Grado SR325is Headphones

Average User Rating:
  1. headbase
    "Darned good headphones"
    Pros - Better than anything else for the money, well built
    Cons - I now realize how many low quality recordings there are!
    Long story short, they're fantastic.  I bought my headphones from a display/test setup at a Magnolia hi-fi, I didn't want to wait and I got a great discount on them.  I'm sure the salesman still turned a profit of course. (I work retail, I have an idea of the markup levels.)  They're comfortable to me, and I don't intend to own many other headphones.
    Only other minor issue is the reduced bass, but the clarity was the greatest on this model, short of spending another $600+ on some headphones.  The other models that had less clarity had a lot more bass, but were fatiguing and disproportionate.  And all the others were too tight for my head.  These were actually the most comfortable headphones I've had.  I do see how they could be more comfortable.  The sennheiser HD800's that I tried on were more comfortable, and did sound more open, just as clear and had more base, but I wasn't in the market for those.  Only improvement, would be some sort of actual bass speaker on the floor.
    They are expensive headphones compared to other items I have purchased, but they are quality, so I can justify it.  I can hear everything around the room 90% as well with them on as compared to off, which is what I wanted.  Bad part is, I now search for better quality sound, I had no idea what lousy recordings there are out there, and of new music to boot!  I guess if most people aren't going to have good cans, why bother making things sound best...
    Syros likes this.
  2. dibbler67
    "My First Headphone Review: Grado SR325is"
    Pros - Very detailed, bright, and very involving. Guitars. QUALITY of bass.
    Cons - QUANTITY of bass. Comfort, at first. Weight, too.
    These are the first higher-end heaphones I've ever purchased, and I was very impressed right out of the box. Being a novice, I found the bass a little lacking in impact, especially unamplified. Eventually (80 hrs of music and pink noise) they loosened up and gained the ability to tickle my ears. Amplification (Little Dot 1+) helped as well.
    These are very fast and very detailed, and as Maxtcc says the sound only improves with amplification. They bring out every detail, in all its glory or filth. Separation is good, not stellar (improved a lot with the OPA2107AP installed in my Little Dot 1+, see below.)
    Comfort is fine for me, though they are heavy and can fall if you aren't careful. I have small ears so these are basically circumaural.
    I love the look, the cord is thick and long enough for my needs, but I wish the c-rings holding the cups to the headband were made of metal like the cups. Oh well, I like the looks and overall solid build of these enough that I can excuse that.
    Probably my favorite audio experience so far was immediately after I installed the OPA2107AP op-amp into the Little Dot 1+ (this was probably the single largest difference in SQ I noticed; it separated everything but still brought it all closer and clearer and gave the 'phones a more intimate sound,) plugged these in, and put on a lossless recording of "Yesterday," by The Beatles. They were in my head; that's the only way I can describe it.
    They're pricey, but I can say they were definitely worth my money. I love them, I look forward to many long hours of listening to them, and I love the hobby they've introduced me to!
    My setup with these: NuForce uDac-2 => Little Dot 1+ w/ OPA2107AP & Mullard CV4014 EF91 tubes => SR325is
  3. Cybrsrch1
    "New Grado 8 conductor cables"
    Pros - Better Resolution
    Cons - Heavy
    After 4 years of regular use, my cables were looking a little rugged, the plastic cover over the cables that split to each ear were cracking at the Y splitter . I called Grado and they quoted me $45 (includes return shipping)for a new cable plus an additional $15 to upgrade to the newest 8 conductor UHPLC copper connecting cord. The new cable is stout and heavy, with 8 conductors its my guess grado is using varied size cables to better handle the full spectrum with as little loss as possible, similar to Audioquests Spread Spectrum Technology.
    The new cable is more revealing, digging deeper into the finer details, removing congestion from busy layered passages, it allows you to hear details otherwise buried in the background. I use the larger G pads for comfort and even though Grado doesn't recommend them,(but I do :) ) I think it improves the sound, giving  you a little wider soundstage, now I can listen for extended periods with no dis-comfort.
     Overall I love my 325i's, I listen to mostly rock music, acoustic music sounds simply amazing. I am also using the RSA Predator USB/DAC Amp in both portable and home listening. The Grado / Predator combo sings, Highly recommended !
    Syros likes this.
  4. hjteq
    "Initial Review"
    Pros - Detail
    Cons - None so far
    Comfort-I adjusted the headband so for over head headphone they are fine. I've even worn them to sleep.
    Source-Using the VDAC VCAN combo right now an I've found my sweet spot.
    Longevity/durability - I know years down the line I will get the RSis or something like it but I don't foresee letting these go. I didn't give them higher value because the SR80i's could last for 15 years and so can these but the price point makes it kind of hard to argue. The SR80i's give so much for the price point.
  5. BuddyF1
    "Amazing sound quality, great set of cans!"
    Pros - Great sound quality. Perfect for listening to metal/jazz. Look very stylish.
    Cons - They are lacking a bit in the comfort division. Also, not the greatest for listening to electronic, but they were not really made for that purpose.
    the Grado SR325is headphones are an amazing set of headphones. I have'nt really had a chance to break them in yet, so they are not to their full potential yet, but so far they are amazing. The sound quality is great, and I really couldn't ask for much more than that. They have great highs, mids, and lows. You can hear the vocals crystal clear, the guitars sound crisp and are very full, and you can feel/hear every bass kick and snare hit. Overall a great set of headphones.
    There is only one factor about these headphones that leave something to be desired and that is the comfort. They are not awful, but they can be uncomfortable for long periods of use. My left ear always seems to get sore and hurts after a little while, though my right ear is fine. Although this can be fixed if you just wear a hat or something to keep the headphones from being too tight on your ears.
    Great set of cans nonetheless and I suggest them to anyone who is looking for great music quality while listening to jazz, rock, and especially metal!
  6. rataplan
    "grado's best value"
    Pros - look great, sound great especially awesome woth acoustic recordings
    Cons - a bit sibilant on some songs, 1/4 inch jack
    aside from being the coolest looking headphones on the market (brushed silver imo) these pack some serious punch while maintaining detail and timber that will send chills up your spine on the regular.
    for someone who is new to grado here are some things you should know: they are *very* open (you're practically forcing your music on those around you) and the cord will eventually get twisted no matter how hard you try to avoid it. that said, most who try them, love them (in my experience).
    paired with the right amp and/or DAC you'll notice details in recordings that you never paid much attention to before. I found myself being able to discern lyrics that were once unidentifiable and appreciate intricate syncopation while following and isolating whichever melody suits my fancy.
    that said, i enjoyed these straight out of an ipod for some time.
    for those who are upgrading from "lesser" grados you'll find improved bass and more slam and better detail.
    i wish i could have bought these in the states as there is a hefty markup when purchasing internationally, but they're still worth every penny and if you take care of them they should have great resale value.
    although i'm sure we'd all love a pair of ps1000s, for those of us who are still in the sub $500 range these are a great value.
  7. maverickronin
    "Fun but Fatiguing"
    Pros - Perfect for rock and metal.
    Cons - Too bright for long listening sessions
    I listen to a lot of music.  Whether I’m working or relaxing I usually have some sort of music in the background.  It relaxes me before bed or keeps me pumped up while working.  It is essentially my mind altering drug of choice.  Different headphones with different presentations an affect my mood in different ways and I though a ‘phone with pumped up treble like the SR325is would be good to keep my energy up when I was stuck with boring tasks at work.  I was correct, but other drawbacks kept me from holding on to my pair.
    Style and Build:
    I love the look of the SR325is.  They’re slightly retro looking but the important parts are built very well.  The outer half of the cups or “air chambers” as Grado calls them are milled from solid aluminum and look very sharp but the inner half, hidden under the foam ear pad, where the driver is attached is made of the same plastic the lower end models are constructed from.  The simple sliders and gimbals which are shared among all Grado models connect the cups to the headband.  Its headband is a simple steel spring covered with small but nicely finished leather cover.  Cheaper Grado models use plastic or pleather.  The headband can also easily be bent looser or tighter to adjust the fit.  The Y cable is very thick and a bit unwieldy.  Since the ear cups can rotate freely it is prone to twisting if you aren’t careful in donning and removing them.
    Overall, many aspects of the build quality may not inspire confidence but they make the headphone very easy to repair.  Parts are held together by friction fit and hot melt glue.  Some people may be taken aback by this at such a price point, though this construction makes it likely that any failure can easily be repaired.   I speak from experience as I have previously fixed up a pair of used SR80s for my brother.
    This is another weakness for the Grados.  As supraural ‘phones they press on to your ear instead of around it and are inevitably less comfortable than circumaural ‘phones that rest around your ear.  Careful adjustment can drastically improve the comfort however.  I found them most comfortable with the cups worn slightly forward of the ear so the rear edge of the pads are even with the rear edge of your outer ear.  This also has the effect of improving the soundstage by slightly widening it at pushing it a bit forward.
    In addition to the ‘bowl’ or “L-Cush” pads the SR325is come with there are others available from Grado which you can try as well as the pads for the Sennheiser 414 which happen to fit Grados too.  I didn’t get the chance to try out all the available options myself though.
    Since sound is the primary purpose of a pair of headphones I think its generally fair to forgive a ‘phones other sins if it sounds good.  In general the SR325is deliver in this area.  Grados have a distinct sound which is quite different from anything else on the market.  If you want it, you’ll have to get past their other shortcomings.  I think they make it worth the trade if you like the Grado ‘house sound’.
    The SR325is, and Grados in general, are a strange balancing act of brightness and warmth with a small-ish soundstage which put you ‘on stage’ with the band.  The certainly aren’t closed in sounding as typical of ‘phones with smaller soundstages but they put everything relatively close together and put you in the middle of the action in a small and intimate setting.  Instruments are well separated but not as sharply imaged as some other ‘phones like my Sennheiser HD650s or Beyerdynamic DT770/600 ohm.
    The treble is very emphasized and relatively clear, making these bright headphones.  It’s well extended and fairly detailed, but not the most accurate in its price bracket.  It has a ‘fun’ coloration which is hard to describe.  Cymbals and high-hats stand out from the mix and have an extra shimmer.  This can pleasing in rock or metal but becomes overactive in pop mixes which are already very bright.  This brightness synergizes especially well with heavy and dark doom, sludge, or thrash metal.
    The mids are what make these both warm and bright at the same time.  They are slightly forward, with an almost magical coloration that enhances vocals and guitars.  Its not the most accurate, but once again its very fun.  The mids are also the most detailed part of these ‘phones spectrum.  They lend a slight advantage in intelligibility of death metal growls that my HD650s and DT770/600s lack.
    There is a slight hump in the mid to upper bass which emphasizes higher tuned bass drums and bass guitars.  The bass response trails off after this hump and only goes moderately deep.  For most rock and metal it goes deep enough and the particular emphasis is often quite pleasing.  If you listen to electronic music with very deep synthesized bass you may want to look elsewhere.  I found it lacking with my trance/electronic/techno collection.  The bass is also a bit loose as well.  Not to a large degree, but the deeper it goes the less controlled it is.
    As you may have guessed, I think the ‘phones work best with various types of rock and metal.  I especially enjoyed them on my death/black metal Pandora station.  I think that’s their preferred genre.  Of course I could be biased since that’s my preferred genre, but I listen to just about everything but country and rap.  The bass doesn’t go low enough for electronic (and probably rap and hip-hop),  they’re too bright for most modern pop, and I find the soundstage too small for classical.  They do pretty well for jazz though.
    The Grados specialize in rock and metal though.  This prowess also extends to most anything with guitars as well.  Acoustic singer/songwriter, bluegrass, and probably a good deal of country too.  If you like a forward presentation and primarily listen to any of those genres, then the SR325is are worth a look.
    I need to say a word of caution about the treble though.  Though Grados as a whole are bright headphones, the SR325is are regarded as among the brightest and if you can’t try before you buy or aren’t the kind of listener who’s always cranking the treble dial you may find them to be too much.  I loved the sound of my SR325is but my ears just couldn’t take them for more than an hour or so.  If you’re unsure about the SR325is you may want to try the less expensive and less bright SR225i or the simillaly priced Grado/Alessandro MS2i.
    Cheesebaron and Savant like this.
  8. BluFalcon
    "Heavy Metal"
    Pros - Nice sound, great for live recordings, sparkly and shiny
    Cons - Price, sound not for everyone
    I like my music to sparkle and these cans deliver. The sound signature may not be to everyone's liking, but I find them quite pleasant.  I listen to a variety of music from rock, hip hop, light jazz, trance, reggae and even classical, and they all sound great coming from these cans.  Coming from the SR60, I was a bit underwhelmed upon hearing them for the first time, but like fine wine they got better with age. They especially go well with warm buttered toast and hot coffee.  The bass is pronounced without being overbearing.  Vocals are prominent.  Mids are clean and highs are extra crispy. Yummy.  These cans always bring a smile to my face and I'm very happy with this Grado offering. If this is your sound, rock on.  
  9. sparktography
    "Great, musical headphones"
    Pros - Great sound, very clear bass, mids, and highs
    Cons - Slightly fatiguing, uncomfortable if not properly adjusted
    A great set of 'phones for general music listening. Not terribly portable without a case, and can cause fatigue when listening to treble-heavy music due to very crisp reproduction.
    You could use the cable on these babies to tow a car. Kind of impossible to deal with for on-the-go use, very oriented to seated listening.
    I love my 325s!
  10. karlhahnert
    "Halfway happy"
    Pros - Refined Grado sound
    Cons - Not quite the best at anything
    My brief time with these Grados left me rather cold. I really like my Grado SR80s and hoped to get more of everything with the SR325is but instead I was left with the feeling that they try to bite of a bit more than they can chew. In my opinion they try to be both dynamic, fun lovin Grados and transparent and neutral Sens and basically doesn't succeed in any of these pursuits. Don't get me wrong, they do sound nice and all but at the price, even 2hand, I just wanted a bit more. I'm happy with my Grado SR80s, less sophisticated but at least they know what they are..
    btw, bought mine 2 hand..