Grado GR8 is SUPERB !
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 44

solomon

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The last two days I have spent listening to Grado GR8s on my various portable players ... Nano, Touch, Sony PCM-D50, Sony MP3 (forget model name), Sony NE920 (Discman) ...

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And I must say I am very very impressed with GR8.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:27 AM Post #2 of 44

solomon

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GR8 comes with 3 pairs of white silicon tips, and as the filters get dirty or broken you get four filters included in the package. The package looks like this:

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Note the impedance is 120Ohm, so it will require some power from the player. But having a very high sensitivity @ 118dB/mW, GR8 is not a difficult load for most MP3s. Just need to turn up the volumn a little more than other earbuds.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:32 AM Post #3 of 44

solomon

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20090912_7c88ee03df4be9687f9e7EGx2t9HNk3O.jpg



A close-up of the earphones. It is not black, as some pictures show. It is deep blue. The product is manufactured in Japan, and interestingly it has some "Japanese marks" on it, for instance the cable is thinner than that of Grado headphones, the size is very small, almost as small as Audio-Technica in-ears, and the finish is of good quality.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:39 AM Post #4 of 44

ClieOS

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Made in Japan? Interesting, I wonder if Foster is the OEM? Not too impressed by the look of the filters for a $300 IEM, but I like the fact that the packaging is still very Grado-ish
biggrin.gif
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:43 AM Post #5 of 44

solomon

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I was mistaken when I imagined the GR8 should have a strong and impactful bass. No, unlike Grado headsets, GR8 does not place any emphasis on bass. It is a very balanced earphone, with reasonable bass weight and high frequency extention, but the strength of the product is in the midrange.

I will just borrow the words from the product manual inside the box. "So sit back and enjoy warm harmonic color, clear full-bodied vocals, and an ultra-smooth top end!" It saves me time to look for better expressions to depict the sound of GR8. Because thats it. It just sounds as promised in the manual!

The overall tonal color is a bit on the warm side, but definitely not overly warm. The vocals are where GR8 shines most. Yes, vocals are full-bodied, highly expressive, and smooth. Many will agree that male vocals are even better than female. The chest resonance of male singers has never been better heard on earphones.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:48 AM Post #6 of 44

A_Dying_Wren

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What about soundstage? That seemed to be a problem (IMO) with the gr8 in another review.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:50 AM Post #7 of 44

solomon

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The soundstage is wide, but lacking a bit in depth. For instance Shure SE530 has better depth, and by the way SE530 also has more bass weight and clearer top end, but a direct compare of SE530 and GR8 shows the vocals on SE530 are a bit too "wet" and the little drier-sounding GR8 is the more natural one. Having three mini-drivers, the SE530 wins in high frequency and bass extension, but can't beat GR8 in the naturalness of midrange.

I would say the full frequency range and a good three-dimensional soundstage make SE530 an ideal tool for orchestral music, but GR8 is a natural-born vocal player. It plays all vocals with naturalness and authority. In this area it is almost unbeatable.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:55 AM Post #8 of 44

A_Dying_Wren

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Woah... Are you actually saying that the GR8 beats the SE530 as the new king of the midrange? That's a big claim to make.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 6:59 AM Post #9 of 44

solomon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by A_Dying_Wren /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Woah... Are you actually saying that the GR8 beats the SE530 as the new king of the midrange? That's a big claim to make.


No what I am saying is SE530 and GR8 express vocals differently, and personally I think GR8 is the more natural one. SE530's vocals sound a bit soft and wet when compared with GR8. Can be a matter of taste.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 9:21 AM Post #11 of 44

iponderous

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Grado's known for "strong and impactful" bass? The SE530 has a clearer top end than the GR8? The GR8 has a "wide soundstage"? Your description of the GR8 sounds like the antithesis of a full-sized Grado. Back to the drawing board I reckon.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 9:38 AM Post #12 of 44

solomon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by iponderous /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Grado's known for "strong and impactful" bass? The SE530 has a clearer top end than the GR8? The GR8 has a "wide soundstage"? Your description of the GR8 sounds like the antithesis of a full-sized Grado. Back to the drawing board I reckon.




I think Grado headphones are not known for bass amount, but bass impact, when driven properly, but GR8 has much less bass than SR60, SR80, SR125, SR225, etc. It just never draws your attention to its bass. Compared to any Grado headset it is a bass-light thing. Like I said its quite close to Westone 3 in this regard.

And although GR8's soundstage is a bit upfront, it's wide, as earbuds go. This is what I hear.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 9:53 AM Post #13 of 44

iponderous

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^ I don't doubt what you hear but Grado's are known to be bass-light (compared to other full-sized headphones), they have a narrow soundstage (with the exception of the GS1000 and the PS1000) and they have extended treble that can border on searing for some people. The GR8 sounds like quite a different beast altogether.

If it is trying to approximate the Grado sound in an IEM, then based on your description of its sound signature, it appears that it hasn't succeeded. The other quality that the GR8 has that I find notable when compared to its larger siblings is its impedance rating. Grado headphones have an impedance of 32 ohms, which makes them very easy to drive without the need for additional amplification. The GR8 is 120 ohm, which again seems very un-Grado like to me.
 
Sep 13, 2009 at 10:07 AM Post #14 of 44

solomon

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The GR8 is not for everyone. Who is? But for those whose iPods and MP3s are filled with SONGS, whose primary musical interest is in vocals, the GR8 is a revelation. Well, I am one of these people, and I used to love Shure E5C and SE530 for vocals, but now I think I found a better one. I am not saying E5C and SE530 are not as good as GR8 in vocals, but GR8 reproduces vocals in a more natural, feelable and real manner. I can feel more clearly that the singer is there. Between the singer and I, its more transparent than any other earbuds I have heard.

At the end of the day, GR8 is not an all-rounder, but a specialist, with enough charm of personality to win my heart.

-End-
 

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