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Over-Ear item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Great for Rock/Metal, distorted guitar tone is not harsh
Cons - fatiguing after a couple hours, extremely cheap construction
My reference is primarily with inner ear monitors (UE10pro) and the Beyerdynamic DT770.
I've been listening to the SR225i's for a few days and have developed a few opinions... I've been wanting Grado's for a long time, but I've never jumped on a pair because of criticisms of cheap construction, narrow soundstage and overly colored mid-ranges. I finally jumped on the SR225i's because it seemed like the best I was going to do for $200 sound quality-wise and these are constantly referenced as some of the best "Rock" headphones.
I should note that I almost exclusively listen to Hard Rock and Power Metal. I understand that these genres aren't terribly popular for audiophiles, but the music is ideal for higher-end equipment because it's extremely bombastic with tons of textures that just blur to a mush with unworthy headphones. Power Metal itself is extremely fast so highly responsive drivers is critical to hear the detail.
I have found the SR225i's to represent these genre's extremely well. The more upfront mids sound better than the more neutral tuning on my ue10pros. The ur10pros mids can also sound harsh so I find myself tweaking the equalizer to up the highs a bit. I don't have to do any adjustments for the Grados, they sound phenomenal with no manipulation. The mids are much softer and the bass was far more punchy than the $900 monitors. The DT770s are not as clear and upfront and the bass is not as punchy. Since metal is notoriously lacking in bass, I thought the music was ideally represented by the Grados. Simply put, for the price, the audio is top notch. I'm using the headphones unamped, running them through my M-Audio Firewire 410 recording rig.
Comfort... This is going to be hard to adequately describe. I initially found the headphones to be extremely comfortable. I did not find the foam material to be irritating, but it did make my ears a bit warm. It wasn't until wearing them for about 2 hours that I started to get extremely uncomfortable. I have very sensitive Sinus' and the pressure from of the headphones really flared them up. I know my sinus is nowhere near the ear, but it still seemed to have an effect. I got instant relief when I took them off. Since I've only had them for a few days I don't know if this is going to be a long term issue. Overall, the comfort is good initially, but can get fatiguing over time. It's worth noting that I'm rather large (6'4"), have a longish/narrow head with small ears- my ears experienced no discomfort.
Build Quality is pretty pathetic. They really look cheap (the vinyl headband should be better, it looks terrible) . My wife could not believe they cost $200. Only the drivers and cable seem to be of decent quality. The rest of the materials would not be out of place in a Dollar store. I knew this going into buying them so I'm not upset, I just hope they hold up over time. This is the biggest gamble I'm taking. I'm surprised that Grado does not up the design and build quality a bit purely for advertising. Seeing these things has to be a pretty big turn-off for many buyers.
In the end, I'm rating this an overall 5 because the sound quality for this price point is really where the substance is at. I can put up with everything else as long as they work and continue to sound great. I'm delighted to sat that my high expectations have been met. For the genres of music i enjoy, these headphones are perfect.
These songs really shined for me:
Angra- Course of Nature
Dreamtale- Mortal Games
Gamma Ray- Hand of Fate
Highlord- Hand of God
Holy Knights- Glass Room
Olympos Mons- Locked in Chains (This one blew me away)
Pathfinder- Beyond the Space, Beyond the Time
Pros - High rez sound, Cord is thin. lower bass response,
Cons - Not a lot to say....
I got to hand it to Grado, The SR-225s are the best, the experience worth more than the $200.00 retail price. As you move up the Grado chain of headphones, one thing is familiar; the company lowers the overall bass response, giving you a more open vocal performance, and detailed bass/viola/cello tunes.
Nowhere is this case so true than the SR-225s. Bass is strong and the highs are very open and detail, but you don't hear any nasties in the upper end. In one word, these cans are supremo. One word about the price I paid. I bought them on consignment for 60 clams at Audio Studio in Cambridge.
Another good thing is costumer service. If anything happens to any grado, just ship them back to the Brooklyn address w/ a note of what's wrong, and they will fix and and ship the repaired cans back to you. t will come with a bill, but it's far better getting any grados fixed than to buy the same pair.
Pros - Highs, mids (if your a mid's person)
Cons - Bass, high mids
I purchased these headphones for my birthday of this year to replace my Logitech G930 headset. I've never had an "audiophile" or very high quality pair of headphones, but have heard very great things about them. I am a person who makes sure my music is in FLAC or other lossless (Or from original CD to lossless) so this isn't your average person who listens to MP3's on their Ipod.
To start when I got the headphones, the design was terrible. Looked tiny like it would break and actually DID break on the second day of usage. The left connector to the cup broke off, I do not have a big head and I never mistreated them, but it's most likely manufacture defect. The next thing I noticed was the comfort, they use foam pads that are itchy to my ears, and their not very sensitive. It can really get on your nerves and you have to take them off for a while after a couple hours of music listening because of their ear irritating fatigue.
But the most important aspect of this is the sound. When first used, there was no bass. NONE, not a single bit of bass could be felt from these headphones, my G930's surpass these Grado's 10x over in bass production, which I find quite sad. Although I do have to praise the reproduction of high frequencies. From listening to a couple high-string heavy songs from Red and a couple of solo/chorus high singings it seem's VERY nice to listen to. It will make you be able to feel some of the highs, if you know what I mean.
Lastly, the mid's we're turned up way too high on these. I don't have an equalizer running from my motherboard audio source (Realtek audio stuff) and neither in any applications, so this is pure headphones. The mid drowns out any sort of highs and makes it sound quite muddy, not defined. And no matter how I equalized, it would sound bad.
The combination of the no bass, oversized mids and headphones breaking pretty much sealed the deal for me to return them to amazon along with my FiiO E9 (And 6.3 to 3.5MM jack) that I bought along side the headphones. (Not even the FiiO E9's Bass boost would make the bass any better!)
So right now i'm stuck with my G930 headset, that I have no major gripe about since I got the software to work and have the headphones equalized to my liking, and they are closed headphones, so I don't have to worry about waking anybody up anytime soon (And are wireless!). Grado's are not my audio reproduction style, although they might be for you.
So my journey for my perfect headphones moves on!
Pros - I honestly couldn't find much I liked about these.
Cons - Sound was boring, flat, uninspired.
I don't own these anymore and never properly reviewed them, here's a brief memory I had of them.
I bought these used on Head-Fi to satisfy my "need" for the Grado sound after selling my SR80i and buying the Ad700s. I soon after upgraded my Ad700s to Ad900s and still missed the "Grado sound." I was excited to try these, very excited. I was expecting a harsh, in your face sound that kicked my ears butts. What I got was boring.
The previous owner had claimed 20 hours of use so I let them play for 20 more hours before making judgement. As much as I tried I could not get into these headphones, especially when compared to my Ad900. I honestly felt my Ad900 were better in every aspect. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, etc all sounded boring, no heart at all. I believe it has something to do, possibly with the stock cups, but I just didn't like these. After 30 hours they were back up for sale and I was disappointed.
I wish I could have captured the Grado sound I had missed from my SR80i, but it wasn't here.
Pros - sound great, easily transportable, easy to drive
Cons - weird feel on the ears
I actually got to play Santa at work and get these for a coworker because of good performance on his part. He was cool enough to let me listen for a while and I really liked the sound. I've never heard an open-back design before and I really liked it.
So I listened to some Heather Nova and heard a loop in Ruby Red that I had never noticed before. It was pretty obvious. I played other stuff too and all the music had more distinct layers than I'm used to. I've got some good AKGs and I've heard the layering that the NuForce Icon HD brought to those cans. I was impressed to see that I got pretty close to that feel with these Grados unamped. Quite surprised and pleased. The bass was also quite nice. Only a few high treble sounds were a bit sharp. Maybe some burn-in will help.
I think these are really neat but I'm still mixed on the sound leakage issue with open back cans.
Pros - Super clear sound
Cons - Long wire, double sided cords, very uncomfortable!
I owned Grado SR80i's in the past and kept reading that the SR225i's were better, so I went to exchange my SR80i's for the SR225i's. And they were right, these were better! Everything that the SR80i's had, the SR225i's did better! The sound was even clearer, although bass seem to stay to the same. To compensate for this, I used an EQ.
Now the cons for these cans are the same for the SR80i's. The design is the same, except now there is a metal grill instead of the plastic that is found on the SR80i. The wire length is pretty much the same, except the SR225i's might be a little longer since you have to use a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter (The SR225i has a 1/4 jack). The wire might be a little thicker than the SR80i's, I might be wrong, but the difference isn't noticeable.
Now the worst thing about these headphones are the pads. The SR80i's utilize the comfy pads, the SR225i's have the "bowl" pads. After a short period of listening, your ears will be in utter pain from the exposed speaker (In the center of the pads). I constantly have to adjust the headphones or take breaks, because my ears kept pressing against this hard surface. I haven't done so yet, but I may buy separate comfy pads and switch them out and do the "quarter mod". I can always switch between the two.
Although, these are very uncomfortable, I would highly recommend these headphones, because they sound suuperb. These are considered to be the "sweet spot" of the Prestige series. To compensate for the comfort, I suggest either getting comfys separately or Sennheiser 414 pads, like others have mentioned.
Pros - Comfortable (For me), Engaging, Great Mids, Fun, Easy to Drive
Cons - May be uncomfortable for long periods of time, Feels a bit cheap, Lack of bass
I was searching for a "fun" headphone that I would enjoy listening to. I started looking at the SR80i's and the SR60i's, until I tried the SR225i and couldn't go back. There was a big difference in sound and comfort for me. Perhaps it was only the bowls (I didn't try the lower models with the bowl pads) but there was enough of a noticeable difference for me to opt for the higher model. What I noticed was a great increase in instrument separation, slightly increased soundstage, and improved clarity. Additionally, I found the bowls to be much more comfortable than the "comfies", which made my ears warm after only 15 minutes of listening. The vinyl headband was not a big problem for me. I found the clamping pressure to be perfect, and not as strong as the Sennheiser 558/598's I tried.
For $200, these are not the most balanced or do-it-all headphone out on the market in the price range. There are obvious flaws with the headphone, mostly with the lack of neutrality, build quality, and comfort for some (though I had no problems with this). There may be a lack of "oomph" in the bass for some people, and the soundstage is nothing to brag about. However, these were never meant to, I think, be serious reference or studio quality headphones. They were meant to make you enjoy your music, and to get your feet tapping. If you are looking for a complimentary headphone or a rock centric headphone, look no further.
Pros - Clarity, Detail
Cons - Comfort
This is my first purchase of a higher end set of cans. I consider over $100 to be high end. The most expensive earphones I've purchased before was the $80 in ear phones from apple w/microphone. I didn't think they sounded that bad until I purchased the Grado's. I read a bunch of reviews and did some research before I decided on the Grado's. I went to a local audio store and decided to have a listen. I tested out the SR60's through the SR325's. Though they all sounded great, I could tell the difference between all of them. Without going into details, I can tell you that the sound stage gets a little better with each step up. My plan was going into the store to buy the SR60's because I wanted to stay under $100. As I listened to each set over and over again, I kept going back to the SR225's because of the fullness and amazing details I was hearing. I really enjoyed the SR325's because there was little more bass, but I couldn't justify the $300 price tag. I've been listening to the SR225's for a couple of weeks now and can't believe what I've been missing until now. These cans are truly amazing and I would gladly pay $200 or more for good set of cans. Now, I'm looking into something more on the bass end, like the DT770's or something from Ultrasone.
Pros - Excellent Mids and Highs, crisp detail, easy to drive
Cons - uncomfortable out of box for long listening periods
I purchased these after having realized that I'm not a big fan of the Sennheiser soundstage. I was looking at he HD595's, but similarly to the 555's, I found them to be a little too broad of a sound for me, without picking up on detail. I heard Grado's prominent mids and respectable high's would be good for me, and I fell in love with the sound immediately. The high's at first are a bit too forward maybe before wearing them in, but they soften up with use, and the bass is subtle and punchy without being boosted or muddy (I find the bass to bleed too much with the sennheiser 5x5 headphones, and have never been fond of overdone bass in the first place).
NOW...the cost this greatness comes at for me is a dilemma regarding comfort. The bowl pads these come with are on ear, and not well cushioned. I know some people do not mind this, but I find after 20 minutes or so of listening, my earlobes begin to ache from the uneven clamping on them. There are replacement pads, and various mods to remedy this however.
In general, I find the grado's to provide excellent clarity, respond favourably to hardware EQ modifications, and are VERY easy to drive. Generally these sound fantastic with rock, metal, and some folk/bluegrass. A lot of people do not prefer these for classical, but I think that depending on the type of classical music, these can be very good (Classical romantics such as Felix Mendelssohn, as well as more moderns like Debussy and Berlioz sound great).
If you're looking for an affordable set of phones, and aren't just looking for something bass heavy to complement your Michael Bay DVD collection...I couldn't recommend these enough. These headphones provide me the experience of finally being INVOLVED in what I'm listening to, rather than being just a witness to sound...just be ready to shop around for mods or different pads if you find them uncomfortable at first.
Pros - Clarity, emphasized midrange, lightweight
Cons - Lackluster bass (stock)
Paid MSRP at baybloorradio.com, which has a high markup. Picked these over the SR325is because they were significantly lighter. Reviewed with a Nuforce uDac.
Audio: What can be said about the Grado house sound? It's a love-or-hate intimate style. Electric and acoustic guitars simply rock on this headphone, as do instrumental pieces with few key instruments. However, the bass is rather anemic at stock.
Design: Being lightweight is good. However, free rotation of the cups is an issue, and there is crimping on the cable near the Y splitter. The left side gave out after 2.5 years due to this crimping, but the fine folks at Ring Audio (http://www.ringaudio.com) repaired it nicely.
Comfort: I find them quite comfortable, but I have small ears. They are amazingly light at 200g, and if you wash the bowl pads to soften them up, they become even more comfortable. People like to complain about the vicegrip clamp out of the box, but it's easy to bend the headband to your desired clamping level.
Recommended buy if you are aware of the bass deficiency and can work around it.
EDIT (Aug 2011): The bass (and as a result, audio quality) can be improved greatly by using the vent mod. This is preferred over taping the bowl pads since it won't muffle the midrange. By venting 7 small pinpricks on the felt around the driver, the bass of the SR225i increases to the point where it's slightly less powerful than that of the HF2. Of course, if you prefer even more bass, you may vent all 10 holes and make all the holes larger. The star ratings for audio quality and overall reflect the sound with the vent mod; -1 star at stock.
EDIT (Feb 2012): Decided to vent all 10 holes, then enlarge two of the pinprick holes all the way. Wow! Now they sound almost as good as an RS1i, and so sound quality and overall rating are now 5 stars!