Well this is my first Grado!, and I must agree when people say how different and fun these cans sound!. But I will like to make some comments and ask some questions about going deeper into the Grado land.
First in terms of design I really like that vintage look, it is quite a unique and good looking headphones specially with today's over-design and trendy ones. But I have to say the materials quality is very disappointing. Even though the construction seems strong enough for the daily use, the finishes and components are quite rough, which gives to the headphones, a very cheap almost like a toy look. Its all plastic! including the head band!. For 100 bucks I would expect something better.
Also these are not the best ergonomically and comfortable headphones that many people claim, actually IMO are quite the opposite. I know that everybody has different ear shapes therefore for someone this works OK but for others having that clamp pushing your ears is annoying and unpleasant. I've tried to loose the head band a bit and it seems to work OK. I've also changed the pads from the planar ones to the bowl ones, but I'm not sure which ones I prefer yet in terms of comfortability (sound wise I've made my choice, but later with that)
Now about what really matters. I think the sounds that came from this little guy is quite amazing. I think the two more important qualities of these headphones are DETAIL and PUNCH. I found it well balanced with the right amount of bass and an overall rich full forward sound. It is true when people said that Grados put you IN the band. But at the same time those same qualities made these headphones a bit fatiguing. I don't know if with time that will go away or not. Also these headphones are very sensitive to the source. If I played from the iPod the treble start to sound harsh and not controlled making this headphones more exhausting to listen for longer periods. If I use HD files running through my Stello DA100 Signature and amp by the Stello HP100 everything starts to be more controlled and the sound experienced is getting better. Curiously the less fatiguing sound is when I use the same source setting but using the Stello HP100 as a Pre-Amp connected to a Cambridge Audio 650A (which for me is not the best when talking about treble) and plug in the cans in the headphone output. I don't know exactly what it does but maybe it pulls down the Punch and Detail just enough in order to give a exciting sound but without the razor blades. So, about the pads, I prefer the bowl ones just because the flat ones put a veil on the sound.
So now a couple of questions.
Does the construction/materials quality improve in the upper models? Sound wise, does all the models share that detail and punch? Which one would be the more controlled (less fatiguing) but exciting at the same time? I've read that the GS1000i is the more different to the rest, and even that it doesn't sound Grado at all. Is that correct? or it is really a more refined version, without loosing the rich full forward Grado sound? I've always prefer around the ear pads because are more comfortable to wear for extended listening sessions, so in case that you guys recommend the Reference Series (RS1, RS2) can I change the pad for the ones that the GS1000i use or that will completely change the sound in a bad way?
I'm asking all these questions because here in Australia there is no place to go and test the different models, so I would like to hear different opinions in order to be more informed for the next time that I make an order overseas.
Thanks, and cheers
Edited by jark - 3/19/11 at 11:30pm