Grado SR60X - Critique and Modding Possibility
Jan 21, 2023 at 6:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1

arpinnurmela

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The SR60X are the latest budget headphone from Grado. In short they are the cheapest headphone made in the USA, have respectable low end, and overly emphasized mids, and way overly emphasized upper mids. They have a pleasant pop with modern music that doesn't have too much of an acoustic presentation. They sound like they play almost twice as loud as my original SR60. I am a huge fan of headphones that are made by well paid hands. I really want to recommend these, but I cannot. They don't sound like they were made for audiophiles. Instead it sounds like Grado voiced these for the consumer market. So I definitely wouldn't look at the SR60X as a budget audiophile headphone. You will be grossly disappointed. Nor do these headphones have the kind of sound that makes a listener want to explore the audiophile world more. And for this, I think they are a real missed opportunity for Grado.

Avoid if:​

  • You mostly listen to acoustic instrument music. These simply will not sound correct with any acoustic dominant music.
  • You seek a budget audiophile experience. There are plenty of audiophile lite options below and around this price range. The Koss KPH30i come to mind. And you'll save yourself $80 with the Koss, and you can take that money and purchase a DAC/Amp like the Hel Fulla E to pair with the Koss. You'll never think about the SR60X again.

Purchase if:​

  • You want the cheapest USA made headphone.
  • You are too cool for acoustic dominant music.
This feels to me like a stunning miss for Grado. They've made the classic mistake in business: focusing more on acquiring new customers rather than focusing exclusively on the customers they already have/had. Someone at the company clearly wanted new younger customers and figured that by making their not cheap budget headphones sound like Apple ear buds that they would pull in more customers. WRONG. Those young people will say, "Wow, these sound bigger. louder, and clearer than my ear buds!" And then they'll just find themselves bored with the SR60X. And they'll probably just sit somewhere on a desk, casually used but never with love. Never with that ability to learn from the headphone. Never the experience that headphones can make music start to sound magical. These don't have magic... sadly.

Modding to the Rescue?​

Hmm. I'm not sure that modding is going to remedy the out of wack frequency response of these drivers. I'm certainly going to try, just because I know what is possible with a complete rewire. But my mods don't fundamentally alter the frequency response. It should correct the tonal qualities and the overall clarity, but if an orchestra sounds fundamentally fake, it won't matter if they're clear or not. My original intention was to mod these and give them away, but the frequency response is so challenged that I don't feel that these would be a good representation for what my mods can actually do for a headphone. I'll have to think about it.

Verdict: Hard pass. Move along folks. Nothing to see.​

 

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