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GRADO SR225 - amps and mods for best performance?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi there

 

 

I've bought a pair of SR225 a while ago from a forum member (before that I've had SR80) and I love the Grado sound. 

I'm using a PC with a M-audio sound card connected to an old Technics SU V40 integrated amp (for a pair of ordinary Sony speakers) plus a Little Dot I+ headphone amp. It might be strange but I prefer the sound of the Grados coming from the Technics directly, it has a lot of power and a better soundstage than the LDI+. However I noticed that the Technics is causing a rattle noise on my left Grado channels at high or moderate volumes. The Little Dot amp produces absolutely no rattle even at higher volumes so obviously i't not a hair or something like that. Now I wonder is this a defect of the Technics amp or it is just its technical parameters that are somewhat not matching well with the Grados?

 

 

Anyway I want to add some more power, a little more bass and thickness to my Grados sound that the LDI+ seems too weak to produce. It sounds really crisp and clear but somewhat fragile and light, Especially for synth music this kind of sound is really unnatural and dull. It's good for let's say The Cure but for heavier rock/metal music it is too thin as well. 

Ironically I just the LDI+ plus the SR80 a while ago although it should have produced even a lighter sound. 

 

So what to do?

Buying a better or more appropriate integrated amp?

Or buying a higher class headphones tube amp? Or just fixing a damaged component of my current integrated amp. Or simply trying some other type of pads?

 

thanks in advances for your suggestions

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by albin View Post

 

Anyway I want to add some more power, a little more bass and thickness to my Grados sound that the LDI+ seems too weak to produce. It sounds really crisp and clear but somewhat fragile and light, Especially for synth music this kind of sound is really unnatural and dull. It's good for let's say The Cure but for heavier rock/metal music it is too thin as well. 

Ironically I just the LDI+ plus the SR80 a while ago although it should have produced even a lighter sound. 

 

So what to do?

Buying a better or more appropriate integrated amp?

Or buying a higher class headphones tube amp? Or just fixing a damaged component of my current integrated amp. Or simply trying some other type of pads?

 

thanks in advances for your suggestions



I have a pair of sr-225's, and I'm powering them with an iBasso PB1, which I love. The sound is amazing! I'm waiting on a pair of TTVJ flat's for them, I was looking for a little more bass (quantity, the quality is awesome and punchy)

 

connected through a LOD connector to my ipod touch, no rattle at high volumes (too high)

 

you have 225's, not 225i's right?

 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

yes, I have the 225 model, not the "i"

 

Your suggestion might be excellent for mobile equipment but mine is not. I need them connected to the PC with an amp in between.

post #4 of 11

Interesting most folks around here really like the synergy of Grado's with a Little Dot. I think one of the issues that occurs with headphones and old amps like your Technics has to do with impedance imbalances at the headphone out. I'm not real sure maybe someone who understands that sort of stuff will chime in. Not totally sure what you're trying to do though. I replaced a uDAC with an Audio GD Sparrow a while back for similar reasons. I dont know if pads can fix your grattle unless it's happening at higher volumes to get more bass. You can try taping your bowls though, it will add bass and smooth out the peaky highs on the 225. Not sure why but it works.

post #5 of 11

I have the Little Dot I+, and it works very nicely.

After doing some research, I`ve ordered an LM4562 opamp and Mullard M8100 tubes.

 

This should work very nice with the Grado SR-225`s I have :)

I ordered a Little Dot DAC-I yesterday from David.

Going to do optical from my imac -> Dac - LD-I+ -> SR-225`s.

 

Considering doing some mods to them (open up the holes inside on the rear, remove the mesh over the driver, wood cups etc).

 

-n


Edited by nope-mx5 - 6/25/11 at 12:33am
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions.

Never thought of replacing the opamp but it sounds like a nice idea, at least much cheaper than buying a higher class amplifier.

 

And how exactly the "taping of bowls" is done?

post #7 of 11

You tape the flat outside circuference of the bowl, here is an interesting link: Evaluation of Grado Stock and Modified Ear Pads.

 

 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post

You tape the flat outside circuference of the bowl, here is an interesting link: Evaluation of Grado Stock and Modified Ear Pads.

 

 



Wow.. such an easy mod and really a noticeable difference in sound. Thanks!

Not sure if this mod actually limits clarity as a sacrifice for having a smoother and heavier overall sound. Anyway I have 2 pairs of bowls so I could always exchange them when I want a crisper or a smoother sound.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by albin View Post
It might be strange but I prefer the sound of the Grados coming from the Technics directly, it has a lot of power and a better soundstage than the LDI+. However I noticed that the Technics is causing a rattle noise on my left Grado channels at high or moderate volumes.


Did taping the bowls solve your problem?  I'm picking up a pair of SR225i phones tomorrow so your post caught my eye.  I use an old JVC amp with a pair of Boston Acoustics in my office and regularly plug in headphones.  There's nothing like a good old 2-channel amp for pure musical enjoyment.

 

When was the last time you cleaned your Technics?  As I recall, that model is no spring chicken.  My amp is 20 years old and gets a cleaning every few years.  Does the rattling happen when changing volume? or does it just appear when you reach a certain volume?  How do you connect your headphones?  Do you have any problems when using your speakers or just with the headphones? 

 

Here's a quick how to on keeping your amp clean so it will run for years!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how_2043382_clean-pro-audio-power-amp.html

 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Taping the bowls had a significant impact in terms of making the piercing highs smoother and overall the sound thicker. It didn't actually "solve the problem" with the rattle as the rattling noise didn't come from the LDI or the Grados themselves. 

 

Never cleaned the Technics amp, I bought it 2nd hand from a local seller less than 2 years ago mostly to use for my speakers but then I noticed I preferred the Grados sound coming from it. Can't tell the  loudspeakers have the same rattle but maybe because I don't use them at so high volumes. I also have a pair of Sony MDR V500 which I drive with the Technics and there is no noise from them too but these headphones are so muddy that I doubt I could make a fair judgement using them. But after all it might be the Grados being too fragile and thin for this amp... It might be the Technics impedance but my technical knowledge is very limited to know that. From what I've read it should cause no problems since its impedance is lower than the headphones one.

 

The rattle noise is a sort of randomly occurring (sometimes it may produce no noise) at high volumes on low frequencies. If you know the song Silent Shout by The Knife -  it starts with a pulsig bassy line and beat and here I get the noise coming most clear. 

 

And apart from the noise problem it could be just how you are used to hear your music sound. Initially I used the LDI+ with a Grado SR80 and was amazed although the SR80 are supposed to be inferior than 225 and even crisper. The 225 I got later sounded better with the LDI+ but strangely even better with the Technics before the noise came. And I'm among those who prefer the sound on the brighter sid. After listening to the Grados + Technics for months going back to the Grado + LDI was a bit disappointing for me, perhaps I'll just get used to the crisper sound again.

 

 

 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

And strictly answering these questions - the higher the volume the higher the chance a noise to occur (one channel only) and the louder the noise, at a certain volume it sounds like it's damaging my headphones forever. Changing the volume does not make the noise come and go but more like making it appear at a lower volume and with the volume up getting more and more noticeable and harsh. 

I plug the Grados directly to the headphones out, the amp itself is connected to my RCA outs of my soundcard. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOak View Post

  Does the rattling happen when changing volume? or does it just appear when you reach a certain volume?  How do you connect your headphones?  Do you have any problems when using your speakers or just with the headphones? 

 



 

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