Grado Prestige Series SR60e Headphones

Average User Rating:
  1. Jay Sullivan
    "True foot tappers, Helps me listen critically "
    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.  
  2. Sp12er3
    "Real proof that great sound does not need to be expensive"
    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! :)
  3. fourrobert13
    "Excellent sound and value for the money!"
    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)
    Wilashort likes this.
  4. TsukiNick
    "Cheap no bells & whistles, money goes purely to audio."
    Pros - Relatively inexpenisve, huge bang for your buck, treble energy without too much sibilance, Good bass for it's style, Smooth mids. Pads change sound!
    Cons - Not comfortable for long sessions, Cheap plastic on ear cups, treble can be sibilant on certain recordings
    I was sort of ignoring of Grados thinking they'd just be your typical treble blaster with non-existant bass and the build quality sort of threw me off.  But at $79 I said what the heck, I need to try some Grados and then I could at least say I have tried them and didn't like them.  I was pretty wrong, I got Ear Zonk Red Pads, I'm a sucker for making things look different (I sort of hate having the same look as everyone else)  And I heard they change the sound ever so slightly even being a similar flat on ear pad and this would be my guinea pig for any pad mods (I did the coin mod on them and I put a black eyeglass cleaner over the driver (I don't want to see the driver so exposed.)

    Anyway, I put them on and tested a few songs, when fast choruses kicked in the felt like they delivered a completely different sound.  I had been to used to more easy listening headphones and more neutral cans.  The pads of course sort of reminded me of days wearing the headphones that came with my CD Walkman.  But they were surprisingly comfortable for some time.  Then all of a sudden it's just like what did I do to my ears, they have a bit of clamp (I'll be sure to stretch the headband.  with the flat pads it seems easier to position them correctly than with some large over ear cans which I get OCD because one side will be more foward, lower etc and change the sound.  These I can get a nice perfect fit, I like the sliders for the earcups, my LCD-2s get annoying when the notches drop a whole level if I shift the headphones slightly.

    More on the sound: good bass, not basshead bass, SOME kick drums can sound a little like 909s when they are real sets.  A lot of the time drums will really stand out with nicely done cymbal crashes, snare hits and the lot.  Electric guitars really shine through, on my other headphones I paid less attention to guitars they felt almost more like background sounds.  The soundstage on these is only so good, I heard different pads would make it a little better.  The majority of my headphones have decently wide soundstages and are very comfortable.  This guy is sort of the odd one out.  I really wish these were somehow closed back cans, I picture these as a can people should be walking around town in, or riding a skateboard hanging on to the back of cars (sorry had to throw a favorite movie reference in) I think these are going to have me enjoying rock music more.  I stopped listening to as much rock with my higher priced cans, even bands like Marilyn Manson (yeah I know most of you probably hate him) with his trio of great albums sounded too laid back with others but these cans brought them back to life.  Idk but it seemed liked songs had a wider dynamic range with these, that could just be my mind playing tricks.  The Earzonk S-Cushions (before quarter modded) seemed to make some parts a bit smoother and rounded out while making little treble peaks stand out more.

    So overall if you want a cheap headphone, aren't going to be wearing them very long periods more than 2 hours.  I think these will do quite nicely, I have good regard for regards to Grado's sound quality, and being able to change the sound so easily with cheap pads is very nice.  Psh I can't remember when pads have ever been less than $15.  They have a perfect length cable for listening with a desktop DAC/AMP  I've been switching between my Magni (Sys lowering volume to give me more channel balance with the pot of the Magni wish needs to be at past 10 o'clock to have good balance IMO) which is connected to my Dragonfly 1.2 and Loki.  I also switch to my Dragonfly directly, and probably one of the better options at my disposal is using the FiiO X3 as a DAC for my PC music collection (128GB can only store so much)  These are a can which I'd easily $40 more after listening to...but don't do it Grado, I want more money for pads haha.

    If it wasn't for the comfort and lack of soundstage I'd give it a higher rating.  If this was a closed can an it sounded like that, we'd have a really great portable, a lot of people might buy this thinking it's a portable and end up angering a lot of people near them, haha.  I can like Sennheiser's and Grados.  Don't see that too often :D
    JAMEZTHEBOI likes this.
  5. aiaosu
    "Great headphones for the price. Primarily suited for rock music."
    Pros - Great mids, instrument separation, and detail for the price. More balanced than previous generations of SR60's.
    Cons - Bass not suited to electronic or pop type music; bass increases with amping but also becomes brighter (sibilant)
    Initial Thoughts/Observations on Grado SR60e:
    I just received the loaner SR60e's on Thursday (Todd from Todd The Vinyl Junkie (TTVJ) and haven't listened for very long yet.  I wanted to post a few initial thoughts and observations on them.  
    First of all, I really love mids--guitars and vocals are what I really enjoy hearing.  The SR60i was my first journey into better listening and I still enjoy the SR60i but I've moved on.  The problem is, for the price, you get a lot of great sound.  At the same time, you get a hunger to find out what else is out there and start searching for your ideal "sound".  The Grado SR60i's have started me on a journey that may never end, but I appreciate them for that.
    So, onto the SR60e.  These are still definitely Grado SR60's.  Grado has not re-invented the wheel here and the signature Grado sound with colored mids, really good instrument separation (in its price range), and sharp highs are still there.  I did notice that these like power; as I turned up the volume, the Grado's came alive.  They want power.  I'll try them with amping later and see if they scale up at all.  The main things I have noticed are more subtle changes, such as:
    1. Improved cord--it really looks pretty much the same but it has a more rubbery and pliable feel over my previous SR60's.  It seems less prone to kinking.  I'm not a fan of the plug as the large diameter of the plug housing interferes with phone cases, but it's solid.  
    2. Plastic feels different--the plastic cups FEEL different.  I really don't know how to describe this, but the plastic is very solid but very light.  It just feels different to me.  I don't know how this effects sound or if it does at all, but it seems different.
    3. Red Drivers--you can see the red coloring inside the cups that was not there before.  I'm not sure if this means a totally new driver, the same driver with different coloring, or just a new revision, but I can see the red.
    4. More "Neutral" Sound--these seemed slightly tuned in a more neutral way (for Grado, anyways) than the previous SR60's.  The mids seem clearer and there seems to be a slight better separation of bass-mids-treble.  The bass seems to sound great with some genre (rock, acoustic, metal) and terrible with others (pop and anything with electronic bass).  With some songs, I hear more timbre in the bass guitar and better quality mids than previously whereas I think the bass is worse for pop and electronic bass than it was before.  With pop music, the bass seems flat, muffled, and has very little kick even less than the SR60i, IMO.  At the same time, some songs are still harsh in the treble and I don't think the treble extends very high.  There's plenty of separation in the highs, but not a lot of extension.  I love the mids though.  Clear, warm, and great sounding.  With any kind of a soundstage at all, the mids would be outstanding.  
    These are just a few observations I have and some of this may change as I listen more.  I'll say that if you love rock/metal/acoustic, these will sound great, especially for the money.  They still can have piercing highs and poor bass when it comes to electronic bass, but they aren't really designed for pop-type music.  My grandpa was a bricklayer and always said that universal tools can do many things, but they never do anything excellent.  If you want an excellent tool, you have to get one that is designed for a specific purpose.  These Grado's were designed for rock music and they do a great job of that.  As long as you remember that and that they only cost $80, you'll be fine.  Grado's aren't for everyone but I think Grado has done an admirable job of tweaking a few things that help their headphones do what they were designed to do even better--rock out to rock music.
    Follow-Up Review:
    I wanted to give a little background as to what I currently listen to and who I am, as it pertains to this review.  I’m just a music fan and grew up with my dad’s mid-fi Sansui receiver, Pioneer speakers, and Koss HV1A headphones.  Take my review with a grain of salt—my opinion is just that, an opinion.  Also, I didn’t end up having time to take any pics, so this review won’t contain any.  For the most part, there’s not a whole lot of difference in appearance from previous SR60’s. 
    My preferred style of music is blues, blues rock, and guitar heavy music like classic rock.  I love the sound of music with great vocals, both male and female.  I tend to mix in some classical, pop, rap, and acoustic music.  I love mids but often listen to music out of my Hifiman HE-400’s as I love the instrument separation, detail, and quality bass in an open headphone.  I also listen to my TDK BA200’s, a dual armature IEM that I think has a great, warm, balanced sound with solid mids and vocals.  I mix in some TDK IE800’s that are dual dynamic which have a warmer sound than the BA200’s but doesn’t do female vocals as well but sounds great with guitar and the bass.
    The new box is considerably smaller in dimension than the older, white pizza boxes the Grado’s used to come in.  The cardboard feels similar to the original pizza boxes but it feels more rigid and sturdy, probably due to the box being smaller.  The color is an almost tan base color with grey speckles throughout the background.  There’s a simple picture of Grado headphones on the front with simple labels. 
    Once you open the box, there’s some warnings printed on the inside of the top of the box that tells you to “PLEASE READ”.  Folded over the top of the foam insert, covering the headphones, is a letter from the Grado family with their picture.  Once you move the letter out of the way, there’s a foam insert made of similar (or the same) foam as in previous packaging, cut to fit the Grado headphones. 
    When you remove the headphones, you’ll notice a ¼” adapter included with the headphones as well as additional writing printed on the bottom inside of the box containing warranty information. Overall, I really like the new packaging and prefer the more rigid feeling box and smaller size of the box. 
    I noticed that these new SR60e’s seem to want to be turned up.  They want to party and have fun.  The more you turn them up (and they can get loud!), the more they respond.  I tried a couple times to turn up the ‘phones and see if I could notice any distortion and I could not.  In fact, I couldn’t get near 100% volume as I couldn’t take it anymore.  I just don’t typically listen to music that loud.  But, if you like to kill your hearing and eardrums, you definitely can with these headphones and you’ll do it with crystal clear music.  I did listen to music louder than normal as I felt the SR60e’s didn’t sound as detailed and dynamic at low volume.
    In the next section, I’ll give my observations from my iPhone 4S (unamped) and then my observations from my portable amp (BSG Cmoy 18V w/AD8620 through a ELE DAC EL-D02).  I mostly have FLAC files but I’m limited to 16/44.  I also utilized standard quality Spotify through both my iPhone and amped through my computer.  Overall, I didn’t notice much difference in the sound the Grado’s produced which tells me they are very friendly with low quality files.  My HE-400’s can reveal bad recordings that the Grado’s did not.
    I actually enjoyed the treble on the SR60e’s more unamped than I did amped (see below).  For example, listening to Dire Straits “Communique” album, I really enjoyed Mark Knopfler’s picking but could hear the shimmer of the cymbals in the background and didn’t feel like they were piercing or took away from the song.   Some high notes from the electric guitar can be sibilant and piercing as the sound moves from higher mids to lower treble.  I know I cringed a few times when Knopfler hit high notes, especially on live recordings.  I think snare and toms sound decent on these as do high hats but I don’t think there’s much detail.  I thought there was decent separation between the sounds in the treble region, especially considering the price point. 
    I have always enjoyed the colored mids of Grado’s as it’s an aggressive sound for rock.  I really enjoy blues guitar and great guitar players.  IMO, with this new and improved SR60, that the mids balance better with the treble and bass.  My previous SR60i’s had a warmer sound and less balanced feel overall whereas these have become more even but still mid-centered (for Grado). 
    So, again, with Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler’s picking guitar style, there was a warm, melodic sound to the guitar.  A few times, with the upper registers of his playing, I could hear some sibilance, but overall I enjoyed the warm sound.  There was a really nice timbre on the strings and you could hear a lot of the details of Knopfler’s playing as well as David Knopfler’s rhythm guitar in the background. 
    I can say that I like the bass much better amped.  In previous models, I couldn’t hear much improvement or change of the SR60 amped.  In this case, I hear a considerable change, especially in the bass.  For the most part, the bass is solid and present but it lacks depth to me.  I’m not sure how to describe it, but the sound was very one note and there was little decay in much of the bass guitar.  The bass sounds quick but it’s really just lacking in decay, IMO.  I can say that the bass sounds muffled to me and it definitely fades into the background.  This works on some recordings and not too well on others (and this is with rock; it gets bad with pop and bass heavy music). 
    With CMOY 18V w/AD8620 through a ELE DAC EL-D02
    I find the treble on these piercing on many songs.  As the SR60e’s want to be powered and turned up, the treble becomes very sibilant, especially in regards to cymbals and higher tone instruments.  I found the treble quality improved slightly with amping as opposed to unamped (I noticed it extended higher and had more detail) but to the detriment of the headphone as it was harder to listen to. 
    For example, I turned on Joe Walsh’s “Turn to Stone” and found the high pitched guitar sequences too piercing whereas I noticed much more crunch and enjoyability when Walsh had a lower pitch that stayed in the mids. 
    In regards to pop music, the high hats were just too much for me on some songs.  On The Weeknd’s “The Morning”, the highs were just too high and hard to enjoy the song.  It was a shame as I thought the bass was done pretty well as was Abel Tesfaye’s vocals.
    These were a real bright spot (and when I say bright, I mean even brighter).  The mids were solid and warm out of my iPhone 4S but became cooler out of my Cmoy.  I felt the entire presentation became less mids focused (in comparison to the original sound) and the mids were less prominent than before. 
    That being said, the mids were still great as they are normally so forward as was the noticeable instrument separation.  I could hear the artist’s fingers sliding on the guitar on occasion and more “crunch” with certain artists.  Overall, I thought the mids were still great and very detailed but I preferred the warmer, softer, but still forward mids of the unamped SR60’s. 
    This was a real eye opener for me.  When unamped, I felt the bass was lacking and dull, especially electronic bass.  With my Cmoy, the bass came alive.  To be truthful, these aren’t for bass heads but they are outstanding quality bass with much more detail and thump than before (before meaning unamped).  Suddenly, I could hear the thump and the bass extended much deeper, including pop music.  I actually thought the bass on some pop songs was done better than many headphones I’ve heard if it wasn’t for the piercing highs.  When it came to electric guitar and kick drums, the bass was outstanding.  I could hear the artist’s sliding fingers and the decay of the bass guitar was great. 
    Unamped, I felt the SR60e’s didn’t have any decay and were quick and one note, in a lot of cases.  (I’ve never considered the Grado’s as “fast”; I’ve always felt they just didn’t have much decay which made them sound quick/fast.  In comparison, I would consider my Hifiman HE-400’s much “faster”.)  With the Cmoy, the SR60e’s had really good quality decay and the character of the bass came out more.  This is truly amazing to me for a $80 pair of headphones as I have heard more expensive headphones that don’t do bass nearly as well. 
    I really haven’t noticed much change in the soundstage on these.  I’ve never been able to hear much, if any, soundstage in the SR60’s and still don’t.  They present more like IEM’s than open headphones.  I always wonder if I’m missing something when people say they like the soundstage of SR60’s as I think this is a weakness of these headphones. 
    I personally don’t think soundstage is a make or break quality for headphones for me (although I do love the atmospheric sound of some that do have a great soundstage).  My AKG Q701’s had a huge soundstage but it sounded strange and almost fake or “colored”.  It’s like these Grado’s—they seem colored when it comes to mids as they’re designed to sound great with rock music.  The Q701’s sound wide and large in soundstage but it just sounds strange with some genre’s of music (I hope this makes sense). 
    At this point, I’m torn between amped and unamped.  I think that the SR60e’s sound great unamped, especially when it comes to rock and music that tends towards great mids (i.e. vocals and guitars).  I really love the blues and find these very enjoyable just out of my iPhone 4S streaming Spotify songs.  The mids are so warm and the highs are sibilant but not to the point of being unenjoyable (although some songs were—I skipped a couple songs.)  Unamped, the bass was one-note on a lot of songs and lacked the quality and detail I hoped for.  With rock music, the bass was sufficient and seems to reproduce bass guitars well.  With pop music, I thought these headphones were frankly pretty terrible. 
    Now we have a small, portable amp connected to the SR60e’s and they change a bit.  I like the aggressiveness (they went from a pack of wolves hunting to a rabid dog) which is great for rock and metal.  The attack of the treble and mids became very aggressive.  Guitarists that pick are accentuated to where it is sometimes a bit much.  I love the jump up on the bass—much more thump, extension, and quality overall.  The problem was, the treble jumped up too and it’s just a bit much for me.  The mids seemed to step back a bit which makes the best characteristic of these ‘phones less a positive.  It would be like a beautiful woman putting a veil over her face—why cover up such a beautiful face? 
    So, which is better—amped or unamped?  Either one depending on what you’re wanting.  The bottom line with these headphones is that they are aggressive and colored to start with and only become more that way, IMO.  If you want to rock out with rock music or metal, these are great.  If you want to kill your hearing in two minutes flat, these will do that too.  These bring me back to a day when I used to crank my dad’s speakers and sound system at home when he was at work in the late 70’s and early 80’s to his classic rock tapes and the radio.  I loved jumping around to Def Leopard, ACDC, and Metallica and feeling the walls shake.  The music was clear but loud and I imagined I was at a concert, standing next to one of the towers of speakers.  These headphones are like that.  They’re good for when I want to just crank up the music when no one’s around and rock out.  If that’s you, then these headphones are for you.  If you want something more subtle and well-rounded, these will probably not be your thing.  They may even annoy you.
  6. Nada190
    "My first Grado! "
    Pros - Drums sound amazing
    Cons - Shrill highs, picky
    These are my first ever Grado's and I LOVE them, too bad I have to send them out to the next guy. 
    I was always fascinated by Grado's ever since I saw Auggie's RS2's on Covert Affairs. I just knew I had to try them at one point and along came this awesome opportunity to loan them. I decided to try their cheapest ones because I just wanted to get an idea of their unique sound. 
    Best headphone packaging I have come across, though I've only had the pleasure to open two others. Great packaging. Lots of lovely information to read in the box.
    Build quality
    Despite being all plastic it's very high quality. Doesn't have that cheap plastic feel to it. The cable shocked me, nice and thick, very high quality. The headband and adjustment are very smooth and feels solid. 
    Super comfortable. I've been looking through Grado threads a lot and comfort is all over the place with the 3 different types of pads. For me, it has to be either on my ear or completely off. Not the most comfortable on ear's but after wearing it a few days, VERY comfortable. Only thing that isn't comfortable is that high quality cable, I personally don't like double sided cables because they always like to annoy me. 
    I had these connected to my PC's Creative ZxR. 
    I do not use EQ's ever! I wish everything had pure direct. 
    Let's start off with the good: Nice close up sound, drums sound amazing, guitars sound amazing. These really are fantastic when listening to metal and rock. Decent amount of bass.
    Bad: The highs on certain songs or even certain types of music are unbearable. Easily remedied by lowering the volume a tiny bit though. Turning the volume down sucks though. Pop/classical don't sound any good, anything with ton of electronic bass isn't going to sound good. Sound stage is too small for classical.
    These were my first Grado's and I loved them. Will be buying myself either a pair of RS2e or RS1e in the near future.