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A change from my Grado SR-125's

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hello, and Happy New Year to all ! .....

 

I am new to this forum, and I am happy to be here !  I have been an active member and forum contributor to Audiogon.com for many years, and I am looking forward to a nice experience with Head-Fi.  I now have a five year old pair of Grado SR-125's (not the "i" version), which have only seen limited and sporadic use.  Most of my music enjoyment time is spent listening to 1950's - 1960's jazz (over 500 LP's and  1000 CD's) with my main system in a dedicated basement listening room (Rogue Audio Cronus amp, Revel F-12 speakers, Rotel RCD-1072 deck, and Rega P3-24/Exact 2/TT-PSU analog rig.)   My headphone experience has been limited to a sweet little Tivoli CD deck with AudioQuest Sidewinder cables into a ProJect headphone amp into my Grado's .... a nice little "in my leather chair by the living room fireplace system."

 

However, since I am now spending more time in front of my computer, I decided to improve my audio experience at my desk.  I just purchased the Audio Engine D1 USB DAC/headphone amp, and it immediately and significantly improved the sound of my Grado cans compared to plugging them in directly to my Mac Mini (late 2012) computer. As I am discovering great music on Pandora, Spotify, Wolfgang's Vault, iTunes radio, etc.,  I am enjoying headphone computer audio more than I ever thought I would !

 

So, after that long intro, here's my question......

What's a smarter purchase ? ....   $45 for Grado G cushion pads to improve the comfort of my SR-125's, or $120 for a new Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphone ?

I love the sound of the Grado's but am limited to less than an hour of "ear comfort" and I want to make a change from my current situation.  Any and all thoughts and ideas from you guys would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks a lot.

post #2 of 22

I thought the M50's weren't comfortable at all, even after stretching.

post #3 of 22

Heya,


I guess it depends on how far you're willing to go to be able to use G-cush pads. The G-cush pads change the frequency response and tone of the prestige series (or any Grado that was not already tuned for use with G-cush pads) drastically. The bass gets sucked into the abyss, the mids lose some body and the treble gets very hot and tizzy. If you do some careful equalization to bring it back to a flat response or at least something closer to what you like to hear from your Grado, then the G-cush can be worth it. If you're willing to do that kind of tweaking and use an equalizer permanently, then the G-cush pads are an excellent investment if you love the sound of Grado.

 

The M50 would be an awful choice for your needs here. I wouldn't put an M50 near anyone that likes analog or vinyl kind of sound and definitely not for the genres you listen to. The M50 is a tool for creation and DJing in my opinion. It's just not suited for casual listening. It's a very stereo image, average sound stage, a little harsh around the edges in terms of sound, probably a little too bassy for your taste (could be wrong there). It's an over-hyped, over-priced headphone that really should be a $60~80 headphone at best. I definitely wouldn't touch it at over $110+.

 

Other headphones however that I would suggest you consider if you're not interested in the equalization method for your Grado above, are the following:

 

Beyer Dynamic DT770 PRO 80ohm

Beyer Dynamic DT880 PRO 250ohm

Beyer Custom One Pro

AudioTechnica A700X

AudioTechnica A900X

AudioTechnica AD900

AudioTechnica TAD500

Brainwavz HM5

Shure SRH840

Ultrasone HFI 780

AKG Q701

AKG K550

AKG K167

AKG K271 MKII

AKG K240 MKII

KRK KNS 6400

KRK KNS 8400

Hifiman HE-300

Sennheiser HD598

 

Very best,

post #4 of 22

I think the Grados sound is many different from others so you can use the original pad of this (the pad without "hole" - sorry I don't remember what it call) for more comfortable

The G cushion pad is not made for the SR serial (like MalVeau say)

post #5 of 22

Try the G-Cush.  You may even like it without EQ. smile.gif

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys...

Wow !  I'm quite impressed with all your replies.  Thanks so much !

Well, I just got back from my local Guitar Center store.  With discounts

and internet coupons, I bought the ATH-M50S for $104.85, with a full

30 day return policy if I don't like them.  Too good of a deal to pass up.

Mal, I really appreciate your insights and advice, and even though you

say I won't like the ATH-M50's, for such a small risk-free investment, I

figure they're worth a try.  I'll let them burn in overnight for a few days, and

then I'll give them a nice long critical listen, and I will report back to you all.

Happy Listening to all my new friends !  Enjoy the music !

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam18 View Post

Hey Guys...

Wow !  I'm quite impressed with all your replies.  Thanks so much !

Well, I just got back from my local Guitar Center store.  With discounts

and internet coupons, I bought the ATH-M50S for $104.85, with a full

30 day return policy if I don't like them.  Too good of a deal to pass up.

Mal, I really appreciate your insights and advice, and even though you

say I won't like the ATH-M50's, for such a small risk-free investment, I

figure they're worth a try.  I'll let them burn in overnight for a few days, and

then I'll give them a nice long critical listen, and I will report back to you all.

Happy Listening to all my new friends !  Enjoy the music !


I like the M50's for what they are, but I agree with Mal, I don't think you are going to like them especially paired with the type of music you listen to.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Okay.... so I haven't let the ATH-M50's burn in yet, but after an hour of direct comparison with Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Joni Mitchell, Loggins and Messina, and acoustic Grateful Dead ..... my initial impressions......  The Grado's have a wider sound stage, a more open presentation, greater truth of timbre, a cleaner overall presence, and a more realistic tonality and rhythm.  The ATH-M50's have a deeper bottom end, greater channel separation, less "air" around the instruments, and a more congested overall presentation.  Also, after an hour of switching between the two, the Grado's are a lot more comfortable.  But ..... The ATH-M50's are still fresh out of the box.  I'll give them more time.  So far, the Grado's are the winner.  We shall see how it goes, and I'll report back.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam18 View Post

Okay.... so I haven't let the ATH-M50's burn in yet, but after an hour of direct comparison with Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Joni Mitchell, Loggins and Messina, and acoustic Grateful Dead ..... my initial impressions......  The Grado's have a wider sound stage, a more open presentation, greater truth of timbre, a cleaner overall presence, and a more realistic tonality and rhythm.  The ATH-M50's have a deeper bottom end, greater channel separation, less "air" around the instruments, and a more congested overall presentation.  Also, after an hour of switching between the two, the Grado's are a lot more comfortable.  But ..... The ATH-M50's are still fresh out of the box.  I'll give them more time.  So far, the Grado's are the winner.  We shall see how it goes, and I'll report back.

 

30 day return policy.

 

Gonna use that in 3.. 2...

 

Very best,

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well Mal... You may be right.  Another hour or so of listening and comparing ..... My Grado SR-125's seem better than the ATH-M50's in every way (except deep bass, where the M50's excel.)

So your countdown may be accurate.  I just spent 12 bucks and ordered the Sennheiser HD 414 yellow replacement pads from Amazon.  I'll try the famous reverse quarter modification that many have recommended, to improve the comfort of the Grado's without adversely affecting the musical qualities.  This should be a lot better than the G-cushion pads, which you have definitely NOT recommended.  Thanks a lot, and I'll keep ya'all posted.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam18 View Post

Well Mal... You may be right.  Another hour or so of listening and comparing ..... My Grado SR-125's seem better than the ATH-M50's in every way (except deep bass, where the M50's excel.)

So your countdown may be accurate.  I just spent 12 bucks and ordered the Sennheiser HD 414 yellow replacement pads from Amazon.  I'll try the famous reverse quarter modification that many have recommended, to improve the comfort of the Grado's without adversely affecting the musical qualities.  This should be a lot better than the G-cushion pads, which you have definitely NOT recommended.  Thanks a lot, and I'll keep ya'all posted.

 

If you really want to make your Grados comfortable, and you're willing to throw money at it, you can explore the Headphile method of C-pads which then allow attachment of Beyer velour pads. Though I would try to find an alternative to the headphile c-pad, since he wants your first born for just the cup attachment.

 

Just another option.

 

Very best,

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Nope .... for twelve bucks I'll try the Senn yellow pads, and keep my first born.  

But thanks for the link to Headphile.  It seems like some really cool stuff.

post #13 of 22

I guess I'm the only one that thinks Senn yellow flat pads are also uncomfortable.  They seemed comfy in the '70s (think Koss 4AA) when they first came out but time marches on.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well,........ here's the verdict.  I'll be returning the ATH-M50's to Guitar Center.  After a lot of comparative listening, I am finding the Grado SR-125's to be far more musical, with better all around sound.  Sure, the M-50's go deeper and play a little louder, but, to my ears and with my AudioEngine D1, the Grado's are the clear winners.  Last night, just for fun, I wrapped scotch tape around the outer circumference of the L-cush pads ........ an apparent tightening of the bass with perhaps a bit more extension.  The marvelous soundstage, truth of timbre, high end clarity, and beautiful mid-range all remain intact. Pretty cool !!!

 

My Sennheiser 414 yellow pads should be arriving today, and I'll play around with those, probably trying the "reverse quarter modification" that everyone talks about.  Like I said, for twelve bucks I've got nothing to lose... if I like the change,.. great !  If not, I'll happily stay with my "Scotch tape L-cush pads."  I'll keep ya'all posted.  Happy listening !

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Okay.. ....So I gotta share this with all of you.  First of all, my Grado SR-125's are the hands down winner !  Better than the ATH-M50's in so many ways.   I got the yellow Senn pads yesterday, and did the "reverse quarter modification."  Very nice, and very comfortable..... but my original L-cush pads with the circumferential scotch tape sound mighty fine too.  I may switch between the two, and enjoy my music with both.  Pretty cool stuff.

But here's the real kicker.... I have a pretty amazing high end system (see my original thread above) and I love my music through my Revel F-12 speakers.  Before that, I enjoyed Vandersteens for many years and I am truly a lover of great music and great audio equipment.  However, I never imagined that I would enjoy headphone listening as much as I am now, and never realized how really sweet it is to have a nice pair of cans driven by a good amp.

So..... my thanks to all of you for your thoughts and advice, and I feel really glad to be part of this "head-fi.org" community.

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