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Grado SR80i vs Alessandro MS1i - A Review

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I have owned both now.  Time to compare.


They are essentially the same headphone, with a couple of minor differences.  First off, they look identical except the MS1i's have different lettering on the earpieces, and they don't have the little button on the middle of the grill.  Everything else is the same.  Same plastic, same earpads, same cable.


The high-highs on the MS1i's are a tiny bit better - more rounded, less harsh.  But the SR80i's aren't really harsh.  Maybe a tad.  The lows are about the same.  Deep and punchy.  But the MS1i's are a bit clearer all around.  I can pick out little details on songs that I couldn't with the SR80i's, which are very good in this regard.  So I'm going MS1i in sound quality over the SR80i, but only by a teeny tiny amount.  I believe the MS1i's leak a bit more sound than the SR80i's, but they're both in the same catagory.  They both leak sound like you wouldn't believe.  I find the MS1i's are a bit harder to drive, but it might be my imagination.  I have a Luxman R-113 reciever with a built-in headphone amp and the drive them easily, but I have the volume up almost to maximum on my laptop.  The SR80i's were pretty good on my laptop.  My iPod Nano can handle both headphones with no problem.


But here's the crunch for you fellow Canadians out there.  The SR80i's, after taxes, are almost $200 here.  The MS1i's are $99 with free shipping, no duty, and no taxes.  I don't know why there are no taxes.  Maybe because they ship from "George Alessandro" which doesn't look like a business at all.  We might have fooled the taxman, I don't know.


I ordered them last Thursday, and got them the next Wednesday.  


So, the bottom line:  I recommend the Alessandro MS1i over the Grado SR80i if you live in Canada.  The differences between the two headphones are minor, but the difference in price is huge.


They are both excellent headphones in my opinion.  I personally have no need or desire to up in quality unless I win the lottery. 

post #2 of 28
Thread Starter 

While I'm at it, here are the headphones I've owned, in order of preference:


1. Alessandro MS1i

2. Grado SR80i

3. Koss Pro AAA

4. Bose IE2

5. Klipsch S4

6. Sennheiser PX100

post #3 of 28

Edit:  I'm an idiot.

Edited by dirkgently - 9/30/11 at 5:59am
post #4 of 28

If the MS1i sounds better than the SR80i for $100 less I don't see why anyone would consider getting the SR80i. Then again this depends where you live and overall preference of sound signature and music. This is only based on what I have also just read as I have not heard either of these headphones. This is just her preference though so take it with a grain of salt as everyone understands or enjoys sound differently.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

To clarify, the MS1i's sound better (to me) and are $100 cheaper.  No brainer for Canadians looking for lower-end Grados.  But I think they're about the same price in the US. 

post #6 of 28

I see.  Thank you for clarifying.  I misread.  Luckily I was able to get my SR80i for $80 new.  No brainer for me.

Edited by dirkgently - 9/30/11 at 5:57am
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 



MS1i:  Better.  $100

SR80i: Worse. $200

post #8 of 28

Another one here feeling the love for the MS1i. My pair arrived earlier this week and after 30 hours of running-in they're sounding terrific out of my iPhone 4. I've owned Grados (SR-80, SR-325 and SR-225i) in the past and these are better to my ears, except possibly the 225i. Even then it's very close. Simply great value cans.

post #9 of 28

agree on the MS1 > SR80.


and I liked the MS1 better with quartermoded HD414 pads, if you dont mind the yellow

post #10 of 28


Things are strange in Canada - here's the current pricing down here in Australia.


$138AUD Grado SR80i

$139AUD Alessandro MS1


It's a $1.00 difference.

post #11 of 28
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post


Things are strange in Canada - here's the current pricing down here in Australia.


$138AUD Grado SR80i

$139AUD Alessandro MS1


It's a $1.00 difference.


IMO even that is a no brainer for the MS1


post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

I can't stand the yellow pads.  I'm going to go for the Grado L-Cush.  Maybe, just maybe, one day I'll go for a padded leather headband.  Not that they need them.


Australia is a funny place.  So is the US.  I just don't get the Canadian pricing.  All headphones are more expensive here.  I read reviews for great headphones for only $100US to find that they're $160 here - or more.  Very frustrating, but I'm glad I discovered the Alessandro online deal.

post #13 of 28

I very much agree, the ms1i are more ideal for a wider range for genres. The Grados are better for a collection of headphones, with each having their own distinct characters.


I too live in Canada the price difference between the two is a bit ridiculous. sr80i is priced around 140-160 the ms1i is $100, with $40-60 difference you can get your self a hole new set of cans like the RP-HTF600-S

post #14 of 28

I am also looking for ms1i or grado sr60i which is costing me $129 in Edmonton Alberta. Considering your review, I think I should go with ms1i as they are more comparable to sr80i which are supposed to be slightly better than sr60i. How is the bass compared with sr60i (i know that grado/alessandro are not bass head headphones) 

post #15 of 28

How clean and clear the ms1i are is prob more on par with sr125i... if you switch to the bow pads, the ms1i is for sure just as good. The ms1i has a much more health dose of bass then the RS60i,80,125. The way the bass is played on the Aless is very similar to Grados just more. The Grados are good cans to pair with other headphones but as stand alone headphones they dont cover wide enough genres.

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