Went to listen to the Grado SR80i and the Sennheiser HD 558 to a hifi shop. Only problem was that the Sennheiser HD 558 were brand new, straight out of the box and the SR80i were burnt in.
To my ears the SR80i sounded 'better' in the high and mid range and fairly similar in bass to the HD558.
It was interesting to note that the build quality was not great on the SR80i. I have read this here and elsewhere but didn't really get what people meant. I now do. The SR80i did not seem to be well finished. For example the semi circular band between the metal rod and the cup actually had sharp edges on it like a burr. The demo SR80i had their cables twisted and I attempted to sort it out and I was able to untangle after a while. The 3.5mm plug surround was too fat for my phone in it's case, no big deal as the HD558 needed a huge adapter to fit my phone!
The HD558's were a pleasure to put on, they were soft and comfy, not that the SR80i were uncomfortable just the HD558 were gently cradling my ears!
They also let me try SR125i as they were the same price as the HD558 in this shop. Must say they were beyond my ears, in that I couldn't really tell the difference between the SR80i and the SR125i!!!!
So thanks very much for suggesting the HD558 and although the sound wasn't quite up to the SR80i's, weighing up the pros and cons I think I am leaning towards the HD558's. The only problem I have is if I buy the HD558, when I listen to them, is the thought that I might be constantly thinking what am I missing in not buying the SR80i !!!!!
This is a difficult decision. Do the HD558's improve with burn in?
Edited by ched999uk - 11/19/13 at 10:38am