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The Grado Sound: or, how I finally decided the Grado guys are better at marketing than Bose! - Page 3

post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


I can agree with this. As Tyll said in a review a while ago - you either hate them or love them. There isn't really a middle ground IME. I don't understand why the crowd that hates them feels they have to prove something though; different strokes for different folks.

Makes no sense to me either. If Grado were the only headphone company on earth, I'd understand. But being as we're fortuante enough to have so many great choices, I don't understand the point of bashing a company simply because their products don't appeal to you. It's like having an aversion to spicy food, and then going around telling everyone how much you dislike the fact that one out of the thirty restaurants in your town serves spicy food. Very odd.

post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Voldemort View Post

And what exactly would the importance of this  "frame of reference" be? Just curious. Hearing a headphone doesn't exactly entail the gain of an objective view of it. 

What is the point of trying to engage an argument here? Just curious. Posting opinions about headphones which you have no clue about is generally nonconstructive.

Really, there is no reason for this thread to turn into a fire-pit. The easiest summary is that the OP simply doesn't like the model he's got, and the best advice is to try something else (and thankfully, there's A *LOT* of other options out there). Bashing a brand because it doesn't jive with you seems a bit juvenile, now if it was more like "I've owned 10 pairs of Grado headphones in 3 years and they all break within 3 months" or something like that, I could see the ire (I'd have to ask though: at what point do you stop going back for more?). The absolute immediacy with which a number of people will jump on whatever basher-bandwagon is just alarming - I mean we're barely onto page 3 and people are already drawing up battle lines and getting their flamesuits out in preparation for Royal Rumble 19. And what's even more interesting is that the guys who are so willing to jump in there and dance seem to be people who have no dog on either side of the fight.

To quote a great RDJ character - "if you're allergic to waffles, don't go to a waffle house." I'm serious - there is no need to start up a big'ol "objective v subjective" debate (and in most cases those death-traps are just thinly veiled attempts at forcing scientism on a group of people who have different beliefs), it's simply a question of personal preference. But if you have no experience, how can you have a preference? Because someone else told you what to believe? So now that you've accepted that - figure out which someone is the right path...(protip: this is the "wrong hell" problem).
Edited by obobskivich - 10/6/12 at 11:40am
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Voldemort View Post

And what exactly would the importance of this  "frame of reference" be? Just curious. Hearing a headphone doesn't exactly entail the gain of an objective view of it. 

What is the point of trying to engage an argument here? Just curious. Posting opinions about headphones which you have no clue about is generally nonconstructive.

Really, there is no reason for this thread to turn into a fire-pit. The easiest summary is that the OP simply doesn't like the model he's got, and the best advice is to try something else (and thankfully, there's A *LOT* of other options out there). Bashing a brand because it doesn't jive with you seems a bit juvenile, now if it was more like "I've owned 10 pairs of Grado headphones in 3 years and they all break within 3 months" or something like that, I could see the ire (I'd have to ask though: at what point do you stop going back for more?). The absolute immediacy with which a number of people will jump on whatever basher-bandwagon is just alarming - I mean we're barely onto page 3 and people are already drawing up battle lines and getting their flamesuits out in preparation for Royal Rumble 19. And what's even more interesting is that the guys who are so willing to jump in there and dance seem to be people who have no dog on either side of the fight.

To quote a great RDJ character - "if you're allergic to waffles, don't go to a waffle house." I'm serious - there is no need to start up a big'ol "objective v subjective" debate (and in most cases those death-traps are just thinly veiled attempts at forcing scientism on a group of people who have different beliefs), it's simply a question of personal preference. But if you have no experience, how can you have a preference? Because someone else told you what to believe? So now that you've accepted that - figure out which someone is the right path...(protip: this is the "wrong hell" problem).

Totally agree.  The original post was tiresome from the gitgo.  It was also obvious from the beginning that downhill was the only way it was going to go.  What a waste of whatever.

post #34 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

It's not an impedance plot. It's a straight line, LOL. It's extremely easy to pick a mean impedance for your driver.  The SR60 driver is definitely different and it perfectly matches that impedance plot as well. That their designs are inherently impedance linear is now portrayed as some derived negative shows more about bias than any fact regarding the headphones. This is perfect example of reading in to accommodate an opinion. They only seem to vary slightly at around 700hz which is probably related to mechanical damping from the enclosure but that in no way means that they are the same driver. Some models may share drivers but there will be other areas that are different. Perhaps not as much as some care for but so what. You either like what they do for what they cost or you don't. Speculating on a massive conspiracy to rip off their customers with some pseudo scientific rationalization is just silly.

 

It's not a straight line, it's an impedance plot. "LOL". An impedance plot is defined by the copper in the motor, magnet strength, number of windings in the coil, weight of the diaphragm and other variables. I'm no expert by any means, but I've worked with impedance plots on speakers for 7 years. I'd be very, very surprised if the same engineering principles apply to headphones. I find it striking that two different headphones, one at $80 and the other at $400 would share the exact same impedance plot.

 

As an example, here's a Sennheiser HD-800 vs. the HD-600 vs. the HD-700 impedance plots. Do they seem similar to you?

 

 

 

 

A $1,499 vs. a $999 vs. a $400 headphone. THIS is what I expect to see from a different motor on a headphone driver. It's obvious Sennheiser isn't rebranding their own motors and slapping them on every different headphone they build.

post #35 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post



As an aside, I think you mean "FR" (Frequency Response) not "FS" (Sampling rate). redface.gif
 

Thanks for your incredibly thoughtful post. No, I meant FS as in the resonant frequency of the driver / enclosure combination.

post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

Totally agree.  The original post was tiresome from the gitgo.  It was also obvious from the beginning that downhill was the only way it was going to go.  What a waste of whatever.

+1

post #37 of 46

FYI, the Sennheiser headphones were designed with different impedance. I wouldn't say that impedance is a good way to judge whether the drivers are the same or not. Orthodynamic headphones are a good example of this.

 

Personally, I do "get" the Grado sound. The best match for me, FR-wise, was the HF-1s. With the desire for a Grado with more resolution, I bought a pair of Rhydon's "Symphones Magnums" which 525is modded with better drivers, which he made himself.

 

I recall though considerable debate and discussion about Grado and what drivers they use in each model and whether they are the same. What I gathered is that it is likely the basic driver itself is the same, but the coating on the surface, which affects the performance, is different. Of course, so is much of the rest of the headphone, such as the cups and chamber.

post #38 of 46

If a comparison is made to the speaker world, you have companies like Morel, Seas, etc who make drivers that are used by HUNDREDS of speakers companies. Just because two speakers at different price points use the same driver set doesn't mean they will sound the same, or that the more expensive speakers aren't worth their price tag. Whatever Grado does, all I know is that the PS500s are a much better headphone than the SR80s. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy the 80s, cause I do....but the 500s are better.

 

To further the speaker example, just like Magnepan MMGs give you a small taste of what larger Magnepans offer, the 80s give you a small taste of what the higher end Grados offer. Magnepan uses the same materials in their least expensive speaker as they do in their flagship. But anyone who has spent any time with Maggies at all will tell you that the MMGs aren't in the same league as the 3.7s. Did I enjoy my MMGs? Of course. Are the 3.7s better? Absolutely. 

post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by lintonsofly View Post

Well, i ask the question, if the higher end grado stuff didn't have the aluminium or metal cups and just used the sr60 or sr80 design, would people still buy them?

If they sounded the same, yes. If a plastic cup 325 sounded the same as my metal cup 325 I would pay the same price I paid over the much cheaper SR-60 because to me, there is quite a difference. Yeah, the metal cup is nice to look at and offers a better feel of quality over the cheapness of the plastic cupped lower end Grados, but I have said it before and I'll say it again, I don't own headphones for fashion, I own them for sound. If I was into the fashion aspect, I'd just waste a bunch of money on a pair of Beats and call it a day.

post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by fjhuerta View Post

It's not a straight line, it's an impedance plot. "LOL". An impedance plot is defined by the copper in the motor, magnet strength, number of windings in the coil, weight of the diaphragm and other variables. I'm no expert by any means, but I've worked with impedance plots on speakers for 7 years. I'd be very, very surprised if the same engineering principles apply to headphones. I find it striking that two different headphones, one at $80 and the other at $400 would share the exact same impedance plot.

As an example, here's a Sennheiser HD-800 vs. the HD-600 vs. the HD-700 impedance plots. Do they seem similar to you?


A $1,499 vs. a $999 vs. a $400 headphone. THIS is what I expect to see from a different motor on a headphone driver. It's obvious Sennheiser isn't rebranding their own motors and slapping them on every different headphone they build.

If I remember correctly there was some talk of the HD 700 and HD 650 actually using the same motor/driver though. redface.gif I don't think the "rebranding scandal" argument needs to exist (I've seen it play in computer forums - it's a lot of drama over nothing that can be changed).

As far as similarity to speaker drivers - it's closer than a lot of people would think. But you can't use a straight cone tweeter as a headphone driver (this was tried in the 1970s - it sounds *awful* (like unless you have an afternoon and some brewskis to kill, I wouldn't bother even attempting it - it's that bad)).

You can also change impedance plots with Zobels and other trickery (like the enclosure itself). I don't see why this one minute detail is such a boogeyman though - go back to the measurements I posted earlier, there are observed and quantifiable differences between various Grado models, regardless of how similar their impedance is.



Quote:
Originally Posted by fjhuerta View Post

Thanks for your incredibly thoughtful post. No, I meant FS as in the resonant frequency of the driver / enclosure combination.

That makes so much more sense! There's my DOI!!! moment for the day. basshead.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

FYI, the Sennheiser headphones were designed with different impedance. I wouldn't say that impedance is a good way to judge whether the drivers are the same or not. Orthodynamic headphones are a good example of this.

Personally, I do "get" the Grado sound. The best match for me, FR-wise, was the HF-1s. With the desire for a Grado with more resolution, I bought a pair of Rhydon's "Symphones Magnums" which 525is modded with better drivers, which he made himself.

I recall though considerable debate and discussion about Grado and what drivers they use in each model and whether they are the same. What I gathered is that it is likely the basic driver itself is the same, but the coating on the surface, which affects the performance, is different. Of course, so is much of the rest of the headphone, such as the cups and chamber.

A while ago there was some tweak company (I forget who) that was talking about Grado shopping around for coating materials to dope the drivers with, but I don't know if Grado ever settled on that. They also engage in the "de-stressing" thing (I can't begin to imagine what this actually entails - but for some reason I imagine Johnny G sitting there with a DC power supply hitting the drivers in batches). I haven't seen any documentation about measured differences due to coating (in other words, has anyone sat and measured Grado drivers before and after), but I know adding weight to the cone can very dramatically change the output - so it's worth noting as well.

Based on comments Tyll has made, you'd need impedance *and* electrical phase to determine if a headphone driver is identical between systems. But there's still the question of Zobel networks and so on (but I think Sony is the only manufacturer who does this in headphones). Regarding the isodynamic drivers, they should be characteristically non-reactive irrespective of motor design; this is based on comments from Fang and the various modder groups (Yamaha, Fostex, etc).

+1 on the enclosure being a big deal, and +2 on the pads being a big deal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post

If a comparison is made to the speaker world, you have companies like Morel, Seas, etc who make drivers that are used by HUNDREDS of speakers companies. Just because two speakers at different price points use the same driver set doesn't mean they will sound the same, or that the more expensive speakers aren't worth their price tag.

This. But the flip-side is that just because you throw a lot of nice drivers in a nice box doesn't mean you have a nice speaker, and that might be where some people are getting hung up on Grados. I don't know though; anyone who has a hang-up on Grados want to chime in?

Also add Vifa and Peerless and I think you've got probably 85% of all mass produced speakers, lol. tongue.gif
Quote:
To further the speaker example, just like Magnepan MMGs give you a small taste of what larger Magnepans offer, the 80s give you a small taste of what the higher end Grados offer. Magnepan uses the same materials in their least expensive speaker as they do in their flagship. But anyone who has spent any time with Maggies at all will tell you that the MMGs aren't in the same league as the 3.7s. Did I enjoy my MMGs? Of course. Are the 3.7s better? Absolutely. 

This too. But just like Grado, Magnepan makes changes as they move up the line. It's the same idea with ESPs too - sure, all Logans are 'stats, but the higher end ones earn their price tag just like the "cheap" (if ~$4000/pair is cheap) ones do theirs. But it's *subtle* - going from an SR-225 to an RS-1 for example is not as dramatic as going from the RS-1 to say, an ESP/950. Going from the SR-60 to the SR-80 is even less dramatic. I think part of the problem is that a lot of reviews (especially older magazine reviews) let the hyperbole fly wild, so everything from dusting off your system to replacing the speakers entirely is "big, life-altering, dramatic, night and day changes!" - it creates an expectation that few products can likely fulfill. I see this time and again with amplifier discussions - someone reads a lot of reviews about how some much more expensive and much fancier amp will be a huge difference, they get it, and the result is more like "hrm, I paid how much again? I mean it's better, but...how much?" - with designs that have a strict house sound that problem exists as well. ph34r.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmAndHammer View Post

If they sounded the same, yes. If a plastic cup 325 sounded the same as my metal cup 325 I would pay the same price I paid over the much cheaper SR-60 because to me, there is quite a difference. Yeah, the metal cup is nice to look at and offers a better feel of quality over the cheapness of the plastic cupped lower end Grados, but I have said it before and I'll say it again, I don't own headphones for fashion, I own them for sound. If I was into the fashion aspect, I'd just waste a bunch of money on a pair of Beats and call it a day.

lol. I agree with this too. There's a lot of talk from manufacturers that woodies are this magical cure-all to resonance issues, despite the data disagreeing with that (and if you go back to the measurements, the RS-1 actually have more resonance peaks than the plastic models rolleyes.gif). Sure, they're purdy, but if they don't deliver the goods I don't care. If there was a (cheaper) plastic version of the RS-1 or the ESW9A, I'd snap'em right up without a second thought. On the other hand, I would have no issues with a headphone that had a wood veneer or vinyl appliqué over a plastic or aluminum body, if it looked cool. But that's really neither here nor there (it's just part of the whole "seriously, black and silver as the only options? c'mon...there's so many more colors!" rant).
post #41 of 46

I didn't know nearly as much as some of you about electronics but I know quite a bit about wood and acoustics from building acoustic guitars semi-professionally for years and the idea that a wood cup would have fewer resonance peaks than plastic is absurd. Every wood has weird frequencies where it will go dead or resonate uncontrollably whereas synthetic materials tend to be pretty stable in that regard. I never got the wood headphones thing (other than for the beauty, of course). IF it has any effect whatsoever on sound (unlikely) then its probably a negative one.

post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by machoboy View Post

I didn't know nearly as much as some of you about electronics but I know quite a bit about wood and acoustics from building acoustic guitars semi-professionally for years and the idea that a wood cup would have fewer resonance peaks than plastic is absurd. Every wood has weird frequencies where it will go dead or resonate uncontrollably whereas synthetic materials tend to be pretty stable in that regard. I never got the wood headphones thing (other than for the beauty, of course). IF it has any effect whatsoever on sound (unlikely) then its probably a negative one.

 

I agree. I had a plastic guitar when I was a kid...it sounded pretty good. 

post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by machoboy View Post

I didn't know nearly as much as some of you about electronics but I know quite a bit about wood and acoustics from building acoustic guitars semi-professionally for years and the idea that a wood cup would have fewer resonance peaks than plastic is absurd. Every wood has weird frequencies where it will go dead or resonate uncontrollably whereas synthetic materials tend to be pretty stable in that regard. I never got the wood headphones thing (other than for the beauty, of course). IF it has any effect whatsoever on sound (unlikely) then its probably a negative one.

Generally with a speaker the goal is to minimize resonance, not promote it as you would with an instrument. Wooden headphones are an odd curiosity - I think it's likely an aesthetic statement product from the manufacturer's perspective, so they are often designed to sound very good; but I think if you were to re-do them with another material it would be just as good (in other words, if you were to perfectly clone the RS-1 or GS-1000 with another material (say...aluminum) you'd likely have a very good sounding headphone as well (oh wait...)). One advantage to woodies over a number of other materials is they tend to be very light headphones for their comparative size - only Sony's magnesium alloy models tend to best them in that regard.
Edited by obobskivich - 10/7/12 at 7:52am
post #44 of 46

I just spoke with Grado...they do *not* use the same drivers in their headphones. I followed up on that response and asked if it was the same BASE driver that was tweaked/tuned differently for different models and they said "no", the drivers in their headphones are different, even though they may look similar. 

post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post

I just spoke with Grado...they do *not* use the same drivers in their headphones. I followed up on that response and asked if it was the same BASE driver that was tweaked/tuned differently for different models and they said "no", the drivers in their headphones are different, even though they may look similar. 

So not even like SR-60/SR-80 are related? They're all separate? Or is it like their cartridges? (Where RS-2 would equal RS-1's that didn't make the cut, and the SR-60 to SR-80, and so on)?
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