Grado SR80i Headphones

  1. Zuqi
    Worth Every Penny
    Written by Zuqi
    Published Jun 14, 2013
    Pros - Engaging, open and clear sound
    Cons - Looks cheap, bright and fatiging
    Actually I bought this headphones just for it's box[​IMG].
    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.
  2. jeffphus
    Other reviewers have convinced me my SR80i is defective. Sent them to Grado. They agreed and replaced the drivers.
    Written by jeffphus
    Published May 17, 2013
    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!


    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.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. 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.
      takato14, May 18, 2013
    3. 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.
      kdood8, May 20, 2013
    4. 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.
      jeffphus, Jul 6, 2013
  3. kdood8
    Written by kdood8
    Published May 8, 2013
    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! 
    1. GL1TCH3D
      When you say "Cons: Leaked sounds" did you not expect open headphones to leak?
      GL1TCH3D, May 10, 2013
  4. johnp9723
    Amazing headphones
    Written by johnp9723
    Published Apr 10, 2013
    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. 
      dimensiid likes this.
    1. 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 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.
      Dodgercat, Apr 10, 2013
  5. sirylj
    Never listend to Zeppelin like this before
    Written by sirylj
    Published Feb 17, 2013
    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






    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.
    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).
    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:.
    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.
  6. westinlennox
    Phenomenal Sound
    Written by westinlennox
    Published Feb 16, 2013
    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!
  7. UrAlly
    worn with hearing devices
    Written by UrAlly
    Published Feb 4, 2013
    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?
  8. Spriggs
    Grado SR-80i "the ice picks"
    Written by Spriggs
    Published Dec 8, 2012
    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. 
    1. 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!
      joseph69, Dec 8, 2012
    2. 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.
      devouringone3, Dec 8, 2012
  9. eyeheych
    My First Open Back Headphones
    Written by eyeheych
    Published Nov 22, 2012
    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
    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.
    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
    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)
  10. Slippery Pete
    My first "Real" headphones and still loving them 3 years later
    Written by Slippery Pete
    Published Oct 29, 2012
    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.
    1. ModMax
      Looking forward to your SR80i vs M50 comparison. Thanks for the (easy to understand) write-up.
      ModMax, Oct 30, 2012