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post #31 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by devouringone3 View Post

Well I did all those test with taped bowls... you guys put me in doubt whether or not those reveal the true nature of the Grados I listen to. I thought I was safe to do that because I was only focusing on a relative change/difference in sound of headphones (using the same pads), for my comparative review. 

 

Taped bowls change a lot of John Grados but very little Joe's, compared to stock bowls.

I had no idea that you were listening to them with bowls. Since they are meant to be used with flats, it might be a good idea to mention that in your opening post. wink.gif

I am not surprised that they are bass heavy if you use taped bowls on them. Are your new pads try yet? 

Anyway, happy listening.

post #32 of 252

PCF - would love to see a detailed review of one of your modded HPs.   I'm still not getting a good read on how they actually sound vis-a-vis the unmodded versions. I'm also still not clear as to what Joe has really tweaked to 'improve' them.   I guess the only way I'll really ever find out is to hear them myself.  

 

I wonder, too, how many modded HPs are out there overall.   It can't be that many, if this is a one man operation?  Also, are the mods consistent with each "i" that Joe Grado has worked on?  Seems like that would be hard to accomplish, no?

post #33 of 252
Thread Starter 

I mention once that I've never been a flats user in post #1. But yes when I'll do my review I will talk a lot about the pads I think their an important topic. Maybe I gave my first sound impressions without putting out explicitly which pads I've been using for months now, and continued using with my HP-2i as they were the one to anchor my mental image of the stock HP-1000's sound (and I wanted to compare things from that same perspective): taped bowls. I've just adjusted the post to make all that evident to the reader.

 

Ideally I'd like to extract and talk about sound properties of the headphones independently from their pads, but I will start to consider taking into account that a given pad might react differently and give different result depending on the HP-1000 it's appended to. I initially felt like it was only a "skin" added to the sound but HP-2i could prove me wrong. I'm starting to think that the HP-2i is too fine tuned and doesn't need any of the corrective brought by the taped bowls anymore. It's like applying a correction to a correction, and the effect it does on sound becomes an undesirable one (instead of an effect I use to like and desire).

 

I did say I preferred the "i" flat pads with my HP-2i, and really it's the first time I like flat pads on HP-1000. I think it's because they both have been fine tuned to go together better and with more synergy than they used to in stock form. But I need to investigate more, it's been a while since I listened using any flat pads. I need to re-listen to TTVJ flats and use both versions with my HP-1 too.

 

There is a possibility that the higher clamping force of my newer HP-2i headband relative to my HP-1 works to increase bass response by bringing closer ear and driver, but I chose to cross it out seeing how different amounts of hand applied lateral pressure on my HP-1 against my head didn't brought change in balance similar or any close to an order of magnitude capable of mimicking the effect the upgrade does on sound and balance.

 

 

563,

The upgraded pairs are quite rare among all of the 1000 HP-1-2-3 built. Only our community is that much aware the upgrade exists. It's mostly spread by word to mouth (with for exception of where it's being advertised/briefly talked about on Joe's website). The non Head-Fying owners (represents the of majority of HP-1000 owners), some of them not even familiar with using internet, have no way of knowing Joe is still around and providing an upgrade for his headphone, except if they called Grado Labs for an issue that they had with their pair, where they'll be redirected to Joe and who will hint them about the upgrade he made available.

 

From all that I gleaned from HP-1000i owners yes the sound results look very consistent... and what he does to the headphones is also relatively self-contained/modular and reproducible in a systematic way in my opinion. There sure is a bit variability due to hand-applied and sometimes a bit approximate nature of the upgrade, but pairs still seem to have landed very close to one another, and miles away from where it stood in the beginning of its life (the upgrade does make a considerable difference).


Edited by devouringone3 - 8/21/12 at 3:26pm
post #34 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by 563 View Post

PCF - would love to see a detailed review of one of your modded HPs.   I'm still not getting a good read on how they actually sound vis-a-vis the unmodded versions. I'm also still not clear as to what Joe has really tweaked to 'improve' them.   I guess the only way I'll really ever find out is to hear them myself.  

 

I wonder, too, how many modded HPs are out there overall.   It can't be that many, if this is a one man operation?  Also, are the mods consistent with each "i" that Joe Grado has worked on?  Seems like that would be hard to accomplish, no?

I don't have any stock HP1000 anymore and giving impressions based on memories is probably not the best way to go about it.

I will try: wink.gif

The i version are more extended at both ends and have better instruments separation. To me they don't become different headphones, just better sounding HP1000.

There are not many HP1000i around. Joe actually had very little time to work on these upgrades in the last few years. He was looking after his sick wife as well as finishing off his microphone- not to mention having a few health issues of his own. It often takes months before anybody gets their headphones back.

I have three pairs of HP1000 with me at the moment (one more to come).They sound pretty much the same to me. The HP1i is the one I use all the time. Two other pairs of HP2i were backups and rarely get used.

post #35 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by 563 View Post

PCF - would love to see a detailed review of one of your modded HPs.   I'm still not getting a good read on how they actually sound vis-a-vis the unmodded versions. I'm also still not clear as to what Joe has really tweaked to 'improve' them.   I guess the only way I'll really ever find out is to hear them myself.  

I wonder, too, how many modded HPs are out there overall.   It can't be that many, if this is a one man operation?  Also, are the mods consistent with each "i" that Joe Grado has worked on?  Seems like that would be hard to accomplish, no?

I will let the op take the lead in giving a comprehensive comparison, but I'll leave some very short to the point impressions below. I have owned 5 sets of hp1000 since my time here at headfi, so I feel I have a pretty good grasp on their sound stock. Ive always used flats. Impressions are with the new flats.

The first thing that jumped at me were the dynamics, specifically contrasts and how clear they were. I am a choir director, so I use primarily choral recordings both professional and amateur ones of my own choirs, due to their uncompressed format, diversity in acoustic venues on recordings, and mostly midrange content. Because of my familiarity with the voice, choirs, and choral literature, I am able to make some quick yet accurate assessments. Dynamic shifts and gradations became noticeably more vivid, the uncompressed nature of this kind of music makes it obvious.

The next thing I heard that was a pretty noticeable change was in the level of detail and resolution, specifically what I call inner resolution, this ability to highlight detail from within the recording presenting it in a natural way, versus exaggerating high end treble to give the illusion of increased detail. In choral recordings you can hear it in the focus and precision within the inner voices, specifically the tenor and alto lines. With the hpi they simply are more audible and more in focus. Another thing that was obvious was the difference I heard in the coloring of the acoustic venue. With modded it was way more obvious hearing how the venue colors the overall timbre of the choirs, and you can really pick up on how wet or dry the hall was, and I could even pinpoint the level of reverberation pretty well, which the stock never really brought to my attention. Pretty impressive detail retrieval, without brightness or etch.

Soundstage is a tricky one. I wouldn't say it's bigger or that the actual depth of stage has changed, the hp1000 has always been kind of mid-front row like maybe 10 rows back and that hasn't change. But there is a bit more clarity and focus within the imaging for sure.

Pcf captured for me the bass presentation pretty accurately in describing the bass as leaner. I find it simply to have less congestion and distortion than stock, which makes it hit harder and cleaner, and much easier to follow and delineate specific bass lines.

The highs have a little more detail and focus but not that different than stock, I've always loved the sweetness in the top end with all of my hp1000's.

Overall, IMHO it is still the generally same tonal signature of stock, but simply a more refined, sophisticated version of it. I have always loved the hp1000 (this is my 6th set after all) for its organic tonality, the naturalness of its presentation, it's fantastic bass, and near perfect midrange quality. The hp1000 has always sounded very "right" to my ears. The modded simply seems to bring more of that goodness out by removing some of the congestion in the bass to lower mids while bringing some much needed focus and clarity everywhere else.

Is it worth the 1250-1500 that's being asked? Can't answer that for you. For me the money wasn't necessarily the issue but the time. Sent in January, received in August, was originally told 2 weeks. I've read similar arguments between the audeze lcd3 and lcd2 but I can't comment as I havent heard the lcd3. Compared to other expensive vintage headphones I'll take the hp1000i over the l3000, ps1, r10, qualia, k1000 (stats are another ball game). However I probably still take a stock hp1000 over those too, maybe not the l3000 or ps1. I say if your happy with stock no worries. If you have cash to burn, have a lot of time and patience, and have come to the conclusion like me that this is your desert island phone, go ahead, it gets better. If you are not a fan of the hp1000 sound I don't think the modded changes your impressions.

I have no idea how much of the above can be attribute to the new pads or other joe Grado voodoo things. Don't bother asking me to a b between pads because honesty I Just don't care that much, and I am just happy to have these back after a long wait. I've never doubted joes quality of work or consistency that is for sure. Overall I'm happy I did it but in my situation it was truly low risk, and I'm really enjoying them as we speak.
Edited by recstar24 - 8/21/12 at 8:32pm
post #36 of 252
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by recstar24 View Post

Pcf captured for me the bass presentation pretty accurately in describing the bass as leaner. I find it simply to have less congestion and distortion than stock, which makes it hit harder and cleaner, and much easier to follow and delineate specific bass lines.

 

Yes, with the flat "i" pads the bass is great on the HP-2i; it's hard-hitting, "see-through"/tight, and delightful quality to me. It's better than what I remembered it to be the first time I used flats with my stock HP-1000, when I felt it was a bit congested and used bowls instead.

 

There's also, clearly, more of it when you use taped bowls (and why I coined "bass-heavy"). I'm sorry that I was mistaken to interpret this change as a sound property of the upgrade itself. That "more bass with taped bowls" Grado trick; I used those pads as a lens to inspect the quantity and quality of the bass that I feel that, with Grados in general, is lost too quickly in all the air of the bowls -- and I say bowls because I never liked the flats much at all; they were too bassy, either not tight enough (out of focus) on John's, or a bit congested on Joe's, for me. With the HP-1000 you wouldn't benefit much of the "lens effect" of the taped bowls though, because they already could redirect more bass at you than John Grado's, but for with the HP-2i strangely, it impacted it very negatively, it obscured its timbre and SQ, and darkened its sound signature in a very obvious and disastrous way: it was kind of muddy/veiled sounding, unimpressive, and the highs were almost absent until I picked up a brighter source. Taking my flats did brought back all the highs and fixed everything after that. It's just that I took way too long to realize that because I was shocked how dramatic was the impact, with the pads I was the most familiar with, and felt like I was the one who needed to adapt myself to that much darker sound.

 

And I've been using taped bowls literally with all my phones, that includes the SR100 and SR325, which never developed such a huge shift in balance nor loss of highs; no actually the pads sounded very much the same everywhere and so did the drivers, for the most part the sound always stood the same. This may be a proof that, internally, the HP-1000i is a lot more complex mechanically / acoustically at producing the sound, than all my other HP-1000s, as the same pads will now yield very different results than they did on my other HP-1000s.


Edited by devouringone3 - 8/21/12 at 9:36pm
post #37 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by recstar24 View Post


I will let the op take the lead in giving a comprehensive comparison, but I'll leave some very short to the point impressions below. I have owned 5 sets of hp1000 since my time here at headfi, so I feel I have a pretty good grasp on their sound stock. Ive always used flats. Impressions are with the new flats.
The first thing that jumped at me were the dynamics, specifically contrasts and how clear they were. I am a choir director, so I use primarily choral recordings both professional and amateur ones of my own choirs, due to their uncompressed format, diversity in acoustic venues on recordings, and mostly midrange content. Because of my familiarity with the voice, choirs, and choral literature, I am able to make some quick yet accurate assessments. Dynamic shifts and gradations became noticeably more vivid, the uncompressed nature of this kind of music makes it obvious.
The next thing I heard that was a pretty noticeable change was in the level of detail and resolution, specifically what I call inner resolution, this ability to highlight detail from within the recording presenting it in a natural way, versus exaggerating high end treble to give the illusion of increased detail. In choral recordings you can hear it in the focus and precision within the inner voices, specifically the tenor and alto lines. With the hpi they simply are more audible and more in focus. Another thing that was obvious was the difference I heard in the coloring of the acoustic venue. With modded it was way more obvious hearing how the venue colors the overall timbre of the choirs, and you can really pick up on how wet or dry the hall was, and I could even pinpoint the level of reverberation pretty well, which the stock never really brought to my attention. Pretty impressive detail retrieval, without brightness or etch.
Soundstage is a tricky one. I wouldn't say it's bigger or that the actual depth of stage has changed, the hp1000 has always been kind of mid-front row like maybe 10 rows back and that hasn't change. But there is a bit more clarity and focus within the imaging for sure.
Pcf captured for me the bass presentation pretty accurately in describing the bass as leaner. I find it simply to have less congestion and distortion than stock, which makes it hit harder and cleaner, and much easier to follow and delineate specific bass lines.
The highs have a little more detail and focus but not that different than stock, I've always loved the sweetness in the top end with all of my hp1000's.
Overall, IMHO it is still the generally same tonal signature of stock, but simply a more refined, sophisticated version of it. I have always loved the hp1000 (this is my 6th set after all) for its organic tonality, the naturalness of its presentation, it's fantastic bass, and near perfect midrange quality. The hp1000 has always sounded very "right" to my ears. The modded simply seems to bring more of that goodness out by removing some of the congestion in the bass to lower mids while bringing some much needed focus and clarity everywhere else.
Is it worth the 1250-1500 that's being asked? Can't answer that for you. For me the money wasn't necessarily the issue but the time. Sent in January, received in August, was originally told 2 weeks. I've read similar arguments between the audeze lcd3 and lcd2 but I can't comment as I havent heard the lcd3. Compared to other expensive vintage headphones I'll take the hp1000i over the l3000, ps1, r10, qualia, k1000 (stats are another ball game). However I probably still take a stock hp1000 over those too, maybe not the l3000 or ps1. I say if your happy with stock no worries. If you have cash to burn, have a lot of time and patience, and have come to the conclusion like me that this is your desert island phone, go ahead, it gets better. If you are not a fan of the hp1000 sound I don't think the modded changes your impressions.
I have no idea how much of the above can be attribute to the new pads or other joe Grado voodoo things. Don't bother asking me to a b between pads because honesty I Just don't care that much, and I am just happy to have these back after a long wait. I've never doubted joes quality of work or consistency that is for sure. Overall I'm happy I did it but in my situation it was truly low risk, and I'm really enjoying them as we speak.

 

Something you mentioned before that's worth repeating- The waiting time for the upgrade is getting longer and longer. Joe is nearly 90 and has had some health issues. It makes sense to take that into consideration before you send your phones to him. 

post #38 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by devouringone3 View Post

 

Yes, with the flat "i" pads the bass is great on the HP-2i; it's hard-hitting, "see-through"/tight, and delightful quality to me. It's better than what I remembered it to be the first time I used flats with my stock HP-1000, when I felt it was a bit congested and used bowls instead.

 

There's also, clearly, more of it when you use taped bowls (and why I coined "bass-heavy"). I'm sorry that I was mistaken to interpret this change as a sound property of the upgrade itself. That "more bass with taped bowls" Grado trick; I used those pads as a lens to inspect the quantity and quality of the bass that I feel that, with Grados in general, is lost too quickly in all the air of the bowls -- and I say bowls because I never liked the flats much at all; they were too bassy, either not tight enough (out of focus) on John's, or a bit congested on Joe's, for me. With the HP-1000 you wouldn't benefit much of the "lens effect" of the taped bowls though, because they already could redirect more bass at you than John Grado's, but for with the HP-2i strangely, it impacted it very negatively, it obscured its timbre and SQ, and darkened its sound signature in a very obvious and disastrous way: it was kind of muddy/veiled sounding, unimpressive, and the highs were almost absent until I picked up a brighter source. Taking my flats did brought back all the highs and fixed everything after that. It's just that I took way too long to realize that because I was shocked how dramatic was the impact, with the pads I was the most familiar with, and felt like I was the one who needed to adapt myself to that much darker sound.

 

And I've been using taped bowls literally with all my phones, that includes the SR100 and SR325, which never developed such a huge shift in balance nor loss of highs; no actually the pads sounded very much the same everywhere and so did the drivers, for the most part the sound always stood the same. This may be a proof that, internally, the HP-1000i is a lot more complex mechanically / acoustically at producing the sound, than all my other HP-1000s, as the same pads will now yield very different results than they did on my other HP-1000s.

To each his own but taped bowl mod never worked for me. In fact, I don't like bowls on any early Grado headphones up to and including the vintage RS1.

post #39 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcf View Post

I have three pairs of HP1000 with me at the moment (one more to come).They sound pretty much the same to me. The HP1i is the one I use all the time. Two other pairs of HP2i were backups and rarely get used.

 

I will buy one from you if you want bigsmile_face.gif

post #40 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by knopi View Post

 

I will buy one from you if you want bigsmile_face.gif

Thanks for the offer. I think I'll pass. wink.gif

post #41 of 252

My 4th pair of HP1000i arrived today. Everything looks immaculate. The new pads are nice and dry too. Had a quick listen and they sounded great! 

Not sure if I heard a big difference the new and regular earpads. Maybe if I spend more time on them it will be more obvious, I Don't know...

 

 

 

Joe's answer to all the sketches I sent him!

post #42 of 252

 

My family of four HP1000i. Two of them NOS.

post #43 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcf View Post

 

My family of four HP1000i. Two of them NOS.

beautiful!!!

post #44 of 252

Finally got round to do some listening!

As expected, the upgrade on these headphones is basically the same as what Joe has been doing in the last few years.The question is, are the new earpads really making a difference? I couldn't tell yesterday so today I decided to try again. I took out my Benchmark DAC1pre ( don't give me a hard time your purists who hate the DAC1 wink.gif, that is the only amp I have with two headphone outs so I can swap them over quickly). My source is either a Meridian transport/ DAC or an Oppo bdp-95 (for SACD). I ended up listening to quite a wide range of music: from Jimi Hendrix to opera (some of Joe's own singing) to Mary Hopkin etc...

There is a difference, it is there but not big. The background seems darker with the new pads, results in a "cleaner'' overall balance. Everything also seem to be pulled back a little and not as upfront. Compared to the regular flats, the new pads make some of the vocal smoother. It is all good but, on some heavy guitar tracks I feel I am losing the attack a bit. If you have both the old and new pads, try listening to Big Gun from AC/DC and tell me what you think.

Some other tracks that I listened to which show up the difference:

'Cause we've ended as lovers (Jeff Beck Blow by blow MFSL)

'Love Cats' (The Cure)- my usual bass test

'Harlem Blues' ( St.Louis Blues Nat 'King' Cole SACD)

'I saw her standing there' (Beatles Ultra Rare Trax volume1)

 

The improvement is definitely not in the 400% range.biggrin.gif

 

 

Back to my listening......

post #45 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcf View Post

 

'Love Cats' (The Cure)- my usual bass test

 

Good guybiggrin.gif

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