Grado GS1000e

General Information

The large chambers fit around your ears, not on top of them, creating a private listening booth. Air flows with the music to keep you comfortable while marveling at the clarity and range. Our select Mahogany tone-woods are hand matched for aesthetic beauty, just as our phenomenal drivers are individually matched for sonic consistency.

…the company's ultimate art-not-science blend of style, performance, and comfort, with lightweight, oversized mahogany earpieces that would make your dad jealous — and sound that anyone with a discerning eardrum would kill for
- The Verge, Paul Miller

The hand-crafted mahogany earpieces utilize an intricate curing process that optimizes the tonal quality while giving them a new look. The GS1000e uses 50mm dynamic transducers and the new 12 conductor cable design. The wood, driver, and cable designs, result in tight control and stability of the upper and lower range of the frequency spectrum to support the GS1000e's world renowned midrange. Grado's GS1000e cushion design actually creates a 'room' for the ears to sit, with a larger soundstage and greater spatial experience for the listener. It was most important to design the correct balance between the driver and our wooden driver housing to give us the pure sound we crave. We believe the GS1000e are one of the most comfortable headphones on the market today. The GS1000e retains a sound that is pure Grado, with warm harmonic colors, rich full bodied vocals, excellent dynamics, and an ultra-smooth top end. The presentation is very detailed, the bass is deep, and the music is very tight while non-fatiguing. All with stunning separation and layering of the music.

Latest reviews

KT66

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Effortless hi end sound, stunning wooden cups
Cons: Maybe look and feel of foam cups, but these are not for outdoors
The GS1000e's are over ear, open back headphones. They are part of the Grado Statement range.
 
I had the wonderful opportunity to try these out before xmas, so thought I'd share my thoughts, the review has taken ages to write, making a final decision on these headphones has been very difficult for a number of reasons, that I will explain.
 
First Impressions
Well the cardboard box didn't give any hint of the wonders inside, the packaging could be for a SR60, if the GS1000e was written on the box you wouldn't know.
Maybe the retail version will have a nicer box? Should we be bothered? Do we want to pay extra for a nice box?
This is where companies like Hifiman and Hisoundaudio excel, or used to, the opening of the package and box was quite special.
 
So not the best of starts. If that type of thing concerns you, Appleboys won't be initially impressed!  
 
Me?, I'd rather not pay extra for a fancy box. Maybe it could be an add on extra?
 
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Build
The wood is simply stunning, now you see where the money goes, the cups produce an automatic “woooh” when someone sees them.
 
The thick cables ooze quality.
Compared to my SR60, when held in the hand they feel like an “S Class (Merc) compared to the 190e (Merc) of the SR60.
 
Then the foam cup/cushion.......it feels like it's on the wrong product, like an afterthought, a last minute addition to the design, it's soft, slightly flappy
and reminds me of the collars you put on cats to stop them from biting themselves, it's like hard foam, don't think it's rubber.
 
The headband and sliders are typical Grado but definitely several notches up in quality compared to the SR range.
 
Look at the marketing shots of these cans, find me one that shows someone actually wearing them!
You won't, or I can't anyway.
Why?
Because they look crazy on the head, however if that bothers you then you are completely missing the point.
 
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Here my 9 year old son loving the Grados
 
 
I think Grado have made a no compromise, audio quality first product, it doesn't matter what they look like, if they make you look like a sick cat.
It doesn't matter that the foam cups seem like something you'd find on the floor of a plumbers van. The design produces world class sonics.
 
In a world defined by looks over performance (Apple, Beats, A&K etc) I find this enormously refreshing.
You won't wear these out of the home, you may even feel guilty about wearing in front of a loved one, or anyone, but put them on and nothing else matters,
If you look in the mirror you will laugh, or I did, maybe the free laughs are a hidden extra.
The world of psycho-acoustics tells us that being happier makes music sound better, so maybe Grado are on to something.
 
Could future headphones come with a joke book?
 
 
Sound.
This is it. For me anyway, nothing else matters, portable hifi doesn't require the “Wife Approval Factor” unlike the world of home hifi.
A few years ago I sold HiFi for a brief while in a Hi End shop in London. This particular place did have a particularly “well to do” clientel,
even so it was abundantly clear that the way boxes looked in peoples homes was incredibly important.
 
All HiFi manufacturers have this compromise they must meet, those who want to sell do anyway. This has resulted in products like tall slim floorstanding speakers,
that frankly sound awful, but they tick a lot of WAF boxes.
 
Luckily in the wonderful world of Head-Fi, we don't have this hurdle to jump over.
Of course some here value design and form very highly indeed, but for me and I guess loads of others, especially people with good 2 channel systems at home,
it's the audio quality that matters.
 
These Grado's are for home use only, the customer buying these won't be upgrading from Apple buds. They will probably already have a decent HiFi at home. 
 
The source to be used with these is an interesting subject in itself.
The default answer is a high end amp/dac, probably valves included somewhere, but with DAPs getting better and better, there is no reason why you can't sit at home
in any room you like if you have a DAP worthy.
 
If my 30 odd years being an audiophile has taught me anything, it's that Source First really is correct. Garbage in, Garbage out, etc – this is especially true for home HiFi and after a few years on Head Fi, I have still seen nothing to change my mind. So I believe this is true for Head-Fi also.
 
So plugging a £300 DAP or phone into these is going to get you nowhere, it's just going to show up the limitations of the source, for a start most won't drive them.
They certainly need a good amp to get them going,
 
I did have a lot of success driving these with my 901 and mini box, and most others I got to listen to also used this. I did have to turn up the HiFiMan more than ever before,
but this wasn't just to be louder.......oh no.
 
The GS1000e had a beautiful delicate presentation of the music, reminding me a lot of Quad electrostatics.
The are in charge of the music, and stamp their authority onthe sound. The sound is so inviting you want to turn it up more, another good sign from my Hi-Fi retail days.
These need, warrant and deserve better than any DAP can throw at them.
 
So the main source I used was my Audiolab M-DAC, (full system at bottom), it's seems like
a bargain these days but the superb implementation of the ESS9018 DACs and flat headphone amp that I find a great test for any headphones.
My main open cans at home are HD600s, I have had them for 15 years and still love them, either with my M-Dac or my X-Cans (both stock btw),
and I've never really felt the urge to upgrade.
 
Unfortunately this has now changed, I am not getting paid for this review, I have not been offered these at a discount or free (bugger), and in a way I wish I'd never heard them, but I am delighted I did.
 
I don't buy audio because of measurements, I look at the Headroom graph and I see a bumped bass around 100hz and a treble peak at about 8000hz.
I did not hear this at all.
 
The best word I can find to describe the sound is natural. The sound is effortless, it urges you to turn up to hear more, however even at low volumes the music is all there.
They definitely made my Sennheisers sound coloured in a way I had never noticed before.
 
Starting with something acoustic, (16/44 flac copy of my CD), Neil Youngs Unplugged was just lush beyond words, I was swimming in the music, the guitars sounded beautiful,
and the brushes on the snare had depth and texture. Neil's voice was presented perfectly. I can't fault this.
 
Next something not audiophile, Jason Falkner's sublime Author Unknown CD, early 90s, quite harsh, probably digital recording.
Whilst the Grados are very revealing, they are not overly harsh with this guitar based recording, on the wrong system this can give you a headache after a while,
but on these Grados I could listen forever, to what is probably my favourite album ever.
 
The sound is flat, but never brittle almost like listening through a very good valve amp, just a hint of lushness.
 
Next was a staple Hi-Fi dem disc of mine, Love in Vain from the SACD/DSD remaster of the Rolling Stones Let it Bleed.
This starts with some great sounding acoustic guitar, Mick’s voice sounds as rough as it should, then Charlie's snare kicks in, and it gets you.
In the heart though, not in the gut like a floorstanding speaker would, or indeed the HD600s.
DSC_0047.jpg
super talented band member Kev, loved them, 
 
Something in the bass was lacking, or was it? Was I just used to the colouration of my HD600s?
 
As ever I turn to other ears, ears I trust.
So I take along my 901 with Grados to a band rehearsal (I have a Northern Soul Covers band) – I get some great ears and and some younger ears to have a listen.
 
First up – Billy Jean DFF/DSD from Thriller SACD.
The intro alone is enough to tell me almost everything I need to know about any system.
It is inherently a great recording , but has a nasty digital haze across it, the thinness of the sound was fashionable in the early 80s.
Being a band we are of course music snobs, so the look on their faces when I suggested Billy Jean as a first listen to a £2k (ish) portable system, surprised them to say the least.
 
About 13 seconds is all it takes – on a good system, it works every time.
Have a listen, even the old CD sounds great. It's a great track for comparison because everyone knows it, but few people have heard it properly! No-one thought the bass
was light, just correct.
 
They all loved the sound, and they remarked less about the looks than I expected, they drooled over the dreamy wooden cups, but the price did raise an eye brow or two.
 
Back home – I thought I'd try it with my X-Cans, so played some records on the old fruit box. 
The MFSL pressing of Exodus really showed of the bass capabilities of the GS1000e, deep, fruity but not over powering.
 
Another MFSL pressing, this time Muddy Waters Folk Singer, one the finest sounding records ever made, and it sounded incredible, the details
all over the recording were vivid, The foot stomping, the coughs, it's all there.
 
Muddy's voice was captured in a way I don't think I have ever heard, on any system.
 
The Grados seemed delighted to be matched with the X-Cans. The little amp that keeps on giving.
 
Back to digital, and 24/44 of The Beatles shone on these headphones.
Here and at other times, I simply forgot I was wearing headphones, the music was all there and correct the details at times wondrous, 
Bits of Sgt Pepper I had never heard before, I love hearing new things in music that I love.
 
The Grados gave me that.
 
If I could I would buy them. I can't say more than that. The only downside is having the time at home to listen to them.
 
HD600s were glad to see the back them. I had a quick listen, and damn the colourations were still there!
 
The quirky looks don't bother me, they are super comfy, (I have big head and glasses)
They are the best headphones I have had at home by far.
 
Systems used
HiFiMan HM-901 with minibox
 
Dell XPS I7 desktop, Win 10, wasapi Foobar , Audiolab M-DAC
Linn LP12/Lingo/Ekos/Lyra Clavis DC/Linto
Prima Luna Prologue 2 integrated amp
Rogers LS5/9
 
Footnote
Since I had these I caught a cold, that turned into an ear infection,that resulted in a constant buzzing
sound on my left ear drum, the infection has gone, the buzzing hasn't, been about three weeks now, I already had high pitched tinnitus,that was only occasional, but this is constant, never stops.
GP has no solutions, it is HORRIFIC. I mean last year I survived cancer and now this, this year, I am quite angry about it, music truly is my life. So listening to music is something I can't do, pretty devastating, I was hoping it would clear up by now, but it hasn't – the GS1000e may be the last headphone I ever listened to ! - but not a bad way to go out.
I have a couple more reviews to write then that's it, unless a miracle happens.
Amictus
Amictus
And, FWIW, I'm also a London resident and owner of SR60i, an RS-1i/e hybrid and a PS500. I have some other cans, of course. I heard the GS1000e at the London Canjam out of the Chord TT and thought ´no bass!', but the conditions weren't ideal...
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headfry
headfry
hello, in reading your review I was struck by your comparison to the GS1000e's to Quads, here's a quote from my post Dec 2 2015:
 
Grado's GS1000 or GS1000i? - Page 2
 
 
...."My other Grados are nice but give by comparison a somewhat simplified "view" through a much smaller window, with various 
aspects obscured or compressed to give the effect of listening to a good pair of bookshelf speakers through a good system. The 1000i's remind me of listening to modern Quad electrostatics
- everything is just there, full life size and full bodied, warm, 100% believable, exciting....and utterly captivating."
headfry
headfry
I'd like to add that I'm a low volume Grado lover as well, the GS1000's may be the best low volume phones ever! I also lightly eq my 1000i's to slightly boost the mids.

Stereocilia

Head-Fier
Pros: Sonic Revelations
Cons: Acquired Sound, Cable Tangles, Love it or Hate it Looks and Sound
Hypertonic Osmosis Acoustic Filters or (HOAF)..the Lulz, but seriously I thinks of the GS1000e like a filter for acoustics. What goes into the Grado transducers gets filtered. The filtered sound is separated into detailed layer cake for the ears. The GS1000e.. it sounds the way cupcakes taste to me and that's delectable. The sonic house recipe of the Grado statement is like coconut cream cake. If your favorite flavor is dark chocolate black forest cake or something, the GS1000e statement might not do it for you. What I mean is that the filtered sound is mid centric. The low notes lack presence, weight, depth, slam and so on. The vocals are more forward sounding than I remember on the GS1000i. I can't compare the two models directly however I did own a thoroughly used GS1000i for over a year before I made the switch to the GS1000e. The two models sound different and look the same. Headphone reviews are completely subjective, my words come up short, you have to hear the GS1000e firsthand to understand. It comes down to style and tune selection with this Grado, it does Bassnectar it does Bill Withers better ♫ Just one look at you ♪ And I know it's gonna be.. Thank you Grado              

blownaway

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Natural tonality, smooth extended highs, fast, dynamic, ripe extended bass. Reference soundstage with pinpoint imaging depth & width. Comfortable too!
Cons: Looks retro, thick cable, came without case.
For this review the GS1000e was paired with my RWAK120-S & VortzPure II portable "dynamic duo". Having never heard a Grado headphone before I was hoping that the GS1000e would be the end of my long exhaustive search for the holly grail of auroral bliss. In the past 6 months I’ve owned or returned these headphones...
 
Viso HP50
B&W P-5
HD650
Oppo PM-1
Fostex TH600
HD800
HD700
 
You may think I’m crazy for even considering these headphones for portable use but my version of “use” is different than most.  I listen to music around the house & walks in my neighborhood.  I don’t care what my headphones look like (the GS1000e’s will get some funny looks :) or if they are sound isolating or not.
 
The sound of the GS1000e’s strikes the right balance for me. GS1000e is a musical headphone first & foremost. This musicality gives them character and a natural tonality. They have the fun factor of the HD650’s but with smoother, more extended highs and tighter (although less extended) bass. This was just what I was hoping for.
 
Smooth detailed highs, smooth as butta.
Mids are present-right in the middle where they should be
Bass tight & clean.  Notes are clear, easy to follow, a tight, ripeness to the sound. The sass rips nicely. More punch than the HD800’s with just as much sub-bass (that I can hear at least :) Compared with the HD700’s the bass notes are clearer & cleaner, individual notes are easier to follow (more black space around the notes).
 
The highs are just right, not too lean or not so bright with hyper detail that it gives me an aural brain freeze (HD800) or ringing.  Much more extended high’s than the HD650 that giving a clearer & more focused picture of the music.  Electric guitar sounds right to me on the GS1000e. The distorted fuzzy sound of the guitar on the Doors “Hello I Love You” or Keith’s delicate strumming on “Rocks Off” or the top of the mountain solo on “Comfortably Numb” all sound more tonally true & authentic. Snare drum rocks too (I should know, I’m a drummer).
 
Sound stage is truly amazing.  Not as wide as the HD800’s (too wide too, lost), but just the right width & depth that you can pinpoint locations and notes easily.  Seems like the GS1000e has more sound stage depth than anything I’ve heard. I really enjoy the sound stage.  Listening to the Doors “Riders on the Storm”, Pink Floyd's “Money”, Talking Heads “Born Under Punches” I was yes, BLOWNAWAY!
 
The other thing I noticed is I don’t hear any “hollowness” (artificial thinness, air) that I experienced with the HD800 & HD700.  The GS1000’s are to my ears more engaging, they make me air drum, air guitar, windmill ect.
 
The GS1000e’s are comfortable, light and work well from a mobility standpoint (although an eye-full on walks & wife :)
 
Compared to the PS1000e….
 
GS1000e sound & feels…
 
More polite
 
Dryer sounding bass, more “pluck” less boom
 
Has airiness to the sound
 
Greater micro detail
 
Instruments are in better focus, isolated within the sound stage-you can hear & pin point the individual instruments easier
 
The sound stage sounds more realistic to me (wide & deep & directly in front of you)
 
Easier to listen to over a long period of time
 
Smoother highs, yet extended
 
Faster sounder (with most music/rock)
 
Very sweet sounding
 
More comfortable for walking, you can bend your head up & down, and side to side easily
 
Ear touches driver but due to lightweight it’s hardly noticeable
 
More “fun” sounding
 
Slightly more dynamic depending on the music
 
Electric guitar had more edge
 
Vocals have more "breath" & realism
 
With my little portable rig and my ears, the GS1000e sounded better than the PS1000e (highly subjective) and significantly more comfortable. I have no doubt that will different amplification the PS1Ke would rule the day.
 
Until my next phone shows up to try to take the crown, the Grado GS1000e is a keeper.  
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blownaway
blownaway
Yes, this evaluation was made solely with my portable rig. Since this review, I've added the formable Auralic Taurus MKII & PS1000's to may arsenal of aural goodness. I have not heard the Bitfrost/Lry2, WA7d or project Ember but I think it's safe to say they would sound splendid with the Grado GS1000e.  The only way to know for sure how it sounds is to try it on your gear & ears for a good 3 weeks and decide for yourself.  B&H has a great return policy, all you pay for is return shipping. 
 
Unfortunately, I have not heard either the SR-225e or the RS2e's. I'm afraid to try them, I might like them :)  Seems like with Grado phones it comes down to personal preferences within the line and the synergy with your components.  I can say will reasonable certainty that the GS1000e will handily trump both in the soundstage department, which next to mid-range purity is the most important sonic quality for me. Your mileage may vary.
DavidA
DavidA
From what I have read about Grado's is that they are easy to drive compare to a lot of other mid to high end phones.  I started to look into the GS1000e because I saw them on sale for a good price.
acguitar84
acguitar84
I've been thinking of getting the PS1000e, but I've also been considering the GS1000e. It's nice to read a good review of the GS1000e, and also seeing a comparison of the two. I currently own the RS1i, and I like the way they sound, but they are just uncomfortable to wear for long listening sessions. I want a full size headphone. I'll use them for listening, and also music transcribing and arranging.

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