Featuring handcrafted Mahongany earpieces made using an intricate curing process, Grado has been...

Grado RS1i Reference Series Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.27778/5,
  • Featuring handcrafted Mahongany earpieces made using an intricate curing process, Grado has been able to optimize the tonal quality. The RS1 uses dynamic transducers in an open-air configuration, the cups being open-backed. The result is a smooth, coherent sound with detailed dynamics. Frequency response ranges from 12-30 kHz and the drivers are matched to 0.05dB. Weighing 9oz, the headphones are an example of the wonder of mother nature with a gorgeous, honey-colored look.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Textfeud
    4.0/5,
    "Makes music fun again"
    Pros - Fun, Detailed, Engaging, Easy to drive
    Cons - Shouty at times, Comfort
    Let's keep this short. There are better headphones out there without any cons. The Grado RS1i can get shouty at times or give a bit of weird bass. The comfort isn't great either although I changed the L-cushions to the G-cushions which changes the comfort to a point where these are the most comfortable headphones I've had. I had better headphones, but none was as fun as this one. They keep you focussed on the music and you can't help but tapping your feet. 
     
    These aren't for everyone but if you want a fun headphone and don't mind shrilly highs from time to time, these are great. They will impress you even though there are more resolving headphones out there. You need to try these at least once. I do have to say that the price tag is a little steep but that's up to the buyer to decide. I wouldn't want to miss out in the end.
  2. MickeyVee
    4.0/5,
    "Grado RS1i [versus the Sennheiser HD800]"
    Pros - - easily driven out of any type of source from iPhone 5 to a dedicated DAC/HP amplifier system
    Cons - - can be a little shouty/shrilly at times
    Grado RS1i versus the Sennheiser HD800
     
    I rarely decide how I feel about a headphone without owning them for a month or two but in the case of the RS1i, it was pretty much love at first listen.  Some have taken month to grow into and some have impressed me in the first week and dropped off pretty quickly.  I've gone through way too many HPs in the last two years and finally I think I've settled on the HD800 and RS1i with the possibility of adding a Audeze or HiFiMAN orthos in the future but I digress.  Now that I have about 100+ hours on the RS1i, I'm ready to share some of my initial impressions.
     
    Setup:
    1. Dragonfly ⇒ Schiit Vali ⇒ Grado RS1i
    2. Naim DAC-V1 ⇒ Sennheiser HD800
     

     
     
    It’s difficult  owning multiple headphones.  Usually, when listening it’s either one or another and I have to get used to the change in the sound signature.  I’ve been looking for a combination that I can flip between in the middle of a session or song and really, really enjoy the merits of both without trying to get used to/reacquainted with the sound signature.  I have found this combination with the HD800 and RS1i.
     
    There’s something primal about the RS1i. It’s gritty, full ranged, has great and balanced bass, highs are extended with a bit of a soundstage and in addition, they’re just fun.  The same songs on the HD800 are extremely clean but the RS1i has that dirty/gritty fun factor that is completely compelling. It’s really hard to explain.. the RS1i are retro and hand built and have a sound signature that match it.  The HD800 are ultra modern and have a space age perfect build and also have sound signature to match it. 
     
    The HD800 is super clean and refined and really works well with excellent recordings. It's like being in the studio with the artist.. the RS1i is like the gritty younger brother, less refined, a little more fun. It's like the difference between being there and watching/listening and enjoying a great recorded performance. One major note is that the RS1i can get a little shouty at times where the HD800 does not exaggerate any sharpness.
    HD800 = James Bond, RS1i = Jason Bourne. Both great depending on my mood and the content.  Love the combo.
     
    Some Random thoughts:
     
    1. The RS1i is relatively easy to drive and I can enjoy it from my iDevices knowing that I’m getting about 80-90% of what I’ll experience with a decent DAC and HP amplifier. I really enjoy my iPod Classic with the RS1i just kicking back in a recliner and don’t even miss the ‘big rig’.
    2. No need for an expensive DAC/AMP setup.  My standard setup is the Audioquest Dragonfly driving the Schiit Vali and the RS1i sound amazing through the combo. OTOH a Woo WA6 is in the cards.
    3. The RS1i are genre agnostic.  I can listen to everything from Sinatra, to Joe Bonamaasa, Patricia Barber, Dire Straits to Enigma and Deadmou5.
    4. Nine ounces of New York technology delivering gorilla sound.  They’re light, powerful, on the aggressive/forward side of neutral and a ton fun!
    5. There is some sharpness/shoutyness to them but in the big picture, it’s not too bad.
    6. They bring some life back to not so good quality recordings.  I have a lot of 80’s music that I love but is poorly recorded.  The RS1i bring back that fun/life in the music I really enjoy. If it sounds cr@ppy on the HD800, there’s a good chance that I will like it a lot more on the RS1i. Awesome when surfing YouTube music!
    7. Not really RS1i specific but I love the aftermarket support for Grado’s.  Really didn’t know it was there until I started looking.  Custom headbands, gimbals, housings, cables and even drivers.  
    8. Most of all, I love the ability to switch between the HD800 and RS1i in the middle of a session or repeat songs listening to both and truly enjoying the qualities of each. The RS1i, at less than 1/2 the price of the HD800, delivers 3/4 or more of the sound of the HD800 and adds a little more fun.
     
    In the end, it’s good to have a Grado in the stable! Definitely worth an audition!
     
     
     
    bpcans and Oracle like this.
  3. JoeDoe
    5.0/5,
    "Makes Me Forget I'm Wearing Headphones"
    Pros - Sound quality, Aesthetics, Craftsmanship, Low Impedance
    Cons - Not super-comfortable, Pricey
    A few days ago, I posted in the Grado Fan Club an idea that sums up these cans as succinctly as possible:

    "Grados are the only cans I've ever heard that seem like they are designed to make you forget you're wearing headphones. Everything else I've ever listened to has some sort of coloration in a way that sounds unnatural or reminds me that it's been digitally enhanced through bass boost or treble peak. My RS1s are a perfect example. First cans out of 50 or 60 that to me sound exactly like sitting in a jazz club. Positioning, timbre, separation, balance. It's all there.

    Are Grados the most comfortable? No. Most aesthetically pleasing? No. Although the RS1s are damn sexy. But they do one thing really well which is to me, exactly what all headphone manufacturers should strive for: Reproducing real musical experience."
     

    The RS1is present recordings in a way that doesn't sound like someone else's interpretation of what a given recording sounds like. They reproduce instruments in a way that makes me feel like that instrument is in the same room as I: no special effects or EQ. Just bass. And just guitar. And just drums. And just Norah Jones (for example). 

    If you need more information regarding the specifics of the bass, mids, and treble, read up on the other reviews. I listen to a lot of music, both in quantity and variety. I'm a classically trained multi-instrumental musician and I have played in several collegiate and professional groups ranging from jazz combos to string orchestras. I consider myself qualified to say that I know what musical instruments are supposed to sound like. The RS1is from Grado capture instruments just like the are - no extra fluff, padding, or color. Many thanks to Grado Labs for putting in the time and research to bring us these cans. 

     



    cityfear and GIBBON like this.

User Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!