A Power Metal fanatics review of Grado SR60i.
Jun 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1

CrystalT

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I had been eyeballing the SR60i for the past year or so, but money usually went elsewhere, mostly in the In-ear, and source departments. When money came along and I was able to buy a ~$100 can, I was looking at the Grados, KRK KNS 6400, and AD700. I eventually pulled the trigger on the Grados, though not long after, I started to regret the decision, instead, wishing I got the KRK based on posts that happened a few hours AFTER I had already bought the Grados.
 
My Grados arrived last Thursday. Going from the more extravagant boxes to the minimalistic Grado "pizza box" was a bit jarring. I'm weird in that I LIKE fancy packing. it's a feeling of luxury to me, spending most of my life in poverty. It took me a while to get used to them. Supraaural headphones hurt my ears, and the new pad smell was almost unbareable.
 
Prior to the Grados, I mostly listened to V-shaped, and mid-centric products (not by choice), so going from them to the Grados was quite something else.
 
I listened to everything using a variety of sources, including an old HP Pavillion, a Zune HD, and a cheap Sylvania player. I tested everything out through their HP outs, and through my Pioneer VSX-9900s's HP out. The major difference between them was that the Pioneer slightly improved the lower mids, and output wasn't a prolem.
 
To test out the Grados, I needed to test their ability to keep up with fast-paced, and busy tracks, so what better to start out testing them, than with Ever Forthright? Ever Forthright is Deathcore/Djent. A lot goes on with the track All Eyes on The Earth. It starts out with an explosive wall of sound. The first three seconds is a distant guitar riff leading in to a wall of sound at 4 seconds. I'm able to clearly hear every instrument played separately, rather than everything disappearing in to the mix. The bassist is a huge part of this, and I can clearly hear him, even in casual listening. Even the shimmer, and crash of the hats, and cymbals come through clearly, despite the chaos. Using the Pioneer as the source, impact is much more noticeable. This song slams you in the face.
 
Next up is Beyond the Dark Sun by Wintersun. Everything is much brighter than I remember, coming from darker equipment. Even from bright, and airy SoundMAGIC PL30, there are nuances of this song that I don't remember. It's a pleasant experience. For those who hate brightness: Wintersun is melodeath/power metal/prog/neo-classical, and their songs, by nature, are bright. Paired with the Grado SR60i, you might want to skip this experience. I personally enjoy it.
 
Next up is Engraved Within by Serenity. Serenity is a band that gets a lot of flak, often times being called a Sonata Arctica ripoff. They have their similarities, including their vocalist being neigh-indistinguishable from Tony Kakko, but their sound is, to the trained ear, very signifigantly different. Serenity puts more of an emphasis on the melodic part of power metal, rather than the symphonic. Rather than the keyboards being overarching part of the song, they seem to be more of a separate entity, only used when called upon, but during the bridge, usually only providing subtle overtones. I'm hearing subtle keyboard motifs that I had never heard before when using darker headphones. The bassist is crystal clear, a rarity in Power Metal. My appreciation of this band has really increased now that I can really recognize the intricacies of their songs.
 
following this, we're going back to Melodeath via Scar Symmetry and their bonus track from Pitch Black Progress, Deviate from the Form. Upon hearing Christian's voice, my body enters a state of euphoria. Hair stands on end, shivers run down my spine. It's been about 6 months since I've heard anything by Scar Symmetry, since my other equipment just didn't do them justice, and I chose to listen more to classical, and freeform music. Scar Symmetry is a darker sounding band, with the exception of Christian's wonderfully large range, especially his upper end. For those who are familiar with the term "Euphonics," this band produces them in spaces when coupled with the bright Grado SR60i. They complete each other. I'm hearing subtle dueling guitar riffs that just disappear in to the mix with darker, and slower headphones. I really understand why people started to hate Scar Symmetry after Pitch Black Progress when they dropped the wonderfully written, and complex riffing structure in favor of a more mainstream-friendly sound.
 
I liked this so much, that I have to follow it up with one of their darker songs, The Kaleidoscope God. Christain's deep, strong deathgrowls sound FANTASTIC. There's plenty of low-end grunt from the guitars in this track, which, unfortunately, the Grado's don't produce properly. For those interested, this isn't due to a lack of bass, but due to a lack of the lower, and upper mids.
 
Next is Rhapsody of Fire. Power of The Dragonflame is a very fastpaced track. Details are usually lost deep within the mix. It's not much of an improvement, but the track doesn't sound nearly as much as an unpleasant wall of sound. I can hear each separate note of the various instruments when listening critically. I'll have to revisit this track later with different equipment to see how it changes.
 
Next is Luca Turilli's side project. The song Demonheart has for a long time, been one of my favorites, even over most of Rhapsody's main discograhpy. Luca's tone in this album is ******* great, especially with his exaggerated use of harmonics. I also love the galloping triplets he uses in spades. It's like if Jon Schaffer actually knew how to write music! Nothing is really different about the song. It's a darker power metal sound than I'm used to, and it pairs well with the grados. The crunch of the palm mute could use some equalization, but flat it's a little disappointing. Amping increases the punch of the drums, and palm mutes, but overall it doesn't change much.
 
The Gleeman by Kamelot really lets Thomas Youngblood shine. I know most Kamelot fans really despise pre-khan Kamelot, but I personally prefer Youngbloods work in eternity over everything else. The Gleeman is a wonderful track, with a wonderful show of youngblood's wonderful, if underappreciated riffing. His tone sounds wonderful on the Grados.
 
Next up is Forever by the same artist, to please the fans of Khan. Forever, is, in my opinion, the best song they have ever written, and Karma being their second best album to date, with Epica being their best overall. Forever is, quite honestly, one of the anthems of Power Metal. It encompasses everything that Power Metal is in essence. It's short, sweet, and to the point. It's metal as ****, and lets every member of the band shine. Youngblood is a metal genius. Normally I hate how palm mutes sound on the Grados, but Youngblood's tone works perfectly. Khan's voice is spectacular. Glen Barry is crystal clear, and the keyboards are exactly what they need to be in every situation.
 
Animals as Leaders sounds simply incredible on the Grados. An Infinite Regression really took me by surprise. Specifically, just how ******* HARD you get slammed in the face by the music. Amping makes this impact that much more profound.
 
Next is Signaling Through The Flames (The Technicolor Sleep) by The American Dollar, an avant-garde track. It's incredibly atmospheric, with complex, meandering themes. It's a treat to listen to in a dark room to allow your ears to take you for a ride. It's a wonderful journey.
 
I listened to some symphony X, but it wasn't all that great. The ballsy sound really needs a more mid-centric headphone to shine.
 
Overall I'm happy with the headphones. They do what they're designed to do well, which also further emphasized my personal belied that it's practically necessary to own many different types of headphones because of how specialized they usually are, and because of the thousands of subgenres out there. I'm not a believer in a "all-rounder" headphone.
 

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