Grado (tri-)Dilemma
Oct 30, 2020 at 4:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Oct 29, 2020
Hi there. Here's my ID:
  • New Member and newbie in the world of audiophilia
  • 90% classical listener (and very demanding in timbrical quality) / 10% everything that's not hip hop.
  • 100% PC (for job reasons) / high quality streaming (Spotify Premium/Idagio)
I recently decided to take a survey in the world of entry-level audiophile-headphones (my budget: <300€). After a lot of reviews reading i've bought on Amazon some gear to test (and eventually to return). I've tested AKG K702, AKG K240, SENNHEISER HD599, BEYERDYNAMIC DT990 PRO and GRADO ALESSANDRO MS-1. All with a Fiio K3, for the highest impendances. I ended up with 2 final runners: GRADO MS-1 and AKG K702. After some further comparisons, I've decided to give up the perfect neutrality of the AKG's in favor of the brilliant personality and clarity of the GRADO's, despite their bass-range limitations. So, I can say I've definitely sold my soul to the Grado signature.
In my tests I've realized that even with their 32 Ohms the Grado's benefit a lot from a DAC/AMP (even the cheapest Fiio).

Now, here's the (tri)dilemma:
  1. I've found online a bargain for a pair of used sr325e, give or take, no test, no return.
  2. I'm pretty attracted by the enthusiastic review of the new GW100 (5.0 bluetooth). Not on amazon, Give or take, no test, no return.
So, the crossroad i'm at is:
  1. Go "eyes closed" for the sr325e, and pair them with
    • 1a - a slightly better DAC/AMP (Fiio K5?)
    • 1b - a better AMP only (my PC's analog output is not bad at all) like Schiit MAGNI 3 and consider adding a DAC later.
      • PROS: improved sound over the MS-1 (hopefully)
      • CONS: used gear wildcard + renounce to wireless portability + need of additional gear.
  2. Go "eyes closed" for the GW100
    • PROS: improved sound over the MS-1 (hopefully) + no need of any DAC/AMP / no cord
    • CONS: batteries and chipsets dies, handmade simplicity survives / no lossless possibilities.
  3. Keep my entry-level MS-1 my cheap Fiio K3 and save money for the emergencies :wink:
Obviously there's a lot of other possibilities and middle ways, but any help in takin the further step will be highly appreciated!

Oct 30, 2020 at 3:16 PM Post #2 of 2
There is no need to spend the extra money on the 325ie. I've owned and many have measured the Grado line from the SR-60e on up and surprisingly they all measure almost exactly the same. This has been my listening experience too having owned the SR-60i up the 325i.

A few questions:
1.) Do they need to be portable?
2.) Is sound leakage an issue since you say you use them at work?

The Grado line is very uncomfortable and anything other than the Cushion pads will greatly reduce both comfort and bass. It's difficult to listen to classical when you can't hear the percussion and stand up bass!

Here are a few samples of what I listen to that should help you decide on where I'm coming from.

1.) Guimaraes: Trilobita by Uakti: Mapa

2.) Halo by Play! A Video Game Symphony

3.) Anything by Celestial Aeon Project

If it were me I would go for something like the Philips Fidelio X2HR. It's an open headphone with far superior build quality and sound compared to any Grado headphone. Much better engineering and measurements as well. You get that open sound with some nice sub bass so you won't lose those notes during symphonic listening. I will warn you that the X2HR is a large headphone and not super portable and they do sound their best amped. They will run well from a portable too, but may not get loud enough for you during portable listening.

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