Grado Prestige Series SR60e Headphones

General Information

Everyone loves a thumping bass and kick-drum, but not at the expense of everything else. The Grado SR60e is your entry to the world of full spectrum audio. You'll actually hear notes you never knew were there. Perhaps your audiophile friends have fueled a desire for the legendary Grado sound but you thought it was out of reach. Try a pair of our affordable open-back headphones and experience fuller, more realistic sound. Club-footed imports can't match the sonic enlightenment from Brooklyn, USA.

Grado has taken one of the world's most legendary headphones and made it even better. The SR60e has a new driver design, a new polymer to better damp resonant distortion in the plastic housing, and a new cable from plug to driver connection. The way the SR60e's new driver and plastic housing move air and react to sound vibrations virtually eliminate transient distortions. This allows the signal flow over the new cable to reproduce sound that has tight control of the upper and lower range of the frequency spectrum, while supporting Grado's world renowned midrange. The SR60e will produce a sound that is pure Grado, with warm harmonic colors, rich full bodied vocals, excellent dynamics, and an ultra-smooth top end.

Latest reviews

Pros: energetic, portable opens back cans, "revealing", interesting sound flavor and stands out
Cons: sibilant, no sub bass, all the things you associate with a bad set of cans
These are so weird.  
 
I snagged them on a whim, wanting the grado flavor for cheap after having listened to some pair of grados at the hifi store a few months ago.  the sound stayed with me after all this time;  yet technically they are "terrible", i.e. no bass extension, strange supra aural fit, leak sound everywhere but are easy to drive (plugs into phone, but not for the subway....ever....)  have a sibilance that rules out sounds like krewella and other brightly-mixed albums.   everything I say so far points to a pair of really useless cans.  YET
 
I own a lot of headphones.  I like the different uses and sounds they each impart, from ones for the plane to ones really intended for mixing and recording/monitoring.  
 
I am a musician.  I've been teaching music to kids this summer, and one thing we do a lot of in the studio with the kids is practice "critically listening" to tunes and really learn to pick them apart in an intellectual, musician-ly way.  Ironically, despite being smitten with music, I am pretty mediocre IMO at critically listening to music alone.   I often just sort of let it wash over me (which is fine but a terrible application for grados like these SR60e's)  I will never forget how excited these kids would get over hearing new things in the music the sort of liked, and having that "ah - ha" moment about how bits of the arrangements fit together to influence them.   
 
All that amounts to:  I remember the revealing sound of grados, so I buy these.   Instantly feel like they suck.   Then, more  than an hour later, I realize I am still wearing them, straight up devouring vince guaraldi hits like "blue charlie brown" etc.   I felt so touched by the liveliness of the music, with every phrase seeming to be placed straight into my lap for me to engage with. 
 
I found royal blood's "better strangers" and "loose change" seemed to become practically animated, so epic and alive.    
 
These headphones fill a very small but very enjoyable niche in headphone land.   When you want to focus ONLY on the music, but only have a phone, and are in a space open cans would be non invasive, and already own ideally better equipment for long sessions and more serious bass extension, and feel you may be a music nerd.....   then these are your pick, they are really inexpensive for a whole new flavor.  
 
Thanks!
 
Jay
Hi-Fi'er
Hi-Fi'er
Nice review. Your review is 100% how I felt when I had mine that I sold years ago. Mine even rattled and I was lucky to sell them off and get what I paid for them.
Pros: Immersive, almost magical sounding headphone, smalla s it's on ear, and can be folded flat for portable use, plastick build but durable
Cons: the treble can be harsh sometimes with its peaks, non removable cable :p, itchy pads when new, strong clamping force out of the box
It's been half a year after I tried it out at my local Jaben store, I still remember how "magical" it feel back then, with the warm MA100 as my only full size headset back then, SR60e really introduce me to my fetish: few but tight bass, forward intimate mids and emphasis on it's treble with clarity and detail as its front.
 
With all my gear, SR60e is the one I turn to when I'm in "I want to listen for some music" mood. Small in size and easily transportable, though in tropical country like mine sweat definitely soaks up on the pads, sometime I did bring it out. I did bent the headband to my specific head site for better comfort (out of the box it's Tight) as Grado recommend it, now comfort is a bit better, still on ear though, maybe I'll invest on some bowl shaped ones later, or just upgrade it completely.
 
Overall I am and still are loving this headphone. and will be looking up to it's big brother (SR325e I'll be in lookout for you :)) I've tried a pair of Allesandro MS2, and it's most noticeable improvement is it's smoother, more linear treble, and tighter bass, not too far off though, especially not $300 far. So if you feel enraptured by the SR60e after 1st try, just take it home with you.. you won't be disappointed! :)
Pros: Basic, well built, comfortable, sound quality
Cons: Not portable, cable to long
About me: I’m 39 years old.  I do have some hearing loss and suffer from mild tinnitus.  I’m a metal head and listen all forms of hard rock to extreme metal.  I’ve always liked music, but just recently got into more hi-end audio and equipment.  Enough about me, on to the review.
 
What you get: I ordered these headphones from Amazon after demoing them in a local store.  Normally I would purchase them locally, but the local retailor was very proud of them.  You get a pretty plain box with warranty info, headphones, and a ¼” adapter.  The headphones are packed nicely inside.  Nothing real flashy which is fine with me because I just wanted some headphones.
 
The headphones: The SR60e are entry level headphones from Grado and their looks reflect this.  Pretty basic - black in color, black vinyl covering the steel head band, black foam ear pads, and a 5’ black cable.  The cable seems pretty substantial.  The jack and the ¼” adapter are gold plated.  I wish the cable was shorter.  Like I said, nothing flashy, but it doesn’t need to be in my opinion.  The headphones are adjustable to get a proper fit.  All of this isn’t too bad for the $79 delivered from Amazon.
 
Preamble: I hooked the SR60e up to my FiiO X3II with no amp.  I use my X3II as my primary listening device.  Prior to the Grado’s, I was using a set of Sennheiser HD558 and I will do some comparisons between the two as this review goes on.  I read other reviews where guys said they needed to amp the SR60e or really turn the volume up to hear the bass.  I ran these with the X3II on low gain, volume 20 to 35.  I would run the HD558 volume 30 to 50.   I gave the SR60e a healthy dose of various hard rock, traditional heavy metal, thrash, death, and extreme metal.  I used MP3s (VBR and 320 bit rate) and 16/44 flac (purchased and ripped from CDs).
 
SR60e sound: I’m just going to start off and say I enjoy the sound of the SR60e.  It’s very clear and detailed when comparing them to the HD558.  There was better instrument separation and I was hearing things that I wasn’t picking up with the HD558.  I went back and forth a lot between the two and was really surprised at the difference because the HD558 is a slightly more expensive headphone.
 
The SR60e does lack in the soundstage department when compared to the HD558.  This is very obvious, but I didn’t mind it because of the more detailed sound I was getting from the SR60e.  The HD558 stage is pretty wide whereas the SR60e is a bit more inside your head.  After a couple of weeks of listening, I don’t even notice this anymore.  This is just something to consider before purchasing if you are looking for a big soundstage.
 
Highs: The highs were quite nice.  They are slightly veiled behind the mids because the mids are forward.  I could pick up every crack of a symbol without issues and they sounded very natural.  Symbols in the HD558 sometimes sounded artificial and that wasn’t the case with the SR60e.  Once again I went back and forth between the two sets of headphones and could definitely hear the differences and preferred the SR60e.
 
Mids: The mids, like I said before are forward in the SR60e.  They are also forward in the HD558.  Mids in both headphones sound great.  Vocals are more easily heard and understood.  Guitars and drums sound very natural.  The SR60e have very detailed mids as do the HD558, so I have no complaints here.
 
Bass: If you are looking for pounding bass that will rumble your ears, you won’t find it with the SR60e.  You won’t find it with the HD558 either, but here is where the SR60e really shined compared to the HD 558.  The SR60e’s bass was there and just right for hard rock and metal.  The bass was punchy when the double bass drum was going.  I could literally feel each hit.  The bass only shows up sometimes with the HD558.  Bass sounds very natural in the SR60e.  Sometimes it sounded artificial in the HD558, but only with certain songs.  Going back and forth between the two headphones, bass was night and day.  I’m not a bass head, but do like to feel that bass drum hit and I can now feel that with the SR60e.
 
Overall: I would recommend the SR60e to any rock or metal guy.  Currently, my only gripe is the 5’ cable.  This long cable makes the SR60e less than desirable for portable use.  I only wish I had more headphones to compare them to, but my budget is limited.  I’ve read other reviews about the SR60e and those reviews also suggested these for rock and metal and that’s what prompted me to look into them.  I’m very pleased with the SR60e and haven’t used my HD558 since I did the back and forth comparison.  If you are looking for a starter set of headphones, the SR60e is a great value considering the quality and sound you get for $79.
 
ETA: I've noticed the SR60e bring out the bad in lower quality recordings.  What I mean by this is that some of my music (older recordings or low VBR MP3s) don't sound so hot.  Just one example, I purchased a MP3 album from emusic.  Album was released in 2012 and was being sold as a VBR MP3.  The highest bit rate it reach was 248 when using foobar2000.  The lows were distorted and overall the volume really had to cranked up (around 55) to hear it.  I contacted emusic and they refunded me for my purchase and said they could replicate the issue on their end.  This got me thinking because I have some older 192 bit MP3s and even one 128 bit.  The Grados play them fine, but I do have to get the volume up there in order for it to sound decent and there was some distortion.  To be honest, I could hear this with my HD558, but it wasn't as obvious as it is with the SR60e.  I think someone else wrote a review and has something similar to say about the SR60e.  Any way, I just wanted to make sure I added this for those that may be using these with MP3s lower than a 256 bit rate because that seemed to be the line where this appeared.
 
ETA: After more time with these I find the mids overwhelming.  Treble gets drowned out by the mids depending on what I'm listening to.  I've found better options that suite my needs.
 
Test albums:
 
4Arm – Survivalist (flac)                                           Death – Leprocy (flac)
Accept – Stampede (VBR MP3)                                Exodus – Blood in, Blood out (VBR MP3)
Amon Amarth – Fate of Norms (VBR MP3)                Fear Factory – Genexus (VBR MP3)
Battlecross – Rise to Power (320 MP3)                     Hate Eternal – Infernus (flac)
Channel Zero – Feed’em with a Brick (flac)                Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls (VBR MP3)
Carcass – Surgical Steel (VBR MP3)                        The Cult – Sonic Temple (flac)                      
Lamb of God - VII: Sturm und Dang (320 MP3)          Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (VBR MP3)
Children of Bodom – Halo of Blood (flac)                   Obituary – Inked in Blood (flac)
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