Illustrated RS1 case and construction differences
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M Rael

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Because of a bizarre turn of events I wound up with two pairs of Grado RS1's; both in their original cases. I thought I'd post the differences between them, and there are differences, most of them small, but it might help you date a pair.

Starting with the case, it is not made of mahogany; I dont know where that rumor got started but its certainly not true. Its a relatively soft and common looking wood.. perhaps pine, maybe ash. The cases were more than likely sourced from an outside vendor. I say that because the corner joining technique is totally different between cases:



That seems to indicate a different vendor was used; you usually wouldnt see such variation from a single source. The older case is on the left, the newer on the right. The older case uses a more expensive construction. The hardware on the cases is different too. The front latches:



The older case is on the left. And even the rear hinges are different:



The older hinge is on the left. I've been speaking about older -vs- newer, and the reason is that the RS1 originally came with a brown headband and the case, later a black headband and the case, and finally a black headband and no case. I have no idea what the production numbers were like but the older brown headband RS1's seem something more rare to come by. Just less common, thats all.

Other than the color of the leather there doesnt seem to be any difference in the way the headbands were assembled.
Heres the headbands side by side:



There is a small difference between the way the ident buttons are finished. The older model has a taller profile RS1 button and has rounded edges. A small variation that I'm sure has no effect on sound.



................................................

I hear no reliable audible difference in sound between the two examples. I thought the earlier brown headband example might be showing me more treble, but decided later that it wasnt. The RS1 is supposed to have closely matched drivers in any case so I'm not surprised that they sound basically identical.
I dont know what it is about the RS1.. maybe its the wood or the price, but they make me happy in a way my ex-325 never really did. Something about them makes it a pleasure to listen to. Dont ask me about subtleties, thats not my area of expertise, but hey I'll agree they arent as neutral as my HP2's. No biggie. My subconscious mind really seems to like them though, on a day to day listening basis. Thats why 'it' arranged for me to have 2 pairs I guess. Like I said it was rather bizarre the way it came about.
(Subconscious response: "bizarre to the bizarre")

Hey!!
 
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darkclouds

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Thanks for the pics and commentary M Rael.
Been thinking about locating a used pair and these pics have really pushed me further toward that end.
 
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Beagle

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Excellent pics M Rael! Well done!

Can you possible post some pics of the front of the drivers (without the pads on) so we can see how the glue secures them in the wooden housing? I have only seen one RS-1 up close and there were bubbles of excess glue between the housing and the driver.

If it's not too much trouble I'd really appreciate it.
 
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M Rael

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Quote:

Originally posted by Beagle
Can you possible post some pics of the front of the drivers (without the pads on) so we can see how the glue secures them in the wooden housing? I have only seen one RS-1 up close and there were bubbles of excess glue between the housing and the driver.


I'm glad you asked that question because it made me try to take the brown headband flat pads off for the first time. It turned out they are still glued on, meaning they've never been off the headphone. They are in good shape, considering.
The black headband phones had the pads taken off by the previous owner and theres traces of foam remaining where he had to pull them away from the wood/earpad glue bond. So in the case of the browns I didnt want to remove the pads, and the the blacks have had the speakers out already so there is no glue residue to show you. I can tell you that the speakers install with a mother of a press fit. In other words glue is not really necessary. Its a very tight fit, much tighter than with the HP2's for example.
But speaking of excess glue, theres a plainly visible blob of hot glue inside the vent screen that works as part of the stress reliever knot. Also the ident button shows signs of glue on the edge flush with the side of the button. Its not 100% invisible.
Strange that a $700 headphone cant manage better than that in such a basic area of housekeeping. Its almost insulting.
But the sound is stunning. My Stax by comparison sounds open but has a ghostly quality.. the sound has no body; not just with bass but higher frequencies too. The Stax is all there but with a definite hollow presence. The RS1 'fills the sails' in an effective way that makes the Stax sound like a boat in a glass case by comparison. Some call the RS1 warm; I prefer 'round & full.' Somebody shoot me before I say 'palpable'
 
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Beagle

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Quote:

Originally posted by M Rael


I'm glad you asked that question because it made me try to take the brown headband flat pads off for the first time. It turned out they are still glued on, meaning they've never been off the headphone. They are in good shape, considering.
The black headband phones had the pads taken off by the previous owner and theres traces of foam remaining where he had to pull them away from the wood/earpad glue bond.

But speaking of excess glue, theres a plainly visible blob of hot glue inside the vent screen that works as part of the stress reliever knot. Also the ident button shows signs of glue on the edge flush with the side of the button. Its not 100% invisible.
Strange that a $700 headphone cant manage better than that in such a basic area of housekeeping


The pads should not have been glued on. I've never seen a Grado that had the pads glued on. Strange. Unless the previous owners glued them on.

Those ident buttons are put on by putting a blob of hot glue on the back of the button and sticking it on the screen.

I've been inside many a Grado and the excess glue is rather abundant at times. One time I had my SR325 sent for repair to the distributor and when I got them back one of the driver housings had been put in wrong. There is one larger sized indent 'nook' on the housing where the wire is supposed to go, and it had been glued in with the wire in one of the smaller 'nooks' which means it was 'squished' against the outer chamber, with no freedom of movement. When I heated and softened the glue to correct their error, I also noticed the repair person had glued the wire to the back of the driver, and there was a giant blob of glue on the actual driver! Taking that glue off without pulling off the felt protection on the back of the driver was a royal pain.

Makes you wonder, when they carefully match the drivers, then just throw them into the chambers with blobs of glue all over the place.

But again, this was the repair depot here, not Grado Labs, but you'd figure...


But I don't mind, ya gotta love the real high school woodworking class retro look!
 
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Great Post M Rael!

I belive this is something that most people didn't even know about.

Many times companies will change things without telling anyone about it or trying to pass it off as a new addition.
 
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M Rael

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Quote:

Originally posted by Beagle
The pads should not have been glued on. I've never seen a Grado that had the pads glued on. Strange. Unless the previous owners glued them on.

Those ident buttons are put on by putting a blob of hot glue on the back of the button and sticking it on the screen.


I know it seems strange that the pads are glued on, but the older RS1's seem to have had this done to them at Grado. Dont ask me why. I know about the hot glue that Grado uses, and when I had my own 325's I took them apart and removed not only the ident button but also the black paint that the vent screen had on it. The result was nice, at least in my opinion:



It takes a little soak in lacquer thinner to get the black paint off the vent screen and also to get off all the hot glue.

Grado is such a funny mixture of actual technology and shade tree methodology. But hey they are in Brooklyn, so what can you say. I long to see Joe Grado walk across the street outside his building and yell at a taxi, 'I'm walkin here.. I'm walkin here!' (Kelly will know where that comes from.)
One thing thats gold about Grado is their customer service. If you have the patience to ship it to them they will do everything to make you happy. And most of the time they do it for free. Great customer service.
 
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The RS-1s at least...did/do have the pads glued on. My RS-1s which are actually a combo of M Rael's (i.e., brown headband, but the RS-1 discs on the cups is the type of his newer kind) has the pads clearly glued on and ripped off by the previous owner.
 
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M Rael

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It turns out its not that the pads on the old RS1's were glued on but that the varnish they used reacted with the earpads in such a way as to make them stick.
 
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i got my grados used but they are newer and have the bowl pads which everybody hates. they are not glued on and the first thing i did was take them off for a new pair.. other people's earpads = ewwww.
 
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Rob N

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M Rael, I have just a aquired a pair of RS1's absolutely mint & unused in original wooden box (the one you show on the right).The 'L' & 'R' letters are in gold I bought these for £400-00 (I believe the UK new price has now increased to £750-00!!).
They appear to me to be slightly better made than the newer ones particularly the machining of the wooden ear cups and the headband (black) looks slightly better than the newer ones,has anyone else found this?
 
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M Rael

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Quote:

Originally posted by Rob N
M Rael, I have just a aquired a pair of RS1's absolutely mint & unused in original wooden box (the one you show on the right).The 'L' & 'R' letters are in gold I bought these for £400-00 (I believe the UK new price has now increased to £750-00!!).
They appear to me to be slightly better made than the newer ones particularly the machining of the wooden ear cups and the headband (black) looks slightly better than the newer ones,has anyone else found this?


Hey Rob, nice to hear you got some of the older RS1's. Pretty nice, eh? When I started this thread I forgot about the gold 'R & L' lettering on some of the RS1's. And its weird too because the earliest ones do not have gold lettering, and then some of the black headband ones do, and then they stopped using the gold lettering altogether. I think if Grado only made headphones, and not phono cartridges, their products would show more uniformity and polish.

Their offices/factory in Brooklyn (a converted 3 story house) has been called both 'modest' and 'dingy' by people who have written about it. There are strange little problems with even the RS1 that Grado didnt bother to address. For example you can wiggle the cord where it enters into the enclosure and get unwanted noise. All it would have taken is a dab of black silicone to deaden this.
On the plus side you have this multi-generational family business cranking out world class products in the same house their forefathers sold vegetables out of. Another thing is that Grado has fantastic customer service and support.
Anyway post a pic of your new headphones if you are able.

p.s. what enclosure machining differences do you think you notice? (and of course they are machined/turned on a lathe, not 'carved' like the loose-with-the-language marketing dept likes to say.)
 
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Rob N

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It's interesting to compare this older pair with a newer pair which I've had for about a 10 months.The most obvious difference is the very fine 'mesh' over the drivers which on the newer pair is white where as the older pair's are black.The newer pair's drivers are more neatly glued in with less visible glue (the glue on the newer one's is clearer than the old).
The lettering ('Reference series Headphones' & 'Grado') on the newer pair is larger.

Is there any sonic difference between older & newer RS1 phones? (I'm still in the process of 'burning in' this old pair)

Currently if you get a pair of RS1's they will come in large shoe box type package because Grado's supplier of the 'slim line' ones went out of business after Sept 11
 
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Rob N

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M Rael, the older pair are slightly better machined where the pads fit on, the newer ones are a little rough in that area (I don't think that's due to differences in wood but to slightly 'sloppy' machining)
Perhaps saying that they are 'carved' allows them to cover these slight variations.

The only piece of 'hand carved' hi fi I actually seen for myself is the Goldbug Briar wood cartridges from the 1980's which look great,each cart. body is slightly different and apparantly they were all carved by the same person
 
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Rob N

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M Rael, the older pair are slightly better machined where the pads fit on, the newer ones are a little rough in that area (I don't think that's due to differences in wood but to slightly 'sloppy' machining)
Perhaps saying that they are 'carved' allows them to cover these slight variations.

The only piece of 'hand carved' hi fi I actually seen for myself is the Goldbug Briar wood cartridges from the 1980's which look great,each cart. body is slightly different and apparantly they were all carved by the same person
 
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