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Need help deciding if the Grado sound is right for me as a starting set of cans

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by redmoonloop, Dec 13, 2012.
  1. RedMoonLoop
    After doing various searches around here I have been leaning heavily towards purchasing the Grado Sr325i's. They seem to fit my taste in rock music. I mostly listen to prog rock and 70's rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Porcupine Tree. Stuff like that really. However I also like to listen to jazz, house, orchestrated music, and more ambient music. I am really just wondering if these genres will be sounding decent on the Grado's. These headphones would be my first big audiophile purchase (coming from the relatively cheap Koss PortaPros) and I don't want to have buyers remorse after the purchase since they are so expensive.
    I plan on playing the music mostly through an Ipod touch (will be replaced later by a Cowon S9) and my laptop.
  2. draacor
    I always heard that the SR225i was the sweet spot in regards to the Grados in terms of price/performance.  My recommendation would be to get the SR225i and maybe get an amp with the difference?  I'm waiting on a pair of SR80i's in the mail will get them tomorrow and am very excited. 
  3. RedMoonLoop
    The 225i's are definitely pretty nice. I got to demo all of the Grado line today, with the exception of the 325i's, at a local store and was quite impressed. I am just a little skeptical of the price though which is where my main concern is coming from. I just want to make sure my first purchase satisfies all my needs.
    By the way do you know of any decent portable amps that go well with the grados?
    Also I hope you enjoy your SR80i's I quite liked them at the store so I am sure you will be fine.
  4. draacor
    Honestly I don't.  I heard that the FiiO is a good portable amp but that's basically where my knowledge ends.  I got the Sr80i's actually so that I wouldn't really NEED an amp. I'm just assuming that the further up the line you go the more your gonna run into needing an amp be it portable or desktop amp to get the full benefits from the headphones.  Hope this helps :)
  5. talisman42
    Maybe the 225 and the z0 bass amp for those special occasions listening to stuff with lots of subbass.
  6. MalVeauX
    Having several Grados in the prestige series line, I would suggest you just get the SR60i, the basic model, it doesn't sound that different honestly from the rest of the line. I love the look of the gold 325i's I have, but the idea that they cost three times as much as the SR60i does, but really doesn't sound all that incredibly different to my ears, has me recommending the base model or least expensive model to whom ever is looking to try a Grado. If you know you love Grado sound and really want to take it up a notch, then skip the prestige line all together and get a mid and high-end Grado and call it a day. Otherwise, just get something inexpensive with some L-cush pads.
    And you do not need an amp. The prestige line grados are efficient.
    Very best,
  7. Cakensaur
    The zo2 primarily boosts mid bass. getting it to improve sub bass for grado's wont do much. they have a very nice amount of sub bass as it is anyway.
    as far as the models goes. sr80i is the best value for money
    SR225i is the sweet spot of the entire line, its also the bassiest of the prestige series Grado's, and in my experience, the least treble happy of the prestige series
    I would say do NOT buy the sr325is unless you tried them.
    Among Grado being the most polarizing headphone make on head-fi,
    The SR325is itself is the most Polarizing of the entire line.
    some swear by it, and some consider it "John Grado's method of punishment for those who wont buy the RS1/RS2 and dont buy the 225"
    As far as portable amps goes.
    despite zo2 not boosting sub bass its a fairly decent amp in itself.
    the cheaper Fiio E10 is a good option to consider as well.
  8. RedMoonLoop
    Thanks you guys. So it seems like the safest bet would be to go with the 225i's with maybe a zo2 amp. Also later on down the line when and if I decided to upgrade would the zo2 amp have good synergy with higher end grado's like the RS1?
  9. Cakensaur
    You may aswell save yourself $200 or so and jump straight to the rs1's.
    Of course try them first... but i don't know anyone who liked the 225's and didn't melt with rs1's.
  10. MalVeauX
    Save your money and don't get a ZO right now. You don't need an amp. If you're wanting a bassy headphone, get a headphone that already has gobs of bass. I think you'll find the Grados are already balanced enough as it is, they're not anemic, but they're not ultra bassy either. Instead, just focus on getting pads that you like the feel of and have the sound you like (L-cush for example). The ZO really is better as a pre-amp than actual amp. I would suggest you get a headphone and listen to it. If something doesn't sound right later, then maybe explore an amplifier. Adding an amp to an already efficient headphone doesn't make it more magical, at least, physically, psychologically it might for you, but that's your money so you do what you want with it. I would suggest a Fiio E11 or JDS Labs CMOY instead as an amp over the ZO's. I went through the ZO's myself and found them to be only so-so, weird control, very easy to distort with various settings, and in general just not a well designed device. Maybe you will like it. Me, I'd rather have a stiff volume knob, a gain switch and a bass switch, and none of those goofy scroll wheel that is also a push-in button junk. But hey, try it yourself.
    Very best,
    RedMoonLoop likes this.
  11. Biscuitz
    I second what MalVeauX has said.

    You'll read a lot here on Head-Fi that Grados don't need an amp, and that's because it is true. I honestly have a hard time discerning an amped Prestige Series Grado (and RS1i for that matter) and one straight out of an iPod. If I noticed any improvement in sound, it was so miniscule that I would never have missed it had I not owned an amp. Save your money on the amp! Seriously!
    I've heard every in-production Prestige Series Grado, in addition to the PS500, RS1i, and RS2i. I even started with a SR225i and upon looking to upgrade, got the SR325is, which I liked more personally. Then for fun I bought a SR60i to see if I could with confidence recommend it to friends, and to my amazement it sounded great! So great, that I actually sold my SR325is and SR225i and kept the SR60i for various reasons - sounded more "coherent" to my ears, better balanced, less V-shaped, tighter perceived bass (probably due to there being less of it), less sibilant, and overall smoother in the highs than the upper models which might actually be due to production variation.

    Speaking of production variation, I want to mention that I think in a given Grado model, there will be variation in sound from headphone to headphone. That means one SR225i might sound a bit different from another SR225i. For instance, I recently heard a demo SR225i at the local dealer and it had way more bass than the SR225i I had before, to the point where it sounded quite warm. I've also heard two different pairs of RS1i on the same equipment and one sounded vastly more distant sounding than the other one, and the more intimate sounding one was much more fatiguing. Also, my particular pair SR325is did not have razor-sharp treble, as is often suggested to be the case here on Head-Fi. Mine actually had very good treble and I felt it was better controlled than the SR225i and SR80i. Actually, I do believe the statements when people say they heard razor-sharp treble with the SR325i. I just chalk it up to production variation, or to the fact that the newer SR325is is legitimately better in the highs.

    For all these reasons, I suggest SR60i or SR80i with L-Cush pads. Having compared SR60i to RS1i directly, the SR60i does not pale in comparison like you might expect (and like I certainly expected). I was shocked to be able to honestly say the SR60i even reaches about 80% the quality of the RS1i. Thus was my impression in an A/B session I had at home. My 80% might be someone else's 50%, for what it's worth.

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