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On-Ear item created by rreis, Aug 28, 2010
Pros - Very musical, dynamic, fast and very detailed.
Cons - Can be a bit harsh sounding sometimes. And comfort can be a little rough at times.
Not a review, just my little opinion on these nice headphones.
My Grado SR80s are the older ones (Not the new 'i' version) I'm guessing my SR80s were made around in 2001-2003 etc.
All I can say these SR80s are very musical sounding headphones, and they can sure boogie too.
I think the SR80s are one of Grado's best headphones in my opinion. And can sound just as good as headphones costing £250+. Very good value for money !!
Pros - great sound, light weight, cool retro styling, made in USA
Cons - crappy cord, not very durable
A couple of years ago, I took the bait and bought my set of Grado SR80s. Its been mostly love ever since.
I adore the sound, which is pretty spectacular, especially at this price. Could use a little more robust bass, but i just pump up the bass with EQ. Sound is really clear and musical.
They're easily powered by a computer or ipod. I tried a CMOY with mine but didn't notice much if any difference.
They're lightweight, and since I live in a small Manhattan apartment and have my phones on ALL the time, the light weight is key. I can wear these for hours and experience very little discomfort.
I love the retro styling. Some hate it. I don't. To me, its like those old boxy Volvos. Unique and cool.
The ear pads are not great, and i will probably replace them soon.
But the REAL problem with the Grado SR80s is the cord. I HATE it. Not only has mine broken twice and needed to be re-soldered, but it twists up all the time in an annoying fashion. I had to solder on a new plug too, as the original one had a short in it.
I don't like the Y-splitter, as I prefer the cord going into just one side of the headphone. I also really prefer a coiled cable to a straight one.
But for this price, i can't complain too much. I just really wish Grado would make these with a robust cord. And if it was coiled, even better. Its no wonder so many are forced to re-cable Grados.
One other thing...because they're open, sound leakage is huge. They are not good for public transportation. They are not good if you're in the same room with someone who doesn't want to hear the sound coming out of your headphones. I use them at home, and I live alone, so this is not a an issue for me.
So, to sum up, as much as I dislike the cord, these headphones still rate just about a 5 because the sound is just so good at such a low price.
Pros - Warm but mostly uncolored, transparent
Cons - cord material and reliability
I've owned a pair of SR-80s since 1996 when my old Yamaha phones collapsed beyond repair. I auditioned a pair of SR-60s at a local high-end store, and when I was ready, got a pair. I was very disappointed! It wasn't at all the sound I had heard in the audition. I was unhappy enough to return them, and in a newsgroup (remember them?) complained about my experience. Group members had been praising the SR-60s at the time, and I couldn't get behind that. To my surprise, I got an email from Joe Grado asking for my shipping address! He offered me a pair of the SR-80s, said if I liked them, I could pay for them, and if not, give them to somebody else. Can you imagine that? Needless to say, after listening to them for a few weeks, I sent them a check for payment in full.
I've owned that pair ever since. They've traveled, been outside in the cold, rain, and sun. I changed the ear paids to Sennheiser pads, replaced the cord myself once, then had Grado do it twice. But I still have them, still use them almost every day. They are very affected by the output impedance of the amp that drives them. They're ok in an iPod, but fantastic if you hit them with a good solid low Z source.
They're pleasant, soothing, as spacious to listen to, but I can't mix on them. I do some filed recording, and they just make everything sound TOO good. But for pleasure, they're my choice.
The cord is weak spot. It's thick and in cold temperatures acts as stiff as a garden hose. The strain relief at the ear cups is just a blob of glue, which pops off and then you break a wire in the cup. My own replacement was Mogami Neglex wire, which held up better, but wasn't really headphone wire. The stock pads from the 1990s were hot, and the on-ear Sennheiser HD414 pads fit fine, and though you lose a bit of the top and bottom, still retain the character of the original phones. When I got them back from repair, they had black pads installed, similar to the 414 pads. Nice, worked well, but dissolved in a few years. So, I'm back to the 414 pads...for now. I'm due to send these in for a rehab soon.
I recently auditioned a bunch of headphones back at that original high-end store. The sound of the SR-80s still beat even the $600 Sennheisers (don't recall the model), but the amp used was pretty much junk, and my amp is way better. But today's SR-80s are pretty much the same as the mid 1990s ones I have, if perhaps a bit less "weathered".
Pros - sound
Cons - built quality
Great sound, etc. What hasnt been said: these headphones will literraly dislove after 2 months of use. Mine already have new cable and headband. You cant wear them in public since they leak sound and look like a pre-WW2 relic.
I had loads of headphones well above the price range, like monitoring, dj, in ear all from well known brands and nothing campared to Grados sound.
Pros - Affordable, Precise, exceptional clarity, look great, plenty of mods available.
Cons - A little lacking in soundscape, You really NEED the Grado L-Cush pads.
I could not recommend SR-80i's any higher to someone that's looking in that price range.
I did months and months of research before settling for a pair, I read just about every review out there.
Realistically I do not think that for the money you could get yourself a better can.
I fitted Grado L-Cush (from the SR-325i) pads to mine and it made the world of difference, not just to comfort but to the audible landscape.
Pros - Clean, powerful sound
Cons - Uncomfortable with orig ear pads, leakage due to design
What can I say that hasn't already been said about these great set of cans? Powerful, clean, natural.