Grado RS1e matters (and impressions)
Aug 25, 2016 at 1:33 PM Post #226 of 283

wormsdriver

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@CABILLAS, these pictures are from the "Grado Labs NEW e series headphones and loaner program!" thread.
Here you can see the bare drivers, and the rs1e and above models do have the bigger drivers.




Also, I believe all e series drivers have the same 2 holes by the circuit board. Higher models than the prestige series have more holes punched in them.
 
Aug 26, 2016 at 3:37 PM Post #228 of 283

ruthieandjohn

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After a long wait and several listens, I have at last purchased my own pair of Grado RS1e's, and I LOVE them!  They are Serial Number 34619-16, an unusual number due to its hyphenated nature.
 
I had been watching the RS1e for a long time, from when they first emerged as a member of the newly-released Grado e series, which upgraded all of the nine or so headphones of the Grado i series, in June 2014.  Unlike other members of the e series, customer reviews of the RS1e assessed it as poorer than its parent, the RS1i.  The RS1e replaced the 44 mm driver of the RS1i with a 50 mm driver, as also used in the new GS1000e and PS1000e.
 
Further investigation attributed the poorer sound to an extremely-rolled off high treble preceded by a mid-treble peak. 
 


RS1e (original version) frequency response (top left) superposed on RS1 frequency response (bottom left and then copied as dotted black line on top left plot) shows treble rolloff of RS1e (original version) starting at 3.5 KHz.
 
Curious folk removed the Grado L bowl pad to find that the 50 mm driver protruded extremely above the edge of the wooden cup.
 

For old, black-band version of RS1e (not mine), black plastic rim of driver protrudes significantly above brown wooden rim of cup.
 
Additionally, for the larger driver diameter of the RS1e, there was a noticeable ring of plastic showing around the driver opening and inside the inner rim of the L bowl cushion:
 

RS1e (L) shows rim of driver inside the boundary of the black foam L cushion pad, unlike the older version with the smaller driver (R).
 
Listeners complained that the driver of the RS1e was so close to the ear, as a result of the stretching of the pad due to the greater diameter of the driver, that the ear touched the driver and was uncomfortable and peculiar-sounding.
 
I compared this protruding-driver version of the RS1e to the RS1i and confirmed the findings of less-than-great sound as compared to the RS1i.
 
Then in Fall 2014 came reports of a version of the RS1e whose drivers were more recessed than the original, protruding less from their wooden cylinder holder:
 


These were said to sound better than the original RS1e.
 
I faced a dilemma.  I wanted the RS1e, but only the less-protruding version.  In October, 2014, Grado announced that all of its wooden headphones (RS2e, RS1e, GS1000e) would be fitted with brown headbands rather than the black used to that time.  Since this followed the initiation of RS1e's with less-protruding drivers, it seemed that buying an RS1e with brown band would also assure that one was buying an RS1e with less protruding driver.
 
However, there was still a problem.  The two Grado dealers I had frequented both had old RS1es, with black headband and protruding drivers.  On-line merchants for the RS1e seemed to either have only the black headband version or not know of the significance of the protruding vs. non-protruding versions.
 
I had the great opportunity to visit HeadRoom in Bozeman, MT two weeks ago, which is the first place I have seen that depends upon selling headphones and headphone accessories for its business (as opposed to audio stores, which sell speakers, turntables, huge amps and music streamers, and the like in addition to headphones).
 
There, I was able to actually try a brown-headband RS1e.  It sounded great and I bought it.  The purchase experience was delightful, and I had a chance to share Grado lore and opinions with a very knowledgeable staff.
 
Here is the picture of my RS1e:
 

Rim of plastic visible inside pad inner diameter, and driver protrudes only minimally, on my RS1e.

 The headband is brown, and the protrusion is  much less than that of the original RS1e shown first, though perhaps a bit more than the non-protruding version shown second.
 
There was also speculation for a while that the non-protruding version of the RS1e had different L cushion pads than the standard, to reduce the amount of stretch and depression that moved the drivers close to the ears.
 
Grado pads have denser foam at the edge that sits around the ear than in the middle.  I compared the pads of my new RS1e to those of my RS2e to find that 1) the pads seem to achieve their greater density on the edges by being immersed in something (glue?) that dries in a manner that adds stiffness where dipped, and 2) the RS1e pads were dipped more deeply, and hence had their stiff layer extend further, than the RS2e.
 
Careful looking at the picture shows a boundary where the denser foam of the edge meets the less dense foam of the rest of the pad.  Even more careful inspection shows that the thickness of the dense foam is greater on the RS1e pad (left) than on the RS2e pad (right). 
 


RS1e L cush pad (L) has thicker layer of dense foam on edge than RS2e (R).
 
 
HOW DO THEY SOUND?
 
I find the sound of the RS1e to be exciting,detailed, with unusually large soundstage for an over-ear Grado, and entirely deserving of the statement of Playboy, "The only headphones you'll ever need."  (note the BROWN band in their version!).
 

 
 
I had these as my only Grados for about a week as I traveled from Siliverdale, WA to Ann Arbor, MI via Bozeman, MT, where I picked them up, on my honeymoon trip with Ruthie.  I was finding nuances on what I thought were familiar recordings and excitement for everything I heard through them.
 
Having returned home and used them for a total of about 25 hours (no way fully burned in), I compared them to not one, not two, but six of my other Grados, using the 10-feature comparisons, three at a time, detailed here.
 


Comparing the RS1e (center) to (from top left) GS1000i, RS2e, RS1i, PS1000e, SR325e, and HP1000 (HP1).
 
Here are the results of the three 3-way comparisons (one for each row of the picture above):
 

In comparison on 10 acoustic features, RS1e is outscored by RS2e and GS1000e.
 


RS1e is outscored by RS1i and PS1000e.
 


RS1e is outscored by the HP1000 and the SR325e.
 
Wow!  If the RS1e is so good to listen to, are the GS1000i, RS2e, RS1i, PS1000e, and RS325 even better?
 
No.
 
But then why does it score less than those headphones?
 
Because these 10 tests, using 10 acoustic features, merely sample aspects of the total listening experience, but cannot capture it entirely.
 
At least that is how I am feeling about it now.  I very much enjoy listening to my RS1e, and it is far better than my recollection of the old RS1e with protruding drivers and black band.  But I am surprised by how it scores in my comparative tests.
 
Next, I listened to Sara Berielles Brave Live album with both the RS1e and RS2e.  I found the RS1e more exciting and engaging, having a greater soundstage and better vocals.  Both my RS2e and my GS1000i are my favorite Grados (and favorite headphones), and I put the RS1e right there with them.
 
The first comparison chart indicates that the RS1e has greater soundstage than the RS2e, while the RS2e has greater transparency.  In fact, the RS1e is the only on-ear Grado that can actually resolve two closely-spaced singers... only the over-ear GS1000i, GS1000e, PS1000, and PS1000e can do that for me. The excitement contributed by the larger soundstage of the RS1e seems to outweigh the greater transparency of the RS2e.
 
Anyway, since I had been awaiting a chance at the RS1e for so long, I thought it worth performing tests and posting some detail of my assessment of them... GREAT!
 
Aug 26, 2016 at 6:42 PM Post #229 of 283

headfry

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John, glad to hear that Grado line no longer suffers from a tainted model
and that the RS1e is now up there in your opinion with the GS1000i and RS2e.
 
 
....also glad to see my SR325e scoring so highly....I love how they sound
out of a great source like my Mojo/iPod Touch (and glad to have a superb sounding, really
portable system to enjoy)!
 
Again, thanks for your very informative and helpful post!
 
Aug 27, 2016 at 4:17 PM Post #230 of 283

RollinHard843

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Cool assessment of the rs1e! Its a very interesting headphone and i agree with much of what you said. It's got a great depth to the sound and i found it to be great at imaging. On Tears for fears "badmans song" there is a shaker in the left channel and a hihat in the center. Theyre playing the same part and the rs1e was just as good at helping me differentiate them as the gs1000i, even while sounding warmer and less transparent.

Theyre kind of chameleons in a way. I cant explain how they do that, but they have such a cool exciting sound. Some distorted elextric guitar parts really sit in the mix differntly on these headphones.

However i wasnt happy with them until aboit 20 hours of burn in time. Anyway thanks for the post! I guess the rs1e is unexplainably good
 
Jan 26, 2017 at 3:05 PM Post #231 of 283

mn24viii

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Good to hear that the new non-protruding version of RS1e seems to be back in the game. Still, no talk about them in the Grado thread. All about 325e, rRS2e and the x000 models.

So are there more people with experiences with the new version.

I had the old version. Found them a little bit screaming due to the more pronounced upper mids. Now, I have GH1 and I'm not completely satisfied. They sound good with all kinds of music, but somehow I miss the Grado magic with rock music. They don't groove like the 325e, for example.

So, would an upgrade to the "new" RS1e be a good idea? Is it the king of the L cushion Grados like it should be?
 
Jan 26, 2017 at 11:25 PM Post #232 of 283

Amictus

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........(cut - see above)

However i wasnt happy with them until aboit 20 hours of burn in time. Anyway thanks for the post! I guess the rs1e is unexplainably good

 
Good to hear that the new non-protruding version of RS1e seems to be back in the game. Still, no talk about them in the Grado thread. All about 325e, rRS2e and the x000 models.

So are there more people with experiences with the new version.

I had the old version. Found them a little bit screaming due to the more pronounced upper mids. Now, I have GH1 and I'm not completely satisfied. They sound good with all kinds of music, but somehow I miss the Grado magic with rock music. They don't groove like the 325e, for example.

So, would an upgrade to the "new" RS1e be a good idea? Is it the king of the L cushion Grados like it should be?

 
Interesting, all these new experiences of the RS1e... I have to say that I have found that my early RS1e (protruding drivers, 1/4" plug, black band) evolved for hundreds of hours. Really. I have kept it, despite the limitations described above. It is very vivid and does up front like nothing else when that is required. I am in the same position as @mn24viii as far as the GH1 is concerned and am keen to compare the original, flawed, RS1e (it just says RS1 on the cups, btw) with the new ones with the brown band. It would be so good if Grado had got this 'quintessence of Grado' model right again.
 
Jan 27, 2017 at 8:38 AM Post #233 of 283

headfry

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Good to hear that the new non-protruding version of RS1e seems to be back in the game. Still, no talk about them in the Grado thread. All about 325e, rRS2e and the x000 models.

So are there more people with experiences with the new version.

I had the old version. Found them a little bit screaming due to the more pronounced upper mids. Now, I have GH1 and I'm not completely satisfied. They sound good with all kinds of music, but somehow I miss the Grado magic with rock music. They don't groove like the 325e, for example.

So, would an upgrade to the "new" RS1e be a good idea? Is it the king of the L cushion Grados like it should be?

-----------


Interesting thread....when the GH1's were the latest Grado they were being praised as summit- worthy -
they could do no wrong...now we hear that while they're great they're not perfect.
Another review site stated that the 500e's when subtly eq'd sound exactly the same
as GH1.... or vice versa... anyone concur on this?

....and the SR325e's.... properly fed with an excellent source and recordings
continue to surprise me with their musical insight and overall SQ.
 
Jan 27, 2017 at 10:06 AM Post #234 of 283

joseph69

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Interesting thread....when the GH1's were the latest Grado they were being praised as summit- worthy -
they could do no wrong...now we hear that while they're great they're not perfect.
Another review site stated that the 500e's when subtly eq'd sound exactly the same
as GH1.... or vice versa... anyone concur on this?

....and the SR325e's.... properly fed with an excellent source and recordings
continue to surprise me with their musical insight and overall SQ.

I agree, it's as if the GH1 was praised as you mentioned are all of the sudden no longer "summit worthy" as you mentioned. To me they are indeed very worthy of sitting right at the top of the Grado line up. When they were released, they were intended to be placed in the line up between the RS2e and the PS500e, which would explain why they would sound lose to the PS500 with some manipulation from equalizing their sound and vise-versa. Although I haven't heard the RS2e/PS500e, I do feel the GH1 is well beyond its price/performance ratio, especially with thee G cushions. 
 
I also agree that the 325is (in my case) scale very nicely with an excellent source/recording…very nicely!
 
Jan 27, 2017 at 11:01 AM Post #235 of 283

mn24viii

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I wouldn't be surprised if the GH1 was the same as the PS500 only with all-wooden cups instead of the aluminium/wood hybrid. So it seem to be the perfect mixture of old (rs2) and new (ps500). They are great. I just find them to be a bit polite without the character of some Grados.

But we're talking about all the other models, again... :wink:
Back to the RS1e!!!!! :)
 
Jan 27, 2017 at 11:39 AM Post #236 of 283

ruthieandjohn

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I definitely agree, for both the RS1e and the GS1000e, that the sound continues to improve slowly over HUNDREDS of hours of use!
 
Jan 27, 2017 at 3:28 PM Post #237 of 283

Amictus

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I definitely agree, for both the RS1e and the GS1000e, that the sound continues to improve slowly over HUNDREDS of hours of use!


Yes, @ruthieandjohn, which makes me hesitate to make too definitive judgements of Grados in my possession. The 'RS1i' which turned out to be an early RS1e is the most extreme example in my small collection. It went from dreadful (really bad) to 'very good at some things' quite unexpectedly. Yesterday I put on the PS500 that I bought when they were morphing into the PS500e (in a panic in case the RS1i/e situation was replicated) and was more impressed with them than before. So, I'm being a bit hesitant about sounding off on Grados. Yes, the GH1 sounds a little less characterful than some others (at the moment), but I'll wait a few hundred hours before deciding what I think about them.
 
Despite this, I still want to buy the RS1e brown strap, and the PS1000#, and...
 
So many headphones, so little money, so little time.
 
Jan 27, 2017 at 11:45 PM Post #238 of 283

RollinHard843

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The initial 20+ hours of burn in is where i noticed the most change. But yall are right, they continue to slowly mature as time goes on. Their sound has got to be one of the most interesting and tough to pinpoint signatures around.
 
Jan 28, 2017 at 1:48 AM Post #239 of 283

GreenBow

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I would love to hear a truly run-in pair; (a flush-driver pair).
 
Would love to hear the PS500e too,
 
and the GH-1....
 
and, and....
 
 
I have a Mojo now so when I get a portable file transport, I can audition some. If I can find somewhere close enough that is.
 
Jan 30, 2017 at 12:11 PM Post #240 of 283

mn24viii

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As my GH1 are now up for sale, I will order a new pair of RS1e. Will report back.
 
Although I let my headphones run a few days unattented, I'm still no believer in burn-in. At least not in a change from bad to great. However, small changes can have a great impact. I listened once to two new Beyerdynamics and one had less of that Beyer peak and was miles better than the other.
 
This time I will give the RS1e all the chance they deserve.
 

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