Has anyone had the privilege to directly compare each and every headphone in the Grado Prestige Series? If so, which model is your favorite sounding headphone?
I have recently had the opportunity, and I was very surprised to find that I most enjoyed the SR125i. I thought it was slightly warmer and better balanced than the SR225i and SR325i, and offered a bit more spaciousness than the SR60i and SR80i in addition to better bass extension and slightly smoother highs (smoothest sounding highs in entire Prestige Series to my ears), while yet retaining a great, up-front, intimate sound presentation. I liked it so much, in fact, that I feel quite taken aback that it is so often ignored/overshadowed between the well-priced SR80i and the heavily-lauded SR225i.
And here's what I don't quite understand - why is the SR225i so praised and highly-recommended? In my experience, it is the first headphone in the Prestige Series whose sound takes a small step backward to sound less up-front and in-your-face. Sounds nice, right? It might, if not for the fact that the highs forgot to step back with the lows and the mids. The more neutral lows & mids combined with the spikey and harsh highs make for a strange, unbalanced, almost "scooped" sound. Either my pair of SR225i was funky, or too many have skipped past the SR125i and are missing out on a more balanced, more enjoyable Grado.
I am working on a more extensive write-up of my comparisons between each Prestige Series headphone.
I might add I also got to try the MS1i along with all these other phones. I was excited to try the MS1i as it has received such high praises. I was slightly let down, as the bass sounds a bit flabbier than stock Grados, and even a bit over-exaggerated on some recordings. The highs are no doubt smoother and safer, but they're also less exciting. The general sound is still up-front and intimate, but the balance has tipped from bright to dark (relatively). If you like Grados, I can only imagine you'll find the MS1i a bit lackluster for genres that stock Grados excel with. If you like Grado intimacy but find Grado highs too harsh, then I'd imagine you may dig the MS1i. I also thought it had a wider soundstage than SR60i/80i/125i. Maybe wider than SR225i & SR325i too, but I didn't do much A/Bing between MS1i & SR225i/325i...
Curious what others think about SR125i!
Edit: I did end up keeping the SR60i over the SR125i. Here is a list of the Prestige Series ordered top to bottom starting with my favorite pair, irrespective of price, mind you! (All using L-Cush though)
Add in the factor of price, and you can see why I chose the SR60i. For me, it's a great value.
Edited by Biscuitz - 9/19/12 at 10:43pm