Grado PS1000 Headphones

  1. Modwright01
    A truly great performer
    Written by Modwright01
    Published Feb 12, 2016
    Pros - Effortlessly dynamic, so easy to drive, Outstanding details, probably the deepest/cleanest bass you can find, look delicious, comfy...
    Cons - I'm so in love that i'm obsessed by those cans.
    Why I spent so much time without testing any Grado ?

    I don't know. I used to have 2 R10 in my collection, one TH900, one D7000, one D7100, Sony SA5000, MDR-CD3000, HD800...

    I listened to the very best headphones on earth : Orpheus, Qualia 010, Abyss, Stax 009...etc. But I completely bypassed the grado brand... Maybe because in France that is not really popular... 
    But seriously, the PS1000 has really something unique 
    If I would say some words : they are maybe one of the best I ever  heard. They are so easy going, so easy to drive, and give you amazing results ever with a classic headphones out from a computer and flac or mp3...
    When I received the PS1000, I decided to simply sell my two HD800 and becoming a grado cans collector.
    Why ?
    Because the PS1000 are a kind of HD800 with more realistic soundstage, suave highs (hd800 highs can be terrible on some dac/amp), and especially THEY ARE SO EASY TO DRIVE (Did I say it already ?) of course you still can improve the sound connecting them on Ear Yoshino, but seriously, you can take AMAZING pleasure listening to them on you smartphone. This is ridiculously easy going, and you'll listen to the joy of sound even with 320 kpbs MP3.
    This is it, I'm done with other high impedance headphones which are so hard to drive... I'll never buy again something up to 80 ohms in my life. I'm done with that. Since the R10, i'm considering masterpiece headphones to be EASY TO DRIVE and I was wrong trying to find the holy grall with high imp headphones... Seriously, who wants to spend billions of hours to find the right amp for each headphone... ? Yeah, many on head-fi. I prefer spending my time listening to music !
    I will not explain how it sounds in detail because it is beyond words. Like the R10, each time I put the PS1000 on someone's head, I can see this person amazed.
    If you like music, if you love sound, and you can buy one, do not even hesitate, they are easy to drive, amazing all rounder : you''ll not regret.

    I can, at last, listen to my beloved David Bowie, even on my phone, without the highs driving me crazy (like on HD800).
    Oh, and did i say they have the best and deepest bass I ever heard in my life ? (UPDATE : now it is the N90q, it is the best for bass to me)
    As a conclusion, I would say the same WHATHIFI words :
    "They justify their price with a simply astonishing sound. Headphones can't get much better than this"
    Thanks Grado.

    Stuffs I use to listen my PS1000 : Chord Mojo or If i don't have it with me, any headphones out of anything (Samsung S6, my computer or what I find :D)
      JoeDoe likes this.
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    2. headfry
      nice review, I feel the same way about my GS-1000l's!
      headfry, Feb 13, 2016
    3. Modwright01
      To Sonic Defender, Now I use the Chord Mojo with the PS1000 and with DSD/High res I would say the bass impact is amazing and probaly better than anything I tried. The PS1000 really needs high res to entirely shine even it can be amazing with humble source and MP3... It sounds amazing with DSD audio, you should try it like that.
      Modwright01, Feb 15, 2016
    4. JoeDoe
      Just got a pair of chromed PS1k myself! Very impressed. I've always been a Grado-head and I don't feel like it can get more Grado. Wide soundstage, rich bass, crystal mids, and detail for days. What else do you need!?
      JoeDoe, Apr 28, 2016
  2. skfktkwjs
    Supreme Sound for Metal, Classic and Jazz
    Written by skfktkwjs
    Published Jun 27, 2013
    Pros - Overall Sound,Sound Stage, Clear Image, Heart Thumping Bass, Detail Mids, Crystal Clear High, Easy to Drive (Compares to HD800, LCD-2 ,and ETC)
    Cons - Packaging, Accessory, Weight, Lack of Sub-bass
  3. priest
    The best I have ever heard
    Written by priest
    Published Aug 20, 2012
    Pros - Soundstage, tonality, verve
    Cons - Floppy and awkward
    I'm not the reviewing type, but I wanted to make sure that these got another positive review. They have been, in my estimation, savagely and unfairly maligned on Head-Fi, mostly by people who have never owned them. Suffice to say that they are the most satisfying listen of all the headphones I own or have owned. Check my profile if you are interested in my many points of reference.
    Yes, they have faults (a slight mid-range focus, mainly, but also they are awkward and heavy to the point of occasional distraction), but they have the most expansive sound stage, and enveloping presentation, of any headphone I have tried. The sound is vital, detailed, and alive. If you are looking for the "standard" Grado sound, you will be surprised, and maybe disappointed, because they do not have the immediacy that characterizes the SR60i through the RS1i. What they have is beyond all that.
    Thanks for reading!
    1. lovleylady
      They sure need more love and they are getting more and more of it now when people has actually listened to it rather than bash it for it's price tag.
      The headband needs more stuffing, the pads are great imo.
      Thanks for the review.
      lovleylady, Aug 20, 2012
    2. priest
      Yes! The price tag doesn't seem quite so steep these days.
      priest, Aug 20, 2012
  4. Austin Morrow
    Grado PS1000: The Legendary Flagship (Review)
    Written by Austin Morrow
    Published Jun 19, 2012
    Pros - Detailed Spectrum - Realistic Imaging - Bass Quality & Depth - Extended Highs - Warm Midrange
    Cons - Choice Materials - Can Be Overly Bright - Too Forward - Bass Surge Isn't Enough
    The Grado PS1000 is considered one of the best headphones available in the headphone world and has been compared to the likes of the Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, the Audez’e LCD-3, and the HiFiMan HE-6. At $1600, the Grado PS1000 is one of the most expensive flagships currently available, and I really don’t see a need for a formal or well thought out introduction, as I’m sure most of you just want to know what’s the stuff with the PS1000’s. So without any further ado, we shall begin with the Grado PS1000 review.
    It’s been a long journey for me in the audio industry, and even though it’s only been two years, I’ve been lucky enough to listen to almost every flagship extensively over the last year, and in doing so, have become very familiar with each sound signature. I’d had yet to hear the Grado PS1000, so when the opportunity came to audition the Grado PS1000 extensively next to the HD800 and several other flagships, I was very excited. After two months of rigorous testing (and over fifty hours of burn in), I was finally able to see how the PS1000’s performed, and it seems as though the PS1000’s really do deserve a top spot against the other flagships in the lineup. I will say however, that it starts to become up to pure preference, and not sound quality, when choosing among the various headphones available when flagships are concerned, and like the other flagships, the Grado PS1000 is extremely unique in its presentation.
    Equipment & Testing Setup Precautions
    Before I began initial testing, I had to make sure that I was using the best equipment available for the job, and while I couldn’t quite afford a ten thousand dollar amp and source, I could afford some hardware and software that’s considered high end by many. First, my choice of music was picked from a wide selection. Almost every genre, but with only the highest quality recordings, like Metallica’s Metallica (or the Black Album, as it’s commonly known) for classic metal and Eric Clapton’s Unplugged for rock. Among others were some electronica music and scores, coming from both Hans Zimmer and John Williams, all running through Fidelia and ripped into ALAC and FLAC. Testing gear included some of my own gear, like the Burson Audio HA-160DS, and one of my most detailed DAC’s, the Rein Audio X-DAC. And just for the budget friendly, I threw in a Schiit Valhalla to see how the PS1000’s would perform on budget level gear. Oh, and did I mention that I was lucky enough to have a high end source and amp that I was demo-ing as well? The HeadRoom Triple Stack, which included the BUDA, UDAC, and PSU, and all seemed to synergies perfectly with the PS1000.
    Now, after all that rambling about setup equipment, flagships, and other nonsense, I desperately need to get to the actual sonics. The PS1000 comes off as being, in a nutshell, a very bright and edgy headphone at first listen, and needs a bit of burn in for the upper treble to be tamed, or otherwise the entire spectrum will sound like the infamous and rather nasty HD800 treble peak. After a lot of burn in though (I recommend over fifty plus, but didn’t hear much more difference between a twenty-four hour burn in period), everything warms up a tad, and while the whole presentation of the PS1000 is still a tad bit edgy and forward sounding, you’re able to examine and dissect the spectrum a little more without any issue of earaches.
    Sonic Musings
    As I began initial testing of the PS1000, I noticed something that struck me as being a very odd characteristic for such a detail enveloped and bright sounding headphone, and that was the bass quality. Not necessarily the bass quantity (that’s more LCD-2 & Denon D7000 like), but the bass quality was simply unparalleled. The bottom of the spectrum doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of power or coloration of something like the LCD-2, but it has such an amazing transient response. Notes start up impressively quick and decay just as swiftly, and while the PS1000 is missing the huge amount of slam of the LCD-2, I still feel as if the PS1000 has a much higher detail level and is much more articulate. While I still prefer the LCD-2 when it comes to DnB and other electronica songs, the PS1000 outclasses the LCD-2 in bass quality, but not bass quantity. Its pick your poison. The Sennhesier HD800 can’t be forgotten either, as it has a decent bass response as well. The HD800 has good, articulate bass, but even it falls behind the PS1000, and sounds quite thin and lifeless (compared to the PS1000’s rather full bass response, and that’ll surely be subject to opinion). Also, just as a side note, the HD800 doesn’t even compare to the LCD-2 in sheer power, whereas the PS1000 might be able to with proper amping, especially on the Triple Stack. The HD800 is faster and more detailed, but nowhere near as powerful, and without any coloration whatsoever. So the HD800, at least in my mind, isn’t even a contender when it comes to balancing out bass characteristics.
    The midrange part of the spectrum has spiked much controversy among a lot of people when it comes to the multiple flagships, and this is where I think the three headphones that I’ve been testing couldn’t be any more different from apples to peppers (sweet vs. spicy). The Grado PS1000 generally comes off as being overly bright from the midrange to the lower treble, and then some. However, if you listen to a wide range of genres, like Sting and other varied slow rock music, then you’ll start to see the true nature of the PS1000’s, especially after burn in. The midrange is generally slightly warm, very forward and aggressive, and features a very detailed vocality presentation with a lot of coherency. The vocals are very forward, and aren’t as edgy as the HD800, but with a tad bit of richness being apparent in some male and female vocal artists. The PS1000 sits in between the cold, laid back, and thin sounding midrange of the HD800 and the LCD-2’s liquid, warm, and slightly laid back midrange. Not as coherent and enjoyable as the LCD-2, but not as layered and edgy as the HD800, which is something I enjoy greatly. A slightly warm midrange, with good instrumental separation, and a to die for vocality presentation. I’d only love it more if the PS1000’s midrange was a tad bit more laid back, as the aggressive nature of the midrange tends to suck out the enjoyable experience of the rest of the midrange.
    Up top, the treble presence is where the PS1000’s differ more from the LCD-2, and less from the HD800. While I still think that the HD800 has the best extended and detail retrieval capabilities of any headphone that I’ve tested, it still has that slight peak that can be very hurtful on the ears, and neither the LCD-2 or the PS1000 have that after burn in. Like the midrange presence, the PS1000 sits right in between (except for forwardness) the HD800 and LCD-2 in terms of treble quantity and quality. The HD800 and LCD-2 are both rather passive up top (the LCD-2 being shadowed, whereas the HD800 is totally opposite that), while the PS1000, like all other Grado models, is very forward and aggressive sounding, with a lot of sparkle. The PS1000’s treble isn’t as cold as the HD800, and lacks the earsplitting peak on the HD800. Yes, the PS1000 is less extended than the HD800, but has a slightly more warm and smooth presence (but don’t make think that the PS1000 has a warm treble, because that’s not the case at all). On an ending note, the LCD-2 is like the PS1000’s polar opposite. The LCD-2 is much more smooth, much less extended, and much more laid back, with a slower transient response, almost the exact opposite of the PS1000.
    Finally, we’ve come to the last and probably longest part of this review when it comes to sonics, the soundstage and imaging abilities of the PS1000 versus the LCD-2 and HD800. I’ll try to make this as short as possible and easy to understand. While the HD800 has the biggest and most wide soundstage of the three, it lacks naturalness and a realistic image. The HD800 separates instruments way too far apart, and the amount of air and layering space is unrealistic for me (a lot of people will disagree with me on that). The PS1000 has a much different soundstage. Since the forward nature of the PS1000 sucks out the space and the imaging capabilities, you might be blinded by what the PS1000 can achieve. The PS1000 has an incredible amount of depth that’s both realistic and true to life, and sounds perfect on the right recordings. While width is definitely subpar when compared to the HD800, the PS1000 places instruments more accurately around the entire soundstage than that of the HD800, whereas the HD800 has too much air surrounding everything. The LCD-2 falls behind both headphones when it comes to depth, width, and instrumental separation, at least in my plane of view.
    The Design & Materials
    While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the PS1000’s build quality and choice materials when I began initial testing, I feel as if though they’ve made a bigger impression on me throughout the majority of the testing period. The PS1000’s feature ear cups that are unlike that of the aluminum in the HD800 and the wood in the LCD-2. Instead, they feature a very nice, glossy (which used to be matte and would have been my preference) metal alloy that’s very heavy (500 grams) and vey prone to fingerprints and minuscule scratches. The PS1000’s really do need some kind of oleo phobic coating to help with fingerprints and scratches, as they can become quite annoying. The headband is made out of a nice leather material, and while it’s not the most padded headband that I have used, it fits nicely on the head and isn’t very finicky at all, although I know some will prefer a little more cushioning.
    The actual ear cups themselves present a bit of a problem for me. While the bowls are comfortable for a short period of time and play a big part in the soundstage, I feel as if though they can feel a bit itchy after elongated use, and really wish that Grado could use a new material for their bowls, like some kind of memory foam. Additionally, due to the hefty weight of the PS1000’s, the ear cups tend to slide down on one’s ears after a while, and can slide around a lot if you aren’t staying stock still while listening to music. Being as it’s one of the bigger issues that people to report, I hope Grado looks into this in the future, as it would really help. On an ending note, the cable is very thick and sturdy and features OCC copper coupled with a quarter inch jack, the standard size for most high end headphones.
    Final Thoughts
    The Grado PS1000 is truly a world class headphone in it own right, and while it may not be the most popular headphone on the market right now when it comes tot he high end dynamics, orthodynamics, and electrostatics, I still feel as if though the PS1000 has a very unique sonic character that sets it apart from the other bad boys of the group. It has a lot of characteristics of other headphones like the LCD-2 and the HD800, but with its own attributes as well (soundstage depth and bass quality). If Grado can improve the materials and comfort level of the PS1000, they may have themselves a winner with the PS1000. On an ending note, I know a lot of people who have modded their Grado’s, and they say it’s very easy to change the sonic signature, so if you ever get bored, why not try a little DIY work, it may pay off.
      JoeDoe likes this.
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    2. Austin Morrow
      I was trying to keep the review under 6-7 paragraphs, but that wasn't the case, as you can tell. Glad you enjoyed the review. I really do hope that Grado fixes some of the comfort and weight issues though, as that's the only thing missing, otherwise, I love it.
      Austin Morrow, Jun 19, 2012
    3. Gwarmi
      Guess that is part of the Grado perplexity - we wonder where this 'uniqueness' comes from and yet ultimately judge why John Grado does not address such basic issues - the answer lies in part of his human, flawed genius - he gives us all something rather special that remains not quite right. Up to the individual now to decide whether they want to flaunt their cash towards one of the more humanistic flagship cans around - it is beautiful but is it perfect? Not really.
      Gwarmi, Jun 20, 2012
    4. Xenophon
      I come a year late but bear flowers:  really enjoyed reading your review.  The PS1000 certainly seems to evoke strong emotions in people.  I know someone who prefers it to all other headphones while a friend of mine used to own it, tried to love it but got rid of it because he just couldn't handle the way it sounded.  Both own various flagship phones, btw.  But you nicely articulated its properties and also highlighted its weaknesses.  I'd love to audition one but would very probably not purchase it as it comes with a hefty tag and I already own a HD-800 and HE-6 and have only one head.  If you ever have the opportunity to audition the HE-6 I'd be really interested in hearing your opinion of it as compared to the Grado.  I listen exclusively to classical and between the 2 phones  I mentioned I have all bases covered I think.  Know it's heresy but think I prefer the HE-6 to the HD-800 for classical music.  But it's close and as you rightly remark, in this market segment there are no 'bad' phones left.
      Xenophon, Oct 1, 2013
  5. Gwarmi
    Grado PS1000
    Written by Gwarmi
    Published Mar 11, 2012
    Pros - Majestic and very full sounding, sound stage depth unparalled, bass detail is one of the best
    Cons - Weight, headband needs to be re-trimmed in the long term, distant sounding recordings will sound even more sucked out.
    Thought it was high time that someone populated at least one profile review concerning these
    much maligned flagship cans from Grado.
    The PS1000 ranks alongside the other two flagships from Audio Technica and Ultrasone
    - the W5000 and Edition 10 as the three outsiders of choice when any Head-Fier decides
    to take a leap into the world of flagship ownership. Many of the common threads suggest
    that this may be entirely logical and self evident - other players from Sennheiser, HiFiman
    and Audeze are simply the superior product and their Head-Fi popularity backs this up.
    However, that's not to say there is not some unexpected goodness to be found with these
    unpopular top offerings - The Grado PS1000 is one such example.
    Brief Notes:-
    The PS1000 is a departure from the SR and RS series, Grado lovers familiar with those
    ranges will find themselves either pleasantly surprised with 'la difference' or disappointed
    that John Grado has not continued more of the same. Don't get me wrong, the PS1000 still
    possesses that undeniable Grado sound, but the sheer presentation is so different.
    Mids are placed just right on certain recordings, tracks which with the 325i felt a little too
    forward are now seated back perfectly and the generous sound stage width and depth
    allows for a much more immersive experience. 
    The key word with these cans is 'Immersion' - they literally can involve you like no other
    can, especially if you are already quite partial to the Grado house sound. Guitar still
    bristles with excitement, piano is rendered authentically but this time around - bass
    detail separates the PS1000 from it's SR/RS siblings - it's so nuanced and textured
    that you sometimes wonder how such a well trodden track can somehow appear to
    sound well - new all over again!
    It may sound silly to draw such metaphor, but when I think of
    the PS1000 in terms of faintly veiled military comparison, the
    image of a 'Big Bertha' cannon from WW1 emerges.
     Big, majestic, powerful, slightly unwieldy (ok, quite unwieldy)
     The PS1000 like Bertha when placed in the correct position
     with the right source, amp and recording delivers a sonic blow
     to devastate your senses, however, it does not take much of
     an imagination to think of the flipside - this big behemoth
     being placed in an awkward position, on seeping sand with
     a mismatched system and simply the wrong recording for
     it's tastes.
     The big majestic creation becomes a very expensive non
     event. The PS1000 will not turn crap into candy, furthermore
     unlike many truths about Grados - it does take a very nice
     source, correctly matched amp and a compromised view
     towards your record collection to thoroughly enjoy these.
     It's best to think of it as just randomly picking 10 tracks from
     the collection and ending up with the following results :-
     4 tracks will present in ho hum fashion, a further 4 will have
     you thinking that these are quite good - and those last two
     will have you searching for your tongue on the floor.
     They really can be that magnificent ~ however, this is the dilemma
     - they're not a trusty all terrain, do-it-all-can for many. These
     last few months, I've enjoyed them across all my material,
     taking the mediocrity with the sublime. It's not a position that
     I can see many Head-Fiers taking in that sense if this was the
     sole can in their repertoire.
     There's no such thing as a perfect set of cans and the PS1000
     changes nothing there - however, they do deserve forgiveness
     in all cases when they do fire the right salvo.
     These will never be a solid recommendation on Head-Fi - that
     time has passed, but I encourage anyone seeking an evolution
     of the Grado signature who is prepared to stick by these cans
     with the diligence and long term commitment of let's say being
     a HD800 owner - to consider them, to accept their shortcomings
     for the fact that your efforts will be rewarded, perhaps just as much
     if not more so than with any other flagship out there at the moment.
     They're a diamond in the rough - at a diamond price [​IMG]

    1. View previous replies...
    2. 563
      yep, amp pairing sure helps! these are great, albeit unwieldy, cans! (from a non-grado fanboy)
      563, Apr 22, 2012
    3. Gwarmi
      I think in the last few months we're starting to see a little Renaissance of the Grado flagship :)
      High time I say, but all those things that I mentioned still hold true. It's an all or nothing can.
      To pick up on Furyagain's comments - the whole source, interconnect to amp chain is very crucial on these, it's difficult
      to get this message out as the other Grado sibilings in the family do not follow this rule - the RS1i for example does
      not have the same scalability as the PS1000 - nowhere near in fact.
      Lastly I'll say this, if you're going to be brave and demo these at a large meet - take your time beforehand, pick a
      track listing of 10 to 12 tracks that 'you know' actually work with the PS1000. At least then when you hand them
      over to be tried with other rigs and you get the usual 'Ummm, these suck with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers mate'
      You've got a reference track listing to remind the bloke, it's not the PS1000 - it's just there is no synergy with the
      Gwarmi, Apr 22, 2012
    4. gerry123456
      I want to say a belated thank you for your review. I bought a set of PS1000s around Christmas 2012 using the info in this review, and others.
      I think my experience of the Grados has closely matched your review, especially the point that my tongue does indeed hang out on 2 (maybe even 3 or 4 ) tracks out of 10. They really can be that good!
      That said, they can never, unfortunately given the price, be my sole headphone. This is due to the occasional and completely inexplicable 'icepick through the brain' factor. It really is illogical and frustrating ... I'm using a good source, one song from the album is extremely good, then icepick, and aargh - sometimes it even happens within a song like for a particular range of notes from a single instrument which just sound just horrible, but the rest of the song is amazing. I guess that provided we just figure out which songs are not so good and avoid them, then these can be ... amazing!
      I'm glad I bought them ... very glad in fact. I just wish they were a little more versatile.
      gerry123456, Jul 15, 2013