Grado SR-325i Prestige Series Headphones

Average User Rating:
  1. Nymphonomaniac
    "Superb Open back Headphones that look and sound as a precious work of art"
    Pros - Elegant and detailed sound with syrupy mids and extended low, plenty of air and space in big soundstage, warm and inviting vocals
    Cons - The cable will broke because of unstoppable twisting cups (predictable Grado downer), need amping for full spectrum result
    AH! Grado. Sir John Grado.
    How can we not love you? How can we not hate you?
    You never sold your soul to the market and still construct your headphones in America, your quality is still the same as in 1990 when you begin to create your first marvelous headphones with your wife in a small workbench while the company was on the verge of bankrupcy. As a mad scientist and sound poet, you discover one of the more musical driver of all time and design open back cups that give fresh oxygene to the musicality of every frequency. We know you like to listen to your creation with  tube amp and surely prefer vinyl to CD or even SACD, you are from the old school for the better and the worst.
    Now that your son begin to take your step, it could be for the better or the worst too, as from what I read he look like to be more a business man than an incurable audiophile.
    Anyway, you create marvelous headphones with a unique soundsignature that fascinate today as much as 25 years ago.
    For that, dear John Grado, you are a Jazzy God.
    Yes, no need to read about you to know you LOVE Jazz, old smoky jazz, Duke and Lady Day, flying piano notes that decay in a dark room and doublebass that can be feel from the ears to the guts.
    And as a Jazz aficionado, your headphones is a sent of God to me, the miracle I was waiting for without even knowing it.

    I have had in my possession the Grado Alessandro, the Grado GS1000 too but the only one I kept is the Grado Sr325i wich I will review here.
    -GRADO SR325i-
    This headphones are something special, a little bit excentric in the appearance I can say, with their heavy metal construction and gold color, you will not pass unremarked in the crownd with them on the head. As their sound leakage is enormous, I doubt you will feel socialy acceptable with them on too, well, I know kids nowadays play their music out loud on their smartphone, but this headphones isn't meant for kids at all, not the one that listen only to Pop and rap and boomy entertainment.
    Talking about construction, the headband is made of real leather, construction is all metal and plastic and gold earcups made of very heavy metal that look indestructible.
    Unfortunately, it is not. Because of the turning earcups the cable begin to broke on one side and inner wire are now visible and dangerously loose on my Sr325i. This happen with my Grado GS1000 too and I have to sell them because it was too expensive to repair. Their you have the number one Grado issue. You can solve this with your own ingeniosity and I will for sure next time, but to avoid the constant swirling that fatigue the cable to the point of breaking it you will need to construct something that hold the metal branch so it doesn't constantly turn.
    The Sr325i came with the L-cush, but I try it with the bowl cup and it is more comfortable and improve even more the soundstage, the L-cush can make your ear touch the scring and you must know that if a hair get in the way between your ear and sound scring it will cause GRATTLE SOUNDS with some frequencies, having a bald head is very usefull with Grado because this grattle sound can occur with ALL their headphones.
    LOW :
    I think the Grado Sr325i are the more ''bassy'' one of the SR serie. Compared to the Alessandro or Sr60 the extension in the low end is bigger and fuller. It is still punchy tough, but with more weight and realism, toms hit sound more natural and listening to doublebass or cello is a real treat. The bass is very addictive and accurate if not extremely fast, it flow in they air with confident and is a delight when the source is acoustic, a little less when it's from electronic music because grado have what I will call a Vintage sound that beg to be amped by a tube amplifier. For Classical, Jazz, Worldmusic and any instrumental based music it is eargasms, for modern rap, D&B, IDM and boomy pop it is not always a good combination.
    Grado medium frequencies are the most important part of the Grado sound. From the Sr60 to the GS1000 you can't be indifferent about them. Their elegant and warm presentation is nothing short of mesmerising, you are drown in the vocals like in a pool of good champagne and can float on your back for hours listening to the fascinating bubbles (sorry for the strange metaphor!). The SR325i is no exception to the rule, I have goosebumps everytime im listening to female signers like Arianna Savall, Mazzy Star, Agnes Obel, Julia Holter or Billie Holiday...the medium range is foward but in a vast way and have good texture to it, instruments like violin and saxophone sound superb on the SR 325i. The overall sound is sometime enveloping and intimate concert-hall-style.
    I read some reviews that said the treble is kind of bright with these Grado, I do not think that at all but I guess every ears are differently sensible to high frequencies. I don't find harsh or agressive the highs even if the details are very present and treble sparkle alot, for exemple the cymbals extend vastely wich I find very enjoyable, it had too to the full spectrum texture but never feel over forced, in fact, for my hardbeaten ears it sound relaxed and gentle. Harshness is more present when the Grado are not enough amped, it can sound okay with a low source but will GREATLY benifit of more amping, this way the sound doesn't struggle to get free and musicality is at his fullest. Any Grado will sound better if correctly amped I think.
    This delactable Grado SR325i have a very impressive soundstage with incredible instruments separation, listening to Linda Perhacs right now I can picks all instruments and the voice shine in the middle of this beautifull musicality. The sound is unforgiving too with low quality music or overcompressed tracks. As it's sound signature can be detremental for some style of music I will not consider it as a all-arounder. Anyway it excell in beauty when the moment come and their a plenty of magical ones.
    I never found a headphones that can sound good with all the style of music I listen too so I do not ask that to a headphones and what the Grado SR325i deliver me is over what I wish, I highly recommend these headphones and will refrain from given it 5 stars because of the swirling cable and earcups problem that can be very very frustrating.
    Anyway, nothing import more than the sound and
    HeavenNotes and trellus like this.
  2. GL1TCH3D
    "Aggressive headphones suitable for heavy rock"
    Pros - Unique sound signature that you don't really get with other offerings from other companies
    Cons - Terribly uncomfortable. Ruined the experience.
    I had these for a few months before I sold it because they became unbearable to use.
    I tried the bowl pads and that helped with comfort but the sound became a nightmare for an audiophile so I will refrain from discussing that here.

    Build quality:
    Very solid headphones. The cable is nice and thick so I'm not scared of it breaking.
    The solid metal earcups are a nice touch but are also a downside.
    The headband is nice.

    Cups are beautiful and shiny but paint comes off easily on the lettering.
    The cups are too heavy.
    I'm not a fan of the earcup swivel design but it works.

    The earcups are far too heavy for on ears and it ends up pressing a lot on your ears. The stiff pads and the grill of the drivers end up scratching and pressing even more with no cushioning.
    Putting them on for an hour was torture for me.

    Now, you'd expect it to have amazing sound quality considering the downside of comfort right?
    While the sound is good, it's not a natural sound.
    It's very aggressive and emphasizes various frequencies. It's very energetic.

    Quite punchy if the song calls for it. The bass is not overwhelming in any way.

    Very forward and aggressive in an "in your face" sort of way. Not very smooth.

    Very harsh and bright headphones. Would probably be very fatiguing for people. I've never felt fatigue from any headphones so the bright treble isn't a turnoff for me.

    Soundstage: very limited when compared to the AKG Q701 in the same price range.
    Seperation: Again, not as good compared to the AKG Q701.

    If you can handle the comfort, maybe flat pads from the lower models? But from experimenting, it changes the sound a lot.
    The sound signature is very much colored to make rock and similar genres energetic and aggressive but to me, this isn't exactly a great thing since I listen to classical and other genres as well.
  3. Spiderman
    "Fun lively headphones, that can sometimes be extremely harsh and sibilant"
    Pros - Forward lively mids, gives that on stage presentation, Narrow sound stage
    Cons - Can sound overly harsh, lacking in bass
    I decided to write this review because I have done some research and it turns out there isn't that many reviews on this particular headphone.The majority of the music I listen to is alternative, rock, classic rock, Sinatra mostly mid centric music. Now this was my very first grado headphone that I have ever purchased. Note, if you are looking for a headphone that does great with every genre these grado's are certainly not it. These headphones are meant for a very specific taste/ears they excel with certain genres and lack in others, it is safe to assume that these headphones aren't for everyone.
    Pros: I have to say there are some things that the grado's do very well and those are the mids. They sound forward and aggressive sometimes a bit too aggressive and you really feel like the singer is in front of you. Vocals sound clear and so do instruments though there isn't much instrument separation. The sound stage is really narrow which causes everything to sound really close together now depending on who you are you might like or hate this.
    Cons: There are a few things that the 325i's don't do as well such as the bass and micro details, and they can suffer from an overly harsh treble. Now I don't mind treble I actually feel like headphones today need more treble the hd-650 comes to mind. But I can say that the grado's took this to an extreme, this isn't a big deal on some recordings but when you hear something that has alot of treble and you are listening at semi to loud volumes the treble can be borderline painful. Grado's I feel encourage listening at loud volumes, because that is when the vocals are perfect, however when you hear the highs you have to immediately turn the volume down, I realized this when I was listening to a few tracks where the treble kicks in a little late into the song. The bass to me is really lacking, it isn't as pronounced as I would like to be. One of the 325i's weaknesses is the micro details, I tested this out by listening to various recordings that feature small little details that in some of the cheaper headphones you don't pick out as easily. I couldn't hear these on the grado's it might be because everything feels so aggressive and overwhelming at times.
    Verdict: So are the 325i's for you? Well that depends if you are sensitive to treble I would say don't even consider these. However if you are someone who listens to a lot of rock and roll and you love treble and aren't very sensitive to it then I would recommend these specifically to you. These headphones are geared to the enthusiast who doesn't want anything toned down, basically someone who is looking to get the same sound signature you would get at a rock concert. You won't hear all the little details because it will be extremely loud but you will hear the vocals and mids extremely clear and treble will be just as lively and loud.
  4. cornfruit
    "I always come back."
    Pros - buttery mids, energetic highs, punchy bass
    Cons - long-term comfort
    My first set of "premium" cans were the Grado SR80's, driven from an old classic iPod. As you can expect, I was blown away by the sound quality compared to those little white earbuds.

    I've tried other headphones in the $200 range including AKG K271's, UE's universal IEM, and my latest set, the Beyerdynamic DT990-600.

    To my ears, all non-Grado phones lack a certain warmth in the mids. The DT990's in particular, probably due to their strong treble and bass, seemed lacking in the midrange. Thanks to HF's classifieds I found a pair of Grado 325's for the right price and all I can say is that I forgot what I was missing.

    For my money, you'll never find a closer, airier sound from acoustic recordings. Electric rock sounds incredible too, you'll hear every cymbal crash and fretboard whine.
  5. Zub-a-Roo
    "Not worth the Price point"
    Pros - detailed highs, people ask questions while wearing
    Cons - BRIGHT, muddy, uncomfrtable
    Was not happy with the 325i.  Very bright sounding through most of my musical catalog.  Sounded very detailed at low volume.  Bass response was surprisingly deep.  Very forward sound signature.  Good headphone for metal and very fast.  Comfort is terrible.  Only torrerable at low volumes for my ears, even tamming with soft tubes.  I traded these for AKG K 701's, which was my happiest audiophile moment to date  :)
  6. DivergeUnify
    "Super lively headphones that can be agressive, and beautiful( chrome) "
    Pros - Great treble, impactful, unique sounding bass, BEAUTIFUL mids, great construction and aesthetics, swivel cups
    Cons - SOMETIMES can be uncomfortable, bass could go a little deeper at times
    These were my third pair of headphones, after the AT ES7 and Shure SE 530.  I kept reading about how they had really hot treble, and sounded really unique and would be the opposite of the HD650( which would've been the logical upgrade from the 530 in terms of sound signature).  Something about having something almost opposite sounding was really appealing
    Once I finally got these, WOW! I almost thought they had too much bass!  The bass for genres like rock and metal and jazz is perfect in my opinion.  It has just the right amount of bass for impact, but doesn't really capture too much low low end bass which leads to it sounding like a very fast headphone.  It picks up on bass licks, riffs, drums, but never makes these instruments the forefront of the music. 
    The mids... guitars sound absolutely perfect, sweet, exquisite, heavenly!  You know its not natural sounding, but its almost the same with a drug- its not natural, but that doesn't mean the sound has any less integrity.
    The treble is pretty elevated like a lot of people say, but I think you would need to be listening quite loud for a long period of time( at least enough time to damage your ears) to be an issue.  Its really the treble that gives the 325 this unique, energetic, quick sound its known for.   There is tons of detail and sometimes I even perceive this as bright, but when I allow myself to just listen( and deactivate my head-fi account like I had to do to finally appreciate them) you hear how detailed they are.  Out of all the headphones I've heard( Shure 530/840, AT ES7/M50, Beyer DT990, Senn HD650/ HD-25 II, AKG K240), these really are the best of them for rock and metal, and many genres in general.  Switching from K240 or HD650 makes you realize how much punch the bass really has to it, how energetic they really are, how much texture they have.  The sound blends SO well together.  Sometimes I absolutely do wish for a little bit more depth to the bass if I'm listening to a electronic genre, but otherwise I don't mind.  Sound stage isn't really huge, but I never switch from my HD650s and miss the soundstage.  Its just not neccessary, or at least, its adequete in that it doesn't take away from the headphones.  Sound separation is great.  The 325is never really sound congested unless its a garbage metal/hardcore punk recording
    I've had some comfort issues- at first I thought they were very comfortable, then I messed the head band up and it took a while to finally remangle it back to a comfortable state.  They sit fairly lose on the head, jolting my head downquickly will throw them off.
  7. Racer24
    "Versatile Responsive Cans with an Amazing Sound Signature"
    Pros - Best sound and definitely worth upgrading from the 225is
    Cons - slight slippage in the fit when I wear them for an extended period
    The Grado SR-225i was my first real pair of "audiophile" headphones and I loved them to death. In a foolish fit last month, I traded them away. After trader's regret set in I found a pair of goldie 325is that had been modded with detachable cables and screw fasteners to keep the headphones from sliding down. I must say the goldie 325is are heavier but not in an obtrusive way, this sounds cliche but you can "feel the quality" as opposed to their little plastic brother the 225i. I loved the 225is but I'm really blown away by the difference between the two models. The 325i goldies are really remarkable with a better low end, more brilliant/clear highs and, in my opinion, the best sound signature. These only confirm I've got to keep working to get those GS1000s--they're the most beautiful looking headphones available. A+ Joe Grado, as always. One of these days maybe I'll be able to afford your top end!
  8. TheotherLarryB
    "Best for me head to head with other Grados"
    Pros - Phenomenal SQ, like no other headphones I have heard
    Cons - For me personally, a bit heavy and uncomfortable in long listening sessions
    I had the pleasure of living in Toronto for 4 years and bought these at the excellent Bay Bloor Radio. BBR have a wall of headphones all fed by the same source, so I spent a few happy hours there on a quiet Monday night armed with a few favourite CDs.
    I listened to AGK701s, a variety of Senns and all the Grados head to head. For me, the 325is (the Gold edition) were the best of the bunch, even versus the reference series models.
    18 months and plenty of listening later (Arcam CD73T via a Little Dot mkIII) these still give me tons of listening pleasure. Some users report quality issues but I handle mine carefully, keep them on a stand etc and haven't had any issues.
    I also read - before hearing them for myself - a lot about "unberarable" highs, but I don't find this at all - just a real warmth, immediacy and excitement in the sound.
    After these, switching to other 'phones makes me feel like a layer has been placed between me and the music.
    Haven't heard the "s" improved version yet but looking forward to an audition...
  9. rasmushorn
    "Punchy and forward sound - I love them!"
    Pros - Punchy bass, sparkling treble and very forward mids. Crystal clear sounding headhones appealing to those who love a very "in-your-face" sounding can..
    Cons - Grado wearing comfort. Heavy and clunky. Cables could be better and more sturdy.
    I can not find any headphone similar to the SR-325. They are very different from all other headphones I have heard and also from the rest of the Grado line. You either love them or hate them. I can say for myself that these through the years have become my reference and no other Grado headphone have been able to take their place for me - even though HF2 was pretty close. 
    The SR325 has a very forward, in-your-face sound. It offers a detail level on par with the rest of the top of the line Grados and it has crystal clear mids wich gives them a unique and intimate presentation of vocal recordings. They are very punchy and fast - some say they are metallic sounding and that might be a good way to describe the 325's. 
    The treble is too much for most people so do not buy them without having heard these first! For me the treble and upper mids is the very unique part of the sound and something I haven't heard in any other headphone. Even when listening at low levels they are able to bring out very small details and they are high fidelity for sure. 
    I think the SR325's are great for jazz - vocal jazz in particular. They might also be for headphones what the Lagavulin is for single malt whiskeys - a very refined but powerful peat-smokey aroma - you have to learn how to enjoy it. But once you "break the code" they will reward the listener with new ways to hear some recordings. 
    Pure musical enjoyment for my part.
  10. goraman
    " Grado SR325i NOT FOR ME great for well recorded classical."
    Pros - Nice looking,solid construction,timeless styleing
    Cons - sonics are bright and they are unforgiveing of poor recordings
    GradoLabsSR325i018.jpg hoowe006.jpg GradoLabsSR325i009.jpg STEREO009.jpg GradoLabsSR325i015.jpg I may be off on the date but it should be close.
    SN#7405 :REVIEWED
    After owning the SR80 for a few years I thought the Grado 325i would just give you more of the same sound as the loved 80,they do not.
    What they do give you before break in with some source material is sonically smiler to diving naked into a 5 yard dumpster filled to the top with angry fire ants.
    They are brighter than driving into the hot California desert sun with out sun glasses.
    But to be fair after break in classical recordings from the 1960's and 70's from the London philharmonic on open reel tape was like a blessed event from heaven!
    So without going to deep into detail source material is critical should you choose these headphones.
    And they do mellow with break in but not as much as I would have liked.
    They are loved by menny people for there forward presentation of detail in mids and highs and texture (loads of texture).More bass would go along way as an improvement.
    But you just get overwhelmed by it all very quickly.
    Sound stage is lacking,nuff said.
    They are a little clunky to ware and the cord twists if your not careful as the ear pieces turn,but they feel nice on your head once you get them placed right.
    I should also add that due to the extra weight of the metal housings I had to add some extra padding to the headband to make them tolerable.
    The construction is timeless and solid.
    They do look stunning,the black/gold really looks fantastic,they remind me of something from Flash Gordon.
    If Classical,Jazz or Folk is your thing these might be your Huckel Berry.
    If not move on to the RS2 or RS1.
    Sorry,Jhon Grado but out of all the Grado's Ive heard(at least 6 pair come to mind) these are my least favorite with most types of music.  .