So I am new enough to good headphones to not be the best assessor of the situation. I recently tried out the majority of the new line up through the reference series and I came to a similar opinion that they were very weak in the bass, and no sub bass. Which turned me away from them. Recently through other Head-Fiers I acquired both a PS1000 and an RS2E that have been put through their paces and wow what a difference.Well, this why I'm confused. Are you saying that contemporary Grados (the X series) have less bass? The RS2x I heard had adequate bass, par for the course for any Grado from any series. The RS2x had as much bass as my RS2e and the PS500e I heard. The RS1x didn't have the punchy bass Grado is known for...and it did not have almost any sub bass (my RS2e, SR225i mod and GH2 are sub bass cannons compared to the RS1x I heard).
But yours was an open box, so perhaps they had a few hours of use when you got them...unless you don't believe in burn-in (I do).
I know how to appreciate an analytical headphone that does not emphasize the bass. I have owned the HD800 for years an I love that model. However, I'm not looking for the Grado version of an HD800 (and that is what I heard in the store today).
Perhaps I should just save my pennies and go for a GS1000x or the GS3000 (x or e).
So whether it is to be believed or not I am leaning towards burn-in is a thing at least with some headphones.