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Is Grado evolving too slowly? - Page 2

post #16 of 261

Grado is old fashioned and I mean that in a very good way.  Their distinct sound results in either you love it, hate it, or it eventually grows on you.  You can't really compare them to Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic as they are much larger international companies.  Grado don't sell outside of the USA unless you're an exclusive small store front.  I do think they should team up with other brands to make a more stated product using more exotic cable options, cushion materials, and none plastic gimbles and rod slider blocks.  A "Grand Grado" if you will.


Oh, and bring back the exclusive wooden boxes would put icing on the cake.

Edited by alphaphoenix - 10/10/11 at 4:07pm
post #17 of 261

Grado headphones sound really good, quality control.....well, if you love the sound you deal with it.

post #18 of 261

Grado has their own shtick. I'd imagine they aren't really interested (nor do they have the R&D capability) of keeping up with the bigger companies. Their bread and butter, the SR60i and SR80i, are probably enough to make them money. And really, those are some of the best deals you can get sub $100.

post #19 of 261

  Grados are for folks that listen to Music...not for just specific sound properties. When they err...it's on the side of Music! I have tried all makes and the respective top-tier from said brands, then just threw up the hands and gave in to the beauty that is Music. The only modern Grado that is tolerable (with a very specific amp) is the PS1000. The bottom is unruly without the control of an above average amp (the Arete w/ Volcano in my instance). The HP1000 is my cut above (and in my opinion can break a "10" on the beauty/artistry meter)! An honorable mention goes to the specialty Magnum conversion (V3) that I like in particular.


  Grados make noise with most any amp....but are excruciating (to my ears) without the RIGHT amp! Again these are findings that suit me. Hours on end with closed eyes and wide smilesbiggrin.gif.....The grin of Sin!  I listen to mostly acoustic, timeless (read Classical) Music. Rock from my generation (I'm an OLD FART!) and JAZZ (BOP-baby!) from the 40's 50's and 60's. Blues to Bluegrass in a smattering or hodgepodge puddling about.


  There are three camps established in the playback wars to choose from. Is it "Real" sounding? Are you fooled to the point that "this is the actual performance"? Or should the "Accuracy" pertain to, then focus sharply on, reproducing accurately what is contained ONLY within/from the source material, and then reconstructing that material faithfully? Perhaps you just want to forget the means and enjoy the "Musicality". Painting a rosy portrait of whatever is being played. While all are related (at there edges)....they are "distant" relations when you select to represent ONLY one. Over the many years I have had addresses and resided with each in turn....to the point that Music was just a tool to evaluate equipment. Very Sad! The ART of the performance gets pushed to the back of the Auditorium. The source material is all we have to make sense of (truth be told).


  Every Headphone has shortcomings. The 800 has a dip in the middle and an annoying driver resonance in the low treble that I couldn't live with. The Audez'e does so many thing right yet that weight and clamp pressure (I have a bulbous mellon), also a missing top octave (above 10K) that made it's departure welcome. The T1 put me to sleep! My particular Grados don't have gross foibles that distract my receiving the message hidden within my Music collections. For me it makes sense. Not perfect......but tolerable compromises that will keep me listening till I'm dead or deaf (hopefully Death before Deafness!). 



Edited by achristilaw - 10/11/11 at 1:32am
post #20 of 261
Grado is pretty conservative, but it would be a good idea to shake things up a little.

Most of all, I'd like to see them approach a new manufacturer for HP-1000 drivers. They have the specs, but need to have someone put them back into production. Build them to the same spec as the old ones, and they'll sell forever. The HP-1000 could be a classic product, along the lines of old McIntosh amps, Klipschhorns and Quad ESLs. It's money on the table.

I'd also go back to aluminum adjusters, eliminate four or five models, and pu leather headbands on everything. A few tweaks and they'd do fine.

Also, Grado really should offer a tube amp for their headphones. Find a manufacturer that will custom spec output transformers nicely tuned for Grados and they'll sell.
post #21 of 261

No need to re-invent the wheel, sure they could smarten them up cosmetically but that would effect profit margins, I have always enjoyed the grados I have owned.

As previously posted the right amp is needed, they sound great through tube amps , a sweet listen to my ears.

post #22 of 261
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Also, Grado really should offer a tube amp for their headphones. Find a manufacturer that will custom spec output transformers nicely tuned for Grados and they'll sell.

Great idea ~ wood lacquered phono tube pre amp / headphone amplifier. 


Hits both ends of the business - vinyl and headphones.


Surely John could get away with charging $600-$700USD for this if it was decent.



Edited by Gwarmi - 10/11/11 at 2:54am
post #23 of 261

If Grado evolved too fast they'd alienate their target market. It's like when Lamborghini released an SUV in the 1980s, and only the Italian military and some rich oil sheikhs/sultans bought it, despite the hype about its participation in the Paris-Dakar Rally. Take note, at the time it came out, even the HMMV (that's Humvee to everyone who doesn't check histories behind things) wasn't that popular, and the only "luxury" SUV was Land Rover - no Escalade, no Navigator, and by "sport utility" they mean absolutely no to radial tires and then they run up a hill. But come the 2000s, after the Navigator and Escalade became the substitute for the DeVille and the Town Car, while Acura and BMW made taller sport sedans, the Porsche Cayenne nearly edged out the 911 in sales.


Similarly, there's the Porsche Panamera and an upcoming AWD Ferrari styled like the custom, 4dr Wagon 456, but still with 2 doors, like the Aston Martin Rapide. If the M5, produced by a company that was making passenger cars first and sporty a close second, hadn't come out, the more "purist" sports brands wouldn't make anything with 4 doors or even AWD.


But back to headphones, there's one other reason why the design at least isn't changing: parts. If you really look into other brands though, this is more common than you think. Sennheiser, AKG and Beyer use the same basic earpad mount, and some of them look very similar across generations and product lines. If Grado would 'evolve,' I suggest they jsut get more comfortable materials on the earpads, using maybe the same basic shell. Or they should really just go ahead and change the shell design to something like the Headphile C-Pad design, give us padded headband pads, and retain the same headband chassis; it's not like they'll alienate owners of the old headphones because they can still make money making the pads given they're relatively cheap. Head-fiers though have to accept that better pads can't be had for the same $20/pair bowls, and prepare for something like $60 Sennheisers/Beyers or even $100 AKG angled K701 pads. 

Edited by ProtegeManiac - 10/11/11 at 7:15am
post #24 of 261

Grado is fine. If you don't like the sound, then you will think they are not evolving. If you like John's tuning or coloration, then you will think Grado is on the right track. John never tries for neutral. He has his own sound that he likes and sticks with it. If I may relate to beer, Grado is like a microbrewery, he's not trying to be commercially accepted like Corona or Bud. 


OR he is trying to be mainstream like Sennheiser and failing, you be the judge. 







Edited by robm321 - 10/11/11 at 8:00am
post #25 of 261

Hmm, I think the "i" versions just came out a few years ago so that's something relatively new that they did to their lineup.


The only thing I think they should do to shake things up for the mainstream is reduce the lineup to something more like the Alessandro line. have an SR80, SR225, SR325 and RS1. right now it's almost too confusing with all those choices priced so close together. (PS500 is sure to make things even murkier)


The biggest issue with them around here is with the PS1000. priced absurdly high compared to other flagships but without any advancements to comfort or build quality that people would expect from that price. I thought the PS1000 sounded amazing but I can see why that package doesn't appear impressive at all compared to, say, the HD800 or the LCD2.

post #26 of 261

In my opinion, Grado headphones are a very special and specialized product directed to a very concrete type of customer, so the company doesn't need much or any improvement to the existing way of manufacturing them. In fact, if Grado evolve to other type of sound or design, there's a high risk to loose the traditional and loyal customers of the brand.


Just love it or hate it, but don't try to change it.

post #27 of 261
Thread Starter 

I think Grado designs their headphones to be as neutral as possible, read product description of PS1000, its aim is to improve control, stability, accuracy and reduce distortion. However, their neutral now sounds colored compared to newer flagships from other companies.

post #28 of 261

The only thing I would like to see is improved materials and build quality. $80+ for a headphone that feels like it's falling apart out of the box isn't really reassuring, considering you can get pretty indestructible headphones for less (MDR-V6, SRH440). I'd like to see higher quality headbands and the aluminum gimbals as well, at least on the SR225i and up. Even the SR80i could have it to differentiate it from the SR60i more.


Otherwise, I think they're just fine where they are. They have a distinct love-it-or-hate-it house sound and a huge community of modders and DIY'ers due to their simplistic design. I just think some higher build quality (which isn't hard considering what they're like now) would go a long way.

post #29 of 261

I was really surprised by the HF2s.  I now think the hardest thing for a headphone to accomplish is instrument definition, I think tonal balances are subject to preferences and are more easily engineered with ear cups and reflective / dampening materials (EQ'd to a large extent as well).  In this context, the HF2 that I hear is very much more capable of instrument definition than either my HD650s or K701s.


If other mid tier Grado's offer the same performance in this regard as the HF2, I think they earn their respect.


The GS1000 and PS1000 that I heard OTOH - made no sense to me.

post #30 of 261

In actuality isn't Grado devolving rather than evolving?


As an example, compare Sennheiser's HD600/650 to Grado's RS1. There is little to no demand for Senn's "vintage" models, and I can't recall seeing any issues related to QC or customer satisfaction. It seems quite the opposite with Grado, and if my perceptions are correct, I need to look for a vintage model of the RS1 in order to get the quality most of us are looking for.





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