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Will the Grado 225i's benefit from a headphone amp?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm reading ridiculously varied and extreme opinions on this matter; I have no idea what to think. Some say the headphones are already low impedance, so they are fine from a lower powered source like an ipod, but others say that you don't get the bass and kick unless you properly power them with a good amp. To be honest I am less than impressed with them unamped, so I'm really hoping the amp will fix the underwhelming low end and kick. Does anyone have familiarity with the Grado brand, and can tell me if they think an amp has improved the clarity and low end, or if they are already so non-demanding that it won't change much? 

Thanks

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have all my cds imported at lossless format and while the acoustic, classical & orchestral pieces sound great without an amp, basically all of my metal sounds very "crowded" and "messy" when all the instruments are going, even amongst all the many different mixes and all under lossless. I'm pretty sure some 50 albums weren't all mixed badly, so my biggest reason for wanting an amp is to fix the low end of my headphones while improving the clarity when the music gets complex. 

post #3 of 10

In my experience with the 225, I didn't find amping changed the sound a whole lot. The 225 is not known for low end. When I had mine, I just flipped the bowls around so the flat part of the pad was on my ears and it gave a nice 2-3db boost in the lows.

post #4 of 10

A decent amp can give some more life to the low end on just about any headphone and the SR-225i is not exception.  I would not justify the cost as it is much less expensive to go with another set of headphones than an amp.

 

I vote go with another headphones.

 

Give the Philips Cityscape Downtown a try as this is my current favorite all around great headphone.  I have an LCD-3 and Denon AH-D2000 sitting right next to me and still prefer the Downtown most of the time.  It is just an awesome headphones for under $100.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. My gut was telling me an amp wouldn't change much for these. I'll save the money for a better pair of headphones like you suggested. 

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

A decent amp can give some more life to the low end on just about any headphone and the SR-225i is not exception.

 

In my opinion - no - unless you are talking about hardware EQ.

 

Have previously owned SR60, MS1i and SR325i.  I've heard/tested SR80i, SR125i and SR225i as well.  All are:

 - low impedance

 - quite sensitive (don't need a lot of amping to get very loud)

 

From my experience (and I compared quite a bit to unamped out of an iPod Touch4 and iPhone 4 - then amped with an E11 and later an Arrow), amping does very little if anything to the lower end Grados.

 

@OP - if you want more bass you can either try pad changes (TTVJ flats, or as Slaughter suggested reversing the pads you have), or a software EQ.  If you have a relatively recent Touch / iPhone - look for the Equ or Equaliser apps. 

 

Adding an amp will give you the opportunity of a hardware EQ - which can be handy if you just want to flip a switch (I did find that the bass boost on my Arrow was good with 325i) - but actually amping (again my personal experience/ opinion) isn't going to give more life to the low end on these cans (other headphones - yes - higher impedance Beyers etc).

 

As NA Blur suggested - maybe look at an alternate headphone.

post #7 of 10

Personally I don't think so.  I agree with Brooko.  Its low impedance and relatively high sensitivity makes it easy to drive.  While there can be some improvement but it will be quite marginal

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

In my opinion - no - unless you are talking about hardware EQ.

Have previously owned SR60, MS1i and SR325i.  I've heard/tested SR80i, SR125i and SR225i as well.  All are:
 - low impedance
 - quite sensitive (don't need a lot of amping to get very loud)

From my experience (and I compared quite a bit to unamped out of an iPod Touch4 and iPhone 4 - then amped with an E11 and later an Arrow), amping does very little if anything to the lower end Grados.

@OP - if you want more bass you can either try pad changes (TTVJ flats, or as Slaughter suggested reversing the pads you have), or a software EQ.  If you have a relatively recent Touch / iPhone - look for the Equ or Equaliser apps. 

Adding an amp will give you the opportunity of a hardware EQ - which can be handy if you just want to flip a switch (I did find that the bass boost on my Arrow was good with 325i) - but actually amping (again my personal experience/ opinion) isn't going to give more life to the low end on these cans (other headphones - yes - higher impedance Beyers etc).

As NA Blur suggested - maybe look at an alternate headphone.

I also have both an MS1i and SR325i, and agree entirely with what has been written here. If you don't like the bass presentation when running the 225is out of an iPod, I don't think amping them will help much.
post #9 of 10

My SR225i benefited considerably from a Headamp GS-1 but it didn't give it the low-end boost you're probably looking for.  The bass was much cleaner, tight, and articulate with the GS-1, but it never came anything close to ortho bass.  I've also tried it in a few lower-end Woo amps and the performance boost was appreciable.  Something like a WA6SE might get closer to what you're looking for than a GS-1.

 

If you're looking for really good bass, you're probably better off looking at orthos.  HE400, HE4, HE500, and LCD2 would be a good place to start.  You're not going to get great bass impact from a Grado.


Edited by Elysian - 7/1/13 at 1:01am
post #10 of 10

Is an amp a benefit? When I got my 225s a few years ago, I got a basic Total Airhead amp and after alot of back and forth with and without the amp, I found that the amp definitely smoothed out high-mids (notable harshness without the amp). 

 

Type of amp? To my surprise, I haven't noticed much of a difference between a $50 Airhead amp, a $125 Fiio E12, and a $300 Grado RA. And the phones sound so darned good it's hard to imagine what spending another $500 on an amp would do for them. 

 

Bass? More recently I got a pair of PS500s thinking I wanted a 225 with more bass. And the 225s just sat for months. Over time, I found the mid-bass of the PS500s too heavy for many recordings. So I've gone back to the 225s and find them truly enjoyable. Very balanced bass. They needed a long burn-in cycle, perhaps 100 hours, to fully shine. Will probably sell the PS500s. They're really great, make no mistake; the smoother mids and highs are sometimes preferred. I can listen to them longer and get less fatigue than with the 225s, they're probably better for more of my library, but for the 10% of really great recordings, I grab the 225s. Makes me wonder what the RS1s must be like. 

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