Grado Fan Club!
May 22, 2015 at 7:22 AM Post #24,931 of 47,917

Chris Ihao

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Fortunately, I've accumulated enough hi-fi over the years so I can sell and buy. I'm running out of stuff though, so I guess next it's sell furniture, lawnmower, etc. Eventually I'll have a great headfi rig, a desk for it, and a chair.


This is a picture of the house me an my gf recently purchased. If you look at the loft; up there, by the book shelves, will be my new listening spot. Looking forward to it:

 
May 22, 2015 at 7:27 AM Post #24,932 of 47,917

jaywillin

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This is a picture of the house me an my gf recently purchased. If you look at the loft; up there, by the book shelves, will be my new listening spot. Looking forward to it:


great space, look
and the listening spot, up above, nice view, awesome 
 
May 22, 2015 at 8:44 AM Post #24,933 of 47,917

Chris Ihao

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great space, look
and the listening spot, up above, nice view, awesome 


Thanks mate. Yes, this was one of the first things I thought about, when looking at pics of the house for the first time. Extremely happy that we got the house. Oh, and it doesnt show, but you can actually see the beautiful fjord of Trondheim from the living room. :)
 
May 22, 2015 at 11:08 AM Post #24,934 of 47,917

Mercuttio

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  hi folks
 
i have a question about vintage grados
i've been collecting sr60 pinks for some diy projects
wood cups etc..
i've been able to pick them up off ebay for 50-60 bucks
there is a pair of sr200's on ebay with a bid of 400 bucks (reserve not met)
 
my question is what is this stuff worth? 
what is a good price to pay for this stuff?
 
thanks for the helpp

Well, it kind of sucks that you're destroying vintage headphones. Frankly.
 
May 22, 2015 at 1:30 PM Post #24,935 of 47,917

ruthieandjohn

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Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 1 - Intro and Amps (HPA1, RA1, CMOY)
 
I have now compared ALL of the current or recent models of Grado headphones, including two vintage headphones, to two other Grado headphones closest in the model lineup.  I have also performed these three-way comparisons to two Grado headphone amps and one commonly-used non-Grado model.  I have used the same formalized listening tests, summarized below, for a total of 41 different headphones in 18 different three-way comparisons.  Of those, 17 Grado products (headphones and amps) are compared in 11 three-way comparisons.
 
The following several posts will described the results of these three-way comparisons for all members of the Prestige Series (SR60, SR80i, SR125, SR225i, and SR325e), the iGrado portable headphone, the PS500, and the three woodies (RS1, RS1i, and RS2i).  These posts will also get my post count to the threshold of Headphoneus Supremus and will be used as exhibits of my usefulness as I apply for that lofty status to The Powers That Be!  
smile.gif

 
An earlier post on this thread compared the PS1000, the GS1000e, and the Joseph Grado HP1000 (HP1), as described here. (click on the previous "here" to jump to the post).  Another previous post (here) compared the PS1000 to the PS500 with its stock pads ("L bowls") and then with its stock pads replaced by the over-ear pads used by the PS1000 ("G cush").
 
Several other posts have applied these tests to compare the Grado PS500, PS1000, and RS1i to non-Grado headphones.  These include Grado PS500 vs. Sennheiser CX 300 II (IEM) vs Sennheiser HD 598, HiFiMAN HE-500 vs. Grado PS500 vs. Shure SE535 (IEMs) (here), the Stax SR5/SRD6 vs. Grado PS500 vs. Klipsch S4i (IEM) (here), and the Sennheiser HD 800, Grado PS1000, and Grado RS1i (here).
 
For the comparison, 10 acoustic features important to me in listening are used (transparency, sound stage width, positional resolution, subbass impact, and several others).  The 10 acoustic tests came from four pieces of music, played as CD-quality lossless files.  For each feature, each headphone is ranked as first (given a blue color in comparison tables), second (red), or third (gold).  I tried to be conservative in declaring a change:  if I did not think I could reliably notice a difference in a blind test, I declared a tie.  Ties for first are colored purple (blue + red) and for second place are orange (red + yellow).  Points were awarded - 3 for first, 2.5 for tie for first, 2 for second, 1.5 for tie for second, and 1 for third place.  Using these, a summary score was computed reflecting the ranking of each headphone model over all 10 features.  Differences of less than three are considered insignificant in these summed scores.  The features and music selection are described more completely here and summarized as follows:
 
Test Method:
 
I used four songs, all encoded in Apple Lossless Format at CD quality (I actually bought the CDs and ripped them... no internet download involved) and played by my Apple iPod Touch 5th Gen.  Because each of the 10 acoustic tests used a limited segment of music (2 - 10 sec), an infinite loop was used to repeat the appropriate segment of each song while headphones were switched in and out.
 
  • "You're Going To Miss Me When I'm Gone," by Band of Heathens, from their album One Foot In The Ether (used for fidelity of drum sound, positional resolution of two vocalists, and ability to discern pitch of string bass passages);
  • "Spanish Harlem," by Rebecca Pidgeon, on The Ultimate Demonstration Disc of Chesky records (used to assess female vocals, transparency, the attack of finger on bass string, and high resolution discrimination of differences in shaker shakes);
  • "Symphony No. 3 in C Minor Op. 78 (Organ Symphony) - IV" by Camille Saint Saens played by Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Sympony Orchestra (used to assess the "ripping" sound of well-rendered lower brass and organ reed pipes, and the ability to hear a very small entrance amidst a bombastic chord of orchestra and organ at full tilt);
  • "Throwback" by B.o.B. on Underground Luxury (used to assess ability of a bass tone, specifically lowest C on piano at about 32 Hz, to pick me up by the throat and shake me!)
 
The 10 tests were as follows:
 
  • Transparency:  What is between me and the music?  A felt cloth?  A "Sennheiser veil?" A frosted window?  Dirty window?  Clear Saran wrap?  or nothing?  At its best, makes me forget I am listening on headphones and am in room with musicians.
  • Width of sound stage:  How far to the left and to the right, (yes, AND up and down in best cases) does it seem the musical sources are arranged?
  • Positional resolution:  Can I distinguish a difference in position of two singers in Song 1?
  • Bass visceral:  Does the bass in third verse of Song 4 actually shake me? Or do I just hear it?
  • Drum "twang":  At start of Song 1, do the bass and tom tom drumhead have a tone and a pitch, rather than just a thump?
  • Bass pitch perception:  For the complicated bass runs in Song 1, do I hear a pitch with sufficient accuracy to sing or transcribe the part?
  • Bass finger pluck:  Do I hear the actual impact of fingers on the bass string just before hearing its sound on Song 2?
  • Shaker variation:  In Song 2, verse 3, do the various shaker shakes sound a bit different from each other, as they should?
  • "Ripping" of organ / brass:  In Song 3, is there the sensation of hearing each vibration of the French horn and low organ reed tones (sort of the tonal counterpart to hearing a "pitch" from a drumhead in Test 5);
  • Discern added chord:  About 1:38 into Song 3, after the full orchestra and organ hold a chord at the top of a passage, can I hear a small number of orchestra instruments join in, as sort of an echo, in the second measure of that chord?
 
These tests generally emphasize what I find most pleasing in a headphone, namely high-frequency-related features including transparency, upper harmonics of sounds from drum-head, brass, organ pipe, and string bass, and high-resolution effects such as fine detail of each shaker sound and the finger on the bass string. 
 
Grados Compared to Non-Grado Headphones
 
Here is a chart of the comparisons of Grado headphones with other models, listed two paragraphs above.  Again, these show the total score for each headphone (23 for Grado PS500, winning overall first in preference, through Sennheiser HD 598 at 19 points, third, for the first three-way comparison).
 

 
The above tests serve as an anchor to place the following tests of Grados within the population of headphones at large.
 
Observations from Comparing 13 Grados and 3 Amps
 
Running these tests gave me several conclusions, which I summarize in advance of the ensuing test results:
 
  1. I preferred the PS1000 to any of the other Grado -1000s, including (surprisingly to me) the rare, sought-after HP1000.  I think that the larger soundstage of the PS1000, as well as its greater transparency (the HP1000 seems to predate the startling transparency now typical of all Grados) pushed it ahead of the others;
  2. I came almost indistinguishably close to the PS1000 sound by placing the over-ear PS1000 pads on the PS500.  The only difference that I could reliably detect was in the larger sound stage of the PS1000.
  3. As much as I liked the PS1000, I liked the RS1i even better, due to the RS1i greater transparency, ability to preserve bass pitch, and fidelity in producing the vibrating "ripping" sound that I associate with the reed stops on an organ and the blat of brass (this is one of the Grado-to-other-brand tests shown in the table above, detailed here);
  4. As much as I liked the RS1i (ranking it higher, though by an insignificant amount, over the Sennheiser HD800 as well as the PS1000), I liked the classic RS1 (with wood buttons) even better, and (big surprise to me) I rated the RS2i even higher!  In fact, the RS2i is my highest-ranking Grado, based on these three-way preference comparisons;
  5. I could detect no reliable difference between the SR225i and the SR325e.  They scored equally on each of the 10 feature tests, where they were also compared to the PS500.  This surprised me so much that I went back and revisted the tests, once I discovered this (I only compute the comparison scores after the entire test is done, so I did not immediately notice this tie). The SR325 is known as the brightest of the Grados, while the SR225 is regarded as "center of the road" in brightness, so there should be a difference. Perhaps the reason is that I was testing the Grado SR325e against the SR225i.  The Grado -e series, in general, is known for adding a bit more bass extension and taming the trebles a bit vs. the older -i series.  I'd be most interested if others with both the SR325e and SR225i compare them and think that they could reliably distinguish them in a blind test;
  6. My preferences for the Prestige ("SR") series followed their pricing (aside from this tie), i.e., SR325e = SR225i > SR125 > SR80i > SR60;
  7. The three amplifiers (Joseph Grado Signature Products HPA-1, Grado Labs RA1, and JDS Labs CMOY BB 2.03, in Altoids mint box) all did an excellent job.  Other than a glaring distortion on subbass introduced by the CMOY, it was hard to distinguish the three by sound.
 
With these lengthy preliminaries out of the way, I report on the results of comparing the Joseph Grado HPA-1, Grado Labs RA1, and JDS CMOY BB 2.03.
 
Comparing Amps for Grados:  HPA1, RA1, CMOY
 
I used my top-rated RA2i headphones for listening to all three amps.  For the CMOY BB ("bass boost"), I left the bass boost feature turned off.
 
Here are the detailed results.
 

 
Score differences of less than three are not likely significant.  Best performance was given by the Joseph Grado Signature Products HPA-1 (also the most expensive, at $1,000, though out of production). The Grado Labs RA1 scored second, with a bit less soundstage and less subbass.  The CMOY was third, but was a very good amp.  However, the CMOY had one significant problem -- for the subbass test (Song #4 above), the subbass tone was very distorted.  This held at any volume level, and the batteries were fresh.  Again, the bass boost was turned off on the amp.  
 
But aside from this subbass problem with the CMOY (which is a rare occurence), the differences were small enough that if I were just presented with one amp to hear, I would not likely be able to tell which it was.  
 
May 22, 2015 at 1:31 PM Post #24,936 of 47,917

ruthieandjohn

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Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 2 - The Little Woodies:  RS1i, RS1, and RS2i
 
The HPA1 amp, highest perfoming in the tests above, was used for all of these comparisons.  Here are the results.
 

 
Surprisingly, the RS2 came out with the highest overall preference score.  It exceeded the transparency of the others and was tops in high-frequency detail features of bass finger pluck, variation of a shaker, the reedy ripping quality of brass and organ, and the ability to discern a small change among complex loud orchestral activity.  
 
In an earlier comparison (here), I had found that I placed the Sennheiser HD 800, the PS1000, and the RS1i within a point of each other, with the RS1i ahead.  This result here indicates that the RS1i scores the lowest in overall preference among the "small woodies," so the RS1 (with buttons) and the RS2i score higher than the HD 800 and PS1000 for me.  
 
The RS1 (so-called "Classic B" in the terminology of this thread) provided less transparency but more bass and detailed treble features than the RS1i, resulting in a higher score.
 
In short, the RS2i  is my highest-scoring of all my headphones. It would be interesting to compare it to the RS2e, which I do not have.  The overall taming of treble and extension of bass might not make the RS2e preferable  to the RS2i, but folks who have both tend to prefer the RS2e.
 
May 22, 2015 at 1:31 PM Post #24,937 of 47,917

ruthieandjohn

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Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 3 - The On Ear Professional & Prestiges:  PS500, SR325e, SR225i
 
The PS500 of the Professional Series shares the cup construction of the over-ear PS1000, in which a wood cup is encased within a tightly-fitting metal cup.  Grado indicates that this construction reduces unwanted resonances.  The SR325e and SR225i are the top and second members of the Grado Signature Series.  Like the PS500, both have the over-ear pads that are bowls, known as L.  The SR325e has a metal cup; the cup of the SR225i is plastic.
 
Here are the results:
 

 
It is amazing that overall preference scores of the PS500, SR325e, and SR225i are equal.  The PS500 had larger sound stage and stronger bass than the other two.
 
Even more surprising is the fact that EACH of the 10 comparisons for the SR325e and SR225i were the same.  As mentioned in the conclusions above, the SR325 is known as being the brightest of the Grado headphones, while the SR225 is middle of the road.  I went back and checked this conclusion and it was still true, at least for my ears.  Perhaps the deeper bass and tamer trebles for which the -e series is known has brought its brightest member, the SR325e, close to the SR225i, of the brighter series i.  I would ask anyone who has both the SR325e and SR225i to compare them and see if they could confidently state which was which in a blind test, and if so, by what characteristics.
 
 
May 22, 2015 at 1:32 PM Post #24,938 of 47,917

ruthieandjohn

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Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 4 - The Middle Prestige Series:  SR225i, SR125, SR80i
 
I kept the SR225i, compared in the previous comparison, within this group of three to provide a point of anchoring these three comparisons to the others.  I do the same with the next comparison by including the SR80i in both.
 
Here, the SR225i has the on-ear bowls ("L" pads) while the SR125 and SR80i have the on ear pads known as "S".  Both the SR125 and SR80i have plastic cups, as does the SR225i.
 
Here are the results of the comparison:
 

 
The SR225i scored significantly above the SR125, with its strengths in sound stage (consistent with the fact that the L bowls move the drivers further from the ear than the flat S pads), positional resolution (related to sound stage), and bass strength.  It also excelled in high frequency detail.  The SR80 was less transparent and more muffled than the SR125 and was relatively weak in the treble detail features.
 
May 22, 2015 at 1:32 PM Post #24,939 of 47,917

ruthieandjohn

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Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 5 - The Lower-End Prestige Series:  SR80i, SR60, and iGrado
 
In this comparison, all of the headphones have the closer S pads.  The SR80i is repeated from the prior comparison for "anchoring" purposes.  The SR60 and the iGrado share the same driver.  However, the iGrado, which is the most portable of the Grados (excluding their IEMs), has a tight plastic band that goes behind the neck and its cups are much shallower than those of the SR60.  Sonic differences arise as a result.
 

 
The SR80i, which scored relatively low when compared to higher-number members of the Prestige Series, scores the highest here.  The SR60 provides less-palpable subbass (a surprise, since its frequency response plot shows that it actually has somewhat higher bass response) and a bit less of the treble detail features.  The iGrado suffers a bit more in sound stage (not surprising, because of the closeness of its drivers to the ear) and treble detail.
 
A Rough Overall Ranking Of Grado Headphones
 
I can now produce a rough rank ordering of the Grado headphones, combining this information with an earlier comparison of the Grado PS1000, GS1000e, and HP1000 (HP1), here.  The only concern I have is that the GS1000e had only about 20  hours of use at the time I tested it.  It is known from other reviewers to require burn-in, with a big change being observed even at 30 hours.  The GS1000e did not fare as well in its comparison as I think it would if it had more hours, and I plan to repeat the comparisons at that point.  Hence, I have omitted it from this ranking.
 
 Here is how I would rank the Grados according to my preference:
 
RS2i > RS1 > RS1i > PS1000 > HP1000 > PS500 = SR325e = SR225i > SR125 > SR80i > SR60 > iGrado.
 
As always, your preferences will be different.
 
May 22, 2015 at 2:21 PM Post #24,940 of 47,917

Wildcatsare1

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Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 5 - The Lower-End Prestige Series:  SR80i, SR60, and iGrado


 


In this comparison, all of the headphones have the closer S pads.  The SR80i is repeated from the prior comparison for "anchoring" purposes.  The SR60 and the iGrado share the same driver.  However, the iGrado, which is the most portable of the Grados (excluding their IEMs), has a tight plastic band that goes behind the neck and its cups are much shallower than those of the SR60.  Sonic differences arise as a result.


 


[COLOR=22229C]
[/COLOR]


 


The SR80i, which scored relatively low when compared to higher-number members of the Prestige Series, scores the highest here.  The SR60 provides less-palpable subbass (a surprise, since its frequency response plot shows that it actually has somewhat higher bass response) and a bit less of the treble detail features.  The iGrado suffers a bit more in sound stage (not surprising, because of the closeness of its drivers to the ear) and treble detail.


 


A Rough Overall Ranking Of Grado Headphones


 


I can now produce a rough rank ordering of the Grado headphones, combining this information with an earlier comparison of the Grado PS1000, GS1000e, and HP1000 (HP1), [COLOR=22229C]here[/COLOR].  The only concern I have is that the GS1000e had only about 20  hours of use at the time I tested it.  It is known from other reviewers to require burn-in, with a big change being observed even at 30 hours.  The GS1000e did not fare as well in its comparison as I think it would if it had more hours, and I plan to repeat the comparisons at that point.  Hence, I have omitted it from this ranking.


 


 Here is how I would rank the Grados according to my preference:


 


RS2i > RS1 > RS1i > PS1000 > HP1000 > PS500 = SR325e = SR225i > SR125 > SR80i > SR60 > iGrado.


 


As always, your preferences will be different.


WOW!!!!! Fantastic John, incredibly comprehensive review.
 
May 22, 2015 at 3:13 PM Post #24,941 of 47,917

Oteil

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''Enough steam to drive the PS1k'', I used to drive mine right out of my little canary's arse. I admit that in the beginning he was making weird sounds of his own, but once I started using the 1/4 to 1/8 adapter he shut right up.
biggrin.gif

 
Seriously though, when I bought my BSG mint tin amp, I figured it'd be good enough to drive my SR80e, and maybe my Bushmills. Well !, this thing sounded so awesome, that next thing I knew, I had my PS1k, and HP1k, hooked up to it.
 
I pride myself on telling it like I hear it, and my BSG sounds as good, if not better than my Little Dot MK2 (Voskhod tubes), my Musical Fidelity X-Can V2, and eeasily sounds as good as my Grado HPA-2.
 
Granted that my amps are not what some would consider, high end, but still, it's a damn mint tin, and it's dirt cheap. I find this kind of products much more impressive than an amp that sounds a little bit better, but costs over $1000. Same goes for the SR80e.
 
Well done Mr.Biosciencegeek.


I have one as well(Biosciencegeek cmoy), it is fantastic. It has plenty of juice. Hard to beat the price too
biggrin.gif
 
 
May 22, 2015 at 5:36 PM Post #24,942 of 47,917

stacker45

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This is a picture of the house me an my gf recently purchased. If you look at the loft; up there, by the book shelves, will be my new listening spot. Looking forward to it:


 
Nice, it has a Scandinavian look to it. 
 
May 22, 2015 at 5:54 PM Post #24,943 of 47,917

Wildcatsare1

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I have one as well(Biosciencegeek cmoy), it is fantastic. It has plenty of juice. Hard to beat the price too:D  


OK, duh, was trying to figure out how Stacker knew I was a Biotech Geek:flushed:.....moving right along...
 
May 22, 2015 at 6:18 PM Post #24,944 of 47,917

stacker45

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I have one as well(Biosciencegeek cmoy), it is fantastic. It has plenty of juice. Hard to beat the price too
biggrin.gif
 

 
Just curious, do you have the 1 X 9V, or the 2 X 9V ?, also, wich OP amp are you using ?.
 
I have the 2 X 9V, but I also ordered the AC power supply, and all 7 OP amps, I like the 4556 (same as Grado RA1), but I prefer the Burr Brown 2207.
 
I may be repeating myself, but I think that this amp sounds great, regardless of it's low price, I also think that the fact that it comes in a mint tin is very cool.
 
May 22, 2015 at 6:28 PM Post #24,945 of 47,917

DarthFader

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  Comparing the Grado Headphones:  Part 1 - Intro and Amps (HPA1, RA1, CMOY)
 
I have now compared ALL of the current or recent models of Grado headphones, including two vintage headphones, to two other Grado headphones closest in the model lineup.  I have also performed these three-way comparisons to two Grado headphone amps and one commonly-used non-Grado model.  I have used the same formalized listening tests, summarized below, for a total of 41 different headphones in 18 different three-way comparisons.  Of those, 17 Grado products (headphones and amps) are compared in 11 three-way comparisons.
 
The following several posts will described the results of these three-way comparisons for all members of the Prestige Series (SR60, SR80i, SR125, SR225i, and SR325e), the iGrado portable headphone, the PS500, and the three woodies (RS1, RS1i, and RS2i).  These posts will also get my post count to the threshold of Headphoneus Supremus and will be used as exhibits of my usefulness as I apply for that lofty status to The Powers That Be!  
smile.gif


What an amazing amount of work. Incredibly helpful!! Thanks for sharing!
 

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