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Grado SR225i impressions/review 2011

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Righto before I start, a quick backround... I got brought up admiring hifi equipment from being a child. It has been my dad's hobby since I can remember (I'm 40 now) He has always wanted to try Grado phones but hasn't tried until now (he's 72) and they're not as comfortable as his 600's, so I bought them off him. He loves classical music and I can understand that (apart from possibly the HD800's) that he cant do better.

 

Im now going to keep this as short and sweet as poss (my other mid price cans are 650's and D2000's), The sr225i's have about approx 30 hours burn in (so early days)

 

My equipment is Foobar, Vdac, Atlas Navigators, OBH21se.

 

My portable rig is Sony X direct to E7.

 

Music: Shostakovich piano concerto's- (Askenazy), Beethoven late string quartets- (Alban berg), Thelonious Monk- Underground.  Arctic Monkeys- Humbug, Radiohead- King of Limbs. 

 

Highs: are very crisp and prominent in a good way, similar to d2000's but sweeter. slighly hard compared to 650's.

 

Mids: are very good, not forward or ressesed, just there and detailed. this is where these hp's work,there is a cohesive quality to the mid frequencies that keep the coloured highs sounding true. Not as sweet as the 650's different leagur to the d2000's.

 

Lows: are better than I expected, more coloured than I thought they would be. The bass is airy and punchy and is only there when there is real bass in the recording, I would never describe these as bass light, only in comparison to other cans- the bass heavy D2000's for e.g The 650's have similar bass, infact this where they are very similar, I think the 650's may have a little more control though.

 

These are the first Grado's that I have heard, and I have a feeling that they wont be the last. Forget the comfort issue, any comfort modification to the design would obviously change everything. They are not 650's or 701's or 2000's they are Grados. Similar to buying a old classic car- you wouldnt change it for the world.

 

Such an airy involving sound from such a small headphone, why have'nt I tried these before? probably because they look how they look. In reality they are better than they look on pictures but they still look like old bbc radio phones ha ha!

 

To be updated.. gs1000.gif

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

post #2 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm now adding a slight bit of bottom end with EQ. Just a very small amount does the trick, Grado's are famous for being rock cans but all strings sound good, Beethoven's fifth (barenboim) for e'g, the orchestra seems alive and fresh. Brilliant timing. Smooth. My ears are now hurting though...

 

Thinking what the comfies would be like? would I lose the airy soundstage in exchange for extra bass and comfort...?

 

 

 

post #3 of 25

Interesting review. Keep us updated!

post #4 of 25

I own a pair of 225i's and a pair of 80i's.  I was put off by the bowl pads on the 225i's when I first got them.  I experimented switching the comfy's from my 80i's with the bowls on the 225i's.  The comfys do enhace the bass, but to my ears the soundstage and airyness of the sound suffers.  After using both, I find I perfer the bowls that came with the 225i's.  Comfortwise, once the bowls broke in (i.e. softened up a bit), I find them just as comfortable as the comfy's.  I use them for hours each evening listening to music while my wife watches TV.

 

Don't take my word for it though - try it for yourself - opinions on this issue differ.  The pads are easy enough to swap out that you could use a particular pair of pads for particular types of music.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maggior View Post

I own a pair of 225i's and a pair of 80i's.  I was put off by the bowl pads on the 225i's when I first got them.  I experimented switching the comfy's from my 80i's with the bowls on the 225i's.  The comfys do enhace the bass, but to my ears the soundstage and airyness of the sound suffers.  After using both, I find I perfer the bowls that came with the 225i's.  Comfortwise, once the bowls broke in (i.e. softened up a bit), I find them just as comfortable as the comfy's.  I use them for hours each evening listening to music while my wife watches TV.

 

Don't take my word for it though - try it for yourself - opinions on this issue differ.  The pads are easy enough to swap out that you could use a particular pair of pads for particular types of music.


Hi, thanks for that. I'm loving the airy sound of the bowls and wouldn't want to lose that. To be fair the comfort issue isn't really a big issue for me, I can see it could be for others though. I had a day off work yesterday and had them on all day and so they were starting to get uncormfortable by the night time..  but there's not many headphones you can wear all day without feeling some kind of discomfort.

 

I've got them on now and I've adapted to them straight away. No doubt I will end up experimenting though, do people still use the "flats" that I've seen on older Grado's? if so, what do they offer?  
 

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

I've got about 50 hours on these puppies now and they are sounding brilliant. I have to say, that they seem to respond better with my portable rig as opposed to my hifi set up. It may be because they are very sensitive and my creek SE amp doesnt take any prisoners! Possibly they will sound better with a tube rather than solid state on account of their brightness.

 

What I am now finding, is that I'm not focusing on any particular frequency; High, mid or low, unlike my 650's or d2000's for e'g you are always appriciating the low end with the d2000's and find yourself going "wow" every now and again. The same can be said for the texture of the mids on the 650's especially with strings or solo instruments "wow" again. The 225's are a very musical headphone that draw you into the music without emphasizing any particular area apart from arguably the overall brightness (though the d2000's are more fatiguing).

 

I'm currently testing them out using my E7 into my laptop and the sound is the best Ive heard yet for them. Ive got one notch of bass boost on the E7 more for personal preference rather than anything lacking. The treble sounds literally "brilliant".

I do know that the E7 has a dark character and this may be helping the Grado's sound a little more natural.

 

Quick word about the cable because these are the sr225is's with the improved cable, I cant comment on what the old one was like but this one is very well made but very thick and not the most practical choice for portability. There is very little noise from it at all when you touch it.

 

Musical, powerful, natural yet colorful, airy, uncomfortable(only joking!), these are very- very good headphones but will unfortunately have little appeal for some as I would say they are for home use only and for a bit more cash you could have the 650's.  

 

If the next step up is the RS1's then ... oi come back! (talking to my wallet)  rolleyes.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #7 of 25

Thanks for taking the time to provide us with your impressions.  Things seem to be sounding quite well as the break-in time moves along in addition to a few EQ adjustments for the lower end.  This is almost exactly what I experienced with the Grado 225i set that I picked up new last weekend.   Though, my music tastes are a bit different (Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Holly Cole and Norah Jones - just to name a few).

 

Be careful, though.  This is addicting stuff.  I was a bit torn between the 225i and 325i before going in to demo the 225i headphones.  Previously, I had the 60s for about 5 years and was quite content.  Now, I found a local used pair of mint 325 'phones - not the 'i' series available that I'll put my paws on tomorrow.  I'll run the 225i and the 325 'phones for the next month or so and see where my better impressions lie as to which might be my final choice.  Or, I'm getting close to a career leap that will change my income in about a month.  If that all falls into place, I may just head for the RS-2 and see where my impressions fall with those 'phones, too. 

 

It's way easier (to some degree) to handle more than one set of headphones as opposed to putting speakers through a demonstration.  Usually, the shipping costs on speakers and the price hit you'll take will leave you with very little money in no time at all.

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

Thanks for taking the time to provide us with your impressions.  Things seem to be sounding quite well as the break-in time moves along in addition to a few EQ adjustments for the lower end.  This is almost exactly what I experienced with the Grado 225i set that I picked up new last weekend.   Though, my music tastes are a bit different (Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Holly Cole and Norah Jones - just to name a few).

 

Be careful, though.  This is addicting stuff.  I was a bit torn between the 225i and 325i before going in to demo the 225i headphones.  Previously, I had the 60s for about 5 years and was quite content.  Now, I found a local used pair of mint 325 'phones - not the 'i' series available that I'll put my paws on tomorrow.  I'll run the 225i and the 325 'phones for the next month or so and see where my better impressions lie as to which might be my final choice.  Or, I'm getting close to a career leap that will change my income in about a month.  If that all falls into place, I may just head for the RS-2 and see where my impressions fall with those 'phones, too. 

 

It's way easier (to some degree) to handle more than one set of headphones as opposed to putting speakers through a demonstration.  Usually, the shipping costs on speakers and the price hit you'll take will leave you with very little money in no time at all.



Hi, I'll be interested in what you think of the 325's and what the differences/similarities are compared to the 225i's

 

I agree about the practicality of owning lots of headphones, Ive 4 pairs that I currently use for different set up's and music... You certainly could'nt do that with speakers! Actually my old Mission floor standers are in the attic collecting dust, my taste in music not only upsets my wife, but also the neighbor's!... best to keep it private ha ha

post #9 of 25

I picked up the SR325 headphones this morning.  They were about 6 or 7 years old, according to the owner.  He claims they were not used very frequently and had been sitting in a drawer for many of those years.  The pads had been replaced a few years back, so the foam is just like new.

 

I had about a 45 minute - 1 hour drive to get back to my house from the location of purchase.  Though it probably wasn't wise, I put on the headphones for the last 3/4 part of my drive with some Wynton Marsalis.  I know when I pulled into my driveway, my blood pressure had to be a good 10 points lower than normal.  I was getting quite taken in by the sound quality, so I just kept to staying in a single lane with my car and maintained the speed limit.  Wow.  After getting home, I downloaded some more music to the portable player - Patricia Barber, in this case.  After talking to the family a bit, I decided on a nap, since I was awake at 4:30 a.m. this morning.  Dang insomnia.

 

My nap was wonderful - filled with lots of great music and listening.  Thoughts about sound and what would be my next move were on my mind as they are right now.  I do have the 'phones on at the  moment and the detail, presence and sound quality of my Patricia Barber recordings is very soothing and pleasant to listen to as I work on the laptop.  Certainly, I can't do this with speakers as my music would have the wife and daughter turning up their noses to my music.  And, I'd probably need $12,000 B&W speakers, McIntosh amps and the whole she-bang to recreate some of this experience.

 

The 325 'phones?  Oh yeah, that's what we're talking about or I should be talking about.  The 325 (not the "i" model) appears to have been built with the same cord thickness as my 5 y.o. SR60 headphones.  It's not as rugged as the SR225i features.  I guess that's one of the components of the "i" upgrade that Grado made for their customers.  For right now, I'm not obsession too much on the cord thickness, though.  The 225i 'phones, on the other hand may need a bit more "burn-in" I guess.  I can detect some different sound signatures between the two 'phones.  Please bear in mind, I don't have access to perform double blind testing.  But, I am starting to fall in love with the 325 'phones.  The gold-ish tinted aluminum has a level of sexiness that gets added to the 'phones.

 

I'm about 95% sure right now, I'll be taking some pictures of the 225i 'phones, box, accessories (plug adapter) and more than likely listing them on eBay this evening.  My belief in the 325 is that strong at the moment.

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

mmmm... making me want the 325's now! must say it was the talk of the "shrill" top end that swayed me to the 225's instead.

 

Gonna try and give these a few months before I possibly look to a "woody" tongue_smile.gif

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Fully burned in now I would say, at least enough to judge realistically. No EQ needed now! they are smooth from top to bottom, and I must say the low end is pretty much spot on for my tastes. It is powerful with a little color. No boom, but you can feel it.

 

The highs are biting but not harsh. I can see how people can get addicted to the Grado sound world, all my other headphone sound dull when doing a quick comparison. Of course, they are not "dull" its only because the bright signature of the Grado's.

 

The mids are detailed but not too much, very smooth but textured. It has been said before, a pleasant mixture of "warm and bright".

 

I'm now powering them with my ibasso t3 and it seems like a perfect match (with Sony X) The T3 is for iem's but can actually power the 650's with the extra gain, and although the Grado's don't need a lot of power they do sound better (much more dynamic across the board) when they are fed more.

 

The SR225i's fit in well with my other mid-fi phones, comfortably in the middle between my 650's and D2000's. 3 very different sounding hp's. Which one is the best? all of them!  

 

I'm having to stop myself from buying the RS2 or 1's, as this headfi business is very addictive! Possibly later in the year If I can afford a good tube amp as well, I will. But for now, I'm pleased with these and that's that...ha!

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

I'm having to stop myself from buying the RS2 or 1's, as this headfi business is very addictive! Possibly later in the year If I can afford a good tube amp as well, I will. But for now, I'm pleased with these and that's that...ha!

 

It's great to hear you're finished with the burn in and really appreciating what you're hearing with the 225i 'phones.  Ironically, my SR225i 'phones (less than 2 weeks old) sold on eBay today within about 2 hours with the Buy it Now option.  I've located an authorized vendor for Grados that has the RS-2 for just about $120 bucks over the MSRP for the SR325i.  Now, with the SR225i 'phones sold, I have a few bucks.  Should I make the big leap?  Or, should I stay with my contented SR325 series that sounds glorious?
 

Edit: 3/8/2011 - Edited to reflect price correction.


Edited by wje - 3/8/11 at 8:07pm
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post



 

It's great to hear you're finished with the burn in and really appreciating what you're hearing with the 225i 'phones.  Ironically, my SR225i 'phones (less than 2 weeks old) sold on eBay today within about 2 hours with the Buy it Now option.  I've located an authorized vendor for Grados that has the RS-2 for just a few bucks over the MSRP for the SR325i.  Now, with the SR225i 'phones sold, I have a few bucks.  Should I make the big leap?  Or, should I stay with my contented SR325 series that sounds glorious?
 

 



mmm... that is tempting I must admit! The only thing I would say is, and only from what I've read, is that the SR325i's do have a unique sound signature, and if you are really happy with that, it may not be too much of an upgrade with the RS2's? Having said that, I do really want to try either the rs2's or 1's. I'm probably going to hold out for the rs1's though as they are apparently the perfect upgrade from the 225's as they have a similar character, only better.

 

I've read that the 325's have more detail than all of the Grado range (apart from the 1000's) because of the aluminium housing. With the RS2's you may lose some of that detail in exchange for a more refined sound.  Also, I'm trying to apreciate what I've got rather than constantly wanting better! its a great hobby but we shouldnt be in too much of a hurry to get to the Holy Grail, because once you have that... where do you go from there?? Its the jourrney that is fun. (having said that, if someone was to offer me the RS1's for £300 I'd take thier hand off!! ha ha)

 

I'm gona hold out with the 225's for now as they are sounding better every time I put them on. They are the most "laid back" sounding of the series and I think that's why I like them so much. I alternate between the 225's and my 650's and its a bit like "day and evening", as opposed to "night and day"!

 

I would go with whatever your wallet tells you, not the devil on your shoulder ha ha evil_smiley.gif  

 

post #14 of 25

Another option are the Jumbo pads. I use them with the SR80i and the sound really seems to mellow out and they're so much more comfortable as well. Because they are so big, I thought that these pads would pull the bass down, but in fact, they've become hard hitting headphones with a better sense of space.

 

The SR80i with Jumbos has become one of my favourite combos.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iancraig10 View Post

Another option are the Jumbo pads. I use them with the SR80i and the sound really seems to mellow out and they're so much more comfortable as well. Because they are so big, I thought that these pads would pull the bass down, but in fact, they've become hard hitting headphones with a better sense of space.

 

The SR80i with Jumbos has become one of my favourite combos.



I'm intrigued? are those the pads for the 1000's ? and do they fit? I thought they wouldnt because of the bigger headphones they were made for?

 

If they will fit my 225's then I'll try them, bigger soundstage and more comfort, as long as I dont lose anything else in exchange (bass, airiness) 

 

Thanks for that

 

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