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What is the different between Grado PS-1 and RS-1 headphone? - Page 3

post #31 of 47
zanth, thanks for making me feel even more comfortable with my hp-1 purchase

you da man!
post #32 of 47
Nice post, Zanth. I'm in agreement with most of what you have said regarding the PS-1, and although my comparison is to the HP-2 (rather than HP-1), what you have said about the HP-1's more or less summarizes my impressions of the HP-2's.

What I'm still unsettled on in my mind is whether the PS-1's deep, clear, extended and resonant bass is so overpowering that it could actually become distracting (i.e., in the DT770 sense) to the point that it didn't portray most music accurately. I think the answer might be 'Yes' if the PS-1 were your every day headphones. What makes them such a joy to me is that I reach for them whenever I want to hear bass (i.e., depending on what music I'm playing). For female vocals and soft jazz, the HP-2's would be preferable, and thus may be a better overall pair of headphones in terms of neutrality. Yet, the HP-2's are nowhere near as "fun" as the PS-1's!!!
post #33 of 47
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus
What makes them such a joy to me is that I reach for them whenever I want to hear bass (i.e., depending on what music I'm playing).
exactly the same way I use them... though I go for the ATH-L3000 or MDR-R10 rather than the HP2 most of the time.
post #34 of 47
I would suggest the PS-1 over any other headphone made for the following reasons.

#1. The most important reason. It fits my prefered sound signature.

I consider myself an audiophile in the sense that I want perfection in sound. Easy factors include, no harshness in the highs, good instrument seperation, no lack of any range in the spectrum(ie mids on the sony v6). There exists, in my opinion, grey areas of "audiophility" that differentiate between why person X might love the omega II, person "Y" the r10, person "Z" hp-2, etc. Of these gray areas, my preferences include a rich, smooth sound; promininent, realistic bass; spookingly lifelike vocals and none of that "3D" soundstage nonsense. The ps-1 completely fulfills each of these areas while still maintaining each of the aforementioned "easy" audiophile factors.

#2. It sounds great, without having to specifically tune components up the chain to compensate for its deficiencies.

The only issue with the ps-1 is the sometimes extra exuberance in its presentation of the bass spectrum, but I have found it to be entirely controlled by nearly any decent quality audiophile amplifier. I have always been interested in the r10 because I have a special place in my heart for closed headphones. Hearing them at ayt999's house cured me of that need. I am sure that with the combination of a $4000 dollar sds singlepower amp with caps the size of baseballs, the r10 would sweep the floor with any competition, but it sounded a bit thin and analytical on all the other(no less impressive) amps that alex had at the time. Of course, it was up against an omega II and a blue hawaii at the time, so take that for what you will.

#3. It surprised me.

I list this last because I know it isn't a solid point of arguement but....
After the jump from stock earbuds to my first pair of "audiophile" phones, I was absolutely floored by the increase in detail and overall quality. Since then I have spent nearly 10 times the amount, to get maybe 1/4 of the same percieved increase in quality. I had looked forward to Berkeley meet for a long time so I could listen to some recabled sennheiser 650s with my benchmark. After listening to them, I felt the same minimal increase in quality and it was fine as I had ceded to the law of diminishing returns.
Then neilpert had me listen to the ps-1s.
It was like it was 2001 again and I had just moved from a sb live - streetstyle setup to my d25s->grado sr80s.
I wanted to go through and relisten to all of my songs, just to hear what I had been missing all this time. I had to force myself to take them off my head just to let other people get a listen.

This is only the second purchase I have made since I started this hobby that I haven't wanted to sell back, or
upgrade within a month of owning it.(the first being the benchmark)

And if you made it this far(doubtful) I would say that the rs-1(judging by the balanced one I listened to at Alex's house) would fulfill most all of these factors, while sacrificing only what most audiophiles might care most about, refinement. If you are like alot of audiophiles get the r10, if you care more about music then the details rs-1, if you are somewhere in between, and can afford it, get the ps-1.

Get the hp-2. This entire post might have been about that headphone, had not neilpert made me listen to the ps-1 after seeing my eyes light up when listening to an hp-1000. The only thing missing is a bit of liveliness.
post #35 of 47
Originally Posted by raif
Get the hp-2. This entire post might have been about that headphone, had not neilpert made me listen to the ps-1 after seeing my eyes light up when listening to an hp-1000. The only thing missing is a bit of liveliness.
Really nice post, Raif! It's wonderful to see a post like this once in a while where someone is willing to take a position without straddling the proverbial fence. You've found your home with the PS-1's and this is fantastic. All of your reasons are solid, but what is most important is that the PS-1's have evoked your passion for music again (i.e., wanting to listen to all of your favorite CD's again to see what you've been missing). That's what this hobby is all about, IMO. The gear helps us to rediscover the joy in music!

The reason I've quoted your last paragraph is that I found it ever so interesting. The HP-1000 series got your eyes to pop and you could have been very happy with them had you not heard the PS-1's. I've found the same to be true, especially your comment, "The only thing missing (((from the HP-1000))) is a bit of liveliness." This is exactly what the PS-1's provide which makes them more "fun"!!! What I'm having a hard time with is whether this fun factor of the PS-1 comes at the expense of being accurate (relative to the HP-1000 series)? For example, you mentioned that the R10's don't suit you because they give all sorts of 3D effects that you don't particularly care for. I'm still trying to decide whether the bass emphasis on the PS-1's presents that same sort of problem for me. I'll have to listen to them some more, but I think you're one to something when you mention that it's all a matter of taste and what a person is looking for.
post #36 of 47
I am glad you liked it Wmcmanus, I spent some time writing it to adequetely express my opinion without insulting others'.

I agree the bass issue is a good one to raise for any ps-1 hopefulls. It can be a polarizing issue, and most should know what they are getting into as $1400 is a whole lot of money.
post #37 of 47
Originally Posted by bhd812
you get used to the feel, honestly I have more to complain about in my life then a set of cans being uncomfortable. its the sound not the comfort I am after, of course to me it doesnt really feel anythign bad, I am used to it
I think I might have to agree with you on this. FWIW, I've had the 60's and 80's and in the early stages I found them uncomfortable compared to my HD600's but then again, I never really gave them a decent chance. Kept my listening to 30 minutes or less while the 600's could stay on for hours at a time. Along the same lines, I'd resisted going with canal phones over the fear of them being intolerable for extended listening. If I hadn't recently had a hellish flight complete with a few of the most obnoxious kids in existence, I still might be on the sidelines never having the joy of knowing what the ety's could offer. Yet, after getting the ER-4P's and being determined to adjust, I find them becoming more and more comfortable. So much so that it's not hard for me to actually fall asleep while wearing them. Perhaps it's that my ears are adapting to having them in or maybe I've just gotten over my preconceived notion that they'd be uncomfortable?

Speaking for myself, I think I've done this more than a few times and have denied myself some real listening enjoyment. It's why I really never gave the PS-1's serious consideration figuring that I should stick with something like the 60's or 80's and maybe even pitch in and buy the MS-2 as at that price, only being able to listen for 30 minutes at a time wouldn't seem like such a waste of money.

My ety experience has convinced me of the error of my ways!
post #38 of 47
at first my hp-1s tired out and made my earlobes sore from the pressure

but after a week i didnt even notice it any longer
post #39 of 47
Originally Posted by PeterR
I know the RS-1 well and have tried the PS-1. They're both very similar, which one to prefer is really a matter of taste. The PS-1 sounds cooler, more analytical, while the RS-1 is tonally richer. As for the price - if the PS-1 is your thing, the premium over a 1200$ RS-1 in Germany may be appropriate. Compared to the 700$ you can get the RS-1 for in the US, it's simply insane.

and really nice post raif!!!

post #40 of 47
The PS-1's bass is not "overpowering", but it is certainly pronounced.

Most head-fi members seem to agree that it is system synergy, which lies at the center of the art of putting together a great headphone system. It seems that headphones like the Sony R10 require a lot of effort in terms of system matching, inter alia due to its perceived bass weakness (hearsay). The efforts range from rolling rare vintage NOS tubes (head-fi member Hirsch) to having giant custom two-box amplifiers handmade for it (head-fi member Nik).

Getting the best out of the PS-1 requires some attention to detail, too. It's that easy. And that's all there is to it. Some amp/headphone combinations are better than others, and certain combinations may result in a sound that's disappointing, even if the components enjoy an excellent reputation on a stand-alone basis. It's very simple. Give the PS-1 the same credit that you would give the R10. Actually I am not sure if that much credit is required in the first place -- I find the PS-1 quite easy to handle, although it is a little amp-dependent. Combine the PS-1's with an amp that does not have a pronounced bass, and there you are!

Just like head-fi member Hirsch, who used to be very happy with his HP-1000/EAR HP4 combination (after some tuberolling), I think that the PS-1 sounds excellent driven by the EAR HP4. The bass is deep and there's a lot of it, but it's never overpowering. I also enjoy the PS-1's sound out of the audiovalve RKV II without the Impedanzer, but due to the impedance mismatch, there is a little background hiss, which I am willing to tolerate, but keeps me from recommending that combination to everone else. The PS-1 is even a very good match with the Larocco Pocket Reference, but obviously you have to keep the bass boost turned "off".

Coming back to the thread starter's question: The difference between the RS-1 and the PS-1 (apart from the obvious choice of material -- aluminium instead of mahogany) is that the PS-1 uses better drivers. I do not know exactly what that difference is in technical terms, but was told by the German distributor (who claims to be the mastermind behind the PS-1's development) that the PS-1's drivers are "an improved version" of the RS-1's drivers. In fact, the distributor told me that the PS-1's drivers are those that were initially developed by Grado for the "FS-1" headphones belonging to the ultra-expensive wireless "Freesystems/Grado" system. As a matter of fact, the PS-1 looks very much like the FS-1, with the main difference being a different combination of the colors black and silver on the grilles and the circular thingies that hold the earcups.

I like the sound of the PS-1 sooo much more than that of the RS-1 that I could not wait to sell the latter. The PS-1 is the best sounding Grado I have ever tried, but obviously I haven't tried them all. Saying that the decision between the two headphones is a matter of taste is a truism, because that always applies. Unlike others, however, I can't say that the sound of the two models is very similar, apart from the obvious similarity that results from the "Grado house sound".

The main weakness of the RS-1 has been mentioned before: It's the "sssss" sounds that get screwed up big time. Or listen to a steel-strung acoustic guitar with the RS-1 -- the high strings (e and b) just don't sound right; not clean, almost distorted. The thing is unable to handle quick and strong treble impulses. And that cannot be cured with a different/better amp. The midrange may sound OK on the RS-1, but the PS-1's bass is so glorious that the RS-1 simply can't match it. And that's only the pseudo-scientific/analytical way of looking at it. The PS-1 is also a fun headphone to listen to, much more so than the RS-1.

As I posted already on December 16, 2003: "Out of the box the PS-1's sound is much better than that of my run-in RS-1s; these two models are playing in two completely different leagues, as far as I'm concerned. As of now I must say that the PS-1s are much more fun and also more pleasant to listen to than the RS-1s. Really, really nice. Very nice indeed. I am looking forward to getting to know these headphones."

A little later I posted this (and more): "I have always perceived the RS-1's sound as slightly distorted, as less "pure", less "clean", more "grainy" and therefore less elegant than the top-of-the-line Sennheiser headphones in conjunction with ZU Mobius cable."

"Now I can describe a little better why the PS-1s sound so "right": As mentioned before, I perceive the PS-1's sound as purer, clearer and less "distorted" than that of the RS-1s. The bass appears to go deeper, and in any event it is much better defined, really powerful and not boomy at all. The midrange is pleasant, but not laid back in any way. Really up-close and informative, as a matter of fact. Some would say, typical Grado-sound, just in its best incarnation."

"The nicest surprise to me is the PS-1's treble. It is so much clearer and better sounding that I became even more aware of the characteristics that I dislike about the RS-1s. While the latter headphones add a slightly scratchy and distorted quality to all kinds of treble-heavy and explosive sounds, from triangles and cymbals and snaredrums to "s" and "t" sounds of (female) singers, the PS-1s reproduce such sounds with an ease and effortless transparency that takes less than five seconds to notice. It's even possible to enjoy classical music with the PS-1s!"

Following is an excerpt of my impressions after some days of "burn-in": "Over the weekend the PS-1s have "opened up" very nicely, which means that their sound (which was already more than satisfactory right out of the box [...]) became more "airy" in the midrange and the high end. Classical music is surprisingly pleasant to listen to with these headphones; I am thinking in particular about an extremely well-recorded cembalo piece that I also enjoy very much via my room speakers."

"The two big advantages of the PS-1 Pros are the stability and the clarity of the sound. As I noted early on, the bass is deep, well defined and not boomy at all. As the German reviewer pointed out correctly, that characteristic provides the sine qua non for the development of a "liberated" and transparent sound, which is based on that foundation. The thing is -- you really want to hear what the PS-1 Pros have to tell you; I for one care much less for the RS-1's message; the latter are outclassed by the PS-1 Pros."

The conclusion is therefore: If you like the RS-1, you'll love the PS-1. If you have a principal problem with the Grado house sound, the PS-1 ain't gonna solve it. So much for now.
post #41 of 47
Originally Posted by Sugano-san
The PS-1's bass is not "overpowering", but it is certainly pronounced...
thanks for an excellent post, sugano-san!
post #42 of 47
Originally Posted by raif
I would suggest the PS-1 over any other headphone made for the following reasons.

#1 .... Uh huh ...
#2 .... Yes yes .....
#3 ..... oh yeah ....
You tell it brother! Those are the same reasons that I love Grados, and probably the same reason I will love the PS-1, when I finally decide to get it.

Originally Posted by raif
Get the hp-2. ... The only thing missing is a bit of liveliness.
Ditto that. I personally find the HP-1000 to be on the "boring" side as well, which is why the SR225 gets more playtime than my HP-2s.

However, this quote deserves special attention:
Originally Posted by raif
Then neilpert had me listen to the ps-1s.
It was like it was 2001 again and I had just moved from a sb live - streetstyle setup to my d25s->grado sr80s.
This calls to mind the discussion in Reservoir Dogs regarding Madonna's song, "Like a Virgin". That's the feeling I want to have when I listen to new headphones. Man oh man how I crave that feeling.. A nice big hunk of metal, ramrodding sonic compressions and rarefactions in all their glorious phallicity into the eager receptacles that are my ears..

post #43 of 47
Originally Posted by Canman
No dynamic headphone can match the Stax Omega 2
What does that mean, exactly? Just your opinion? I suppose no one favors an R-10, etc. in leiu of the Omega II. :-)

I, personally, find the Omega II to be the best sounding overall headphone for my personal taste of sound based on the units I have heard to this point -- but I certainly can't speak for anyone else.

The PS-1 is a nice improvement over the RS-1 but there is definitely a close relationship between the two. I think of the PS-1 as an RS-1 on steroids.
Since subjectivity is the seemingly overbearing theme here; let me add my own 'fun' opinion. :-)

The PS-1 is the only headphone I have listened to and sort of felt like their were subwoofers strapped to my head! If I really liked bass, this would be the headphone I would purchase. I really don't know how else to explain it!

post #44 of 47
hey chinchy clear your pm box!

Also, great post Sugano-san.
post #45 of 47
Originally Posted by WmAx
Since subjectivity is the seemingly overbearing theme here; let me add my own 'fun' opinion. :-)
Fun is the name of the game. And subjectivity is also the name of the game since there is no way for most of us to collect objective data. Even if are you are able to obtain accurate objective data like frequency response curves, etc, it is still subjective in the way you interpret the results.

I let my ears judge the sound, and if I like what I hear than what does it matter what the technical data suggests?

Originally Posted by WmAx
What does that mean, exactly? Just your opinion? I suppose no one favors an R-10, etc. in leiu of the Omega II. :-)
It just means that everyone who favors the R-10 over the Omega II is wrong ;-)
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