I am referring to a lot of bass not just the kick. Forgive me for not using the right terminology. 

 

As per your recommendations, it really does seem to be a choice between the Ms-Pro and the ATH W1000X. Does anyone have experience with comparing these two directly? From what I've researched, the W1000X will probably have more bass (which I prefer), but the Ms-Pro's seem less reliant on an amp (which I prefer as well). Which way would you suggest I go?

 

Again, thank you for your help, and I look forward to hearing what you think...

 

I've actually owned most of these- some quick comments:

 

  1. Never heard MS-Pro's myself so won't comment much, but MS-Pro does not extend down low. No Grados extend low, even the big ones (PS/GS1000). They all severely roll-off at some point.
  2. RS-2s sound like SR-225's with a mid-bass bump - still has that "charm" as you call it. Don't rely on the Headroom graphs too much - there is a noticeable mid-bass increase. However the RS-2 is still what I would call more treble tilted compared to others on this list.
  3. Denon D7000s have very strong, extended, and smooth bass, delicate highs, but midrange is a little recessed. Very lush sound - the anti-Grado.
  4. Denon D5000s have sub-wooferish one-note bass, still very smooth with delicate highs. Less detailed and slower than D7000.
  5. Darth Beyers are the most sub-wooferish of them all - IMO, they sound better the both ports taped over for reasonable bass. Still bass FR is not as smooth as Denons, but mids and treble more balanced than Denons.
  6. ATH-W1000X have similar characteristics to D7000 being a closed phone. They are a little bit more funky than the D7000s, less but still noticeably strong bass with similar extension, and slight emphasis on mid-treble. They sound like a cross between Denon's and the Grado's. BTW, these are almost as easy to drive as Grados.

 

* The closed phones will have colorations from the enclosure. The AT having the most, Denon's in the middle, and Darth's the least.

** (Need amp)  <-- Denon -- Darth -- W1000X -- Grado --> (Don't necessarily need amp)

 

 

Also try the following to increase bass on the SR-225s:

 

  • Sennheiser 414 yellow pads for your SR-225 (put the pads on reverse do the thicker side is on your ears)
  • TTVJ flat pads $$
  • Wrap electrical tape around the bowls.
  • There are other ways to mod the SR-225s for more bass, but I won't go into that unless you ask.


 

post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post



 

I've actually owned most of these- some quick comments:

 

  1. Never heard MS-Pro's myself so won't comment much, but MS-Pro does not extend down low. No Grados extend low, even the big ones (PS/GS1000). They all severely roll-off at some point.
  2. RS-2s sound like SR-225's with a mid-bass bump - still has that "charm" as you call it. Don't rely on the Headroom graphs too much - there is a noticeable mid-bass increase. However the RS-2 is still what I would call more treble tilted compared to others on this list.
  3. Denon D7000s have very strong, extended, and smooth bass, delicate highs, but midrange is a little recessed. Very lush sound - the anti-Grado.
  4. Denon D5000s have sub-wooferish one-note bass, still very smooth with delicate highs. Less detailed and slower than D7000.
  5. Darth Beyers are the most sub-wooferish of them all - IMO, they sound better the both ports taped over for reasonable bass. Still bass FR is not as smooth as Denons, but mids and treble more balanced than Denons.
  6. ATH-W1000X have similar characteristics to D7000 being a closed phone. They are a little bit more funky than the D7000s, less but still noticeably strong bass with similar extension, and slight emphasis on mid-treble. They sound like a cross between Denon's and the Grado's. BTW, these are almost as easy to drive as Grados.

 

* The closed phones will have colorations from the enclosure. The AT having the most, Denon's in the middle, and Darth's the least.

** (Need amp)  <-- Denon -- Darth -- W1000X -- Grado --> (Don't necessarily need amp)

 

 

Also try the following to increase bass on the SR-225s:

 

  • Sennheiser 414 yellow pads for your SR-225 (put the pads on reverse do the thicker side is on your ears)
  • TTVJ flat pads $$
  • Wrap electrical tape around the bowls.
  • There are other ways to mod the SR-225s for more bass, but I won't go into that unless you ask.


 


Nice contribution purrin. I'm sad I didn't get to meet you at the meet and hear your modded W1000X. Hopefully, I have more time to do proper introduction next time. Anyways, I will agree with purrin's answer. Can't recommend much else
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnaton View Post

Sure, there is a definite clarity to them, and the open-ears are an interesting change, but I can't get over the lack of bass? What's more, I find the mid-treble presence really fatiguing.


Your ears need more time to get used to the bright sound, initially it is quite bright if you're never used grados before. As for the bass, if you're not afraid to open the headphones and mod there's a mod to significantly increase the bass. Basically you poke holes and puncture the felt from the rear side to increase the bass.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/508459/sr60-mod#post_6871791

 

I'd understand if you are hesitating to do this on the more expensive SR225 but on a SR60, there's less to lose.

post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kite7 View Post




Your ears need more time to get used to the bright sound, initially it is quite bright if you're never used grados before. As for the bass, if you're not afraid to open the headphones and mod there's a mod to significantly increase the bass. Basically you poke holes and puncture the felt from the rear side to increase the bass.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/508459/sr60-mod#post_6871791

 

I'd understand if you are hesitating to do this on the more expensive SR225 but on a SR60, there's less to lose.


I wouldn't recommend "get used to the bright sound." It would essentially mean desensitizing his ears from high frequencies. Getting used to neutral sound on the other hand will most likely be more beneficial for his hearing.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kite7 View Post




Your ears need more time to get used to the bright sound, initially it is quite bright if you're never used grados before. As for the bass, if you're not afraid to open the headphones and mod there's a mod to significantly increase the bass. Basically you poke holes and puncture the felt from the rear side to increase the bass.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/508459/sr60-mod#post_6871791

 

I'd understand if you are hesitating to do this on the more expensive SR225 but on a SR60, there's less to lose.




I wouldn't recommend "get used to the bright sound." It would essentially mean desensitizing his ears from high frequencies. Getting used to neutral sound on the other hand will most likely be more beneficial for his hearing.


i think he meant to let his brain get used to the sound perhaps :) like the so called brain burn in haha

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