Everyone on Head-Fi can't be wrong, can they? Dissapointed with Grado SR-225's..
Jun 23, 2009 at 4:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 64


New Head-Fier
Dec 18, 2008
Recently, after reading countless reviews on how grado's where amazing headphones, I decided to purchase the sr225's for my newest pair of headphones. After listening to them for about 3 weeks now I'm pretty disappointed, as they are not nearly as good as I expected them to be.I would not consider myself an audiophile, yet I play multiple instruments and listen to a ton of music everyday, ranging from jazz to rap to bluegrass to funk.. everything except that blasted country pop. My last pair of headphones, and pretty much the only pair until these grados, were the bose qc2's that I had for over 5 years. Take it or leave it, I loved the sound those cans produced. And the grado's just seem to produce an inferior sound when compared to those qc2's. I dont really know the words to describe it, but the sound seems looser, flatter, and less punchy, and is severly weighted in the high mids and trebles, lacking in bass. There are certain songs were the main guitar rift that should be at the forefront will fall distantly into the background, and the song will sound completely different (in a bad way).

Now before people start cursing me and hailing grado's as the headphones that God uses himself, let me say first and foremost that it is just as likely, if not more likely, that I am just not using the grado's in the right way. My setup is just plugging my sr225s into my headphone jack on my computer and listening to itunes, not exactly an incredible rack. I've had to change my eq's on my sound card/itunes to try to make the sound better.. a solution my friend, who is an audiophile in the making, said I really shouldn't have to do.

What I'm really trying to decide is what to do. Am I missing that "incredible" Grado sound because I lack a proper headphone amp? Do I need different earcups/mods? All these people on head-fi can't all be wrong.. I'm considering even going back to bose, but I don't want to give up on these cans quite yet. Any help would be appreciated. Thoughts?
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:04 PM Post #2 of 64
I have no experience with grados but i'll give you another advice:
All the people don't have the same tastes(or experience).
Also have in mind that good quality cans usualy need an amp to sound good.
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:07 PM Post #3 of 64
Definitely learned that advice the hard way, will make sure to listen before I buy next time. But now that I have them, I'm trying to decide if it's just because I'm lacking some type of equipment, especially if someone has these headphone's and an amp and can let me know their thoughts.
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:09 PM Post #4 of 64
Sorry to hear about that

Let them burn in for a few days playing music non stop. Go back to them over the weekend and you could be surprised.

I'm not a 225 lover, nor do I really appreciate the SR series in any particular way. But that's just because I like other cans better for the price. Still, the Grados perform quite strongly on a few aspects of the overall presentation "thing". I've never heard those Bose cans so I can't really compare, but if they sound anything close to their house sound... them Grados would sound really good to me!
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:15 PM Post #5 of 64
When I listened to the bose qc2's I found their bass to be bloated as all hell... so I can see why you would think the 225's are lacking in bass, its because you're used to an extreme amount of it.. an unnatural amount... the 225's show plenty of bass when its present in the recording..

Now, yes they benefit from amping somewhat but a better source (then your computers onboard soundcard) will go even further

If you have a stereo receiver, try plugging it into the headphone jack in there and seeing if it gives you a more pleasing sound

if nothing satisfied you, then you're a basshead and like an extreme amount of bass present.. for those purposes, you may want to return the 225's and get the Denon D2000 (around same price)
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:19 PM Post #6 of 64
You're probably just used to bloated bass, and used to hearing no high frequency. Kinda the opposite of the typical Bose joke. Also a decent DAP may be in fact better than a PC, due to kmixer and lousy onboard soundcards.
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:20 PM Post #7 of 64
You may just not like the emphasized upper mids and treble of Grados. Not everyone does. Also Bose headphones are usually bass heavy. Technically the Grados are superior but you may just prefer the sound balance of Bose.

A better source would be more important than an amp for the SR225 though an amp will help a bit too. Neither are going to make your Grados sound like Bose though.
Jun 23, 2009 at 5:31 PM Post #8 of 64
Listen for a while and let your ears adjust to them, if you're still not liking it, Grado's may just not be for you
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:01 PM Post #11 of 64
You sound like you know you know the presentation you expect from those tracks.

I've had my 225is for about 2 weeks and I love them.

I found them change in sound in that time, from being kind of detailed but quite bright/shrill, to then being totally woolly and muddy, then on the way back to warm and lovely - it's weird! But I presume yours a burnt-in by now, so if there's something to try, it's to try a higher quality source (including your playback software and source files - I don't like Itunes!!!!)

225s, like any high fidelity gear, are sensitive to source improvements. There's a huge difference using the gear in my sig vs plugging them straight into my laptop's resampled Soundmax****e headphone jack. I'm not saying you need to spend $$$ on source/amp to enjoy $200 headphones, but I'm saying they scale with improvements there, as does most high quality gear.

Something to bear in mind is that Grados are coloured in the upper bass and midrange, but they're also pretty amazing communicators which is a quality that's very hard to find from other manufacturers.
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:02 PM Post #12 of 64
There's no need to apologize. Lots of people here don't like the Grado sound, but they're not as vocal as those who do. The good news is that they'll go fast in the For Sale Forum or you might want to consider trading them for the Sennheiser HD-600 - a headphone I think you'd like better. Most who don'tlike Grados tend to gravitate towards Sennheiser and find happiness there.

As for the QC2... I think they're awful and have listened to them many times at the Bose Store across from work. I hang out in the mall there and go in for a listen every so often. The QC2 has bloated, one-note bass and terrible, lifeless detail. They might cancel some noise, but that's all.

If you need a frame of reference, go to some live performances or get a microphone and record live sounds and music on your computer. When you compare the QC2 to live events you have witnessed you'll find them extremely disappointing. Most of the headphones we talk about here do a far better job of recreating the live experience. Don't take my word for it, though. Try making your own recordings and comparing your headphones to live events. You'll learn a lot more than you think you will.
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:14 PM Post #13 of 64
Usually when I try any type of audio related equipments, the first "WOW" impression doesn't stay with me very long. It becomes somewhat tiresome to listen in long session but those equipments who gave me "so-so" first impression gives me more satisfaction in long term, more I listen to them, they get better for my ears.

Of course, this is not always the case but it happens more often than not. I was very disappointed with Grado RS1 at first but it is extremely addictive to me in fun way as time goes by as I feed better sources, amps, etc. So give some time with your SR225 before you give up.

At the end of couple of months of evaluation, if you still don't care for it, I am sure you can sell it at f/s section with minimal loss and buy something else. If you still prefer QC2, then THAT is right for you no matter what anyone says about it. Good luck in your search, it can be fun.
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:16 PM Post #14 of 64
Get different headphones. That's it. No matter what equipment you use, the fundamental sound of a headphone won't change that much (especially for Grados, which are easily driven out of anything). The Grado sound probably just isn't for you.

Go with the advice to get more bass-heavy headphones (as that seems to be your preference).
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:28 PM Post #15 of 64
Seems like Sennheisers might be more to your liking. Sennheiser HD600 would be a good choice. Its warmer and thicker than Grados and also has larger soundstage so the music seems more spread out around your head. But it also lacks the bite of Grados, though you probaply dont like that bite in the first place. Grados do have quite spiky and pronounced treble, that is no secret and often the reason why some people dont like them. The lack of bass, well, you are most likely just used to unnaturally boosted and bloated bass.

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