Full Grado Labs History!
Jun 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 98

devouringone3

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I'm really excited as a big Grado enthusiast; I've been wondering about many of those dates and years since I joined Head-Fi. In a way they are a reflection of the (specifics of the) sound you're going to get if you buy a discontinued John Grado headphones, whether it is that you're interested in the more obscure vintages (SR1-2-300 and their pink drivers), the black anodized metal cups SR325, the buttoned RS-1, any pre-"i" SR1-2-325 and their more obscure models and products.

I think oldest and older Grados are like a bunch of experiments in the science of headphones making/"crafting", and that some of them were very successful, some less, and a few were failed too. Vintage doesn't automatically mean it's going to be good sounding, I'm talking from experience, because yes, I paid quite a lot for some of them and they never lived up to my high expectations. They all have their quirks and charms, but they're still grainy and ultimately not worth it unless you're an hardened collector.

Other than for the exceptional Joseph Grado HP 1000 driven Grado headphones, it's safe to say that, even though the golden years of Grado on Head-Fi (think HF-1, HF-2, PS-1, Sennheiser vs. Grado fans war) are beyond us, the company have continually striven to improve their headphones and refine their sound; something I can confidently say they have achieved.


Without further ado, I am proud to bring to Head-Fi the official Grado milestones, from their latest Facebook update:

1953: Grado Labs is founded
|--: John Grado is born
|-- September: Joe Grado sells the first Grado cartridge to Leonard Radio, New-York, NY

October 1955: Grado Labs moves to its present location in Brooklyn, NY


1959: Joe Grado is awarded patents for the first Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge

1961: Grado introduces in Dustat Record Cleaner
|--: Grado introduces its Labs Series of Phono cartridges
|--: Grado introduces its Lab Series of Speakers
|--: Grado introduces its wooden Labs Series Tonearm
|--: Grado introduces its Lab Series Turntable

"Grado Lab 'JR' Loudspeaker System" (which model was sold on eBay relatively lately [http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180958194002]:)


And the plainly called "Grado speakers" (reviewed there: http://www.head-fi.org/t/248802/joseph-grado-speakers-review)


1964: Grado ceases all advertising
|--: Grado ceases production of all products except for phono cartridges

1965: Grado introduces their “B” Series of Phono Cartridges
|-- July 3rd: John Grado’s first day of work at Grado Labs

1966: John Grado’s photography education begins with Uncle Joe

1971: Grado introduces their “F” series of phono cartridges
|--: John Grado’s speaker design education begins with Uncle Joe

1975: John Grado finishes school and becomes a full time employee of Grado Labs

1977: John Grado is handed responsibility of all Grado production and expands production to 10,000 cartridges per week

1978: Grado introduces their “G” series of phono cartridges

1982: Joseph Grado introduces his Signature tonearm

1983: Grado introduces their “M” series of phono cartridges

1985: John Grado is handed full responsibilities for all the daily operations of Grado Labs

1988: John Grado’s headphone design education begins with Uncle Joe
|--: Grado introduces their “X” series of phono cartridge

1989: Joe Grado introduces his Signature headphone(s) (“HP 1000”; one thousand of them were made)



September 19th, 1990: John Grado becomes President and owner of Grado Laboratories Inc.


1991: Grado Labs introduce the SR100, SR200 and SR300 model headphones






April 1991: Jonathan Grado, son of John and Loretta, is born

1993: Grado introduce the SR125, SR225 and SR325 headphones


(This stock photo is “glitched”; shown in actuality are SR325 black anodized aluminum cups with a SR225 button and headband)



March 1994: Grado introduces their SR80 headphone


October 1994: Grado introduces their SR60 headphone


August 1995: Matthew Grado, son of John and Loretta, is born

1996: Grado introduces their Prestige Series of Phono cartridges


March 1996: Grado introduces their wooden RS1 headphone


February 1997: Grado introduces their RS2 headphone


1998: Grado introduces their wooden Reference Series of phono cartridges


1998: Grado introduces the RA1 series of headphone amps


April 1999: Grado introduces their PH1 phono amplifier

August 1999: Grado introduces their SR40 headphone


2000: Grado introduces their wooden Statement Series of phono cartridges


2003: Grado introduces their Gold SR325i in honor of their 50th anniversary


2006: Grado introduces their GS1000 headphone


January 2009: Grado upgrades all their headphone models to the “i” series

(SR225i, shown here as an example of how the Prestige Series evolved)

March 2009: Grado introduces their new Flagship headphone the PS1000


September 2009: Grado introduces the first in ear monitors, the iGi and GR8
(iGi)

(GR8)

2010: Grado introduces their GR10 in ear monitors


September 2011: Grado introduces their PS500 headphone



January 2013: Grado Labs Turns 60 Years Old

June 10th, 2014: Grado upgrades all their headphone models to the “e” series. (http://www.gradolabs.com/)
(RS1e)

...


Grado Labs is one of (or perhaps) the oldest family owned company in the audio industry.


(Joseph, John and Jonathan Grado)
 
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Jun 26, 2012 at 11:34 PM Post #2 of 98

devouringone3

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[/Grado][Head-Fi]

(October 13, 2012)
– All about the "i" upgrade (taken from Grado Canada):
 
"Soon after the cartridges were “revisited’’, GRADO went back to the headphones drawing board: a series of modifications followed, the suffix “i’’ was added to the model number, e.g. RS2i. One model already had an “i’’: the SR325i (reflecting the antique brass finish of the 50th anniversary) the SR325i became SR325is.
 
– Drivers: improved by a distressing process of the cone at manufacturing time.
– Ear pads: SR 60i, 80i and 125i are now fitted with our “Small Pads“, no change on the other models.
– Cable: from the SR125i to the GS1000i the 4 conductor cable has been replaced by an 8 conductor, slightly shorter: 1.65m (66’’), with a 6mm (1/4’’) plug.
– RS1i and RS2i: the model number is now pyro-engraved on the chamber; it was on a wood button, on the metal grille.
– Chambers of the Prestige series, SR60i to (and including) SR225i: a bevel has greatly improved the look; the chamber is now much larger.
– Chambers of the SR325is: (already bevelled since the SR325i was introduced) go back to the silver finish.
 
The Australian wood named jarrah, used for the shell of the cartridges of the Statement and Reference series, is now used for the making of the Reference / Statement chambers and the inner sleeve of the Pro series chambers."


(June 10, 2014)
– All about the “e” series (from Grado Canada):

The new models are:
•    Prestige Series: SR60e, SR80e, SR125e, SR225e and SR325e
•    Reference Series: RS2e and RS1e
•    Statement Series: GS1000e
•    PRO Series: PS500e and PS1000e
 
The look remains unchanged…
 
List of improvements:
•    All models above have new transducers featuring a lighter but stiffer diaphragm and a magnet with a more linear magnetic field throughout the band pass.
•    Massive transducers [50 mm diameter, was 40] for the RS1e, GS1000e and PS1000e
•    An interesting new plastic named ''Space black'' [polycarbonate] will absorb excess energy and reduce secondary impulse for a clearer tone
•    For those headphones using mahogany, the wood grain will be carefully taken into consideration, not for cosmetic purpose but for sonic results. The new curing method of the wood enhances its natural ability to reduce sound coloration and produce consistent results
•    New 8 conductor cable with 3.5mm plug (and metal adaptor) will be used on SR125e, SR225e, SR325e, RS2e and PS500e. SR60e and SR80e have a 4 conductor cable and a 3.5mm plug. The GS1000e and PS1000e only will retain their ¼'' plug
•    Rhodium, the most expensive precious metal on earth, is employed to prevent corrosion on connectors and unwanted graininess in your music
•    Design refinements within the housing prevent stray resonances from interacting with the driver thus protecting the purity of the reproduction
•    Every single component, surface and material used in the e Series has been upgraded and optimized for one purpose: outstanding dynamic and fidelity 
•    Even the glues are new, optimized for greater strength, less mass and better reliability

 

– Evolution of the cups of the SR325
 
Black anodized metal:

 
Silver variation, brushed finish

 
SR325i in brass color (released in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Grado Labs), brushed finish

 
SR325is in silver (released in 2009 at the same time as the "i" upgrade), brushed finish

 
Chrome finish, very short-lived, from June 2011 to September 2011

 
Powder coating, recent-most finish shared with the PS500, the name of the headphone is still "SR325is"

 
 
Evolution of the finishes of the cups of the PS1000
 
"Wet" finish, the first ~200 PS1000 had it

 
"Satin" finish, from ~#200 to ~#1000

 
Current chrome finish

 
 
Grado headphones not mentioned in the timeline:
 
Grado PS-1 (2004, 257 made; MSRP 1,400 USD)

 
Grado HF1 (September 2005, 481 made; MSRP 200 USD, $25 going to Head-Fi.org)

 
Grado HF2 (May 2009, 550 made, MSRP 429 USD, $40 going to Head-Fi.org)

 
 
Headphones Grado made for other companies:
 
Alessandro Music Series One (MS1); Alessandro Music Series Two (MS2); Alessandro Music Series Pro (MS-Pro)
 They all were subjected to the same “i” and “e” upgrade as the regular Grado headphones in 2009, and 2014
 
FreeSystems FG-1 (February 2002, cancelled product, ~17 full kits were made, MSRP 3,800 USD; the leftover headphones became Grado PS-1 and were dispatched in small batches by Grado and distributed simultaneously by FreeSystems in Germany and Todd The Vinyl Junkie in the U.S. between 2004 and 2006; 7 pairs were auctioned on eBay in 2008 by Grado Labs themselves and labelled [after John Grado's initials] “JAG 1,2,3...-7” on the back of their box; the JAG 7 had a special though deemed failed chrome finish)
  Came with a wireless infra-red (IF) digital audio receiver coupled RA-1 amplifier (battery powered) and the IF emitter.
 
 
Grado RA-1 power supply evolution by speedking: http://www.head-fi.org/t/647205/grado-hpa-1-gs1000i/30#post_12300630
 
 
*You can also take note that all SR1-2-3-00-325 came, up until a certain moment in their production, with HP 1000 drivers in them. All red SR100 spotted were like this, but not all gold (black anodized metal) SR325. You can easily tell *MOST OF them apart by looking at their headband which are different: the wider, spring steel headband is for a Grado with HP 1000 drivers (*though some exceptions to that rule exist; it's better to peek inside the back of the cup and look at the drivers themselves, especially before committing to a purchase). This is well demonstrated by pcf (thanks!), a few posts under (link: http://www.head-fi.org/t/616052/full-grado-labs-history#post_8490997)
 
 
I first wanted to post many pictures about the prototypes, the Freesystems FG-1, and that miscellaneous stuff, but since my first two posts are already huge I'm going to redirect you to my biggest collection of Grado pictures. "Grado Science and Oddities" Head-Fi album (http://www.head-fi.org/gallery/album/view/id/649542/user_id/223115); very much all the known prototypes are pictured, I provide the link to the Grado factory tour, do a comparison of all the cables, show a disassembled HPA-1&-2 and RA-1, a comparison of the HP 1000 and the usual Grado drivers, many RS1s and more internet findings.
 
Jun 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM Post #3 of 98

JustinBieber

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Looks like Grado Labs are more then 40+ years older then me! Haha. I have been looking for a new pair of headphones, I broke my Denons. :frowning2: I'm considering getting the SR60i/SR80i Grado's. I just hope the sound leakage and isolation isn't really as bad as I have been hearing from most people. 
 
Jun 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM Post #4 of 98

fabio-fi

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I was born before they started making headphones 
redface.gif

they are a true audio legend no doubt of it. 
 
Btw..whats bieber doing here? 
confused.gif

 
Jun 27, 2012 at 12:26 AM Post #5 of 98

odehib

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I was born in the year of the RS2.
What a coincidence, I was thinking of getting a used pair if I found a good deal, but I disregarded the notion.
Maybe I should reconsider...

Edit: I just realized it's the same month I was born in as well. It must be a sign!

 
Jun 27, 2012 at 1:01 AM Post #7 of 98

devouringone3

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Quote:
Oh I forgot to put quotations..... Never-mind on that reply to fabio-fi. Why can't I delete posts? Ugh... Now I am just wasting space and bandwidth.

 
Yeah you can't delete a post :wink:, it would remove too much overall logic to the threads if people could do so at will. But you can edit them to "." like some of us do.
 
Jun 27, 2012 at 8:21 PM Post #8 of 98

sanakaku

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Quote:
Oh I forgot to put quotations..... Never-mind on that reply to fabio-fi. Why can't I delete posts? Ugh... Now I am just wasting space and bandwidth.

 
 
Never mind that! you're Justin Bieber... love you JUSTIIN!!
 
 
Also.. I wish I can get my PS1000 this week, started from 325i my highest investment in hi-fi when it went out to Ms2i, RS1 then RS2 to GS1000 finally my Ps1 :wink:
 
Jun 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM Post #10 of 98

devouringone3

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Quote:
Also.. I wish I can get my PS1000 this week, started from 325i my highest investment in hi-fi when it went out to Ms2i, RS1 then RS2 to GS1000 finally my Ps1 :wink:

 
This week, wow! You could report that in at the Grado fanclub, many members have been rejoiced by their PSK or the new purchase of one lately. You've had a nice progression of Grado headphones, you'll be Grado-uating soon (like in graduating).
 
Including snapple10 actually, lol
 
 
I'm considering getting the SR60i/SR80i Grado's. I just hope the sound leakage and isolation isn't really as bad as I have been hearing from most people. 

 
SR80i is a great headphone, the most recommended of the Prestige Series for people who are starting up. It's a open-back headphone like all other open-backs, isolation is non-existent :wink:, because it does a great favor to sound quality by cancelling out very much all the resonance. The headphones with the most clarity and details retrieval are the open ones.
 
Leakage might bother someone close enough to you in a silent library, but it might also not, if you listen at lower levels (a cheap earbud would do worst leaking all of its highs). People do exaggerate when they say "everyone is going to hear your songs". You need to listen fairly loud and in relatively silent environment to get outer people to recognize a popular track. In the bus, on the streets or in a busy public building, people won't even hear a cymbal or a "sss" (they'll hear absolute nothing unless they come abnormally close to your face)... but yourself, you'll have just that, cymbals (and no bass). It's definitely a double-edged sword; you'll want to have that complete silence to enjoy your music fully, but it's that silence of the others your Grado will disrupt.
 
But yeah, people exaggerate leakage, and library reading situation isn't so bad unless you're listening to loud instead of low to medium volumes. Again, zero isolation.
 
Right now, my mother is behind me on her computer, it never bothered her or her concentration.
 
In the next now she'll be listening to Nip/Tuck in the "adjacent room" (no door, just a corner away), I will need to crank up the volume a bit but it's still very tolerable... you can mask quite a lot just by raising the volume.
 
Jun 28, 2012 at 5:18 AM Post #12 of 98

devouringone3

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It was my pleasure :wink:
 
Really. Doing so helped me actually.
 
It was like, the culmination... or what gave an end to all my researches and Grado study. (which concretely means that the next headphone I will acquire now stands a small chance of not being a Grado one) I am free ! took me nine of them
 
 
 
Do we say the "it is my pleasure" manner not taking the tense of the action(past) into account??
 
Jun 28, 2012 at 6:14 AM Post #13 of 98

Dubstep Girl

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no more chrome 325? aww 
frown.gif
, they where my favorite headphones in terms of look, the chrome really makes them stand out.
 
Jun 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM Post #14 of 98

pcf

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Well done Pal! Lots of great info here.
Just want to add that there was another version of the black SR325 which had the HP1000 drivers which came after SR300. 

 
Black 325 with HP1000 drivers.
 

 
Two different black SR325s. The one on the left has HP1000 drivers.
 

 
The two black 325s next to a pair of vintage RS1 with silver gimbal.
 
 
Quote:
Here are some pictures
 
Evolution of the SR325 (anodized in black metal):

 
Silver variation, brushed finish

 
SR325i in gold (released in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Grado Labs), brushed finish

 
SR325is in silver (released in 2009 at the same time as the "i" upgrade), brushed finish

 
Chrome finish, lived only very briefly, rarest finish, was too hard to be successfully consistent while making it, happened during June 2011 to September 2011, is still happening on the PS1000

 
Power coating, recent-most finish shared with the PS500, the name of the headphone is still "SR325is"

 
 
 

 
Jun 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM Post #15 of 98

ostewart

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1993: Grado introduce the SR125, SR225 and SR325 headphones
 
MUST HAVE!!!
 

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