Grado SR80i Headphones

Bloos

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Presentation
Cons: Comfort
The Grado SR80i presents everything very nicely, almost romantic, you can hear everything,
until you start comparing. Its not the most detailed, however it is very transparent. Its 
soundstage is not very large although initially it does seem so. Sounds that are supposed 
to sound far away, don't. e.g. a choir behind a main singer sounds about the same distance 
from you. However these are one of the best deals you can find used. Sometimes there are 
treble spikes, but they are rare, the bass is actually pretty nice, but does not extend  
fully.
Overall I really like these, is does almost everything very well, a great package, but they 
are not the best in any one area. So for that reason, I am selling these headphones.

Aornic

Member of the Trade: Acorn Audio
Pros: Very unique mid sound. Great for rock music.
Cons: Not very good for bass heavy genres. Flimsy plastic. Non-removable cables.
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This is my first experience with the "Grado sound" and I think I know why it's popular with rock lovers. The harsh but somehow lush mid sound strips the processed nature from guitar distortion to give it a live amp sound. These are the most unique headphones I've owned sound signature wise.
 
The non-removable cables are an annoyance. I had the wire connection to the left channel die on me and I had to ship these to another country to have them fixed for 35 Euros. Considering the price was $90, I can't be too fussy about build quality aspects like this but it was still a detraction. 
 
It's also very uncomfortable after a while of use. Very light though.
 
The soundstage is great though. It's very natural sounding with live acoustic recordings.

Pirakaphile

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Lack of weight, simplicity, ease of driving, looks (hey, I think they're pretty darn retro)
Cons: Smallish soundstage, not a genre master
Grado SR80i
 
View attachment
 
Intro Thingy: I was wondering if I should even review the SR80i because Grado's e series cans came out not too long ago and I was thinking noone would heed my review 'cause the e series is said to be a fairly big improvement over the i. So, instead of writing a review that'd be putting the SR80i in one of those "great can, I suggest everyone go off and buy it" lights, I'm going to write something more along the lines of a tribute and a tip of the hat. So, without further delay, here we go! 
 
Background Crap:
Having got back from my uncle's place in Portland Oregon and hearing his Magnepan 1.6 speakers hooked up with two very good subwoofers, I learned that the Beats headphones gifted to me were absolute crap in comparison. He is not a headphones guy, and in fact the only cans he has are a pair of Sony somethingrathers that I can't recall the model of. They sounded pretty bad as well, at least straight out of my phone, so I started on my head-fi journey then and there. I actually registered on this site while I was still in Portland, sitting on the couch listening to damn good music out of those sweet sweet Maggies... Erm. Maybe that's why I like my HiFiMANs so much, I'm destined for the planar worldview. Or something. ANYWAY. My budget at the time was pretty pathetic and I was learning a whole lot through my dorky loser noobish posts in the help section of these forums which I am intensely grateful for. I wanted something new that would shame my Beats and sound great, and I was first introduced to the idea of open-back headphones then. Well, I was introduced to them while listening to some SR125s with mismatched pads at another relative's house while there. I absolutely loved the sound, so much more.. open? Well duh, it just makes sense, doesn't it? When I got back home it took me about a month or two to scrounge together spare bills and change from here and there and I drove right up to the only store in town that sells anything hi-fi related at all and handed the guy a fat wad of $10, $5, and $1 bills. I drove home and popped em out of the box, plugged them into the hilariously terribly ancient Technics CD player my dad got for HIS birthday like forty years ago or something, tossed in Yes: Classic Yes, and my favorite song of all time, Heart of the Sunrise came through like I had never heard it before. And I haven't turned back since then in my quest to get the most value and emotion out of my system. 
 
Impressions: Bass Reproduction: The SR80is can't reproduce one note bass. Now we've got that out of the way. What they do good though is electric bass in tons of rock, jazz, and fusion. Acoustic bass isn't terribly good, but it isn't bad at all. The huge midbass hump shown on many frequency response graphs shows something I do like about the grados. They're very aggressive sounding, which is cool for a lot of the progressive rock I listen to. Kick drums really smack down pretty hard, but if they're tuned to go pretty deep they won't give you that much impact. (Think John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension) Rolling bass drums don't really have the size they need in classical music or soundtracks. Like in Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack, the pieces with rolling bass drums just don't feel big and expansive. The sound is there, just not in the quantity or quality needed in my opinion. Tubas, bassoons, tympani, low piano notes, and bass strings just don't feel as airy and powerful as they can be, which is why I don't think the SR80is are great for acoustic concert music. They do shine in rock which is what I like them for. However, the infamous grattle is a thing if bass gets too powerful, which it usually doesn't for me.
 
Midrange: The Grados do midrange pretty well in my opinion. Vocals are especially nice, as well as guitar, both acoustic and electric. I actually don't have a whole lot to say about midrange because the Grados don't do too much wrong.
 
Treble: Treble, consisting of those ultra high guitar solos, Maynard Ferguson's obscene wailing on the trumpet, Cymbals, and assorted other sounds like breath and the tapping of impatient instrumentalists in the background are all pretty sharp. Sometimes they can get overpowering on brightly mastered recordings where every crash of the cymbal is a smack to the face. But this is really where the aggressive nature of the Grado house sound comes into play. This attacking treble gives rock an energy I don't find with other headphones I've listened to. The sound you do get is almost a little synthetic at times when the splash of a cymbal gets a little too loud and screechy, or Maynard's solo starts to sound like a thousand babies screaming for food, but I hardly ever run into these problems now that I.. well.. don't listen to them very much anymore. I never thought the treble in the Grados was overpowering until I had heard other cans to compare with, and even then, so long as I don't crank the volume up they don't do anything wrong in the treble.
 
Conclusion: Getting the SR80i was the best decision I've made in my audio career. Not only did they start me off on this wonderful site, but they started me off on the path to enjoying my music much more than I ever did before. I used to get home from work at 12:30 in the morning and plug in the cans to listen to some Kansas or Pink Floyd. I've had a lot of fun with these awesome cans and I can't even begin to list all the things they've helped me with. Oh wait. 
1. Introduced me to the world of hi-fi
2. Gave me a sense of accomplishment as my first purchase at $100
3. Converted me to the sound of open headphones 
4. Bla bla, shaddup, they're great headphones for the money and I suggest the SR80i and any of Grado's lower priced cans as an entry level into either open backs, hifi, or just to get people to know what the fuss is about the Grado house sound. 
Neutral? Give me a break. Flat? HAH! Grados aren't meant to be tools of music snobbery, they're for people who want to jam out, have fun, and give less than a Schiit about extreme fidelity. I love my Grados for what they do, and they're coming with me no matter where I go, not just as a reminder, but a good ol' pair of cans to show people what they're made of and something to come back to to show me what a $100 headphone is capable of. 
 
Damn you Grado family for getting me started in this escapade, and thank you for giving me insight into how music is really supposed to sound. Thanks to all who helped me decide on my first headphone purchase. 
 
FIN

ajlan

New Head-Fier
Pros: spectacular feed response , very good soundstage, crisp&sharp sound signature (for treb heads)
Cons: construction, bass distortion at peak volume, shadows deep lows so bass is flat, sometimes too bright for me (not for bass heads)
I bought it as second hand in good condition. it looks cool, vintage style oldies goldies..but the construction has problems; has not rigid parts,cheap material all around. The performance is mostly spectacular, especially for the money you spent. Technically it is crisp (aggressive) and flat bassy headphone. The resolution is well. Mids and highs are nearly crystal clear. It tends to have some very slight bass distortion at peak volumes (above%85) .The flat bass thing is also a bit shadowing mids and especially deep lows in some genres. Briefly, cans are too bright for my personal taste. Harsh sound signature makes me uncomfortable after 4-5 songs. Never could use it more.
 
I have bought  Asus Xonar u3 and Fiio E17 for my headphones to get full potential. I may edit according to my final results. (look edit note below)
 
It is highly recommended for
 
+ acoustic records, blues, classic jazz, new age techo people who like hearing vocals, mids and trebles at front for detailed resolution  The separation of instruments is the strongest side of the cans. 
 
not that especially good for because of flat bases.
 
- acid jazz,groove, funky songs,rap and R&B. people who like hearing deep and visceral bass with mids&highs at the same time. Too bright for warm listening. If You like bass keep yourself away.
 
- the construction materails are not high quality.. You should listen whatever You listen alone!! They are ''really '' open cans. Sound leak will surely disturb people near by. May not durable or last long in outside usage.
 
 
 Ofcourse ,It is not perfect but even very picky ones especially who likes bright cans will satisfy what they get especially for the price..It is a good digital device headphone. 
 
Edit note: After using it with Xonar, all my previous comments are still valid; slight bass distortion there (in Norah Jones songs especially left can), bass is well balanced for some music kinds (not visceral or deep) bass is there but feels like not really there or show characteristics as mids. It does not need amplifier and can work well with smartphones or similar devices. I usually use it with nexus 5 at home. You can not use it at outside: reasons; it hasn't got durable material, open cans like small speakers. In my opinion it was a very good value (discontiuned) but a bit overrrated. Edit note2: I sold it.

GabiArias

New Head-Fier
Pros: Comodidad, respuesta en frecuencia, diseño, precio
Cons: Ninguno
Acabo de conseguir estos auriculares para sumarlo a la familia, y la verdad que me ha dejado muy conforme, recién escuche un par de albumes y tienen una respuesta en frecuencia muy agradable, los agudos no son incisivos, los graves son profundos y controlados, y la presencia de frecuencias medias no es exagerada. Yo los recomiendo como todos, he quedado muy satisfecho.
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MarcadoStalker7
MarcadoStalker7
Con qué música los probaste? Y con que fuente?
xkonfuzed
xkonfuzed
I know right!
GabiArias
GabiArias
Yo realmente estoy recién empezando con esto, no tengo una fuente de audio más que mi placa de sonido steinberg ur22, creo que mi próxima compra será una linda fuente para principiantes. Los grado los probé con un álbum de la banda Invisible de Spinetta que lleva por nombre Invisible. Recién estoy empezando a construir mi matriz auditiva, y creo que este foro me ha animado a hacerlo.

JP31

New Head-Fier
Pros: Range , dynamics, soundstage , low end ,mids, highs and clarity
Cons: none
These headphones are amazing !!! I first got a pair of Grado RS1i's i was hooked at how amazing they sounded . listening to them on my ipod 5th gen (30g) & varoius portable amps (cmoy from ampedup 18v ra1 clone ,Fiio E07K amp , little bear b-1 portable mini tube)  .Wow , I must say the quality of sound was apparent right from the beginning . My first set of headphones Sennhieser HD 558 open back sounded great but still lacked something . the RS1i were amazing the exact sound i was looking for similar to listening to my home stereo (full sound ) , everything was there presence of low end (not over powering but there ) smooth silky smooth mids , and crystal clear highs  perfect !!!
So that's where i got curious as to how would the low end model of grado's sr80i sound ?? well I must say that they are just as amazing as the $700 RS1i's , more bass ,nice mids and clear highs . These are good headphones for just about all types of music . I must also say these sr80i's were used when i bought them ($65) , and beat up looking but the sound omg !!! soon after reading about modding on head-fi I decided to liberate and put these drivers in cherry-wood cups . They are more amazing now , tones that come from cherry-wood is awesome rival my RS1i's .
So to conclude I would say that for price compared to more expansive sennhieser HD-580 ($179) this is an amazing value sound and affordability wise ($99) .
Also upgraded to little dot 1+ tube amp and they are even more amazing both RS1i's and SR80i's highly recommend this amp (even the HD-580's too).

Trunks159

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great Sound Quality, Cool Design
Cons: Uncomfortable, Need different pads
Grado SR80i Review
 
I’m going to review every little thing about the SR80i, so get ready.
Additional Details:  I bought the SR80i around Christmas of last year (2012) and ended up returning them because of a lack of bass and poor comfort.  I’m now much more experienced with headphones and audio in general, so they don’t sound really bad, or feel as uncomfortable.
Let’s start out with something basically insignificant, the packaging.  Now with the headphones priced beyond $200, you usually get some really good packaging.  Sennheiser really knows what they’re doing, as does Sony and AKG.  As for Grado and Beyerdynamic, not so much.  The SR80i comes in a rectangular box.  In the box, the headphones are held together by foam.   In the box, you get the headphones and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter.  That’s it.  I wish they gave you a bag but whatever.
Construction:  These most definitely don’t actually feel like $100 headphones judging by the weight and complexity of the design.  However, I don’t think these will break any time soon like something like an MA900 or HD5xx would.  Most headphones have problems with accidents.  I’ve sat on these and they didn’t break.  I sat on the MA900 and now the rotation system is a little damaged.  No big deal, but it says something.  Moreover, the aesthetics on these really appeal to me.  They look very cool and retro.
Comfort:  The main weakness of Grados.  With the s-Cush pads, these aren’t totally uncomfortable.   They do build up heat and overall the comfort is not that great compared to really everything I have, but they are still not that bad.  Basically, they aren’t as uncomfortable as people say they are.
Sound: Two things I am definitely satisfied with are the bass quantity and treble presence.   There is DEFINITELY enough bass. Great amount of bass for all genres, including hip hop.  However, the bass roll off is not good.  I’ve tried EQ and they just can reach below 55 Hz very well at all.  For rock however, the bass is definitely satisfying.  More bass than the HD 558.
Tons of cans have problems with treble presence, mainly lack thereof.  These don’t… simple as that.
Yes these are engaging, yes these are bright, and yes, they have some warmth, but no, the mids aren’t balanced.  Compared to the MDR MA900 and HD558, the upper mids are ridiculously emphasized.   You can really hear it when an artist yells or sings really loud when the volume is turned up on your source.  The vocals don’t have a good weight to them, there’s just not enough warmth.  It’s good for some genres, but for certain artists like FLOW, it’s horrible.
The main problem with the mids seems to come from the plastic construction of the cups.    The louder noises in the upper mids sound strained and strident.  This only happens at louder volumes.
 
So since, as you can see, I am definitely not satisfied with the comfort, nor sound, I decided to take things into my own hands.  I bought the L-Cush pads, that pads used on the Sr225i and up.  I also applied the tape mod with Scotch Vinyl Electrical tape (google it), put them through a good receiver, and applied some EQ adjustments.  The difference before and after my modifications are amazing.  Almost night and day.
 
The sound stage improved, the bass depth improved, instrument separation improved, highs are less fatiguing, the vocals have a nice texture, and the overall sound is improved dramatically.  No more congestion at higher volumes, no more honky mids, no more crazy stuff!  These sound even better than the SR225i stock imo, so they’re on the same level as the MDR MA900, HD598, etc imo.  That’s simply how good they are.  Now of course the soundstage, like I said before, is small, but it has a good shape, and the imaging is top notch.  At $100, you can’t ask for more.  It’s crazy how even the bass depth improved.  I can now actually use these for hip hop and things of that sort.  Just fantastic.  They still love rock.
 
Now one con of the added L-Cush pads: more uncomfortable.  The new pads are hard, and I could only survive a 45 min session with them, and I see myself as pretty tolerable to discomfort.  I still gladly wear them though, since they sound so great.
 
Moreover, these things sound like Grados, a different sound signature, a different presentation of the same frequencies you already heard in your music.  In conclusion, I think at the $100 price tag, the SR80i beats all of it’s competition, including the MDR 7506, SRH 440, ATH M50, HD558 (perhaps in the same league, but I prefer the SR80i), HD518, and many others.  Sure, the build is questionable, sure they’re relatively uncomfortable, and sure the bass doesn’t go super low.  For all they do wrong, they do 10x better in a different area (provided you mod them a bit).  Am I a Grado fan?  Who knows.  Am I a Sr80i fan? Most definitely.


Overall, they arent in the same league as the MA900, DT880, AD900x, etc, but they sound enjoyable. Plus they cost 1/2 the price.

H0USEjunkiE

New Head-Fier
Pros: EVERYTHING
Ive read about 1000 reviews before purchasing the Grado sr80i- been listening to them for about 5 hours now...and they are PERFECT! The bass is there, BUT if you want it to REALLY PUNCH, plug these babies into your amp. Without the amp, they are fine, they have nice tight, clean bass. As far as highs and mid tones, id say they are spot on. I do not need to use any sort of EQ with these, as they represent the music accurately and there is no need to distort....perhaps only a little bass boost since i prefer a nice boom to my bottom sound.....anyway if you have 100 bucks to spend and don't care about portability, GET THESE , STOP READING ALL REVIEWS AND JUST GET THEM you'll be more than happy. Oh...and...everyone says how these things leak sound...I don't think they leak any more sound than a regular closed back headphone would....they are fine in the car with people talking- with the volume up you can't hear anything so they tend to block out sound to some degree...its not like they TOTALLY lack this capability.........HIP HOP sounds superb....house/techno sounds awesome.....rock sounds good too....they are NOT ONLY for rock...EVERY genre will shine with these puppies............GET EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mcandmar

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Budget priced Grados
Cons: More expensive than the superior MS1's
Being fair here with four stars as i really didnt get on with them, odd as i love the cheaper MS1's and the more expensive 225i's.
xylin6
xylin6
Are You outside of the United States? I only ask because here the SR80i are $99 and the MS1 are one dollar more at an even $100.
 
I have the SR60i and the SR80i and while I love them both for various reasons I find the SR60i are more forgiving for lower quality mp3s and make just about any kind of music sound great right out of the box.
 
unlike the SR60i the SR80i took quite a long time to burn in (i'd say over 100 hours) at which point any of the initial shrill highs were gone and replaced by a very clear and robust detail,also the 80i have a slight bit more bass the the SR60i.
 
Did you allow for that much burn in time? also with Grado it seems to me the source component is essential to how they respond.I use a Sony NW-F807 and have to say the SR80i sound amazingly warm,rich and highly detailed now that they are burned in,they sound far better on 320kbps mp3s,FLAC,APE and WAV files imo than with lower bitrate files. so if you haven't give them a bit more time,they really are great sounding for the price.
 
I haven't had the opportunity to hear the MS1 or 225i yet.but will be purchasing both in 2014 as I love the Grado sound.and one nice thing about Grado if you do find you don't like them is that they tend to have a better resale value than other brands.
 
one last thing I'll mention is,if you have had your MS1s or SR225i's for longer,try putting the earphone cushions from either of them on the SR80i.because the older cushions are worn in more they will be softer and bring your ears closer to the drivers giving the SR80i much louder volume and more comfort.I only got mine a few months back but the cushions I have on them are over 3 years old and falling apart.just a thought.some people don't like their ears that close to the driver,i do,its just a matter of preference.
mcandmar
mcandmar
The 80i's easily have 100 hours on them, and i bought them 2nd hand. They were my first pair of Grados before i got the MS1's, then recently i got the 225i's.  If anything i'd say the 225i's have had the last amount of use, and will all three cans i used the same L-Cush pads as i much prefer them over the stock flats.  I've never heard the 60i's but the MS1i/225i both have a similar sound, the 225i is just more refined.  The 80i has less mids/lows, and too much high end for me.   I also find the better the set of headphones the more unpleasant low quality source recordings become.
 
Since you already have the 60i/80i i would just go straight for the 225i's.  I can honestly say i will never use the 80i or MS1 again now i have the 225's as they are that much better.
xylin6
xylin6
Thanks,that's good to know about the 225i's. they're going to be the next headphone purchase for me.
 
The 80i's definitely have more prominent highs and aren't everyone's cup of tea so to speak,so i get where you're coming from. I ordered mine to hold me over until my 60i's return from the Grado factory (sent them in to be re-cabled after 3.5 years of daily use and abuse).and while I do love the 80i's I am sorely missing the 60i's and can't wait to get them back.
 
I have the L cush pads as well.they are nice and add a lot of detail and a little more sound stage to me.the only thing is they seem to attenuate the over all volume (most likely because my ears are farther from the drivers when using them) I need to break them in more because they do sound great,especially after applying the basshead mod.

dietcoke2am

New Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound quality for the on-ear sort of headphones
Cons: not good for public use
Interesting headphones. 
 
As I first opened the box I was thinking that there may have been a mistake because they looked like they had come from a 99cent store. The plastic material on them is somewhat similar to what you see on cheap toys - believe me, I'm not being dramatic.  The build on them is really good tho; they are light-weight and not flimsy at all. I did not like the ear pads at all. One reason is simply because the foam makes them look cheaper then they already seem. Another reason is that the foam pads look thick from a side view but that's just designed to hide the plastic casing. So your ears don't really sink into the padding as you might imagine. I had never heard of the term sound leakage before joining this website - These headphones do that, dramatically lol. But i guess that's the way their design works, with the open back design. After about an hour of listening to music on these headphones i felt like i could just ignore the asthetics and keep them. Yep, they sounded that good! I was like, woa, these have pretty clear sounds. The bass on them are punchy, and by that i mean, the bass doesn't resonate in your hear, it just punches and it goes away. I guess they're good for the bass that Pop music has. Anyways, enough about the sound quality. So, I got bored of being bored and headed out on my board to skate. I swear i was pissed at that moment. I could hear everything! My wheels, the change in my pocket, the cars passing me by, the pedestrians taking steps, the wind blowing, sirens....etc. I was like, no way, really!? I don't know about everyone else but i'm out of the house a lot, and I bought these headphones because most reviews hail on how reasonably priced they are in comparison to how great they sound, plus with my interest in purchasing something that would help me get away from all the noise society makes, i thought these would be a great buy. Little did i know that these would only serve to make me go mentally insane! - not kidding about this. I tried to not mind all the disturbances (which took a lot of concentration), but it was like trying to listen to the tv in a cafeteria. I raised the volume as much as i could: Pandora's audio quality is crappy so i played 320kbps audio files, which helped because their volume was higher, but not high enough because all the sound was escaping and all the external sound was coming in. 
 
I'm returning them. Thanks but no thanks. 
 
On the other hand, these are a fun pair of headphones, and if you can spare $100 and use them only when convenient then they could be a great addition to your other cans.
 
end of story. 
Magick Man
Magick Man
You're blaming the headphones because you made a poor buying decision and purchased the wrong thing (open instead of closed)? You can't be serious.
Thracian
Thracian
This are open backed headphones....Get some closed back if you want to use it for street use.
zeitfliesst
zeitfliesst
Hah, as I read this review I thought, hey it's just like driving a Ferrari on a desert and going "WTH Ferrari?"

Zuqi

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Engaging, open and clear sound
Cons: Looks cheap, bright and fatiging
Actually I bought this headphones just for it's box
size]
.
 
Anyways, they‘re of great value,for the price you'll get clear sound and tons of details when paired wit bowls (although not in good quality compared to more pricey models). They are outstanding rock headphones, especially in it's price range.
 
But like most Grados, they are quite bright and can be fatiguing.

jeffphus

New Head-Fier
Pros: It's a Grado
Cons: Way too much energy at the high midrange and treble. After repair, perhaps just a little aggressive in the highs.
Based in the reviews I read here I purchased the SR80i last July 2012.

I thought they were way to bright, or as someone else said "ice picks" in the ears.

I thought perhaps I needed an amp - and over the course of several months used Fiio E6, Fiio E17, and JDS O2. No improvement!

I continued to listen with a Senn Px100 (original latest versions) and most enjoyably the VModa M80.

Through all these experiences my confidence in my listening opinion grew.

So, based on all the fine reviewers and reader comments on this wonderful website, I am going to send the to Grado for evaluation and repair. I'm convinced they are defective. I thought of selling them here or on Amazon - but since I think something is wrong with them, that wouldn't be fair to the buyer.

We will see if Grado can turn these into something resembling what others have described.

I will be back when they return from Brooklyn!

THEY'RE BAAAAACKK!

The only note provided by Grado was "serviced." And they sound radically different than what I sent to Grado. (6/3/13 Grado advised that they replaced the drivers.)

They now are quite listenable and sound like others have glowingly described them. It will take awhile for me to get their measure but my impression so far is very positive.

So what have I learned through this experience?

1. Trust what the bulk of Head-FI reviewers have to say.
2. Trust my judgement and my ears.

And now I have another valued pair of cans!

Thanks again to all for your help.
takato14
takato14
The O2 may be neutral but it's still sharp and crisp, which will make the highs of the SR-80 worse before it makes them better.
That's another thing though, you either like Grados or you don't.
kdood8
kdood8
The sr80i doesn't chose you! You need to be chosen before you can appreciate it's sound. :D
Kidding aside I think it is not actually defective but maybe you are just comfortable on your previous headphones sounds and your'e trying to hear that sounds in the sr80i which is not gonna happen. Many people and reviews I've read is that the grado was their first decent pair and they like what they hear.
jeffphus
jeffphus
Since my Grados were repaired by Grado (they were indeed defective), I have taken them off my head only to wash my hair. (Slight exaggeration only.) My current experience with them is now fully aligned with others on Head-Fi.
I am now easily able to differentiate between good and bad recordings and I'm updating all my MP3s to the highest bit rates because I can hear now hear the difference between 256 and 320.
and.................I'm now beginning to consider upgrading to the SR225i's. I have already changed to the L-cush pads, and boy they do they ever help differentiate good recordings from bad.
Might I also say that this website has been invaluable in guiding my headphone purchases and listening enjoyment. Thanks.

kdood8

New Head-Fier
Pros: Very detailed sound!
Cons: Leaked alot of sound!
If you're thinking of jumping over the fence then you will notice a very big difference in your music.
 
When you're like me a casual music listener who likes rock, metal, 80's music, twee pop, shoegazer, and basically most music that is good to listen and relate to and you just have some mediocre source and setup then what will happen is this thing will change all that!
 
I can say I have some decent amount of sources mostly mp3's and I don't bother with its bit rates but now I'ts like a BETAMAX to VHS all over again!
 
You will gonna need to find/buy new HD sources to get the most out of it. In my case I'm thinking to replace all my current files so you will gonna need a bigger external HDD to store all of these. So additional cost plus since I already take the RED PILL then it open a new whole world for me which is very frustrating because of some funds problem. There is so much to learn and hear in this hobby.
 
This is like the "METALLICA" of headphones!!! Many people love 'em some hate 'em but when you like it the first time then there is no looking back and you will gonna look for more! 
 
 
 
GL1TCH3D
GL1TCH3D
When you say "Cons: Leaked sounds" did you not expect open headphones to leak?

johnp9723

Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound, price
Cons: none so far
I have been reading about these headphones online for a few days now so I wanted to go take a listen to them unfortunately the closest Grado dealer was an hour away so I took a drive. I tried out the 80i and then the 225i through my own iPhone with apple lossless files and I could hear a teenie tiny difference with the 225i being a little more crisp and spacial but I am talking a very little bit but I don't think its double the price different or better. They both sound awesome. Then I had the guy throw a cd into a 1000 dollar Rotel CD player playing through a 2000 Rotel integrated amp and the difference between the 225i and the 80i was even less than being played with my iPhone they both sounded even more clear and amazing. So I asked the guy to try different pads on the headphones and he took the pads off of the 225i's and put them on the 80i's and they sounded just like the 225i's so i bought the 80i's and the L-CUSH pads and saved some money and have some amazing headphones.
 
As for comfort I personally dont know what anyone is talking about when they say they aren't comfortable. I am currently listening to mine as I'm typing this and I'm at a little over 4 hours and my ears don't hurt at all. Also I guess these are on ear headphones but my entire ear fits into the cups and I would say I have an average ear size.
 
All kinds of music sound great through these. I have tried rock, hard rock, metal, pop, alternative, indie, electronica and rap. The bass is just right, plenty of bass but not boomy or overwhelming like my fiance's sons beats are. 
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Dodgercat
Dodgercat
It's unfortunate that you didn't get to listen to the 225s for a little while longer, often what seems minor at first, with time becomes pronounced. I've owned both, like you the 80s sounded great at first, but with time, my ear became more discerning, and the differences became more pronounced. Grado wouldn't charge 2X as much, just because of the hp cushions...In the end, the saying usually holds true...you get what you pay for, the 225s cost 2x aws much for a reason, when you get accustomed - they sound 2x as good, hp purchases are something you live with for many years, and when it comes to quality, the price is soon forgotten, but the listening experience isn't.
I'm not suggesting the novice should go out and spend $ 400 for a 1st set of hp, but don't squeeze your budget so much, that soon you'll " outgrow " your hp, and wish you spent just a little bit more, when you start noticing those sound deficiencies you first wrote off to " not that big a deal "...with time it will irk you more and more every time you listen.

sirylj

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Super comfortable, sond great and clear
Cons: Pffttt, ummm, not as much bass as Beats? For a Zeppelin fan they hit home in every category
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
You win a free pair of glasses if you can read this

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Packaging
It's the happiest I've ever been to get a pizza box.
 
Audio Quality
My only other pair of okay headphones being the Monoprice 8323, these headphones are just amazing. I'm a huge Led head, and every song just sounds so in my face on a whole new level. Each song is incredibly clear and distinct sounding, and I don't have to play the "volume equals quality" game with these headphones. Some where in their advertising for the SR80i, they make a claim that you don't need to crank the knob to get a good sound out of these cans, and it is oh-so true. Many Zeppelin songs have a long fade out, with what was usually a couple extra seconds of silence with my previous headphones. But with these Grado headphones the song gets quieter at the end, but it sure doesn't mean I can't still hear what's going on.
 
At the end of No Quarter, I'm hearing the last few lines of lyrics I never heard before without changing volume, and the at the beginning of The Ocean I used to always have to crank up the volume a whole lot to hear "We've done four already but now we're steady", but with these headphones the lyrics rang out clearly in my ear without ever hurting 'em.
 
Comfort
As for the comfort issues that many people mention, it's all personal on how they fit ya, but unless they feel like angels are holding the things against your head while giving you a neck rub, you're bound to hear more about how they're uncomfortable then you are that they are comfortable. I'll throw in my two cents to the side saying they feel just fine. The comfies these things come with are at least one damn thing: COMFY. The headband ain't some giant block of Tempur-Pedic foam and neither are the ear pads, but for the first damn time of listening through all the Zeppelin studio albums in one go, I never felt any fatigue (regarding comfort or hearing) and genuinely felt great after taking them off, rather than relieved to be able to massage my ears like past cans that have either had a bad headband or aren't completely circumaural and end up smashing my ears.
 
Build quality
The very simplistic design of not having a bunch of useless crap hanging off my head appealed to me very much, but I wasn't sure how durable these would turn out to be because of this. Well, they might be mostly plastic, but they steel feel pretty damn solid. I'm not about to go on the edge with these, but I think they'll be able to survive for a while (or at least through my hands when modding them).
 
Design
Now as for picking on the design, if it sounds great and feels great, to hell with what they look like. But because that's not the world we live in (Hey! They're not Beats!), let me just say that they are nice looking and very low profile (which I can't say the same for many other cans). Plus, the simplistic nature of their design makes them very modifiable (I'm sure I'm not the only one with a folder full of threads on Grado mods).
 
Customer Service
No problems here. Paying for Saturday delivery with FedEx might have been one reason :wink:.
 
Overall
I'm not the biggest audiophile out there and I don't have the most respectable references/experiences/glossary, but I know that the money spent on these was well worth it, and my only regret was that I didn't buy them a day before when shipping would have been cheaper.
 
These are gonna be my favorites for a long time to come.

westinlennox

Head-Fier
Pros: Lightweight, great highs and lows.
Cons: Slightly uncomfortable after a long period
Great headphones.  I have only had these for a month, but I totally love them.  I purchased them based off of the reviews seen here, so I don't think there is a ton I can add to them.  All I can say is that all the good things you hear about these headphones are true!

UrAlly

New Head-Fier
Pros: Sits over ear without wire interference
Cons: come unglued easily
I am considering cutting the spongy stuff out in the middle so that I get an even better sound. Has anyone done this on the Grado80s? Is it AOK to re-glue the outside pieces back on with Super Glue or is something else better to use?

Spriggs

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: good detail, cheap
Cons: all the detail is in the hf range, feels like ice picks in your ears every time the hf kicks in, kinda really cheap build quality
So as most people that know grado know they favor mostly the high freq range and some people like that but as a person that likes warm sounding music these are some of the worst headphones ive heard, they have some nice detailing and such but the fatigue is just too much, most people will agree that most grados are very fatiguing after a little while of listening, even grado lovers. so if you like the "grado house" sound sure these will do nicely as a throw away headphone for those that have higher end phones but dont want to use them on the go ect and dont want the low low igrados then these are great or if your just getting into audio and like high freq these will also work for you, now for every one else like sennheiser fans or anyone that likes warm sounding, these phones have a serious bite at the top and trust me that isnt good. 
J
joseph69
I think this review that you wrote is all a matter of your personal opinion, also why would you involve sennheiser fans, in your opinion of a grado headphone? If they like the signature of sennheiser, then why would you speak about a grado headphone to sennheiser fans? They are totally two different headphones, also the highs are not like ice picks to everyones ears, its all a matter of what one like's. And they are absoulutly not a pair of (throw aways) you dont take 100$ and throw it away on anything!
devouringone3
devouringone3
I agree with joseph69
Also, just put some 3M Scotch Tape (red packaging, crystal clear one) around your bowls... or even better around your TTVJ flats, and boom, balance shift, you have warm, not at all fatiguing Grado SR80i.

eyeheych

New Head-Fier
Pros: Juicy Mids, Engaging listen.
Cons: Comfort might be an issue, Construction might appear flimsy, Fatigue.
So the Grados represent my first headphone purchase, let alone an open backed design. Throughout the "research period" that I usually give myself, I was considering between the Creative Aurvana Live! and the Grados. Although both headphones are well received in this community, I noticed more favorable reviews on the SR80is. One of the few things of which intrigued me into purchasing these headphones just by reading the reviews were, 'Grado Soundsignature' , 'Juicy Midrange', 'Punchy Bass', 'A rockers headphone' and a 'mighty attack'. For a good while, I kept doing my research, reading into all the different reviews pertaining to these headphones and after an audition with the CAL! and the SR80is, I chose the Grado over the CAL! simply because I felt that the SR80is had a better balance in terms of sound (tested them with Florence+the Machine's Ceremonials album) The SR80is at that time, had a less emphasised bass over the CAL.
 
I bought these headphones 6 months ago and I was in love with their performance when I bought them. 
(Compared with Hifiman RE0 as a neutral reference)

Sound Quality
 
Bass
Soap&Skin - Sleep
Gotye - State of the Art
Antony & The Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish(cut the world ver.)
 
As compared to the UE600 I had before purchasing these, the bass response is better in both presence and accuracy. Although it does not have that much of a visceral impact that some might seek, the quantity of the bass to my ears were sufficient, not overpowering the midrange, but rather enhancing the overall music experience. With bass notes on piano tracks such as Soap&Skin's - Sleep having the perfect balance of bass quantity to my ears. Gotye's State of the Art also plays well with these headphones, with the bass contributing to the groovy bass notes of the song. With that being said, the bass is consistent with the rest of the frequency range, not trying to steal the show. But compared to my RE0, the SR80i presents its bass with an increased mid-bass presence.
 
 
Midrange 
Antony & The Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish(cut the world ver.)
Antony & The Johnsons - Kiss My Name(cut the world ver.)
 
As many of us know, Antony posses one heck of a voice, paired with an orchestra, these are a treat to the ears in terms of mid range. The SR80is present the track rather deliciously, the instruments used in the orchestra are given more energy and attack, the drums in the intro of Kiss My Name prove it. Many a time, I find myself repeating the track just for the drums, and staying for the entire song. It makes Antony's song much more engaging, if it wasnt already. However, the midrange sounds rather stuffy compared to the Hifimans, somewhat lacking the amount of "air" in the presentation of the sound that I am accustomed to in the RE0
 
 
Treble
Kalafina - ARIA
Florence and the Machine - Spectrum
 
The treble is energetic, however it sounds like the treble takes a step back behind the mids, as vocal presence is perceived to be more distant, with the SR80i bringing forward the presentation of instruments instead. That being said, this was being compared to the RE0s. Initially, before purchasing the RE0, I felt that the SR80is still do vocals well, but they do give way to mids if the track demands for it. Kalafina's collective effort in singing ARIA was done justice too, with the grados providing the required treble energy to properly display the abilities of the musical trio. Same has to be said for Florence Welch's voice. I couldnt stop listening to these songs (with vocal/treble heavy presence when I got these)

Slippery Pete

New Head-Fier
Pros: Cool style, 360 degree speaker rotation, great open sound, cord length and thickness.
Cons: Lots of sound leakage: not good for office or travel.
So, I'm an audiophile noob, relatively speaking. I bought these about three years ago for $180 (I'm Canadian so everything good costs more for some reason even though our dollar is higher than US right now). These were my first good pair of headphones approaching audiophile status and they changed how I listen to music forever. Since I bought them, I've been on a never-ending mission to convert as much of my music library to FLAC and apple lossless because I had no idea what depth and detail there can be in music played on headphones until I bought these.
 
Maybe I don't have as good an ear as others claim to, but based on my non-professional opinion:
 
Lows: not too much emphasis on bass which I find can be overwhelming with some HP's at the expense of other frequency ranges. The bass is great though. Very punchy and it hits the very lows well with no distortion. I haven't been able to cause distortion in these yet.
 
Mids: Well, clear I guess.
 
Highs: I feel as though the highs are emphasized a little more than lows and mids, but they're still clear and great.
 
Overall: I love the headphones. They introduced me to the way music should be heard by everyone.  And now all I want is more headphones. I'd love to get another Grado model, but I also want to explore other types of headphones. I can say that I've tried several pairs of Monster beats (I know that they're different because they're closed back but...) and none even come close to the audio quality of Grados. I fell sorry for people who spend their money on beats just because they look cool or something.
 
After buying these, I went for a pair of Monster Turbine in-ears, that I like but are a totally different thing than the Grados, and obviouisly not as good, but still quite nice for small and portable. I also have a pair of white Audio Technica m50's on the way, and I'm looking forward to comparing them to the Grado SR80 soon.
ModMax
ModMax
Looking forward to your SR80i vs M50 comparison. Thanks for the (easy to understand) write-up.
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