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:"Woodied" Grado Review and Impressions Thread - Page 4

post #46 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post

The whole liberation process makes me nervous, I'll get over it when the time comes though.

 

 


 

That's why I've built step-by-step instructions complete with pictures in the SR-60 thread to make these processes as simplified as they could be with minimal risk.  wink.gif
 

 

post #47 of 67

Yeah I felt iffy about recabling Grados and then woodied Grados but eventually I got over it :)

 

I'm one of those people who read the simplest instructions like 15 times and then when I get to doing whatever it is I need to do, turns out I never needed to look at instructions and it's all intuitive! (guess thats why I went into studying engineering lol)

 

 

post #48 of 67

posted my full impressions on the first page.. Now I'm off to the post office. Hope you guys enjoy :)

post #49 of 67
Thread Starter 

Good read Chris...thanks for the impressions!

 

"Earthy" is a really good description. I said rich and warm in my review. I just read somewhere that the MS Pro's and RS1's sounded pretty close. I dont know if that's a fair comparison or not. I do know if I was climbing up the Grado ladder I would prefer the MS Pro to a stock 225; and if the RS1 is similar I understand why people love it so much, they can definitely rock.

 

Getting the use of those phones though really put in perspective how good a woodied lower end Grado could stack up to one of Grado's flagships. I'm listening to some Tom Petty on my 225's right now, and it's amazing how good they sound. They dont have the bass of the Pro's but they are a lot more balanced and neutral sounding as compared to the colored "earthy" timbre of the Pro's.

 

I like the sound of these 225's so much I put my HF'2 up for sale, although I havent been trying real hard to sell them. The thought of parting with them causes to much separation anxiety.

 

 

post #50 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post

Good read Chris...thanks for the impressions!

 

"Earthy" is a really good description. I said rich and warm in my review. I just read somewhere that the MS Pro's and RS1's sounded pretty close. I dont know if that's a fair comparison or not. I do know if I was climbing up the Grado ladder I would prefer the MS Pro to a stock 225; and if the RS1 is similar I understand why people love it so much, they can definitely rock.

 

Getting the use of those phones though really put in perspective how good a woodied lower end Grado could stack up to one of Grado's flagships. I'm listening to some Tom Petty on my 225's right now, and it's amazing how good they sound. They dont have the bass of the Pro's but they are a lot more balanced and neutral sounding as compared to the colored "earthy" timbre of the Pro's.

 

I like the sound of these 225's so much I put my HF'2 up for sale, although I havent been trying real hard to sell them. The thought of parting with them causes to much separation anxiety.

 

 

No problem! it took me long enough :P I've got to post some impressions of my PK3's versus those BeB "black buds" soon too.. Although, I predict a toss up.. One sounds better, one is built better, it seems. (both really don't have that great of build quality though, I'm a bit disappointed. But, we will see how long they last).  I just sent my clip+ in for RMA so neither are going to get too much use until that shows back up. (loose headphone jack, sandisk seems willing to replace it though).

 

I do wonder if the RS1 is comparable to the Ms pros as well. I'll let you know if i ever get a chance to hear an RS1. Yeah, I actually found myself going back and forth between the ms pro and the stock 225i's before I had my wooden 225i's.

 

I agree with the woodie 225i's being more neutral sounding and balanced, maybe leaning slightly towards the high end of things, but that's how I like it :)

 

I had a deal lined up for my fostex's.. Put them on my head for 30 seconds and realized I couldn't part with them. I decided they will be my closed fun alternative when an open set isn't an option. They have a similar sound signature to the grados, In my opinion, not nearly as detailed or open and airy, but the signature is close with very very nice mids, plus they are closed.. So, I'll hang on to them forever, even if they don't get much head time as it is, they might later. 
 

 

post #51 of 67

Chris,

 

Thanks for your review.  My experience with the MS-Pro headphones vs. the Grado SR-225i in both Sapele and Cebil wooden cups is basically the same sound experience that Chris has detailed.  I don't think it comes as any surprise that the MS-Pro headphones sound the way that they do.  Alessandro has been known to feature a signature of sound that like - yet, unlike, that of Grado's own series of headphones.  The true evaluation can essentially only occur when one has both headphones at their disposal - as Chris had, Brian did and I had.  

 

I really liked the MS-Pro headphones for what it did with 50% of my music.  However, I also like what the wooden Grado SR-225i headphones do for 90% of my music.  So, where does this leave things?  Well, if one had deep enough pockets, they could have both and use them according to the music they wanted to listen to.  But, when I want to be "taken away" when I'm listing to my music, that extra detail of the SR-225i, in wooden cups, is more likely to get me to that destination.

 

My personal assessment of the "sound" of the MS-Pro drivers is that they don't really produce more bass.  I think it comes down to it that they produce LESS apparent upper frequencies, which allow the bass to stand-out or shine a bit better when compared to the SR-225i wooden headphones.  By decreasing the output of the upper frequencies that a driver produces, the details of the lower frequencies can be heard, felt and appreciated that much more.  I think the MS-Pro is the answer for all of those people who have felt that the Grado signature sound was a bit overwhelming for them.  When that becomes the case, Alessandro is the answer.  Instead of poo-pooing Grado, try the Alessandro headphones and see what you think.  It might be well worth your time.


Edited by wje - 8/17/11 at 1:01am
post #52 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

I really liked the MS-Pro headphones for what it did with 50% of my music.  However, I also like what the wooden Grado SR-225i headphones do for 90% of my music.  So, where does this leave things?  Well, if one had deep enough pockets, they could have both and use them according to the music they wanted to listen to.  But, when I want to be "taken away" when I'm listing to my music, that extra detail of the SR-225i, in wooden cups, is more likely to get me to that destination.

 

My personal assessment of the "sound" of the MS-Pro drivers is that they don't really produce more bass.  I think it comes down to it that they produce LESS apparent upper frequencies, which allow the bass to stand-out or shine a bit better when compared to the SR-225i wooden headphones.  By decreasing the output of the upper frequencies that a driver produces, the details of the lower frequencies can be heard, felt and appreciated that much more.  I think the MS-Pro is the answer for all of those people who have felt that the Grado signature sound was a bit overwhelming for them.  When that becomes the case, Alessandro is the answer.  Instead of poo-pooing Grado, try the Alessandro headphones and see what you think.  It might be well worth your time.


 

I completely agree with the first part.. Disagree with the second part :) I think the ms pros definitely have more bass, along with lowered upper frequencies.. In fact, I think the upper frequencies were closer to each other than the lower.. But, we all have different ears. It probably has to do with my ears being more bass sensitive. I definitely feel like the ms pros carried a lot more bass, and it wasn't just because the upper end was smoothed out, I found the ms pros downright boomy some times. 

 

post #53 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaval View Post

Had a decent listen today. My ears hurt a bit for being forced against the drivers. The bowl effect maybe? Like I said previously, I need to try some more options. TTVJ's website seems to be down... those flats should be interesting if he ships to EU. 

 

Anyway, I promised some pics. I warned against what would come out of it so... here they are in the wooden box (forgot to take pics of the extension cable but it's irrelevant)

 

DSCN2052.jpg
 

The box is quite well built and the foam coating gives them a nice cushion. I'll use the box to storage them as I have quite a lot of stuff spread around the listening area.

 

Because of the recable, the drivers are now glues against the cups. I won't be needing to open them up. 6 holes opened and the drivers are really close! I like it forward sounding and detail is also important for me.

DSCN2053.jpg

 

It's hard to tell how much worse this could of come out with the flash... but the headband is really smooth and comfy.

DSCN2058.jpg

 

A side overview of the cups. They're not really that red or dark brown. They look really nice and classy.

DSCN2054.jpg

 

A bit more detail over the problematic rod. I'm yet to fix it as I just wanted to listen to some music...

DSCN2056.jpg

 

A more realistic view of the cans true colors. My Basset Hound Luna decided to inspect the Neutrik plug and cable. She's a bit shy :)

DSCN2055.jpg

 

Upon further listening sessions my brain is beginning to adapt to them. Today everything sounded much better, although some of the problems I noticed yesterday are still there. They are beginning to grow on me!

 

Sound Impressions

I've been listening almost exclusively to these cans this last few days and I'm ready to share some info.

 

These don't sound much like the Grados I've listened in the past. Actually, these are MS1s... With 6 holes vented, the bass is oustanding, quantity and quality wise. The Grado signature I recall wasn't exeptional like this. The mids are quite well integrated despite the upper mid hump. Highs are clear, but recessed. The overall sound presentation is very engaging with the right musical diet: acoustic and electric instruments. as well the kick drum and tom-toms. Piano is listenable. Horns are delicious, but not realistic. I have also found a few issues with male voices.

 

I started out with Paco de Lucia's "Solo quiero caminar", an excelent rendition of Flamenco and Fusion tracks where the acoustic guitar is king (besides the player). The recording is very well made so it will sound great on any system. With these cans the guitar comes alive with the singing and clapping well placed on the background. The sound is crisp, the body of the guitar breathes air into the cans and there are loads of air between the strings.

Against the HD600, these present more upper frequency energy and air. The timbre sounds more correct. There's little string snap and the presentation is not as forward. There's soundstage.

Against the Lambdas, the conclusions are pretty similar as reported to HD600, with the difference that you also get the string snaping but a more forward presentation.

Against the modded HFI780, the Ultrasones cannot provide the same level of detail and agility. They do snap like any other and the presentation is the most spectacular as far as prat goes since you have your face inside the guitar body.

The MS2s are front row. The HD600 is middle of the room and the Stax sit you row in between. HFI780 wizips you inside the main focus instrument.

In the end I loved the Lambdas and MS2. Not really an absolute fave here.

 

The next rendition went with Pavarotti's "Nessun Dorma" from the MSFL recording of the Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti pop-aria CD. The MS2 fail miserably ruining Pavaroti's performance. A few good systems have made me cry a few (manly) tears; however the MS2 simply cannot handle the old man's diaphragm pushing the tone higher - it's strident and unpleasent. I repeated the dose yesterday and, without EQing, the same result came out: a disaster. With EQ it is ameliorated, but not first rate.

All comparo cans provide a quality rendering of the event except the MS2. The Lambdas rule supreme.

 

Next up we have Porcupine Tree's "Metanoia" record. One of my PT faves and have listened to it inumerous times.

The MS2s begin to show, again, what they can do. This recording is extremely atmosferic and provides amazing dynamic range. It's very easy to slide down the couch for the entire recording. The MS2s provide an astral experience here. Drums recording and performance are world class and these woodies know what to do. Fleshed out skin interwined with the guitar and bass... playing together... wow. It's not as 3D and layered as the Lambdas cand do, but the Stax just sound right to down good. The MS2 are almost perfect. The HFI780 onde again are very fun to listen to, but there's too much detail left out. The HD600 do a great presentation again; they sound right but don't stand out much. The MS2 are hindered from the alluded recessed top end - much of the airyness is left out - HD600 are king here, and the Lambdas... also. MS2 cannot do macrodynamics as good as the microdynamics - they sound a bit "short" in this regard, but this is a pure relativisation to other cans because they really sound f~"#%%g great.

 

Keith Jarret, La Scala's on ECM. Another emotinal trip record. The HFI780 cannot do piano right - it´s a percussion instrument but instead of a pair of hands doing the work it souds more lika a pair of hammers... let's move on, nothing to see here. HD600 always did this recording in a most remarkable way. Not because of the piano in itselft, but because of what's around it. It draws the concert hall in depth and hight. Not much height, think of a rectangle instead of a square. Lambdas do the square, a big square, but the forwardish nature introduces a few trick questions about the concept of rightness about a grand piano in a big room. Both are exhilarating though, and yes, if in the a certain mood, I can spill a few (manly) tears listening to them. The crispness of the MS2s and microdynamics they portray make them a great pair of cans for solo piano. Left hand side there's great authority, warmth and body on one side, on the right hand side there's also loads of crispness and agility. Keith's "singing" comes out perfect. I'm undecided on the fave can: HD600 or MS2. They sound way different!

 

More to follow. I know, what about "Rock" music, man?!

 

Here's an update that has been due for quite some time now. I'm quoting the initial impressions from the SR60 mod thread.

These impressions are a bit skewed as the amplification has been recently upgraded. The (non-OTL) MG Head was dethroned by the mighty Jadis DA60 by the means of the ART Headptap. This was only possible with the help of wje as he generously built a proper cable to connect the amp with the Headtap - there's no commercial solution for this config angry_face.gif

 

Although the law of diminishing returns applies to audio, this upgrade has been nothing short of amazing as the SQ quality jump was beyond my expectations. To put things in perspective, the MG Head cost me new about 300€ or so, even though I bought a few exotic tubes to play with it, but the Jadis... well... it's a plus 10K amp with +1.5K tubes on top. Overkill? Maybe... but it's my speaker amp for life that I bought about 15 years ago and it's the only piece of high end kit I've kept since I downgraded my audio systems a few years ago. It was too amazing to let go. This new phone amp brought a lot to the table to all my cans and, incidently, the MS1s is where the SQ jump was the least impacted - I conclude that they've been milked as best as it's possible.

 

Overall, it imparted better instrument seperation (much better on the HD600 where I never thought of hearing what I'm hearing from my oldest headphones currently in the house... they sound way too good, really lol), more bass snap and absolutely zero congestion even on the most complex passages out of metal or large orchestras.

 

Now, the MS1s have good bass. It doesn't extend all the way down, it's not as detailed, textured and articulate as the Stax or Senn (the HD600 have great punch now. Yes, punch!), and doesn't have the sheer impact of the HFI780. But it sounds good: quantity and quality wise. There's a special warmness around the mid bass that fills the ticket and builds just the right foundation for prolonged listening sessions with your electric guitars and drums. The top end is still a bit rolled off as any Stax or HD600 may spoil you with it, but the higher mid emphasis brings to the table a lot of sparkle and intimacy that keeps you glued to the back of the chair. On the other hand, this treble that comes a bit short never fatigues - still, it's a Grado? Yup. The strongest point with the MS1s though, with rock as any other kind of music, is the midrange. Very forward, almost as forward as the Stax, with amazing detail. Voices are done very well. Male and female. I noted previously how Pavarotti was murdered. It must've been the new cable not being broken in, as now it sounds very good.

 

I don't really have any rock albuns to test equipment, so I just play whatever I feel like. I especially like Opteh's Damnation album out of all their work - a Steven Wilson productio, btw - and it sounds soooo amazing with the MS1s. The acoustic guitars have a body and spatial aural cues around them that you just want to listen to the entire thing all over again. The complex passages are done with great instrument separation and if you're into analyzing stuff you don't need much effort to follow any instrument. One of the most magnetic things with these MS1s is the fact that you really don't want to analyze anything and just enjoy. I think this is part of the Grado formula where music enjoyment seems to be more important than technical achievments. I call this evidende of great gear.

On Rush Moving Pictures, Neil's drumming sounds so full and snappy it's really impossible not to air drum. The drumming action does not sound really in your face, it's quite blended with the rest of the instruments (at least on my US pressing) but sounds so alive and vivid it's really amazing through the MS1 as no other phone could do this so well.

 

I don't won't to build a wall of text... I'll just finish this off by saying that modding a modestly priced headphone like the MS1, can be so rewarding that is impossible not to praise the high performance level. To anyone considering upgrading entry level Grados/Alessandros into more expensive models should really explore this woodifiyng venue before springing more money. If cash is not a problem, I still think it's a very worthwhile experience. I have no way of comparing these against any other stock Grado, but from memory, I enjoyed listening to these vs any Grado up to RS1s as the treble energy on these give it a certain edge. On the other hand, the RS1 couldn't do the bass in such an intense way. But this is highly speculative as so much time as gone and system is not quite the same also.

 

I'm looking forward on testing these cans with TTVJ flats which I expect to receive around the end of the month or so and check out what many are raving about first hand.

 

 

post #54 of 67

I'll keep it short, these cans just rock!

I wont be climbing the Grado ladder. I have found the perfect set of dynamics.

Price and performance cant be beat without spending much, much more.

 

Marty spun up his lathe and out came this coco goodness.

The pic is his, I have since installed MS1i drivers with stock cables.

 

The stock plastic Alessandros sounded sweet after 100 hours of pink noise.

Marty's cocobolo cups take things waaaaaay beyond the next level. Talk about perfection in tone wood.

I'm a noob to the Grado game. Having listened to a friend's lightly modded SR-60,

I knew I wanted some cans with this sound sig. I have never heard cheap cans sound this good.

I've since heard another friend's RS-1s. To these ears my coco woodies sound as good.

Call it blasphemy if you will, I call it sonic bliss.

They are driven by a Gilmore Lite or a LD MkIII. Source is a HRT Music Streamer II asynch DAC.

 

FWIW, Pink Floyd is my metric. DG's guitar soars and Nick Mason's drums thunder with these Grados.

Yup, they are keepers.

 

coco (2).jpg


Edited by livewire - 10/7/11 at 11:42pm
post #55 of 67

You make me hate living in Europe. I NEED THEM CUPS :'(

post #56 of 67


Very beautiful headphone. Marty as his best.

 

Congratulation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewire View Post

I'll keep it short, these cans just rock!

I wont be climbing the Grado ladder. I have found the perfect set of dynamics.

Price and performance cant be beat without spending much, much more.

 

Marty spun up his lathe and out came this coco goodness.

The pic is his, I have since installed MS1i drivers with stock cables.

 

The stock plastic Alessandros sounded sweet after 100 hours of pink noise.

Marty's cocobolo cups take things waaaaaay beyond the next level. Talk about perfection in tone wood.

I'm a noob to the Grado game. Having listened to a friend's lightly modded SR-60,

I knew I wanted some cans with this sound sig. I have never heard cheap cans sound this good.

I've since heard another friend's RS-1s. To these ears my coco woodies sound as good.

Call it blasphemy if you will, I call it sonic bliss.

They are driven by a Gilmore Lite or a LD MkIII. Source is a HRT Music Streamer II asynch DAC.

 

FWIW, Pink Floyd is my metric. DG's guitar soars and Nick Mason's drums thunder with these Grados.

Yup, they are keepers.

 

coco (2).jpg



 

 

post #57 of 67


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marko93101 View Post

You make me hate living in Europe. I NEED THEM CUPS :'(



I don't know what is holding you from getting them fom Martin.  Most of us in North America have ordered from Cabilas in Spain. 

 

post #58 of 67


Actually, now that you mention it, I've been on to Martin. Sorting out the finer details :)

I shall have to look into this Cabilas aswell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinster View Post


 



I don't know what is holding you from getting them fom Martin.  Most of us in North America have ordered from Cabilas in Spain. 

 



 

post #59 of 67


Martin is your best option because Cabillas stopped about a month ago selling wood cups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marko93101 View Post


Actually, now that you mention it, I've been on to Martin. Sorting out the finer details :)

I shall have to look into this Cabilas aswell.



 



 

 

post #60 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinster View Post

Martin is your best option because Cabillas stopped about a month ago selling wood cups.

 

 

Actually, Cabillas was just the seller of the cups.  He had them cut by a carpenter that did some beautiful work.  The quality of the cups from Cabillas - and his carpenter is second to none.  The Grado drivers would "press fit" into the cups without any additional adhesives, tape or fillers.  They were precise - and did an excellent job of holding the ear pads on, too.

 

With that being said, I never want to be a MOT (Member of the Trade) because I love being a hobbyist too much and I don't want to work strictly with one or two items and having some limitations on my postings here.  However, I'm quite sure that the possibility exists of a potential "group buy" on another run of cups of the Cabilla's era.  This would mean both Sapele and Iroko options would be available.  Though, I wouldn't want to do this on a continuous basis, I think the possibility of a "group buy" might be the best approach - and would be the best method of getting the support of the moderators and the owner of the forum here.

 

I was fortunate enough to get the last 6 pair of cups that Cabillas' carpenter had left over after Cabillas stopped selling them.  All 6 pair of the cups were sold within a day or so.  The only issue that was encountered happened a few months after the sale.  There was an Iroko cup that developed a crack in the housing - on the end where the driver gets mounted.  I advised the buyer on how to go about making the repair, which I'm assuming turned out OK.  The cups from Cabillas were properly lacquered both on the outside and inside, which should have pretty much assured that any shrinking and expansion of the wood would be minimal.

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