Beautiful Audio Cushions for Grado and Grado Mods Impressions Thread

  1. Geezer Rock 001
    I was introduced to Grado Mods about two months ago.I was stunned by the quality of the sound that the Grado platform produced. I was also very impressed by the light weight of these headphones after being into heavy and cumbersome planar headphones prior to my Grado mod audition.

    What I wasn't impressed by was the on ear position of the ear cups. I tried L cush and G cush Grado cushions and I found it difficult to adapt to them. While web surfing, I found a site at Beautifulaudio.biz that listed some very unique and to me appealing cushions. They seemed a little pricey at $115 a pair, but they offered a free return within 30 days if you didn't like them. I contacted them in New Zealand and within a week I received a pair of the Meriono wool Beautiful Audio cushions.

    They came with two sets of foam inserts so you can "tune" the cushions to your desired sound signature. Two things impressed me immediately.

    First, they were extremely comfortable! They fit nicely over my ears and attached to a pair of modded Grados, it felt very light. Like I can wear these all day light.

    Second, the design of the foam inserts in the cups created a wonderful enhancement to the sound. The bass sounded deep and life like and they seemed to focus the sound to really make an enjoyable listen, without removing any of the Grado sound magic.

    I was so impressed that I contacted the owner of Beautiful Audio and ordered two more sets for builds that I had in progress. He was also gracious enough to provide me a set of cushions and the head band pads that he make so that I could set up a " Check Out These Beautiful Audio Cushions" tour, so others could experience them and share their impressions.

    Tour impressions will be included in this thread. Attached is a picture of a Wabi Sabi Headphone build and a set of Beautiful Audio Merino cushions. IMO They rock!

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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  2. DavidA
    Received my set of Merino ear pads and so far like the comfort but am still in the process of trying them out with my various headphones. Here's a picture of my listening table along with the BA pads, G-pads (both OEM and generic) and L-pads (OEM).
    BA pads-G-pads-L-pads.jpg
    SR225e (modded), RS2e (modded), R1 (merino pads installed), Nhoord Red V2 (L-pads), Ypsilon S1

    So far the Merino ear pads are a no-no for the SR225e and RS2e, on the SR225e it makes a mess of the mid bass and mids but its probably due to the fact that mine are modded and on the RS2e it changes the overall sound way too much away from what I like about the RS2e and like my SR225e since they are modded its probably why.

    My GF likes the Merino pads on the R1 since it really warms up the somewhat cool sound signature of the R1 but for me it makes the sound stage a bit too closed in and makes the bass/mid bass start to intrude in to the lower mids. Will get around to the Nhoord and S1 in a bit, MNF is getting a bit more interesting :beerchug:
     
  3. fleasbaby
    Good notes David!

    I slipped a pair of these onto a Nhoord Red build. I used press-fit Mahogany cups. Initially I was worried they'd make my headphones look like props in an episode of Sesame Street :D.

    I was intrigued by the effect. Comfort is indeed far superior to the stock L-Cush. The effect on the sound though...its confounding. You're right about bass and mid-bass being boosted, but I can see it being a welcome effect on crisper, harsher Grados, like the older SR325 and SR325i. I no longer listen to stock Grados because the sound became too grating for me. If I owned a stock pair of the older Grados I might be all over these.

    I still need to try the second type of foam inserts, as well as move to other builds. I have a pair of old Ypsilon S1 in layered cups as well as my daily drivers: the V8 in layered cups. We'll see how they fare.

    10/10 for improving comfort though.
     
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  4. wormsdriver
    I had initially posted my review of the BA Merino pads in the "post your Grado mods" thread and now I'm moving it here...

    "OK guys after spending a week with the Beautiful Audio Merino pads and headband here are my impressions. I would like to thank @Geezer Rock 001 for organizing this little tour and letting me participate.

    I received a pair of Beautiful Audio (B.A.) Merino pads and also one of their Merino headband covers. I was immediately impressed by the ingenious way the headband cover is secured on by using magnets that snap together and wrap around your existing headband. The pads are also very cleverly designed so that different inner foam densities can be used and therefore achieve different sound signatures. Two pairs of different foam densities were provided and is standard with each order of pads that is placed. The inner foams that I received are the standard reticulated foam and also the open-cell foam. Both foam inserts felt very comfortable with the reticulated foam edging out the open-cell foam in comfort. Materials used are Merino fine wool and I found it indeed to be very comfortable never feeling like it was hot or scratchy on my ears. My ears fit comfortably inside the pads for a more over-the ear feel than on-ear.
    The bottom of the headband has a good amount of padding which is very soft and provides very good support for the top of your head. On my Epsilon R1 build the comfort when using both the Beautiful Audio headband and pads was astounding! My R1 build uses heavy aluminum cups with wooden inner sleeves paired with Grado L-cush pads which is enough to humble even a die hard Grado fan after wearing it for an hour!

    Changing out the inner foams on the pads was a breeze after watching the instruction video on the Beautiful Audio website for a couple of times. After that I was able to switch the pad configuration in less than a minute for both pads.

    Overall sound impressions:

    I went ahead and compared the Beautiful Audio pads to the original Grado L-cush and the TTVJ flat pads using my classic Grado Rs1. In my comparisons my overall impressions are that the B.A. pads sounded warmer than both the L-cush and TTVJ flat pads. To me these pads add some warmth to the bass and lower mids. The L-cush was the most open and airy sounding overall. It had the most transparency which was then followed by the TTVJ flats. While the B.A. pads did sound overall warmer they also sounded more balanced compared to both Grado cushions. The L-cush sound is leaner really leaving me wanting more bass authority, the overall emphasis seems to go to the mids and highs respectively and then bass. The TTVJ flat pads provided some of that missing bass authority of the L-cush but also the mids move forward which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preference, highs take a step back and are more tamed than the L-cush but also a tad bit less clear. The B.A. pads with the reticulated foam sound like I said overall warmer. Compared to the flat pads the highs come back into the picture and take a step forward. Mids take a step back and bass is in line with the highs but a bit of transparency is lost because of the overall warmer sound. The bass loses a bit of definition and sounds a bit more woolly. Vocals also get a touch warmer which can be good or bad depending on your headphones, the highs are more controlled and focused over the L-cush. The B.A. pads using the open cell inner foam sounds balanced. Actually they provided the most balanced sound out of the other three. With the open-cell foam sound gets a bit tighter vs the reticulated foam. The highs and mids take a step forward and are in line with the bass. The reticulated foam now sounds more of a "U" shape signature compared to the open cell-foam. The B.A. pads with the open cell foam sounds bigger and bolder especially vs the Grado pads.

    It is important to note that the BA pads are not necessarily dark, there is no treble roll off. Highs and mids are ever present so keep in mind that these comparisons are done vs the Grado pads which are for lack of a better word lighter on the sound. The BA pads add body and weight to the sound.

    Both B.A. pads sound a bit more intimate but do have a deeper stage vs the Grado which have a slightly wider open sound but also sounds more two dimensional and flat, so like with all Grado pads there is trade offs and it's up to the individual listener to pick what is higher on their lists of preferences.

    In my time using the BA pads I have not felt like I am listening to another totally different headphone, all the Grado magic is still present which would be my main concern. I love Grados and without their magical mid range these pads would be useless IMO. I'm happy to say that vocals are still amazing and guitar still has plenty of bite!

    In my honest opinion the B.A. pads are more than worthy of being in one's stock pile of Grado pads. They provide yet another alternative to pad rolling that honestly once I got used to the sound they would have me using them as more of a permanent fixture on my cans than the stock Grado pads and that to me is saying a whole lot!

    In conclusion I hope you at least have a chance of trying these out for yourself, hopefully more impressions will start to roll in as soon as more of the guys get to try them out as I know my impressions were pretty brief and the more listening impressions there is the better it will be for each individual who is interested in these to make an informed opinion on purchasing a pair of these Beautiful (Audio) pads. :wink:"
     
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  5. DavidA
    Hi guys, here is my updated impression of these BH Merino ear pads (for @Geezer Rock 001, I did let some of the "harem" listen to them but they don't smell like perfume :ksc75smile:)
    Tried the more open foam in the ear pads and I like it better than the other more dense foam since it doesn't alter the sound quite as much and is a bit more comfortable to me. As for the "harem" they pretty much didn't care for the merino pads since it altered the sound a bit too much, mid bass a bit over done, sound stage too closed in, and for those with long thick hair it puts the driver too far from the ears and can give a "veil" effect.
    jessica-merino ear pads.jpg
    this was Jessica's expression with the Merino pads. She was just playing but to her Michi, Tiffany and Malia they all pretty much noted that while the pads are really comfortable they alter the basic sound a bit too much and this was with the Ypsilon R1. If its a warmer driver like the Nhoord or most of the newer "e" series Grado then its even worst. To me the Merino ear pads on something like an older SR325i or un-modded SR series they might be more acceptable and for some a great change of pace from the "normal" Grado sound. With that said I can see these as a great "modding" tool since they can really change the character of the basic SR series Grado and make them sound more "mainstream" and much more forgiving of poor/sub-par recordings but you will also lose some of the "magic" of the Grado sound.
     
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  6. fleasbaby
    LOL. It could also be the budgie on her head....just saying :D. On a related note, my wife's expression was pretty similar when I offered her these. She was more worried they had been on someone else's head before mine though. Although I assured her @wormsdriver seems to be a perfectly hygienic and clean fellow she wasn't having it.

    Anyway. I agree...the closed cell-foam isn't as pleasant as the open-cell foam. I spent time with these using the closed cell foam yesterday and the day before, and was happy to move back to the open-cell foam. The effect seems to be universal: added warmth, boosted mid-bass, but its not as severe with the open-cell foam, and takes on a pleasant feeling once you've heard it for a little while. Personally, I no longer listen to stock Grados since the sound is just too harsh now. These would likely change that.

    I definitely appreciate the increase in comfort.

    Has anyone else used these with a pair of V8 drivers?
     
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  7. wormsdriver
    "Although I assured her @wormsdriverseems to be a perfectly hygienic and clean fellow"

    Me:
    great_gatsby.jpg
     
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  8. Geezer Rock 001
    In reference to hygiene, you can pop out the foam and wash the wool portion with any wool safe product and set aside to air dry.

    As far as V8 drivers, In my limited time with the Beautiful Audio merinos, they seem to dampen down the V8 s the most. I have to EQ in more top end with them to get them where I like the sound.

    I enjoy the sound of all of them, but my personal preference is: R1, G1, Nhoord and V8.

    It may just be me, but every time I start a listening session, it takes a few minutes for the sound with the merinos to open up and stabilize. To me it sounds just like the type of sound that you get before an amplifier tube is sufficiently warmed up. I also think that it takes 10 minutes or more for a first listen impression to "normalize" the sound bias that the listener may have had before they tried them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  9. wormsdriver
    I didn't want to write anything down till I gave it a good shot. I listened for a week before passing judgement on them.

    My rs1 already has a warm midrange and at first I thought the BA merinos with the open-cell foam were a no go making it too much of a good thing (overly warm). As I got used to the sound, I had very enjoyable listening sessions, at time sounding beautiful. Overall I still prefered the reticulated foam inserts but both were enjoyable and I could see myself using both foams.
     
  10. fleasbaby
    So I've decided to keep a pair of these on hand, basically for the open-cell foam sound. Its very appealing on Grado drivers, not really necessary on Nhoord or V8s, and helpful in "de-neutralising" Elleven Acoustica drivers. Beautiful Audio are on to something here, especially when it comes to comfort. The only other way I have found to tolerate the infamous Grado pains is to make adaptors/;custom cups made to take the Beyerdynamic pads. The Beautiful Audio route is far, far simpler to achieve :).
     
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  11. Geezer Rock 001
    A follow up after four weeks with the Beautiful Audio Merinos

    1. IMO they are not a " one size fits all " for the various Grado models and drivers. More on that to follow.

    2. You need to work your way into them. If you do a quick change during a listening session you may have an instant negative opinion because of what I call sound bias. If you start with them in a new listening session you are more apt to better appreciate positive way that they can alter a sound signature. Again imo.

    The comfort factor is a 10 out of 10 and the material and workmanship is excellent.

    What I have found is that with the Ypsilon R 1 and the Nhoord Red drivers the sound is perfect to my ears. Deep but not booming bass, crystal clear mids and a sparkle to the highs.

    With the Symphones V8 s they seem to muffle or veil the sound a bit. The L cush is my choice with this driver.

    The Ypsilon G1 drivers do best with G cush for me.

    The Beautiful Audio headband is an amazing design that attaches to itself with magnets, is light as a feather and adds a lot of comfort.

    If you are thinking about buying Beautiful Audio products, consider sending Silvian an email through the contact button on his site. Beautifulaudio.biz. He is an avid Grado enthusiast and values customer interaction and input.

    There are a couple of slots open on the tour. PM me if you are interested in trying them and sharing your impressions. They are comfortable, interesting and fun.
     
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