Grado PS2000e Loaner Program @ TTVJAudio.com
Sep 18, 2017 at 10:46 PM Post #47 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
PS2000e Loaner arrived from @wormsdriver today. Looked good, though with a couple of missing flecks of black paint from the earpiece grills (as is common on those grills from the GS1000 and RS families), but had a buzz in the left ear. I suspected the Grado "grattle," so I looked for a stray hair...found one, and the buzz greatly reduced, but did not go away. There is also a thread loose from the edge of the cloth cover that faces your ear that may be doing that. I wiggled the pad a bit and the buzz entirely went away, but I suspect it may return (thread is still there).

Included was the box (blank... no printed PS2000e label or picture), headphone with single ended termination, 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, 15 foot extension cord, a signed, updated picture of John and Jonathan Grado, and an updated version of the "listen carefully" admonishment sheet.

I am exploiting the fact that I have both the PS1000 and the PS1000e, and starting some three way comparisons with the PS2000e. Stay tuned....
 
Last edited:
Sep 18, 2017 at 10:58 PM Post #48 of 164

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
10,942
Likes
4,161
Location
NY
PS2000e Loaner arrived from @wormsdriver today. Looked good, though with a couple of missing flecks of black paint from the earpiece grills (as is common on those grills from the GS1000 and RS families), but had a buzz in the left ear. I suspected the Grado "grattle," so I looked for a stray hair...found one, and the buzz greatly reduced, but did not go away. There is also a thread loose from the edge of the cloth cover that faces your ear that may be doing that. I wiggled the pad a bit and the buzz entirely went away, but I suspect it may return (thread is still there).

Included was the box (blank... no printed PS2000e label or picture), headphone with single ended termination, 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, 15 foot extension cord, a signed, updated picture of John and Jonathan Grado, and an updated version of the "listen carefully" admonishment sheet.

I am exploiting the fact that I have both the PS1000 and the PS1000e, and starting some three way comparisons with the PS2000e. Stay tuned....
Tuned in.
 
Sep 23, 2017 at 3:45 PM Post #49 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
Here it is Saturday, and I have completed most of my comparisons of the PS2000e I received last Monday to other headphones. I am now reviewing the data and going back to repeat or perform measurements on any questionable or missing results.

Here is what I have done:
  1. Performed my 10-feature acoustic comparison of the PS2000e, PS1000e, and PS1000;
  2. For four musical selections that excite me (Krall, Beethoven, Gershwin, E. Inglesias), I have assessed which of the three above headphones "excite" me the most, and why (e.g. "bass with Headphone B really makes Song 2 sizzle!");
  3. Performed my 10-feature acoustic comparison of the PS2000e, HiFiMAN HE1000, and Sennheiser HD800 (each driven by its own best DAC and amp, so actually comparing entire source/DAC/amp/HP chains)
  4. For those same four exciting musical selections, compared the excitement factor (and reasons) for the three headphones of #3 above;
  5. Used an abbreviated set of my 10-feature acoustic set to compare the performance of the PS2000e when driven by the Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC with Schiit Lyr2, the Lotoo PAW Gold DAP, and the Chord Hugo;
  6. Used my wife Ruthie to compare the "excitement" factor of all five headphones on yet another piece of music (Amber Rubarth) (Ruthie can hear differences in headphones that I can miss).
I am now in the midst of reviewing the data, filling holes, and trying to formulate some conclusions that span various types of music.

Stay tuned... I expect to post the review in a couple of days. I also plan to send the PS2000e to the next person on the tour, whom I think is @joseph69. I will query him, with note to TTVJ, as to his preferred mailing address, by PM.
 
Sep 26, 2017 at 9:41 PM Post #50 of 164

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
10,942
Likes
4,161
Location
NY
I'll be receiving the PS2Ke sometime this week (can't wait) so I've been spending my listening time with the PS1K for the past week knowing they would be arriving very soon due to being next on the list. The PS2Ke definitely needs to pull all of my emotional strings, and give me pure enjoyment as I have while listening to my PS1K. I'll soon find out.
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 3:21 PM Post #51 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
Below is my review of the Grado PS2000e received on the Todd The Vinyl Junkie Tour for a week. Yesterday, I sent it to its next stop on the TTVJ Tour.

PS2000e: PUTTING THE "GRAY" INTO "GRADO" - EXCITING, BUT ENIGMATIC...

BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT FIRST (BLUFF)


I compared the Grado PS2000e as part of three trios of headphones: the closely related PS1000e and PS1000, the premium HiFiMAN HE1000 and Sennheiser HD800, and my personal favorite Grados, the GS1000i and the RS2e. I compared in a micro way and a macro way: 1) the micro way -- for each trio of headphones (e.g., PS2000e, PS1000e, PS1000), I ranked each headphone in a "1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place" manner for each of 10 acoustic features (e.g., transparency, sound stage, etc.), and 2) the macro way -- for each trio of headphones, I used five passages of music that have long been exciting to me to hear on (any) headphones, and I determined which headphone rendered each piece the most exciting, and why.

Here is what I found:
  1. The Grado PS2000e was outscored on the 10 acoustic features in the (PS2000e/PS1000e/PS1000) comparison by the PS1000;
  2. The Grado PS2000e scored the highest in "excitement" across the five music selections, despite not winning on the above acoustic feature comparison;
  3. The Grado PS2000e scored slightly (and insignificantly) behind the HiFiMAN HE1000 and a bit more behind the Sennheiser HD800 on the 10 acoustic features (PS2000e/HE1000/HD800);
  4. The Grado PS2000e scored highest on two of the first four of the exciting music passages as the most exciting headphone of (PS2000e/HE1000/HD800);
  5. For another listener, the Grado PS2000e scored 3rd out of five on a fifth exciting music passage;
  6. The Grado PS2000e was outscored significantly on the 10-feature acoustic test by my two overall favorite Grado headphones, the GS1000i and the RS2e;
  7. The Grado PS2000e was significantly outscored on "listening excitement" by my two overall favorite headphones, the GS1000i and the RS2e.
  8. After gathering the above data, I was listening to the PS2000e with a Joseph Grado HPA-1 amp (not used in the testing), and the headphone was suddenly even more exciting than my GS1000i and RS2e!
In short, the Grado PS2000e has a most engaging soundstage -- not necessarily bigger, but perhaps more layered with depth as well as breadth. I would often ponder that soundstage after listening, even at 4:00 am, trying to understand its attractiveness. It also has a taut bass, free from blooming. These two factors often account for its win in comparisons to other headphones. Its trebles are just a bit muted as compared to other Grados and its taut bass is not quite as viscerally rattling as others, sometimes causing it to lose, particularly on the excitement factor.

There is something special about the PS2000e, and I struggle to put my finger on it. Like the smoked metal of its earcups, the PS2000e sound is enigmatic. After completing all measurements, I am wearing them listening as I write this, and there is a magic that persists and that escapes my comparisons. I put on the PS1000e and it is not there, though it returns, at least in part, for the GS1000i.

Below is how I reached these conclusions.

PHYSICAL COMPARISON of PS2000e to PS1000e and PS1000

PUTTING THE GRAY INTO GRADO

When the PS2000e was first spotted (in the video of a visit of 1stLook reporter Ashley Roberts to John Grado and the Grado Labs facility in Brooklyn), it looked gray, causing speculation as to whether it was gray or merely a trick of lighting.
,
Look :23 into the video to see the first known sighting of the PS2000e, last February!

Other than the gray cast (or smoked glossy metal, for you purists), the headphone looked just like the PS1000e. However, consistent with the gray, the grill of each earpiece is black, like for the GS1000e or RS series. Like the GS and RS series, that black grill is subject to paint chipping off, and indeed this PS2000e had a couple of silver spots accentuating each grill.

Being in the fortunate position of owning one of nearly every model of Grado, I reached for my PS1000 and my PS1000e to begin the comparison. As Fig. 1 shows, the smoke-finished shiny metal (chrome?) looks quite different than the shiny chrome of the PS1000e (or PS1000).
Fig 1 gray vs silver.JPG

Fig. 1: PS2000e smoked finish looks different from the shiny silver finish of the PS1000e.

ACCOMMODATING 50 mm DRIVERS

I have followed the efforts in fitment that Grado appears to have had when they changed the driver size from 44 mm to 50 mm for the RS1e, GS1000e, and PS1000e as they moved into their "-e" series in June, 2015. One result was that the RS1e, which had been (in its RS1 and RS1i configurations) at or near the top of the heap of Grados, fell from that position. The headphone seemed to force fit the larger driver, resulting in driver edges protruding toward the ear in the RS1e from the surface of its wood cups and causing a rather unusual sound signature. Later revisions of the RS1e (with no change in model number, but also changing the headband from black to brown leather) reduced the driver protrusion and improved the sound (my RS1e is of this later revision).

Hence, I was interested in how the PS2000e, entering the market over two years after the first 50 mm driver Grado, handled the larger driver. Fig. 2 shows the profile of the PS1000e's 50 mm driver (left) and that of the PS2000e (right). As with other two-year-old 50 mm e-series Grados, the black plastic of the PS1000e protrudes above the edge of the wood. The PS2000e driver is nearly level. Also, the wood of the PS1000e is dark-red mahogany; the wood of the PS2000e is lighter-colored maple. Grado seems to have discovered maple as a headphone material when a maple tree in its home area of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, died and was harvested to be used in the limited-run Heritage Series GH-1 Grado headphone. Grado then used both mahogany and maple in its new GS2000e headphone, wrapping the maple in the mahogany. Likewise, the PS2000e wraps the maple in metal (the PS1000e and PS1000 wrap their mahogany in metal in like manner).
Fig 2 protrusion.JPG

Fig. 2: PS2000e driver (right) protrudes less than PS1000e driver (left), and the wood of the PS2000e is light-colored maple, vs. the dark red mahogany of the PS1000e.

COMPARISON OF DIMENSIONS TO THE PS1000e

I continued my comparison of the physical characteristics of the PS2000e by examining total earcup height. Fig. 3 shows that the height is the same as that of the PS1000e.
FIg 3 height.JPG

Fig. 3: PS1000e ear cup (left) is the same height as the PS2000e earcup (right).

I next compared other cup dimensions by setting a caliper to match the dimension on one headphone cup and photographing the caliper at that setting upon the corresponding dimension of the other headphone cup. Hence, in Fig. 4, the diameter of the light-colored maple wood cup of the PS2000e cup on the left is captured on the caliper that compares that dimension on the maple PS1000e (right), showing that the wood cup of the PS2000e has a larger outer diameter.
Fig 4 wood cup diameters.JPG

Fig. 4: Diameter of the wood cup of the PS2000e (left) is captured by the caliper held against the PS1000e cup, showing the larger diameter of the PS2000e cup.

Fig. 5 compares the diameter of the black plastic inner cylinder that sits within the wood (and protrudes above, for the PS1000e). The space between the caliper and the black plastic of the PS1000e shows the greater diameter of the PS2000e plastic.
Fig 5 black cylinder diameters.JPG

Fig. 5: Diameter of the PS2000e black plastic inner cylinder (left), captured by the caliper, is greater than that of the PS1000e (right).

Fig. 6 confirms what was shown in Fig. 3, that the height of either headphone cup is the same.
Fig 6 height caliper.JPG

Fig. 6: Caliper set to the height of the PS1000e cup shows that the PS2000e cup height is the same.

Finally, I compared the size of the hole of the inside of the earpad of the PS2000e to that of the PS1000e, shown in Fig. 7. A plastic rim appears around the driver in the PS1000e which does not show in the PS2000e, and the hole of the earpad of the PS2000e is smaller, as shown by the gap on the caliper held on the PS1000e in the figure.
Fig 7 earpad hole caliper.JPG

Fig. 7: PS1000e stretches the inner hole of the foam earpad to a size greater than that of the PS2000e, as shown by the gap between the caliper and the edge of the foam on the PS1000e.

Continuing the comparison of dimensions, Fig. 8 shows the greater thickness of the PS2000e headband as compared to that of the PS1000e.
Fig 8 headbands.JPG

Fig. 8: Ruler indicates the greater height of the PS2000e headband (right) by a gap over the PS1000e headband (left, behind cup).

Grado indicates that the holes that face the ear through which sound leaves the headphone have been improved to reduce diffraction and reflection on the PS2000e. Fig. 9 compares the hole patterns of the PS1000e (left) and the PS2000e (right), showing more holes (and a black covering cloth) for the PS2000e.
Fig 9 hole pattern.JPG

Fig. 9: Ear hole pattern for the PS2000e (left, under black cloth) has more holes in more rows than the PS1000e (under white cloth).

THE "GRATTLE"

During my tests, the left earpiece occasionally had a buzz (the well-known "grattle," for Grado rattle). The worst offender was a piece of hair caught by the foam earpads and held so its end vibrated against vibrating members of the earpiece, creating a buzz. That hair was easily removed.

However, an intermittent buzz continued. I believe that this was caused by a stray thread from the cloth cover sometimes being held against the cloth by the foam earpad. If these were my headphones, I would have cut the thread off, but I was afraid to risk it on these loaner headphones from the Todd The Vinyl Junkie PS2000e tour. Fig. 10 shows the thread bent to vibrate against the black cloth. During my tests, I tried to be sure that the thread was tucked under the earpads, and I do not believe that it ever degraded any of my comparative measurements.
Fig 10 stray thread.JPG

Fig. 10: Stray thread from black covering cloth (4:00 around the circle) sometimes vibrated against that cloth when held there by the earpad, causing an annoying buzz.

TEST METHOD

I compared the PS2000e to two other headphones at once, forming a trio, and then performed comparisons on a total of three trios. The first trio compared the PS2000e to its closest antecedents, the PS1000e and PS1000. The second trio compared the PS2000e to two generally-acknowledged top-of-the-line headphones, the Sennheiser HD800 (driven by the Sennheiser HDVD800 DAC/amp) and the HiFiMAN HE1000 (driven by the HiFiMAN EF-6 amp and Schiit Bifrost Multibit USB DAC). I also compared driving the PS2000e with the Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC and Schiit Lyr2 amp, the Lotoo PAW Gold portable digital audio player, and the Chord Hugo DAC/amp driven by the iPhone 5s. FInally, I performed a brief comparison of the PS2000e driven by the Lotoo PAW Gold vs driven directly by the iPhone 5S from its headphone jack.

I used both a "microscopic" test, by which three headphones at a time were ranked (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place) on each of 10 acoustic features, and a "macroscopic" test, where I used 5 pieces of music of longstanding excitement to me, assessing how exciting the pieces were on each of the three headphones in the trio and picking a winner.
Here are more details of each test.

MICROSCOPIC TEST

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). Each of the 10 acoustic tests used a limited segment of music (2 - 10 sec).
  • "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 Symphony 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. [I use the 12-second segment 0:00 - 0:12 of "You're Going To Miss Me," which is kick drum, guitar, piano, and cymbal for this test]
  • 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? [I use the same 0:00 - 0:12 segment of "You're Going To Miss Me," which starts with kick drum center, guitar #1 right of center piano far right, guitar #2 far left, to see 1) to what extent am I among rather than in front of the musicians, and 2) how wide an angle do those positional extremes of instruments form?]
  • Positional resolution: Can I distinguish a difference in position of two singers in Song 1? [I use 0:30 to 0:38 of "You're Going To Miss Me," where one vocalist ends a verse and a second vocalist, standing next to him, takes up the next.]
  • Bass visceral: Does the bass in third verse of Song 4 actually shake me? Or do I just hear it? [This test uses 0:31 through 0:33 of "Throwback, " where the bass drops to the lowest C on the piano.]
  • 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? ["You're Going to Miss Me" 0:00 - 0:12]
  • 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? ["You're Going to Miss Me," 1:02 - 1:23 to see if I can hear the pitch of not only the bass glides and accented notes, but also the grace notes]
  • Bass finger pluck: Do I hear the actual impact of fingers on the bass string just before hearing its sound on Song 2? ["Spanish Harlem," 0:00 - 0:04, listening most carefully to the repeated 3-note pattern to see if I not only hear an initial attack but some structure immediately following, before the finger leaves the string and the sound just rings]
  • Shaker variation: In Song 2, verse 3, do the various shaker shakes sound a bit different from each other, as they should? ["Spanish Harlem," 1:40 - 1:47: there are clearly loud and soft shakes, but how many more volume levels of shakes can I distinguish, and can I hear structure within each shake as the seeds hit the shaker wall?]
  • "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); ["Organ Symphony," initial chord from 0:00 - 0:04 and French horn passage 0:06 - 0:12]
  • 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? ["Organ Symphony," in the passage starting at 1:08, how well can I hear the small additional chord added at 1:16 on top of the full strength organ/orchestra chord in progress? Clearly enough to have noticed it if I weren't already listening for it?]
MACROSCOPIC TEST

The five exciting pieces that I used (and what made them exciting, that should be transmitted by an exciting headphone) were:
  • "S'Wonderful," by Diane Krall, from her album Live In Paris - this piece begins with a drum-and-cymbal passage, then joined by guitar and then her voice. The sizzle and separation of the cymbals and drums, the pluck of the guitar, and the closeness and detail of her voice made the song exciting;
  • "I Will Survive," by Enrique Inglesias, from the album Escape - the song begins with the bite of a bow on violin strings, then snare drum joins in. The male singer joins with a bit of diplophonic crackle to his voice, and later, a chorus faintly joins into the vocals. These all combine to make this one of the most exciting pieces I have heard.
  • "Strike Up The Band," from Michael Tilson Thomas' album George Gershwin Rhapsody In Blue - the music begins with a trumpet fanfare, is then joined by a marching drum rolloff, and proceeds to full band. About 55 sec in, there is a violin statement of the melody with a countermelody beneath played by brass, with drum rythmic accompaniment;
  • "Beethoven 5th Symphony, Movement 4," by Herbert Von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophone) - the piece begins with full orchestra, including tympani echoing the roots of the chords, with a beautiful surround. There is a bass passage about 10 sec in (6-4-3-4-3-2-1) that is almost obscured by the powerful orchestra and presents a clarity test to compare headphones;
  • "Good Mystery" from Amber Rubarth's album Sessions from the 17th Ward, a binaural recording - it starts with a mid and high tuned bongos and tom-toms, then joined by violins with a bite, and then voice, accompanied by string and percussion. The section beginning at 2:20 is particularly exciting, beginning with a phrase with just voice and guitar, then adding violin, then percussion, building in volume and complexity to the end.
On the final piece, "Good Mystery," I also had my wife Ruthie listen to each of the five headphones. The music was one of her favorites, and her hearing (and headphone interests) are such that she can catch differences that I miss.

I would listen to much of each passage with one headphone, then quickly change in the midst of a phrase, matching volume on the fly (to see how the same instrumental mix of the phrase sounded on two different headphones), then jump back to the beginning of the piece with the second headphone and repeat. I would often listen repeatedly to the entire piece.

LISTENING RESULTS

Fig. 11 shows the ensemble of equipment used in the first two trios (PS2000e, PS1000e, and PS1000 through the Schiit Bifrost Multi DAC and Schiit Lyr 2 amp, and PS2000e through the Schiit components, HiFIMAN HE1000 through the Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC and HiFiMAN EF-6, and the Sennheiser HD 800 through the Sennheiser HDVD800 DAC/amp, resplendent in custom Colorware red and black).
Fig 11 Review Setup 1.JPG

Fig. 11: Test ensemble of PS2000e, PS1000e, PS1000 through Schiit DAC and amp, and PS2000e, HiFiMAN HE1000 through the HiFIMAN EF-6 amp, and the red-and-black Sennheiser HDVD800 driving the HD800 headphones.

Performing these tests resulted in copious notes, which were then copied into more legible notes and scanned for omissions, errors, and led to some further measurements.
Fig 12 results data sheet.JPG

Fig. 12: Record keeping notes taken for these comparisons.

PS2000e / PS1000e / PS1000

As a visual aid, Fig. 13 is a picture of the three headphones compared in this section.
Fig 13 PS series.JPG

Fig. 13: PS2000e, PS1000e, and PS1000 compared.

We begin with the results of micro comparisons, shown in Fig. 14. In these and all such charts, we reinforce the ranking on each row by a color based on the traditional prize ribbon colors (blue = 1st place, or 3 points; red = 2nd place, or 2 points, and yellow = 3rd place, or one point). We allow two-way ties, either for first place (purple = blue + red, 2.5 points) or for second place (orange = red + yellow, 1.5 points). We also tally a total, shown at the bottom of each column, of the sum of the 10 ranking scores, and color code it appropriately as well. Due to uncertainties in measurements, total score differences of 3 or more are considered meaningful.

Fig. 14 shows the results of comparing the Grado PS2000e, PS1000e, and PS1000. The PS1000 has the most first-place rankings, excelling in transparency, positional resolution, visceral bass power, resolution of a shaker (a treble detail measure), and the reedy, "ripping" quality of brass. The PS2000e excels in capturing the "twang" (rather than a "thud") of a bass drum, the ability of a string bass to maintain higher-frequency content and ease the determination of its pitch, and the moment of attack of the finger upon a plucked bass string.
Fig 14 2000e 1000e 1000.jpg

Fig. 14: PS1000 wins first place in 5 of the 10 acoustic feature comparisons, scoring the highest, with the PS2000e second.

Turning to the macro comparisons, we compare the ability of each of the three headphones to preserve or enhance the excitement of five songs that were selected well before these tests for their excitement factor. For each of the five songs, the PS2000e was heard to be the most exciting of the three, as indicated by the statement under the word "RESULT:" in Fig. 15. The PS2000e had clearer vocals that appeared to be located closer to the microphone, and had a more surrounding envelopment of the listener with the music. The 2000e also had a tighter bass sound. Generally, the PS1000 was a bit more exciting than the PS1000e, mainly due to its stronger and more exciting treble content (and despite its boomier bass).
Fig 15 macro ps2000e ps1000e ps1000.jpg

Fig. 15: Macro tests show that the PS2000e is the most exciting of the PS-series Grados.
Grado PS2000e / HiFiMAN HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800.

The HiFiMAN HE1000 and Sennheiser HD800 are my best headphones, nearly universally accepted as great. For each, as for the Grado, I built a signal chain based on manufacturer recommendations of choice of DAC and amp, so these comparisons were for entire chains of DAC/amp/headphone.

For the HiFiMAN HE1000, I used the Schiit Bifrost multibit DAC and the HiFiMAN EF-6 amp, optimized for the hard-to-drive HiFiMAN HE-6 and which I found in other comparisons to be the best amp for the HiFiMAN HE1000 (of those that I had available). I ran this in a balanced configuration (the Grado chain is single ended).

For the Sennheiser HD800, I used the Sennheiser HDVD800 DAC/amp combination, sold by Sennheiser especially for the HD800 headphone (and optimized by listening panels during its design to best drive the HD800). I further upgraded the chain with a Norne Draug 2 cable replacing the stock Sennheiser cable, running in a balanced configuration.

(WEBSITE WON'T LET ME POST MORE PICTURES IN THIS POST... SKIP AHEAD TO PART 2: BAD WEBSITE... BAD!!!!!!)
 

Attachments

  • Fig 1 gray vs silver.JPG
    Fig 1 gray vs silver.JPG
    405 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 2 protrusion.JPG
    Fig 2 protrusion.JPG
    36.8 KB · Views: 0
  • FIg 3 height.JPG
    FIg 3 height.JPG
    37.3 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 4 wood cup diameters.JPG
    Fig 4 wood cup diameters.JPG
    277.7 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 5 black cylinder diameters.JPG
    Fig 5 black cylinder diameters.JPG
    290.9 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 6 height caliper.JPG
    Fig 6 height caliper.JPG
    251.8 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 7 earpad hole caliper.JPG
    Fig 7 earpad hole caliper.JPG
    276 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 8 headbands.JPG
    Fig 8 headbands.JPG
    44.4 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 9 hole pattern.JPG
    Fig 9 hole pattern.JPG
    33.8 KB · Views: 0
  • Fig 10 stray thread.JPG
    Fig 10 stray thread.JPG
    43.7 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:
Sep 27, 2017 at 3:33 PM Post #52 of 164

ruhenheiM

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Posts
1,337
Likes
826
@ruthieandjohn
thank you for your review. i'm still reading it but i can't help myself. i scrolled down and read your conclusion....i hate you
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 3:39 PM Post #53 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
Bad Website.jpg

(continued... crazy website makes me break into multiple posts, claiming at Image #15 that I have exceeded a secret limit of 25 images...ARGGHHH!)

Fig. 16 shows the micro tests on 10 acoustic features, comparing the three headphones. The Grado PS2000e excels in transparency, but the HiFiMAN HE1000 excels in sound stage, visceral bass, and treble detail measured by shaker variation. The HD800 is so strong across all 10 features that it ends up winning the highest ranking score.
Fig. 16 2000e 1000 800.jpg

Fig 16: Micro tests show that while the HE1000 wins the most top honors, the HD800 has the best all-around standing in the 10-feature rankings.

Fig. 17 shows that the PS2000e wins in excitement in one of the four cases, while the HE1000 wins in two and the HD800 wins in one. When the PS2000e wins, it is due to having the voice appearing closer to the mic and also its apparent surrounding the listener with its sound. The HE1000 wins when the song has more bass and percussion. The HD800 wins when clarity, especially in a bass passage, is important.
Fig 17 PS2000e HE1000 HD800.jpg

Fig. 17: Macro tests show that the HiFiMAN HE1000 wins the excitement factor in two of the four songs, with the Grado PS2000e and the Sennheiser HD800 winning one each.

To provide another viewpoint, another listener (my wife Ruthie), skilled in distinguishing headphone characteristics, listened to one song ("Good Mystery") with each of the five headphones. In this macro test, the winner was the Grado PS1000, with the Sennheiser HD800 following closely behind. The PS1000 was credited with providing an enveloping surround of the music (rather than just "pumping it into your head"), while the HD800 won repeated "Wow!"s and was seen as good at all aspects of the sound. The PS2000e provided an exciting bass drum reproduction with crisp mids and highs, and the HE1000 provided the strongest female vocals (Fig. 18).
Fig 18 Listener 2.jpg

Fig. 18: The Grado PS1000 and Sennheiser HD800 excelled for a second listener on Amber Rubarth's "Good Mystery."

Grado PS2000e / Grado GS1000i / Grado RS2e

The Grado GS1000i has been my favorite over-ear Grado, while the RS2e has been my favorite on-ear Grado, so they were both used in a three-way comparison with the PS2000e. These other Grado headphones are shown in Figure 19.
Fig 19 Other Grados.JPG

Fig. 19: My favorite over-ear (GS1000i) and on-ear (RS2e) Grados were compared with the PS2000e.

The results of the micro tests on 10 acoustic features are shown in Fig. 20. The GS1000i is the clear winner, with four of its 10 categories being winning blue. The RS2e came in next, strong in all categories except soundstage, where the PS2000e excelled. It is important to note that the GS1000i is no longer made. The current GS headphone is the GS1000e, which differs vastly in sound from the GS1000i and is not a similar substitute.
Fig 20 2000e 1000i rs2e.jpg

Fig. 20: The over-ear Grado GS1000i excelled in micro tests, followed by the on-ear Grado RS2e.

Macro tests (Fig. 21) were all won by the GS1000i, as a result of the combination of its bright sound, taut drums, and sharp incisive bite of the bow on the string. When the 2000e beat the RS2e, it won because of its enveloping surrounding sound. The RS2e beat the PS2000e on basis of clarity and vocals.
Fig 21 PS2000e GS1000i RS2e.jpg

Fig. 21: GS1000i won all of the "excitement" tests for the five songs.

We can summarize the winning performances of each of the five headphones on the "excitement" factor (Fig. 22).
Fig 21 Summary of Excitement.jpg

Fig. 22: Summary of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place scoring and number of trials for each headphone - GS1000i wins.

The PS2000e was in first place 38% of the time it competed and 38% of the time it was in second place. The GS1000i was always in first place.

Schiit Bifrost & Lyr2 / Lotoo PAW Gold / Chord Hugo / iPhone 5S

To assess the sensitivity of the PS2000e to its source, we compared the Schiit Bifrost Multibit USB2 DAC driving the Schiit Lyr2 amp (a combinaation recommended by Grado Labs for their headphones), the Lotoo PAW Gold digital audio player (the portable recommended by Grado Labs), and the Chord Hugo (loved by nearly everyone!) Fig. 22 shows the Hugo and Lotoo.
Fig 22 hugo lotoo.JPG

Fig. 22: The Chord Hugo and Lotoo PAW Gold were compared to the Schiit Lyr 2 and found to be comparable in driving the PS2000e.

We began with the five tests (transparency, sound stage, drum twang, positional resolution, and bass pitch) that are taken from the song "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone." For the three sources, there was no discernable difference in performance on these five acoustic criteria, so the test was terminated. We concluded that any of these sources were excellent for the Grado PS2000e.

We also tried the iPhone 5S headphone jack driving the PS2000e directly. The output was the slightest amount brighter than the other sources, and the sound level at full volume on the iPhone might have been just a bit less than one would want for brief loud intervals, but was certainly more than was needed for sustained listening. We conclude that the iPhone 5S drives the PS2000e just fine.

CONCLUSION

The improvement between the Grado PS2000e and its predecessor, the PS1000e, is far less than the improvement between Grado's new GS2000e and its predecessor, the GS1000e. I reviewed the GS2000e on its TTVJ Tour (here), and I found it to be better than any of my 26 Grado headphones except perhaps the PS1000. It was even better than my beloved GS1000i. In like manner, I found the improvement between the Chord Hugo 2 vs. the original Chord Hugo to be greater than between the Grado PS2000e and PS1000e (here). The issue is further complicated because the PS1000e (or for that matter, the PS1000, which I prefer to the PS1000e) is not my favorite Grado headphone, only the most expensive. I prefer the GS1000i and RS2e and several others (see my ranking of Grados here.)

Hence, if you listen to the PS2000e, you should not expect a huge revelation to descend upon you in the first few moments. Such a revelation did occur to me when I first heard the HiFiMAN 1000, as a result of its huge sound stage (even larger than the Sennheiser HD800) and powerful slamming bass. This did not happen for the PS2000e.

Whereas for some headphones (GS1000i) my micro measurements track my macro measurements (i.e., the GS1000i wins the 10-feature three-way comparisons AND wins the "excitement" tests on five songs), for the PS2000e, the macro excitement factor ranking is higher than the micro 10-feature ranking. I think this in part is because some of the 10 acoustic features are dependent upon each other and inaccurately overweigh some factors in the rankings. For example, sound stage appears as one of 10 factors, is not measured by any other factor, and can only contribute 10% to an overall score. However, multiple features pertaining to strong treble, including transparency, finger pluck, bass pitch detection, shaker variation, and perhaps one or two more of the 10 features, hence giving a treble headphone the undue advantage of more features voting.

The macro measurements, conceived for the first time for this PS2000e review, exercise various aspects of a headphone based on the type of music used. For example, several of the pieces have very little bass -- hence, a bass-powerful headphone will not have the chance to shine on bass prowess. That is why a variety of songs and a total score is used.

I much prefer the bright shiny appearance of the PS1000 and PS1000e, not only due to its uniqueness and bling factor, but also because the black grill of the PS2000e tends to lose paint and leave behind silver specks.

I very much like the PS2000e. For me, as a Grado collector, I am more willing than many to spend for another Grado, and I have at least one (the HP1000) that cost more used than the PS2000e costs new. A PS2000e would provide more exciting listening than my PS1000, PS1000e, PS500, and GS1000e together, and it could be approached in price for the sum of these four headphones sold used. I like the PS2000e enough that I am seriously considering that option as a way to get one.

EPILOGUE

Every good story ends with a suggestion of a future story, and this review is no exception. Once I had gathered all the data reported here and sat down to compile and write up these results, and it being the last day that I had the PS2000e before sending it on, I put on the PS2000e hooked up to my Joseph Grado HPA-1 amp, which was most convenient from my workstation at which I was writing this review. The workstation was an HP PC driving a CEntrance HiFiM8 via USB, and then sending the analog signal to the Grado amp. I started to play the "Excitement" pieces used above as I wrote this review.

Though I had suspected it before (e.g., my middle-of-the-night thoughts about the layering, depth, and clarity of the PS2000e soundstage), the excitement that I felt with the music really reinforced just how special, yet hard to describe, the sound of the PS2000e really is. There is a magical mystery missed by measurements that persists. On a particularly exciting passage of another piece (the last 60 sec of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue"), I HAD to stop writing my review and play "air piano" in time with the music (yes, I do perform that piece on the piano rather frequently, so I think that my air piano rendition got most of the notes right!) When I tried putting a Grado "Y" cord on my HPA-1 amp to have another headphone to compare (had I gotten the "excitement" measurements wrong?), the excitement factor went down just a bit. It was as if the PS2000e was telling me "I exist only for you... you shalt have no other headphones before me." I then unplugged the PS2000e and replaced it with the Grado GS1000i, which had come out as thoroughly more exciting than the PS2000e when the two were compared in the results above. There was just a bit of depth and weight lacking on the GS1000i tone as compared to the PS2000e.

I had not used my Joseph Grado amp (or CEntrance DAC) anywhere in the comparisons before. This is because an earlier comparison using the Grado GS2000e showed that the Schiit Lyr 2 provided better sound than the Joseph Grado HPA-1 amp, so I used the Schiit Lyr.

Is there a magic combination of Joseph Grado amp and PS2000e? I don't know. However, I am left with the strong feeling that the PS2000e is calling to me as it heads east to the next tour stop. I feel that I am saying "Adieu," not "Goodbye," to the PS2000e... I believe it will again enter my life!
 
Last edited:
Sep 27, 2017 at 4:00 PM Post #54 of 164

ruhenheiM

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Posts
1,337
Likes
826
@ruthieandjohn
much better. i was reading your first posting, it missed most of the pictures and the lay out was really bad. again thank you for putting your time and effort to write your review. i really appreciate it
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 4:15 PM Post #55 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
@ruthieandjohn
much better. i was reading your first posting, it missed most of the pictures and the lay out was really bad. again thank you for putting your time and effort to write your review. i really appreciate it
I was stymied by our head-fi.org website, which on my first attempt to post the review, froze with 40% entered and then deleted it all, then on the second time I put it in in pieces, posting it before it was complete, only to find that it claimed I had exceeded some mysterious limit of 25 images in a post when I only had 15. By that time, you had read an intermediate posted result and yourself posted just after my first half, so when I started a second post to finish the review, you were there in the midst of it!
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 4:21 PM Post #56 of 164

ruhenheiM

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Posts
1,337
Likes
826
I was stymied by our head-fi.org website, which on my first attempt to post the review, froze with 40% entered and then deleted it all, then on the second time I put it in in pieces, posting it before it was complete, only to find that it claimed I had exceeded some mysterious limit of 25 images in a post when I only had 15. By that time, you had read an intermediate posted result and yourself posted just after my first half, so when I started a second post to finish the review, you were there in the midst of it!

hahahha yea when i posted the first time i kinda peeked to your last paragraph and then i started reading it from the top to bottom i was like did i missing something here. well i need to re read the whole thing again:D and i think some members already mentioned this issues on the other threads, i thought they already fix it
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 4:44 PM Post #57 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
hahahha yea when i posted the first time i kinda peeked to your last paragraph and then i started reading it from the top to bottom i was like did i missing something here. well i need to re read the whole thing again:D and i think some members already mentioned this issues on the other threads, i thought they already fix it
Probably not too many 24-page, 5,600-word, 22-image reviews like mine that stress the website!
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 5:06 PM Post #58 of 164

ruhenheiM

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Posts
1,337
Likes
826
@ruthieandjohn
i have a few questions if you don't mind

is it possible ps2000e didn't match well with your components using for review when you were wrote the comparison review? since you seems change your mind little bit when you have a last listening with ps2000e with different components

you mentioned the improvement with ps1000e wasn't drastic.do you think it's worth to upgrade from ps1000e?

i wasn't clear about the tuning. sorry if it's turned out i miss read it, what about the ps2000e tuning? is it on the line with ps1000e or more in line with ps1000 or even gs1000i. since i haven't heard ps1000, i'm assuming the sound tuning similar like gs1000i from what i read
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 9:33 PM Post #59 of 164

ruthieandjohn

Stumbling towards enlightenment
(Formerly known as kayandjohn.)
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Posts
4,173
Likes
2,842
Location
Poulsbo, WA, USA
To answer your questions, I think that the PS 2000e was well matched to the components that I used. I had compared the components that I used for the PS2000e, namely, the Schiit Lyr 2, to other options while using the GS2000e headphones, namely, the Joseph Grado HPA-1 amp, the Grado RA1 amp, and the CMOY amp, with the Schiit Lyr 2 winning. For the PS2000e itself, I compared the Schiit Lyr 2, Lotoo PAW GOld, and Chord Hugo, all of which were excellent and indistinguishable.

However, the last-minute trial with the Joseph Grado HPA1 was sublime and unexpected with the PS2000e. There must be some magic there. I do know that Grado has the HPA1, and perhaps they use it with the PS2000e for optimization.

Not sure what you mean by "tuning." To me, the PS2000e sounds very close to the GS1000i, more so than to the other PS headphones (1000e, 1000, 500).

Is the improvement worth the price of upgrade from the PS1000e? To me, that is a hard question, because 1) the PS1000e to my ears is not as good as the PS1000 (so the PS2000e would be more of an improvement from the PS1000e and more likely worth it), 2) the PS1000e to my ears is surpassed by at least two other Grado headphones, the RS2e and the GS1000i, and 3) the PS2000e has a quality that makes it better than its three-way comparisons, either micro or macro, would suggest.

The fact that I plan to buy a PS2000e, even selling four (4!) of my top-end Grados to do so, puts substance behind my liking (loving!) of the PS2000e.
 
Sep 27, 2017 at 10:58 PM Post #60 of 164

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
10,942
Likes
4,161
Location
NY
@ruthieandjohn
That was quite an impressive, as well as extensive read. I very much appreciate your time and effort in doing so, but I have one problem with this review...you've totally ruined any possible chance I had of maybe writing something acceptable now! :dt880smile: Seriously, that was an amazingly detailed review like I've never read before. You're quite an excellent writer! :beerchug:

When I'm done with my listening impressions of the PS2Ke I'll PM you so you could do the writing for me, but don't let anyone know, OK?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top