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Over-Ear item created by joe, Aug 12, 2014
Pros - Clear, realistic/lifelike texture, fast PRaT, very open
Cons - Soundstage, Imaging , Build
Sound signature : Bright, Clear, Aggressive, Detailed, Acoustic, Forward, Narrow
Comfort is not an issue if wear the right way - let the ear cup sits entirely ON the ear. It's an on ear headphone.
Good for : Rock, Acoustic, Lives, Vocals, Jazz and anything with real instruments.
Not so good for : Electronic, Pop, Hip hop, Rap and anything with synthetic sound.
Pros - They do bring emotions
Cons - bass might be better
First of all I like them so much that it is hard for me to be objective. But I’ll try.
sr325e are open “on the ear” dynamic headphones. Top of grado “prestige” line that includes 60, 80, 115, 225 and 325 models. “E” in the name means enhanced (if I’m not mistaken). The cable is very thick and the overall design looks a bit weird. They are handcrafted in brooklyn and the build quality is not always perfect.
The sound. The soundstage and separation is very good. On binaural recordings it is hard to believe that the musicians are not in your room. Seriously. The bass is nice, but not the best. The impact could be better. However it’s not bass that makes them special. It’s mids and highs. They are crystal clear, very upfront, crunchy and aggressive. That is what makes a “grado sound” that is usually either loved or hated. There are a lot of controversies in opinions. Some say that they are for rock only and not enjoyable with jazz or classics, some say that they are not good for electronic music. Some say that they are astonishingly good for everything you throw at them and I agree with this. There are some imperfections in sound (but these are not summit-fi headphones after all). However listening to rock sends shivers down my spine and I just can’t get used to it. They act as an arrogant and aggressive bandit but in a good way. If that makes any sense. The guitar riffs never sound like that (not even close) in any other headphones I tried. The jazz sounds amazing. The saxophone is just like never before.
sr325e are not neutral allrounders. They are just very special. I would recommend trying them for a number of tracks. Led Zeppelin, Guns and Roses, ACDC or anything similar would be a good showcase of what they can do to you. And then you may or may not like them. Actually the model doesn’t matter that much if you would like to understand what “grado sound” is. The signature will be the same even on sr60 that are sold for a fraction of the 325 price.
Pros - Best setup for 60s-70s rock
Cons - Literally nothing
Hello! Alrighty, so I decided to purchase these specific headphones for a number of reasons. First, I mainly listen to 60's rock (Beatles, Dylan, Creedence, Doors, Hendrix, Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Velvet Underground, Zeppelin, Stones, Pink Floyd) and these suit that music perfectly. The reason is because it is a dynamic type of headphone and no other headphone no matter how sophisticated and high tech can give you the slam, energy, impact, and just raw power of a dynamic headphone. Second Grado is already known for being the best headphones for rock music no matter the headphone. Third Grado has models ranging from about $80 to $1700 but I find these to be the best for rock music, the reasoning is because the plastic models just sound dull, the wooden ones sound too smooth and soft (you want some aggressiveness when you listen to rock) and because of the L-cush pads they bring in a more intimate soundstage as if you are right in front of the band rather than the G-cush which makes it like you are a couple of rows from the stage. I personally love that big bold aggressive sound that is in your face because you just want to crank it up and jam. Ok so now some recommendations, I paired these headphones with the Schiit Magni 2 amp and Modi 2 DAC (which by the way is great because the whole setup is made in USA and the silver tone colors of all three components just make it look so sleek and industrial grade, which by the way they are all built like tanks) and again the reasoning for this is because I find solid state to give more impact, energy, slam and aggressiveness that tubes just cant do as well. This setup is natural and less digital sounding, it is smooth but never soft, and never fatiguing.I highly recommend to break in this setup at a little higher than normal volume overnight for 10 hours a day until you get to 100 hours with the Schiit stack too because it makes the sound way smoother, it is real, absolutely for Grados, maybe not for other headphones but for these, 100% certain. The trebles extends higher but gets smooth, the bass extends deeper and gets tighter and smoother, the midrange gets more vivid and the soundstage opens up more.
Pros - Clear sound, aesthetically pleasing, warm pleasing sound.
Cons - Terrible comfort, lacking bass. (Subjective) - Open to a degree that ambient noise can ruin a listening session
If you are willing to put aside comfort and bass for a clearer sound the sr325e are for you, the sound signature takes some time to get used to. Highly recommend listening to them before purchasing, You might totally hate them.
You most likely won't enjoy the Grados without an amp and a recording above 320kb/s, they are pricy but if the sound suits you, you may prefer them over much more expensive headphones, so it's really best to have a listen to them along with the 80's and 125's just to see how much you are willing to pay for the subtle changes.
The 125's really aren't substantially different, but if the sound difference is worth the price in your mind then go for it. If you like Grado's prestige series you will definitely like the 325's.
Pros - Details: I heard aspects of music that I have never heard before.
Cons - Could use a little more bass and a lot more comfort.
[This is my first review here. I'm still developing my language for talking about audio, so I apologize in advance if the review doesn't 'sound' right!.]
I have been a long time lurker on head-fi and I got myself the SR325e recently as a starting headphone. Initially it sounded a bit harsh, but a 3 day break-in with random music made the bass more present and definitely a lot less harsh.
I use a Fiio E17 portable DAC/Amp.
Comfort: Initially the headphones were unbearable, the foam was rough and my ears were not happy. To top the physical comfort issues, the harshness of the sound made it even worse. But in just about 10 days of wearing ~2hours/day, the foam softened quite a bit and sound mellowed down too and I can keep these for 4-5 hours straight at moderate volume without trouble.
Treble: I haven't heard the previous SR325i yet, but reading online says that Grado has made the e series smoother. Except for some extremely treble heavy songs, the SR325e sounds really sweet.
Mids: Vocals sound amazing, especially female voices. Phenomenal.
Bass: Sounds precise, could use a little more quantity.
Quick recommendation for n00bs like me: Try to audition Grados in a local store before buying one. There are some headphones (like Sennheiser HD 600) which you can buy without auditioning and be most likely happy with, Grados on the other hand can be a hit or a miss. I personally enjoy the sound SR325e and will keep them, but I don't believe a Grado will be my primary listening device. I'm considering getting more neutral/warmer pair to complement these.
Pros - Balance, good drive & rhythm, clear/transparent, music well layered with no overlapping, cymbals & percussions are smooth and natural
Cons - None
A couple of months ago, after reading a few positive reviews pertaining to the SR325e I got really curious as to see if they were as good as some reviews made them out to be. After all these are $300 U.S. / $400 CDN (in my case the latter price) which is expensive enough and should get you a pretty good product but, based on what's available out there, there are more expensive and therefore most likely better HPs than the SR325e : e.g. (staying in the Grado family), the RS1 lineage, PS500 & 500e, GS1000 lineage, the new GH1, the PS1K & PS1Ke, etc. ... you get the idea. Well, no doubt some of these latter models are most likely somewhat superior in their respective areas &/or overall sound but the SR325e is very surprising & they're not easily pushed aside by their more expensive competitors.
I'm listening to the Kamakiriad CD by Donald Fagen. I chose this album because like all of Fagen's & Steely Dan albums the production is done meticulously with all instruments and vocals heard distinctly.
I am using my SR325e w/ G-cush*.
Amp : Mapletree-SugarMaple Sidewinder w/ 1 Pair - E88CC Siemens & Halske A frames/silver shields (around 1970) & GE JG-5751WA/12AX7 New Tube 2-Hole Short Black Plates Triple Mica "O" Gtr 1953.
Source : Teac PD-H600 CD (pound for pound one of the best CD players ever made, it rivals CD player costing three times more), PS Audio NuWave DAC3.
All audio equipment rests on Sorbothane padding.
My initial impressions upon listening to the music is how incredibly clear & surprisingly weighty the sound is. The amps volume knob rests at 10 o'clock, by no means loud at all but there's a rhythmic energy which manifests itself accompanying the initial sound impressions I've mentioned. On the album's #7 track "On the Dunes" each of the track’s layers is distinct and well-organised in a natural cohesive presentation, with each percussion instrument, of which there is a wide variety on this track some in the background, some more forward, but each one quite discernable, strain free and none overpowered or buried/muffled. The cymbals (and yes the percussion instruments, again) never sound bright or hard-edged, but natural, just beautifully sharp and well imaged. Also important, the bass is tight & natural e.g. the bass drum sound is right there w/ a clear sharp "thump" as opposed to a muffled or dull, buried sound. The bass comes across as crisp & full.
For the past couple of weeks they've been my "go to" headphone & I've spent quite a few hours listening to different music genres enjoying the overall experience & never experiencing listening fatigue. These headphones are a true delight.
In conclusion, the SR325e (* w/ G-cush) is a well balanced, detailed, dynamic sounding headphone with a beautiful sharp and well imaged presentation. IMHO this headphone is a bargain at it's price and better than many pricier headphones & not just Grados.
Pros - Value, Mod-ability, SQ
Cons - Comfort (maybe)
Well here's the long and the short of it: the new 'e' version of the Grado SR325 is the best one yet. And, IMHO it's the best Grado for the money. Here's why:
I've listened to a lot of headphones. A lot a lot. More than anyone should. And as such, I've developed some preferences. To keep this from dragging on... Grado is where it's at if you want lifelike reproduction. Back when I reviewed my RS1i, I mentioned that it was the first and only headphone (to that date) I'd heard that made me feel like I was listening to actual instruments. After further investigation (a few meets and lots of forum discussion) I've learned that a large number of Grado-heads are actual gigging musicians. Coincidence? I think not.
The 325e is the second can since the RS1i that has made me feel like this again (HE500 is the other [the Grado of planars]).
From the bottom up...
Punchy, very textured, and dynamic. Kick drums don't sound like blobs of bass. They sound like actual drums with an initiation, sustain, and decay of sound. Electric bass through a tube amp sounds like electric bass though a tube amp, not enveloping, room-shaking bass or amorphous blobs of low frequencies. Check out what I mean in this Snarky Puppy tune.
Vocals, guitars, and horns sound just... right. The 'e' iteration has smoothed the mids from the 'i' version and because the upper end is a little less hot, the mids are much more natural to these ears. They're rich and refined. Nothing recessed or in your face, just Grado mids doing Grado mids. Check out Joss singing "People Get Ready." All of the nuances in the organ and electric guitar are rich and detailed. Not to mention the command Joss has over her voice in this live performance. Great stuff.
Here's the biggest improvement since the 'i' series. The 325i was a little treble hot to me. Not offensive, but very unforgiving and at times uncomfortable. Now most Grado fans agree that the treble is what makes the crunch of electric guitar so addicting with these headphones and I would agree. However, thanks to the improvements in the 325e, the treble is a touch less hot, smoother, and more refined. Intricate cymbal work is crisp and clear as is the upper harmonics in guitars and the air in raspier vocals. See Esperanza:
A lot of folks have issues with the intimate presentation that Grados have. I do not. That's because music in real life rarely sound like it's in a cavern. Most of the time if you're at a venue where there is a roof, you're trying to sit near the front anyway, where you wouldn't hear the effects of a reverb in a giant space nearly as much as if you were sitting in the back row. That being said, the soundstage is no longer unnaturally congested like the previous 325. This one has a bit more width and depth, which makes pinpointing relational space between instruments easier and more life-like. Not to mention that throwing some G cush pads on these bad boys will cure most of your soundstage woes.
I couldn't write this review without mentioning at least two. 1. Tape mod: a layer of scotch or electrical tape around the stock L cushes does wonders for those of you who want some extra bass. Nice thing about this mod is that it's easy, unobtrusive, cheap, and doesn't really affect anything besides bass impact. 2. Pad rolling: not a mod per se, but it bears mentioning that changing pads basically yields different headphones. Between the taped L and stock G cush pads, I'm totally set with these bad boys.
Still not the most comfortable cans I've ever worn although the wider headband does help. The new cable is supposedly improved with regards to conductor count and strain relief, but bottom line: still a snake of a cable.
All in all, the 325e from Grado is a huge value. It reminds me very much of the RS1i, a headphone that cost more than twice the 325. The 'e' version has a deeper-reaching bass, more refined midrange, as well as more refined and smoother upper end. The sense of space is more accurate than previous iterations and the slightly wider headband has made them a bit more comfortable as well. For those of you weirdos that don't like the Grado sound , the 325e isn't a total departure from the house sound, but it is an improvement over previous generations. This can represents the best value out of the lineup to these ears. Better than any 'i' version and without the higher 3- and 4-digit price tag of the upper end offerings.
***Gear Used: MBP > Fidelia > Pan Am Stack with Telefunken 6AK5s***