Grado SR80i Headphones

Average User Rating:
  1. whitedragon551
    "PC-Babble's Grado SR80i Review"
    Pros - Very light weight, comfortable, long durable cord, and huge modding community.
    Cons - Seems overall construction was sacrificed to increase driver quality. Cord may be too long for some.
    Company Name: Grado Labs
    Company Website:
    Headphone Model: Prestige Series SR80i
    Frequency Range: 20Hz-20KHz
    Headphone Style (Open, Closed, etc.): Open
    Impedance: 32 Ohms
    Sensitivity: 98
    Pros: Very light weight, comfortable, long durable cord, and huge modding community.
    Cons: Seems overall construction was sacrificed to increase driver quality. Cord may be too long for some.
    Rating scale is based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 being the worst, 3 being neutral, and 5 being the best.
    Describing Sound:
    Audio Quality: 4 out of 5
    Comfort: 4 out of 5
    Design: 3 out of 5
    Isolation: 1 out of 5
    Value: 4 out of 5
    Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
    Songs that were used to test (320KBPS MP3 converted from FLAC):
    • StoneSour- Looking Through The Glass
    • Adele- Set Fire To The Rain
    • The Eagles- Hotel California (Live)
    • Alecia Keys- No One
    • Chesky Audiophile Collection- Sweet Georgia Brown
    • Stone Sours Looking Through The Glass was very clear throughout. I heard breathes from the artist I didn’t know where there. The low end of the frequency spectrum blends nicely with the highs. Near the end of the track the artist has a rasp in his voice, which was obvious with these set of headphones.
    • Adeles Set Fire To the Rain starts right up with the Piano. Bass and Midbass are obvious within about 30 seconds. They aren’t overpowering to any of the other frequencies, but they aren’t absent either. Highs again are not harsh or overpowering to the rest of the track. Again a very detailed track.
    • The Eagles Hotel California (Live) uses a Congo drum instead of a traditional drum set. When compared to the music video the sound stage is about as close as can be when compared to actual stage positions. Around the 6 minute mark only instruments are playing. You can clearly hear the guitar on the left side and the maracas on the right.
    • Alecia Keys No One starts out with a bass heavy beat. During this 15 second intro the headphones seemed slightly muddy in their presentation. The bass in this track is overpowering. The singer’s voice was still very clear throughout even with the muddied low end.
    • Throughout Sweet Georgia Brown you can hear the music pan from the left to right. The headphones feel very open and airy and have a nice sound stage. You can easily hear the background cymbals. Piano notes are crisp and clear. I didn’t experience any harshness when the saxophone was playing.
    Overall these are very good headphones for the price. They weigh in at online retailers right around the $100 mark up to about $150 depending on where you make your purchase. Their light weight makes them easier to tote around however, if your going to be in a busy location or loud area these are probably not ideal. There is a good amount of sound leak.
    Original Review:
  2. Compa
    Pros - The sound, no need for an amp
    Cons - The ergonomics
    I am not an audiophile.
    I'm just a regular guy who decided to buy a pair of headphones that had great sound and were affordable.
    When I posted here in Head-Fi that I needed help deciding between some headphones and wrote my options, the Grado were not listed.
    I specified that the music I listen to, is metal... Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Death Metal, Trash Metal, Progressive Metal, Folk Metal, Viking Metal... Metal.
    So... someone said "If you listen to rock, check out the Grado headphones"
    Glad he said that. Plain and simple, I love them.
    First the bad: Ergonomics.
    No, they are not comfortable at first! I wish they were as comfortable as my Sony MDRXD200 but they are not. I have to be honest.
    I bought the yellow pads and the difference was not that big in my opinion, BUT, but everything you read around the internet about the headphones becoming more comfortable as time passes by is true. No, they are not still as comfortable as the aforementioned Sony headphones but they cause me discomfort less frequently than when they were new.
    UPDATE 13-Sep-2012
    About the comfort and the yellow pads: I've been wearing them for some time now and I feel they are indeed more comfortable than the stock pads (I can wear my grado phones for about 2-3 hours without any issue). My yellow pads are by no means modded.  Ithink all you need is some patience and let them break-in (Expect itchiness and discomfort during the break in period).
    If I had to guess why is that the yellow are more fomfortable than the stock pads, I would say that's because the yellow pads are thinner and that makes you to pull appart your phones a few millimeters less when wearing them, and this causes less clamping force.
    Basically, what I'm saying is: What you read around the internet about [comfort+yellow] pads and advises to make the grado more comfortable is all true :) (Still not as comfortable as my Sony headphones but I don't care since the sound makes it up for it)
    The "debatable" bad: openback headphones.
    Sound leaks from them AND sound leaks through them. Not recommendable if you intend to use them in a place where there is a lot of noise, but if you WANT to be aware fo your surroundings then this are ideal for the task. Also, since the sound leaks, if you turn up the volume and listen to music at very high volume levels then people will listen to what you're listening.
    I have an iPod touch 3rd gen and at 2/3 of volume everyone listens to what I'm listening... but at 1/3 they won't.
    The "debatable" good, the look.
    I love the look. I just love it. The headband could be better but it does the job... but the overall look is great (in my opinion). Very retro, very stylish.
    Now, the good. The Sound!:
    Sound is great. So far I've listened several hours of music and just as another reviewer said, my music listening time has increased considerably. I love the sound. It feels more "alive", the metal sounds better than in my Sony headphones because I feel the sound is not obscured bu an unnecessary amount of bass. It feels natural.
    The bands I've listened the most through this headphones:
    Amon Amarth, Battered, Behemoth, Catharsis (Russian band), Death, Demonoid
    Diablo Swing Orchestra, Einherjer, Gammaray, Haggard, Halford, Megadeth, Mercenary
    Moonspell, Nocturnal Rites, Opeth, Pantera, Primal Fear, Summoning, Testament, Therion
    Wuthering Heights.
    I specially love listening to Demonoid, Haggard and Wuthering Heights with my Grado SR80i.
    The music feels free, alive! My Sony had great sound, but the grado make things sound different, as if they had a little more spice, om nom nom.
    Also, it's worth to mention the construction is not as flimsy as it could feel or look at first. Yes, they are made of plastic and it is a lighweight plastic but that doesn't mean it's cheap or not sturdy.
    Now... This is not part of the review of the headphones but I thought it was also worth to mention. I bought the headphones at store. I feel obliged to mention them here and give them 5 stars because the buying proccess was very smooth and even personalized as I contacted the seller and he politelly helped me with all my inquiries and issues. The store might be a little behind other stores but the service he gave was top notch in my opinion, and he is a certified Grado headphones vendor :)
    That being said, I LOVE my grado headphones and if you (like me) are looking for an affordable option
  3. ayahuasca
    "These are *on year* heaphones not circumaural"
    Pros - sound good
    Cons - cheap pads, scratchy on ears
    This is mostly a "warning" review. These headphones are listed under "over ear" but in fact they are "on ear" headphones. The sound is quite good for the price. The pads that go on the ear are nothing special, consider what you'd pay $3 for from a chinese shop on ebay and those are the pads. If you like "on ear" headphones, consider these plus the alternative pads that are out there (perhaps there Sennheiser's or these are third-parties that also make pads for the Grado's). 
  4. ashbeowulf
    "Great amazing budget headphones"
    Pros - Cheap, clear, great sound stage, long sturdy wire
    Cons - Not comfortable over long periods, aesthetically not amazing
    I've had these headphones for about a week and a half now, and all I can say is wow. These have doubled or tripled my amount of time spent listening to music. I came from a pair of Klipsch Image Ones, and the Grados blow them out of the water in nearly every respect. My first thoughts on unboxing were the nice long, thick sturdy cable that comes with these. At first I thought it would be too long, but when wearing the phones, it's just the right length that I don't trip on it, but it's still able to reach my amp/phono combo.
    Let me say, I'm not exactly an audiophile, but these headphones have definitely got me moving on that course. Coming from the Klipsches where the bass was sometimes very muddy and had a tendency to ruin other frequency ranges, these feel extremely accurate. I hear sounds in songs that I never heard before, despite repeat listenings. My current source is a Technics SL-BD22 turntable connected to a Technics SU-G75 amp. Just recently got into the vinyl scene, but I can say that these headphones accurately represent music across such a wide spectrum of genres. The majority of what I listen to is punk music, so I'd say that the most distinct thing I notice about that is the clarity of the vocals and especially the hi-hats and cymbals are very clear and crisp. Phil Collins and Elton John both sounded great through these as well. The sound stage on these is very robust, and I feel a huge difference from the closed environment of the Klipsch headphones. Definitely never going back to closed headphones again.
    One thing that I have to say about these phones, is that if you listen to a lot of dubstep or Skrillex or similar artists, these headphones may be bass lacking for your tastes. As I'm writing this review, I'm listening to Glitch Mob's "Drink the Sea" album. The mids and highs are extremely accurate, and the bass is accurate as well but it's just not the boom that you really need for this type of music. For everything else though, including other techno artists, I've found the bass to be more than adequate for my needs. Was listening to Discovery by Daft Punk yesterday and can't remember the last time I've heard it sound so good.
    Another complaint I have is that I can't listen to these for more than maybe 3 hours at a time without discomfort. If I take them off for an hour, though, I can go right back to listening without any issues. Should also note I wear glasses and this seems to affect this also.
    I'm a poor guy in my mid-20s, so for me, these headphones absolutely cannot be beat for the price. I'd say anyone looking for headphones in the 100 and under price range, don't even bat an eye, grab these Grados in a second. I'm EXTREMELY pleased with my purchase and would do it again in a heartbeat.
  5. 2loud
    Pros - Can sound very good, punchy
    Cons - Sometimes tiring, not cheap (Germany)
    Got these a few years ago after hearing about them here on Head-Fi and listening to them on a couple of occasions. They are unfortunately not such a bargain here in Germany as they seem to be in USA - I paid 175 Euro for mine.
    They need break-in for both sound and comfort, and after 2-3 years I still find them a bit tight to wear but at least they´re not falling off.
    They don´t work at all with my amps - the sound becomes too hot and it´s a relief to take them off. Where they shine is with "lesser" sources, I plug them into my iPod or especially my laptop and i sounds great, full and clear - no wish for an external DAC when I´ve got these so that saves some money and space on the table. The Grado "excitement" seems to be valued by its owners and they´re not boring to listen to. I think there are headphones that are truer to instrumental timbre when listening to acoustic recordings but they seem to be considered rock phones anyway so maybe not the first choice for collectors of string quartets. In the great Sennheiser/Grado divide I´m probably more of a Sennheiser person but it´s good to have an alternative.
  6. chickpea
    "Definitely recommended"
    Pros - Moderate Cost, excellent sound/price ratio, retro styling, decent build quality
    Cons - A little uncomfortable for more than 2 hours listening sessions
    First "audiophile" approved heaphones I purchased.  They have introduced me to subtleties in my music I never new existed.  I am now listening to a lot more music than before. From my fiio e7 they are perfectly powered and give just a fantastically rich, detailed sound. For anyone who is wondering what all this audiophile nonsense is about, buy these and get back to me if it really is all nonsense afterall.  I'm sure your opinion will have changed.  
    I like the retro look, some may not.  Not completely comfortable for long sessions, but not totally uncomfortable either.
    They have a much more open soundstage than my Head Direct RE ZEROs.  Perhaps the RE ZEROs have a little crisper less sibilant highs and more distinct bass, but the sound of the SR80is is much more 3D in my opinion.
    Syros likes this.
  7. Oeufdepoire
    Pros - Make distorted guitars sound really abrasive on metal tracks – and that is good indeed, don't require an amp
    Cons - Cable is a little stiff and heavy
    Distorted guitars sound nicely abrasive. Listening to Immortal's At the heart of winter is like cleaning your ears with sandpaper. It's even more pronounced with the L-cushes. And I love that.
    The « stage » sounds somewhat flat, as if the band or anything was « projected on a screen ». It's not flatty flat, but we're far from the HD600's presentation, for example (I know they are different headphones from different price ranges, it's just for the comparison).
    What happens when I switch from the S-cushes to L-cuches :
    1. the volume lowers and I have to turn it up,
    2. the bass and mids lower more than the highs, thus the highs are brought out,
    3. because the drivers are farther from the ears, the « stage » sounds a tad wider – but remains somewhat « flat ».
    Plus, I just can't wear the L-cushes with my glasses, and, even without, I find them less comfortable than the S. So, as for me, $36 (here in France) are too much for what the L-cushes provide. At least I can tell what the L-cushes actually do on the SR80i.
  8. dorino
    "Quality for under a hundred dollars"
    Pros - Build is great (they take a beating!). The sound is immaculate, and they're stylish. Great with or without an amp.
    Cons - Definitely not the best - Higher priced Grados are nicer, and so are the higher priced competition. Could be more comfortable.
    With no break-in, the 80i's were an immense improvement from my previous headphones (some 30-or-so-dollar over-the-ear headphones).
    I carried these loose in my bookbag with a laptop and schoolbooks and they didn't break. The whole semester I had owned them, too. They're very well built! They're open backed, with all the pros and cons of that.
    The sound is pretty interesting. It's hard to describe - It's Grado sound. The bass is punchy (not wubwubwub) and the highs and mids are great, too. Rock sounds beautiful - The Who, The Beatles and Los Lonely Boys have never sounded better.
    Jazz is great, too. Apparently, the SR-60i struggle with jazz, but it's so clear and nice with the 80i's that it feels like I'm in a bar listening to the band. It's not an "in your head" sound, it's wide and open and it's really like you're there. Live performances literally sound like you're on stage. It's brilliant.
    Electronica sounds okay - It's just not enough bass for something that's meant to go wubwubwub, so "modern" electronic music sounds pretty lackluster. Basshunter and Pendulum both sound great, but deadmau5 isn't so great. Not bad, by any means. Trance is fun with punchy bass, in my opinion, so I enjoy it. Stuff like speedcore still has your ears vibrating like it should, so that's good.
    All in all, these headphones are the best 80 dollars I ever spent and, to be completely honest, I'd be comfortable having payed twice that for them. At the retail price of 100, they're a bargain and an awesome pair of headphones to own and enjoy. They sound great, and they look great, too.
    They have another plus - Grados are very easy to mod, and there's an active community of modders messing around with them making sure you can get the fullest out of 'em.
  9. asn nerd
    "Grado Labs SR80i"
    Pros - Great entry level audiophile- quality headphone, cool looks (imo),
    Cons - Comfort after using for long periods of time (2hrs+)! Price outside of the US, HEAPS of sound leakage (both in and out)
    After using my Sony MDR-XB40EX for a year, I was looking for a pair of high quality on ear headphones for my computer and home use which would be fairly portable as well. However, after testing headphones for a long time and settling on the SR80i's, that last criteria went out of the window. THESE HEADPHONES LEAK COLLOSAL AMOUNTS OF SOUND AND IS DEVOID OF ANY SOUND ISOLATION!
    However,  to the lucky owner of these headphones, these cans sound AWESOME (especially in rock and metal)! After breaking the in, I can say without a doubt, that these headphones are better than my Sennheiser CX300ii (although it isn't exactly fair to compare an in ear with an on ear). Although the soundstage seems small compared to my other in ears, the MDR-XB40EX, the advantage is that you feel as if your in the first row of a concert, vocals are pushed up and the essential electric guitar feels like it's shredding away just in front of you. The thump of the drums and bass guitar are also detailed and taut, although people used to headphones such as Monster and Soul by Ludacris may think that it lacks some of that overwhelming boom.
    The detailed and taut bass along with sharp and clear mids and highs lead to a thoroughly enjoying sonic experience.
    The SR80i's do have some faults (other than the rather detailed sound leakage), though. Some would argue that the aesthetics, while retro, are distasteful (although I quite like the 50's look of them). The comfort can also suffer after long listening periods (usually after an hour or two) with the rather spartan headband and its clamping force (although many reviewers state that this improves over time). The price can be a bit high out of the US as well (I bought my pair in Singapore and I live in Australia).
    Overall, I would highly recommend these headphones to the up and coming audiophile or someone who enjoys high quality music. Quite possibly the best headphones in it's price range, a very deserving five stars.
    Syros likes this.
  10. Jeez
    "Wonderful sound, Great to mod"
    Pros - Inexpensive, Great Sound, Easy to mod, Vintage look
    Cons - Leaks sound, Uncomfortable after long periods of listening
    As a young audiophile and broke college student I wanted a pair of headphones that sounded great and were relatively inexpensive; these Grados were perfect.
    They have a full, detailed sound and the high frequencies are very crisp. The bass could be a bit more responsive but after some modification should be up to par.  I also like that there are a lot of ideas and tutorials on how to mod these.
    The downsides however, are that they leak sound which make them difficult to listen to in public (both because you can hear outside sound and others can hear your music), the vinyl headband and plastic cups make them look and feel a bit cheap, and the stock pads make the ears sore after a few hours of listening.