Difficult comparison: Grados vs. Shure E5s...
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Chrishel

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Hello everyone,

I have been researching info for a new pair of headphones for quite some time, and I have decided that if I get regular headphones, I want something out of the Grado series, but if I want canalphones, I want the Shure E5s. Now I have to decide which of those I want. If you compare the sound quality between Grados (lets say up to the 225s...) and the E5s, what are the major advantages and disadvantages of each?

I am a college student, so my listening would either be walking around campus, in the computer lab downstairs in our dorm, at my computer in my room, or maybe on a road trip, so portability and comfort are definately important...

I live in Springfield, IL, and as far as I know, there is no place around here to try out these phones, so I would be buying completely blindly, and I hate the idea of doing that. If anyone knows of someplace even somewhat near (St. Louis, or maybe even Chicago), I would appriciate it.

Also, I would be using these with a portable MP3 player...I dont know which one yet (I had a JB3 that broke, and Ive got a $378.99 warranty check to spend on a new one... still researching that...), but from what I've read, an MP3 player should have no problems driving either of these phones without an amp right?

Also if anyone thinks I am making some horrible mistake with these choices, or that the 325s are OMG SO MUCH BETTER than the 225s, or anything like that, please, please let me know. Thank you very much.

Chrishel
 
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nkd

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Go for the e5s... So much more portable than the Grado's, and you don't look quite so stupid walking around wearing them
 
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Chrishel

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Yea, but do the Shures sound as good as the Grados, thats my real concern?
 
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lojay

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I look cool with my Grado 225's on my neck, honestly...just don't put them on.
 
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nkd

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I've only heard the Grado SR-80s, so I can't really comment on similarly priced 'phones, but my e5s were far superior.
 
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pedxing

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chrishel
Yea, but do the Shures sound as good as the Grados, thats my real concern?


I think Grado's are no more evil than Shure's are.


It depends what you are looking for. Normal headphones sound like normal headphones. The Grado's are not as big as other headphones of similar performance and they can flattened.

Isolation earcanal phones take awhile to adjust if you never used anything like them before. However, you would gain the benefits of isolation and portability with the E5's.

Which do you think will help you in your everyday environment in college?
 
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Chrishel

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pedxing
Which do you think will help you in your everyday environment in college?


Well it's hard to say. One feature of the Shures that would be nice, is when I am in quiet public places, not everyone else around me has to hear my music (sleeping roommate, others in the comp lab...The grados arent isolated are they?). One of my bigger concerns is that the Shures wont have as good of low and mid response as the Grados... I'm not a crazy bass head (for example, I consider the stock earbuds that come with the iPod to be decent... certainly I'd like better, but I don't consider them to be horribly unresponsive in the bass range...) Can anyone clarify this for me? Once again, any suggestions are more than welcome.
 
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doctorjuggles

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chrishel
Well it's hard to say. One feature of the Shures that would be nice, is when I am in quiet public places, not everyone else around me has to hear my music (sleeping roommate, others in the comp lab...The grados arent isolated are they?). One of my bigger concerns is that the Shures wont have as good of low and mid response as the Grados... I'm not a crazy bass head (for example, I consider the stock earbuds that come with the iPod to be decent... certainly I'd like better, but I don't consider them to be horribly unresponsive in the bass range...) Can anyone clarify this for me? Once again, any suggestions are more than welcome.


Never heard grados in my life before, but I own beyerdynamic DT770s, which everyone agrees is pretty heavyweight in the bass department. I own the E5s too, and they don't lack at all in the bass department. No way.
 
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to realise the full protential of both cans u need a good AMP... since portable is important then choose shure... if not why not get one can for indoor use and another for portable??? like SR80 and E2s..
 
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Chrishel

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Hmm, OK one more question, I just stumbled upon reviews for the UE-10 Pro, and those look really awesome (Im not sure where those were when I was doing my research before...). How do those stack up against the E5's? I saw one review that said the E2's dont compare at all to them, but then everyone else says the E2's cant compare to the E5's either... Is anyone able to offer advice between the two? Man $900 is a lot of $$$ for headphones, holy cow...
 
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Grado SR-225 needs an amp more than the Shure E5... Shure E5 is very easily driven, while SR-225 clearly doesn't reach its full potential directly from a portable source. However, SR-225 is still much easily driven than any Sennheisers... so you'll get very good, not mind-blowing performance out of them. Shure E5 directly from a portable source gives you a little closer towards mind-blowing... of course it'll still get better with an amp.

Comparing sound quality, the SR-225 is "faster"... there's more high-end detail, there's a punchy and fast bass. Midrange resolution is more or less the same. Since Grado has a very flat soundstage anyway, there's not much difference in the soundstage of the E5 versus Grado, even though that E5 is a canalphone. E5's soundstage is inside your head, but still very acceptible in comparison to SR-225. E5 gives you a little more dramatic layerinng in sound, which gives you more 3d imaging... just a little more than the SR-225.

Overall, E5 is much warmer than Grados though... it's a bit like SR-225's punchiness and HD580/600's warmth added together into one package. Where Grado does outperform E5 by a very fair margin is the trebles, there's much more treble clarity. Also E5 has a longer decay, which tend to blend the sound into a smoother, natural gradation... where SR-225 will give you more perceived detail because it's more punchy, and the decay are much faster.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chrishel
Hmm, OK one more question, I just stumbled upon reviews for the UE-10 Pro, and those look really awesome (Im not sure where those were when I was doing my research before...). How do those stack up against the E5's? I saw one review that said the E2's dont compare at all to them, but then everyone else says the E2's cant compare to the E5's either... Is anyone able to offer advice between the two? Man $900 is a lot of $$$ for headphones, holy cow...


I'm doing a UE-10 Pro versus Sensaphonics ProPhonic 2X-S comparison in a few days... they're both way above and beyond the capabilities of the Shure E5 and Ety ER-4.
 
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Chrishel

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How much do the sensaphonics cost? Do you think these price differences are actually justified by the difference in quality between these and the E5's? Thanks a lot.
 
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i simply don't think that the E5 sound good - their midrage behaviour is weird and there's some added layer in there which i don't think could be fixed with system matching. i've tried my (sold) E5 from various sources and amps to confirm.

however, others will disagree, and to comment on the soundstage of the E5, it's very big and not flat.. excellent one, tons better then any grado. a very comfy one to psychologicly "expand" into. however, it is part of that added layer to my ears, and the instruments themselfs don't have the right proportions next to it.

i wouldn't put my money in $900 headphones, considering that i can't audition & sell them. i've been through quite a few sets of headphones and most of them are sold. just my 2 cents.
 
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I've owned 225's and E5's at the same time......

Lindrone hit it pretty well, however I've found that unamped out of a portable DAP, the 225's still provide a better presentation than the E5's. The bass is better defined, the highs are stellar, and everything seems more balanced once you're used to the Grado sound.

However, the E5's are an amazing success in a little package, and how you feel about true portability (and isolation) may be the deciding factor.

I like them both, but on sound quality alone, I prefer the detail of the 225's by a smidge.
 
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