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Grado GH2

Rating:
5/5,
  1. reginalb
    Great sounding, comfortable headphones
    Written by reginalb
    Published Nov 28, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Extremely comfortable
    Beautiful to behold
    Amazing mids and highs
    Cons - A bit weak down low
    They were cabled by Grado
    I just spent a little over a week with the Grado GH2 headphones, provided graciously by TTVJ Audio, and I begin my writeup with them sitting on my head – I’m actually listening to rock on them for the first time – perhaps blasphemy for Grados, but I had to get one rock session in before sending them back!

    In short – if not for a recent pet related emergency coming on the heels of a kitchen remodel and an overseas vacation, all during the Christmas season – I’d be buying them right now. As it stands, my wife would probably have grounds for divorce if I did

    But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a moment to review my usage of them:

    I tried to use a variety of sources, and compare them mainly to an elder big brother, the original Grado PS1000 headphones – my personal flagships. But I also did a bit of comparison to my Sony MDR-1ABT headphones (fed from my phone via LDAC – so it’s high quality Bluetooth).

    Sources used were: directly out of the phone (Google Pixel XL – first generation), at my desk from a Schiit Valhalla 2 (DAC used is a Behringer UCA-222), my HiFiman 801, and my Sony ZX1.

    For listening material, I used my rocking Grados mainly to listen to pop and jazz. A lot of Renee Olstead, Norah Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ella and Louis together, a bit of Sonny Stitt, The Hot Sardines, Macy Gray, Beck, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis. Right now I’m using them to listen to a bit of AC/DC to redeem myself. These are generally who I listen to when I work, and that’s where I did a lot of listening. I also did some critical listening while in bed.

    My sources include a mix of lossy and lossless, and quite a bit of Google Play Music – streaming at 320kbps (MP3).

    The Good

    Overall, I love these headphones. What first caught my eye is that they’re quite beautiful, and in person they do not disappoint. They’re also the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. I have a pretty big dome – I wear a little north of 7.5 in fitted hats. It’s a big head. And I have an 18 inch neck, so it’s not like I can’t hold up a heavy set of cans. I wear the PS1000 headphones – which are pretty heavy – for hours at a time and really don’t mind. A lot of headphones are tight on my head (my MDR-1ABT’s that my wife shares don’t fit that well – they squeeze a bit).

    Grados can be adjusted to not squeeze, and both these and the PS1000’s fit nicely. The difference, though, is the weight. These weigh virtually nothing. I barely notice them on my head at all. They can just sit up there on my head and I don’t have to ever take them off. I even listened to a football game while I worked on helping cook dinner at the in-laws house for Thanksgiving. They just disappear on your head. Love that. Since most of my listening is while I work and I leave them on for long hours this is a huge plus for me.

    Past the physical, there’s the sound. In short, they sound great. They’re not a set of cans for a bass head, but I’m not one. I love the stand up bass, it’s probably my favorite instrument, but that’s not the house shaking sub-bass that bass heads look for. The bass is tight, but not earth shattering. My 801 is running Rockbox, of course, and I did bump the bass with the EQ, and it helped a bit. But if you’re looking for something that shakes you – well then why are you in a Grado thread any way? Go away!

    The mids and treble are where Grado’s shine, and these aren’t an exception. Plenty of detail, I love female vocalists, and they all sound glorious from these. Norah, Ella, they rarely sound better than they do here.

    In comparison to the PS1000’s, they really are right there. The PS1000’s I believe have a bigger driver (50mm vs 44mm – correct me if I’m wrong here) and that does make a difference when it comes to bass response. While still not the basshead’s dream, the PS1000’s can produce a rumble that these just can’t. Again, that’s even with the help of some EQ. But for the right source, these sound great.

    There’s more contrast to the Sony MDR-1ABT than comparison. These are more comfortable to me, and provide a ton of detail at the mids and highs, while leaving a bit at the low end, and the Sony is the opposite, lots down low offset by a bit less detail at the mids and highs. They complement each other well. The Sony cans also offer a bit more isolation than these open cans can.

    The Bad

    Back to the bass (this is the last time I’ll mention it – I promise). Less rumble, though it’s tight and well controlled, than some others. But they’re Grado’s, what do you expect?

    They’re also not super sensitive. Everything I threw at them could drive them, but I had to push the volume way up with some of my sources. My phone was almost maxed out driving them. The ZX1 can drive them just fine though, and that isn’t very powerful. As an example, I know from experience that they just barely can’t drive the AKG Q701. Some loud tracks worked, but overall the ZX1 couldn’t handle those, and it can drive these Grados without issue. Still, If you have a really low power phone it’s possible it won’t drive them. Any dedicated amp or DAP should be fine.

    Also, they’re cabled by Grado. That means they have Grado cables. If you’ve ever owned Grados, you’ll understand why I am putting this under “The Bad.” They’re a bit annoying. This particular pair have been well cared for and not used for years, so they’re still OK. But they exhibit the same qualities that cause the cables to twist a bit over time and make you wonder why Grado can’t figure out cables like every other manufacturer ever.

    The Ugly

    These are a beautiful, comfortable pair of headphones that can almost run with the flagship cans of Grado from just a few years (fine, 8) ago. Those cans cost what was then considered staggeringly expensive for a pair of headphones ($1,700), which is still more than 2.5x what these cost. I won’t go so far so to say that they’re a great “Value,” but I do think they’re worth the cost of admission.
      voxie and ngoshawk like this.
  2. Audiotistic
    Grado GH2 - Audio perfection
    Written by Audiotistic
    Published Jul 24, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Phenomenal sound quality, open and airy with amazing clarity and balance, outstanding build quality, stunning good looks, thick cable that is the perfect length (imo)
    Cons - No accessories or case, somewhat pricey, foam earpads could be a little less scratchy, earcups spin 360 degrees, limited run
    Let me preface this by saying this is the first pair of Grado's that I've ever listened to. I got into a loaner program that was setup by Todd from TTVJaudio. These were his personal pair of GH2's so big shout out to him for the opportunity to listen to these phenomenal headphones. You can pick up a pair of them while supplies last here: http://www.ttvjaudio.com/Grado_GH2_Open_Headphone_p/gra0000799.htm


    I will try my best to put into words the experience I had with the Grado GH2's. But first, let me go over my initial impressions upon opening the uninspiring package.

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    The box was very minimal with absolutely nothing included except the GH2's wrapped in a foam cutout. When I pulled them out, I immediately noticed how light the headphones were and the amazingly thick cable (a plus in my book). I like that each earcup has it's own cord, unlike my Beyer DT770's which only have one of the left earcup, although that does make it easier to figure out which side is which when putting them on. The cable was also just the right length for me, not too long and not too short. I do 90% of my listening at my computer desk so having a long snake of a cord that can get run over by my chair, like my DT770's, doesn't work well for me. The cocobolo wood cups are very attractive and you can tell these are hand finished with care. My plastic DT770's are the opposite of these, while not being a bad looking headphone, they certainly don't have that high end look.

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    Upon placing them on my head I immediately disliked the scratchy foam pads which didn't fit the shape of my ears very well. This is my first pair of supra-aural headphones so this experience was a new one to me. I'm so used to my DT770's that anything else just feels foreign, and not in a good way. Even my newly acquired Samson SR850's are circumaural and very comfortable. I also didn't like how the earcups can rotate all the way around. Every time I picked them up to wear them, I constantly had to spin them around so the foam pad is facing inwards.

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    Then I hit play. All of my previous gripes and complaints were melted away by the pure audio bliss that was being projected into my unsuspecting ears. I was completely blown away by the smooth balanced soundstage that was presented to me. I could hear every nuance and detail of all my favorite recordings from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to Return to Forever and Spectrum. It felt like I was in the room while they were recording the songs.

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    The bass is tight, controlled and detailed without any bloating or accentuated frequencies. These don't have tons of sub bass but I knew that going in, something that I don't mind a lot but others might. Mid bass is very smooth with an airy quality that sounds superb.

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    Mids are clear and present without being too overbearing, vocals sound absolutely stunning. I didn't find any part of the mid range to be lacking, recessed, or restrained in any way.

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    Treble is well represented without any sibilance or harshness of any kind. The sparkle and refinement is unlike anything I've heard before. It's smooth and detailed while being open and airy, clarity is a word that comes to mind here.

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    Everything seems to be so well balanced, the tuning is perfect in my opinion. There's a sense of openness that I absolutely fell in love with. Overall these were the best sounding headphones I've had the pleasure of slipping on my head. If I had the money to spend, I would most definitely pick up a pair of these. I will definitely be buying a pair of Grado's in the future, this experience has made me a huge fan of the work they do.
      JoeDoe, Oni-Wan Kenobi and ngoshawk like this.
  3. ngoshawk
    An Open-eared paradise Bob Marley would approve of
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published May 28, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Light, easy fit, excellent sound stage, wonderfully open characteristics (made me laugh with joviality!), wonderfully crafted, and a wonderful sound finishes off this brilliant open-ear.
    Cons - Python-like cable. No case. Limited to 1300 (I think) units..
    Grado GH-2, Limited Edition

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    Cocobolo wood: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocobolo: Because it stands up well to repeated handling and exposure to water, a common use is in gun grips and knife handles. It is very hard, fine textured, and dense, but is easily machined, although due to the abundance of natural oils, the wood tends to clog abrasives and fine-toothed saw blades, like other very hard, very dense tropical woods. Due to its density and hardness, even a large block of the cut wood will produce a clear musical tone if struck and is used in oboes, for example the Howarth XL model. The oboe has a "warm, rich palette." Cocobolo can be polished to a lustrous, glassy finish.


    http://www.howarth.uk.com/acrobat/2015-Howarth-Professional-Oboes-WEB.pdf



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    I feel like I should be overlooking Lake Superior, drinking local Widow Maker Black Ale or Pick Axe Blonde Ale, or both (!) as I listen to the GH-2, watching the sunset on another fantastic day. That is the setting the Grado’s put me in…and I do not mind one darn bit. But my local “Old Tom” Brown Porter will have to do, and it is darn good, too.



    [​IMG] + [​IMG] =
    [​IMG] Me as I listened and laughed at my indoctrination to this:arrow_down:

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    With my initial listen, I was glad that I had requested a listen to the GH-2, Grado’s next open-ear limited edition. I will admit two things right up front: As I listened to Ziggy Marley and Dragonfly through my Shanling M1 and the Grado’s, I laughed. I laughed almost uncontrollably at how magnificent a sound was embracing my ears. A sound so pure and sweet, that I could not help but laugh. A laugh of sheer unadulterated joy was leaving my body. And it was a good thing, that others were not present, for I would have been whisked to Bellevue, and the Psych Ward for careful observation. I was very glad. I am doing it again, as I listen to the magnificent live version for eTown Webisode #756 (). I cannot nor do I want to get Ziggy out of my brain, or stop laughing. My family looks at me like THEY should take me to Bellevue… What a fabulously underrated musician Ziggy is…He is my daughter’s favorite. I love my daughter very much. Everybody’s worried about time. But I just keep that **** off my mind. People living on 24-hour clock. But we’re on a ride that never stops. Time stopped while I listened. And it was good.



    And number two: I have never heard a Grado headphone before. Yes, that is the honest truth. Never. I have seen them, but never heard one Grado before… From my readings, the Grado family got this one right, paying homage to their hereditary line in quite an honorable manner. I do not want to give these back. And if this is how Grado does business (and they do), then I can understand the fanaticism. I have heard their fabulous phono cartridges, and aspire to add one to my Linn Sondek Axis in the future. Smitten would be too soft a word. Lust would be incorrect too. Reverence for history would be more appropriate. It is all I can do, not to go purchase one right now, and sell another of equal value to offset the cost. Man, these are good.

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    Bob Marley soon follows, and seems more than fitting for the way the Grado’s are treating me. Quite nice actually, as I grab another beer.



    I feel as if I am now part of a rich heritage. A heritage that has spanned three generations, deep within the psyche of American Music, started with turntable cartridges. One that those in the know (me now, thankfully) pine for not because it is hip or the “in thing” but because their products are so damn fine. Much is said about a certain fine British automobile company that used to do business this way. Without pretense, or advertising; because it was not needed. Sadly, that company has succumbed to the advertising-bug. But much against the tide, Grado remains true to their roots. Relying upon word of mouth, they don’t need to advertise. This might be the quintessential company that allows its product to speak. And speak with a reverent tone to its past. One that others immediately listen to, because it speaks with quiet authority and knowledge, which can be gained if you are willing to listen.

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    Thankfully, I was…and I am glad. Very glad, indeed.



    Audio Specs:
    Transducer Type: Dynamic
    Operating Principle: Open Air
    Frequency Response: 14 - 28,000 hz
    SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB
    Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
    Driver Matched dB: .05 dB
    Vented diaphragm
    Cocobolo air chamber
    UHPLC copper voice coil
    HPlC copper connecting cable





    About me:
    I am older. I am happy that I have rediscovered the joy of music, through personal listening devices. Through this opportunity, I have become exposed to some wonderful kit. Much I now own, much I covet. Much I would never purchase, for various reasons.

    My listening style has changed somewhat over the years…from old time Rock-n-Roll to the Blues to Reggae, to Bluegrass. I cut my teeth on Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, The Who, Santana, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bob Marley, and Pink Floyd. But the music I hold dearest and nearest my soul, is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I was lucky enough to see him perform four times…twice in open air venues, followed by (that evening each time!!!) smoky blues bars, where intimate would be an understatement. Each holds a very special place in my psyche, and I can almost remember the whole of each concert in their entirety…

    I enjoy a warmer signature in my equipment, and listening, with a good bass line (but not basshead), complimented by outstanding vocals. Combine the sweetness of SRV’s guitar and Billy Holiday’s voice, and you get my musical grove.

    Through too much hearing loss of high end (loud car stereo as a teenager with a car…), I cannot quite fathom the differences of sound that those experts on Head-Fi do. So, I try to accommodate with subtle differences…detailed differences wrought from my days banding birds, and working bird surveys where it was imperative that I separate what kind of Warbler, or Flycatcher, or Sparrow that was, and from what direction and elevation change the song originated. I used my deficiencies of treble-loss to my benefit; searching for that sound, which was not there a moment before. I got pretty darn good at it. And, I TRY to use that same methodology to separate details enough to offer a modicum of differentiation in the product at hand. I like to think I’m doing OK. But can always improve…




    Gear tested/compared:

    MacBook Pro

    Shanling M1/M5

    FiiO x5iii/A5

    iFi iDSD Micro Black Label/iTubes2


    Audioquest Nighthawk

    Audioquest Nightowl

    Meze 99 Classics (still borrowed!)

    Unique Melody Martian (just because I can…)



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    Build/Initial wows:

    Not having experience with Grado, except their turntable cartridges, my expectations were high; and happily they were met. Top quality build, except for one glue spot, which was lacking, an overall excellent fit and finish was held in my hand. Some complain about the “Anaconda-like” cord, and I would agree somewhat. For the light nature of the headphone itself, the cord does seem out of place. Except when you remember that the cord is attached, and replacing it would be a smidge troubling. So, an acceptable trade off in my mind. Place the cord appropriately, and never mind how thick it is.

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    And that Cocobolo wood is a sight to behold. Using only the heartwood (the hardest of the tree), the color is magnificent. The stain used matches the quality and look of the wood, adding a very nice compliment to the overall appeal. Surrounding the driver, cradling the driver, the wood does justice to the unit. I am also quite surprised at how light the critter is, overall. Me thinks the cable actually weighs more than the headphone itself.



    Looking through the mesh backing, one can see the driver and associated wiring. Adding a bit of color, the red electronics adds a nice touch. Not that the unit is boring without it. Think of adding red cable ends, spoke nipples or bolts to your mountain bike. Or a fine old red bike...It adds a nice touch, and can actually reduce weight.



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    I do think the overall look of the GH-2 is quite brilliant, hearkening back to an earlier time, where the units sound itself is the focus, not what the critter looks like. But oh man, what a look…a definite retro-look, but still very, very cool; especially knowing what the GH-2’s sound like. And that is quite virtuous. A look, which while throwing back to the 50’s, is timeless, to me. And I must say, that with my initial listen, I was laughing uncontrollably at how something, which looks like it should have gone out with the old radio action shows, could sound soooo good! To say I was impressed would not do full justice to the experience my gray cranial matter was undergoing.


    Many complain about the foam pads, stating that for something in this price range, the foam is beneath itself. I say bollocks, order some of the G, S or L-pads and call it good. Experiment! I can certainly tolerate the OEM pads. Foam yes, but that does not bother me.


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    Isolation in headphones is for sissies...at least in this case...


    And that about sums up the GH-2’s. I can be playing them at a moderate level, and hold a conversation at the same time. AND, the co-conversant can barely hear the sound coming out. A true open headphone, that space is needed for the survival of the sound. Place your hand over the grill on the outside, much like you would see in any headphone advert from “those companies,” and you lose the sound completely. The Grado’s are meant to BREATHE. And they are at their bloody best when they do. Again, that grin appears on my face, and it makes sense. And I don't care what people think, as they look at me laughing...


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    A single adjustable rod for up/down fit on your ears, is geniusly-simple. And it works. Feeding a fairly stiff two-rod leather-bound head strap, you are again presented with simple elegance. And it works. The drivers mounted to that rod via a swivel system, which provides enough adjusting so you can find a comfortable fit. This is one of the first, where I can equally wear the unit with or without a hat. Only the ends of the plastic straps, which hold the driver show signs of less than stellar craftsmanship. The cutting/finishing of the ends does not match up as well as one would expect, but that is superficial to me, and lends that hand-crafted feel to the unit.


    Overall, I like the build, fit and feel of the unit. I went for a couple of several hour runs (not actually running…) with this fit, so it does work.

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    Sound impressions:


    This was pretty easy from the get go…I liked the GH-2. I liked them a lot. Providing to me a very satisfying sound, which rests upon ample mids, right in the center (to me), and excellent supporting treble and bass. From what I read, this is a slight departure for Grado, in the taming of their treble. Since I am treble sensitive I certainly did not mind. Add to that a bass push, which again seemed out of character from my readings, and you are presented with a thoroughly satisfying open and airy sound. With enough bass to satisfy those who prefer more than neutral, the overall character would be of a warm rich nature. Especially when you throw in the iFi iTube 2 for good measure. That tube pre-amp sound simply oozes goodness and a flash-to-the-past sound not unlike a fine McIntosh sound. I have fond memories of a friends McIntosh system….some day….some day…


    What the iTube2 does is melt my brain with gooeyness. To take something that already sounds wonderful, and is a known throwback is fantastic. To then add a very fine tube pre-amp into the equation, is almost too much to take…almost. I got another beer and enjoyed the melodious sounds of Ziggy and SRV some more.


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    Needless to say, this is a thoroughly satisfying sound on par with the best of this price range. I will not say that this punches above its weight, because I really believe that if the unit at hand is sufficient to your listening needs, and satisfies those needs; then WHO CARES!!! Price is irrelevant, as is its “punching ability,” to me. I have several “cheap” IEM’s, which sound darn good, regardless of what they cost. It is the sound I like, not the price. And I mean this in the best way regarding the Grado’s. It is the sound, which draws me in, enveloping me in that light airy sound (except when hooked to the iTube2, that is just dreamy-rich in a lush tone worthy of a pillow-laden palace), honest of value and respectful of how the artist recorded the sound. If the artist recorded it that way, then that is the way the Grado’s present it. You may certainly EQ the sound, but the GH’s are one of the truest sounding headphones I have heard (albeit it a smaller sample size).


    The sound is so pleasing to me that I immediately had the hamsters in my brain trying to figure out a way to purchase these even if that meant selling another pair. A real possibility after hearing the GH-2 through my little Shanling M1. If that kind of sound can draw me out, then I have no way but to go up with the gear I pair the Grado with. Very interesting possibilities, indeed! I truly am at a loss of words.

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    Listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s excellent live version of Look at Little Sister is an excellent case in point. That old blues riff from Tommy Shannon on Bass comes through just as it should, supporting Stevie’s excellent voice and guitarmanship. His switch when the string breaks is a case where not only is SRV a Master at what he does, but with a single look, his stage crew seamlessly changes guitars. Not…missing…a…beat…Magical, it was. And I can say that the second time I saw SRV live, the same thing happened, at Starlight Theater in KC. And went off the same way, without a hitch. Much the way the GH-2’s portray the sound. Just the way it should be…No fuss, no bother even when it does not work out. Just a workmanship-like effort from all. Knowing the string is broken, SRV lowers by a chord his riff, and without missing a beat. The GH-2’s happily come along, playing through whatever the source, or sound. It just comes along with no fuss, doing its job.




    Playing Ziggy’s I Am A Human, provides an excellent support to the SRV songs I played, and is just a fantastic synergy of not only culture, but of vibrant tube-loving warm-full sound. With a rich, textured bass that reaches down and plays a very strong foundation, to the support instruments in the mids and Ziggy’s voice taking front and center (but not boisterous) in a reverent tone, the song pretty much typifies what the iTube2 brings to the table, when working with the Grado. I am thoroughly impressed at the partnership, and do not want to let EITHER go anytime soon…




    I cannot get over how open and airy the GH-2 is. This is a stunning unit, and I appreciate the Grado sound more each day I use it.

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    Select comparisons:


    Audioquest Nightowl ($699) v Grado GH-2 ($650):


    The Nightowl is more mellow, laid back. But at a cost of detail, when compared to the Grado. The GH-2 is simply a fabulous open, airy sound with just enough bass to keep your interest. And if you put on the right EQ settings, it can do very well.


    Reece Wynan’s keyboard solo was laid back, and BEHIND the main point with the Nightowl in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Look at Little Sister-Austin City Limits live version. With the Grado, his excellent solo was right up front, where is should be, to me, unless you were there live.


    Deep and dark, laid back like a hooka-bar vs open airy and smooth like a mountain hike on a wildflower-laden spring day. Everything seems to be there for everything else in the NO. In the GH-2, all are allowed to be separate and show their character.


    It seems like there is a slight reverb in Lenny, with the Grado. More like a live version. With the NO, it is studio, or very-small venue. Again, I prefer the Grado sound.

    Ziggy’s Dragonfly gives another good comparison of the two companies philosophies. The Grado’s give that open airy sound again (did I mention that already?...), but this time the vocals are pushed further forward. Almost too far forward. The NO’s on the other hand get it right this time. Ziggy sings to us, and it is right and good. I really appreciate both companies approach, to that final presentation. Both are quite good at what they do. Here the differences are closer than in the SRV songs. Other than the forward mids of the Grado, the NO provides much the same experience, but with that laid-back signature. Quite pleasant in both regards.

    I am a Human highlights the one sound weakness that I think the Grado has…lack of a real bass punch. It does hit, just not as forceful as I would like at this level. The NO gives that little extra hit, which I do appreciate. That said the GH-2 is not bass shy by any means (to me). It is quite good, and does drive when needed, such as the later bass line in the song. The overall signature is so good though, that this is an acceptable trade-off to me. The signature is of such a frolicking-fun nature, that one can overlook this slightly bass-shy quality. The rest makes up for that. Add a proper EQ setting to your pleasure, and that deficiency might well be cured.


    The Grado also sounds better at lower volumes. The open nature helps here, in my opinion. It is a headphone, which can be played at lower volumes and one can still enjoy it. Easy to drive, the GH just goes with whatever the situation.


    Audioquest Nighthawk ($450) v Grado GH-2 ($650):


    Comparing the two of these fine headphones makes more sense, even with the price difference. Again the Grado is a very open pleasing sound, and one in which I like very much. The NH is also an open, albeit a semi-open headphone. My NH’s have approximately 250hrs on them, and I was careful to wait until after the recommended burn-in time to evaluate them.


    The NH is a more intimate sound, with a narrower sound stage (to me), and one with good height. Depth is average, but well represented. Vocals are pushed slightly forward when compared to the Nightowl, but not as far as the GH-2. An overall impression of “natural” comes to mind. The NH sounds to me like I am listening to a fine portable unit, on a sunny spring day, but from behind the laundry I just hung out to dry. I would not call it a veiled sound, but one of a certain distance from me, if possible. Very accurate of representation, along with good instrumentation, the NH suffers (to me) from that distant sound. Similar to the Nightowl, it is a bit harder to drive. A good solid sound, it is. One where its accuracy can either help or hurt the presentation, depending upon the song at hand.

    [​IMG]

    The GH-2, on the other hand gives that open sound, with to me a slightly tighter bass. As if the sheets/laundry are lifted from in front of you. A thinner overall presentation takes a knock here, when compared to the Nighthawk, but that is not all bad. What might be overwhelming coming from the Nighthawk, such as Screen from twenty one pilots, is quite pleasant and just about right coming from the Grado. This is a case of personal taste…do you want that thicker natural sound of the Nighthawk, represented by an accurate, but slightly covered sound; or do you want that open bearing-it-all-to-the-world sound of the Grado….think running stark naked through (with shoes on…) your field of wildflowers, and you get the Grado. Free to express itself, but not without a bit of shock.


    The Nighthawk on the other hand would be that fine linen clothing set one wears while in the same field. You can certainly appreciate both, and I do.


    Playing Guns For Hands, brings out the best and worst of both. In this setting, when compared to the thicker sound of the Nighthawk, the Grado does sound a bit thin, and weak. While the Nighthawk is quite robust here, it almost seems forced. Pushing the volume pot up, the Nighthawk was meant to be driven, and driven at a respectable volume to shine. So, where the Grado sounds a bit weak, and peaky of treble, when high volume is played; its ability to sound simply superb at lower volume makes it for me. I can listen and hold a conversation. And without my visitors hearing much of my music. This is a wonderful aspect of the Grado.




    That said, when re-acclimated to the GH-2 after listening to the Nighthawk, the Grado is stunning. A near-perfect synergy of decent grab in a well-controlled bass, mids to die for, and a toned treble, which hits my palate perfectly, the overall presentation is simply splendid.

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    You see it, right? I think this is Grado calling the industry what it is, and doing their own thing...And I could not agree more. These are superb.

    Finale:


    If I had to sum the Grado GH-2 up in three words, they would be open, airy and accurate. An honest accurate representation of what the respective artists intended, the GH-2 is a wonderful headphone, which from what I have read takes a slight departure from the typical Grado-house-sound. Even though this was my indoctrination into the Grado open headphone world, I wholeheartedly agree with this tuning. As stated, I was literally laughing the first time I applied my music through the Shanling M1. I could not believe what a sound was coming from the duo. It indeed made me giddy with laughter, and I quickly appreciated what was happening.


    What the Grado does is provide one with the avenue to find their sound. And find that sound extremely well. In this price point, the GH-2 takes a different approach from the standard fare of others. Priced below some near-iconic headphones, a simple listen will provide you with a conundrum of confusion. Does one really need to spend more than this to reach audio bliss, or their musical happy note? Well, that dear reader is for you to decide. But I will postulate that one would be hard pressed to pass these fine qualities of which I have espoused above unless you were to spend significantly more.

    [​IMG]

    I will not lie; I did immediately start to think about selling both of my Audioquest pairs (at least one, anyway…) to fund a purchase of the Grado. Doing the math in my head (amongst the laughter, and my head was jumbly-upped at that point), I concluded if I had to, I would sell the Nighthawk, to fund the Grado….That said, after a thorough comparison, I am not so sure. I had forgotten how much I really like the Nighthawk, and still do. Even after side-by-side comparisons with the GH-2.


    I do think the GH-2 would be a perfect compliment to the Nightowl. A different “house-sound” which could be used in my comparisons of the fine audio equipment I have been lucky enough to audition/own/will audition. Providing the Yin to the Nightowl’s Yang, the salt to the Nightowl’s pepper, this would be a stunning combination of headphones. Conversely, I would be perfectly content keeping both Audioquest units, but I would always have that little ping in the back of my mind…wondering…what if…what if I did indeed force the Nighthawk out allowing room for the GH’s…what if, indeed.


    I want to again thank @TTVJ from Todd the Vinyl Junkie. This is my second lucky audition with him, and I would highly recommend getting on board. To think that Todd would generously loan out equipment of this nature is a genuine benefit to Head-Fi. I am thoroughly impressed by all he does, and will not hesitate to jump on board, again. It truly was my honor to participate. Now, to fund that Grado…

      cbf123, voxie, jrflanne and 3 others like this.