Skip down to the next bold-font text if you don't feel like reading my little personal story below :P
Alright. A little disclaimer. My headphone journey so far has been brief, exciting, and extremely enjoyable. It started last Christmas when I received a pair of Grado SR60i's from my parents. I was satisfied at first but then I got that feeling I'm sure you all know. The Grado's were good. Really good. They were leagues above anything I'd owned. So then... How much better did it get? I was hooked, and after spending a lot of time doing research, I settled on the brilliant Panasonic RP-HTF600-S headphones. With some DIY mods I ended up with a pair of fantastic headphones. Picking up a pair of Brainwavz M4's, I updated my IEM inventory as well. It was time to get a better source. When my birthday came around my parents were awesome enough to get me the FiiO E6, which afforded me another glimpse into the world of true audio fidelity. I liked what I was hearing. no... I LOVED what I was hearing. But I knew I was still splashing around in the kiddie pool. I bought a pair of PortaPros for on-the-go listening (I love my M4's, but I simply prefer headphones), I bought a pair of XB500's to scratch that ear-shaking itch the Panasonic's just couldn't quite get. I was still playing in the kiddie pool though, and I knew it. So I did some homework. By chance, I stumbled upon Sony's now-defunct SA line, and coincidentally, a pair of SA1000's went up on Head-Fi for $50. Using them with my CD player was a revelation. I've always listened to classical music. But now it was like I was hearing for the first time again. To say that I was amazed was an understatement. The Grado's did classical music well, but they didn't come close to the speed and accuracy of the SA1000's. Still though, there was something magical about the Grado's that none of my headphones had. After upgrading my amp to a FiiO E10, computer audio became a joy and I no longer had to rely on my CD player for truly excellent audio. I looked towards mobile audio, setting my eyes on the V-Moda M80's or the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II. On my way there I grabbed the JVC HA-S650's which were my favorite on-the-go headphone until this week.
A few days ago, I received my Japanese-import JVC HA-S500 carbon-nanotube headphones.
I'm done for now. My audio journey is on hold.
I pick up multiple hobbies every year, and I enter into each one with intentionally unreal expectations. When I really started to look into serious audio, I had this mental checklist of what I wanted from a pair of portable headphones. The HA-S500's surpass every one of those unrealistic (or so I thought) expectations I had. I'm happy with them. I don't need anything better for now. I already passed my Panasonic headphones on to a friend of mine who I know will put them to better use. They'd only collect dust on my headphone rack.
And yet, even with the unmatched speed and detail of my SA1000's, even with the ear-shaking bass of the XB500's, even with the addictive mids of the HA-S650's, even with the perfectness of the HA-S500's. My favorite headphones are still my first ones. The Grado SR60i's.
I have this list of high-audio headphones I'd plan on owning in the future when I can afford it. A list which includes expensive monsters such as the MDR-SA5000, the Sennheiser HD700, and STAX. But that's for the far future.
I'm at the threshold of truly incredible audio. I'm out of the kiddie pool. But I'm not out of the shallow end yet.
After considerable thought, I've decided that my first pair of hi-fi headphones will be Grados.
So, ladies and gentlemen, this is why I'm calling upon you for your opinion.
For those of you who didn't feel like reading the wall of text, feel free to hop back on here ;)
So here's my problem. I'm investing in a pair of Grados. I just don't know which ones I should invest in.
I need to decide between the SR325's, the RS2i's and the PS500's.
Factors to take into account:
- I have a FiiO E10. Will that juice my new Grado adequately? Or will I be looking at the additional investment of a new desktop amp as well? I want to get the most out of my new Grados. What amps bring out the best in them?
- If so, what (reasonably priced) amp best compliments the Grado's? is the RA-1 worth considering?
- My budget is not endless. The PS500's alone are stretching it, any setup (headphone and amp) that exceeds $700 is out of the question.
So, head-fi? What have you to say?
325i? RS2i? PS500?
Have at it!
Edited by Skian64 - 8/25/12 at 9:17am