HF2's just in - first impressions
Jul 30, 2009 at 10:30 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


May 1, 2009
So my HF-2's finally arrived this morning after a long flight over, a spell in customs and payment of an extortionate duty charge. Nevertheless, so far it seems to have been worth it. I've been running through a variety of stuff this morning to see how they fare. Most of my comparisons are against my RS2's.

Another pair of wood bodied Grados, why? Well because I could and and was sure they would be nice. And very nice they are. As you'd expect, it's not a night and day difference between the two, but I'll try to elaborate a little here.

Firstly physical aspects.
  1. They are beautiful - I'd seen pictures so I was expecting this but in the flesh they really look fantastic. The aluminium bodies are stiking, and the lower profile (compared with RS2's) looks very (relatively speaking) sleek.
  2. They are heavy! Really noticeably quite a bit heavier than the RS2's.
  3. They feel very 'solid' in construction, mostly because of the weight, but they do not seem in any way flimsy.
  4. Feel on the head is surprisingly different from the RS2's. One thing is the weight, the other is the depths of the ear cups. I have very small ears, so much so that the RS2's are essentially circumaural for me. The HF2's press my ears much flatter - on inspection the pads themselves seem shallower than the RS2's. I think I will try to source some of the deeper type pads.

The important bit, how do they sound?
I don't have a huge amount of experience with a wide range of headphones, but I will try to offer what I can based on my subjective assessment. For reference I am using as source my 5.5Gen iMod and Pro-ject turntable both running through a Mapletree Ear+ Purist HD2 amp. My listening preferences tend toward folk, jazz, blues, acoustic rock, with occasional forays further afield into classical in one direction and heavy rock in another.

The first thing I listen to with any new piece of musical equipment is Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain. A classic album with a broad range of sounds, range and frequencies. The HF2 came out very well. Very clear, pure representation of sound, deep and even bass, quite forward mids. The whole presentation is quite forward and involving, this really manifested itself in the brightness of the top end. It definitely comes through a lot stronger and sharper than with the RS2's, but not necessarily in a bad way. I listened to a bit more jazz, some Coltrane, then one of my favourite albums of recent years, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck's The Enchantment - and these impressions were only strengthened. There is definitely some more detail than the RS2, but not such a warm rounded sound. For jazz generally I think in future I'll primarily stick to the RS2's.

So the morning was wearing on and I hadn't heard anything a bit stronger, so kicked off with some Zeppelin, into some Sabbath, then took things a little more modern with some Tool, Primus, and Clutch. Wow, this is where these phones really started to strut their stuff. Great bass, very fast and clear. Sometimes the RS's feel a little slow and muddied when they going gets really fast and hard,

Thoroughly woken up and after my mid morning coffee (and the sun had gone and it looks like raining now) time for a bit more mellowed out bluesey acoustic-ey stuff - which is what I've been listening to a lot of lately. Songs:Ohia first up, then a little Boo Hewerdine, Bonnie Prince Billy, Nick Drake. The experience was similar to that with the lighter jazz albums, very strong an forward presentation, perhaps a little too much so for 'easier listening'.

So in short, I'm not getting rid of the RS2's any time soon, but for some harder rocking sessions the HF2's will definitely get the nod. I guess they may mellow a little over time, and deeper pads could also make a significant difference.
Jul 30, 2009 at 7:59 PM Post #3 of 11
I found the same thing about the weight of the HF2 compared to my RS1s, which i can wear all day. Bending the headband of the HF2 really helped, which is surprising to me since i generally like a fairly tight fit. I suppose the combination of tight headband and extra weight was too much.

With regard to the pads, the HF2s are bigger where the pads sit, so they seem to shape them differently.
Jul 30, 2009 at 10:55 PM Post #5 of 11
I think it's great to have more individual threads giving impressions of the HF-2.

There are very few good reviews out there. Most of them talk more about how the headphone looks, rather than how it sounds. Thanks for taking the time-
Jul 31, 2009 at 12:13 AM Post #7 of 11
What serial no. are you and when did you order?
Jul 31, 2009 at 12:40 AM Post #9 of 11
Nice review.

So for you, the HF-2s were brighter and more forward than the RS-2s? That seems counter to a lot other reports I've been reading that say the HF-2 is a "darker" grado and not *as* forward! Would you say either one of them was "smoother" than the other? Like evenness throughout the frequency range? Any impressions on the soundstage between the two (I know you just got them, sorry for all the questions

I'm trying to decide between waiting on the used market for an HF-2 or just getting an RS-1 (or maybe a 2). Again, from what I read I had been thinking of the RS-1 as a brighter, more mid-forward can with more high end than the HF-2, but maybe the RS-1 would be a better can for me after all if it's not as bright and is smoother like the Alessandros.
Jul 31, 2009 at 12:48 AM Post #10 of 11
Congrats, Singular. Nice review. Very objective. I'm still waiting on mine, and this makes the wait even harder. I'm glad to hear you say the HF2s are quick. Happy listening!
Jul 31, 2009 at 12:54 AM Post #11 of 11
Very nice review. Thanks. As you put more time on them I think you'll find a significant change. Mine (#108) have 200+ hours on them and I can tell you that the sharpness of the high end frequency has gone entirely away. They are smooth all the way from the tight, quick, bass, through the mids, and up to the treble. I've listened to a bunch of jazz so far (mostly Miles and John C.) and find these cans to be very pleasing with this genre.

Everyone has their own tastes and opinions, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if in the near future your RS-2's were on the FS forum!

Happy listening my friend

Users who are viewing this thread