Newbie's first purchase Grado SR80i - did I make a mistake?
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deadmuse

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After 10 years of listening to sub-par quality equipment (computer on-board sound connected to computer speakers), recently (last week!) bought a Schiit Modi DAC and Grado SR80i headphones. The sound is incredible even through my 20-year-old amp, but I'm wondering if I made a mistake with my headphone selection. I listen at low volumes, but my ears still get fatigued quickly (15 to 45 minutes). A qualifier: my ears are super-sensitive, I literally cover my ears when I hear vacuum cleaners, sirens, etc. Second, while the mids and highs are gorgeous, I find a lack of lushness/ reverb as well as the low end not being as impressive as I would like.
 
I read extensively on this site that Grados are known for their mid and hi frequency, and that lows are not their forte. Should I consider returning the Grados and go for my second choice: AudioTechnica ATH-M50, or perhaps something else? My budget is $125 maximum, so if this is the best I can afford, that fine.
 
My listening habits are obscure, but mostly consist of: darkwave, neo-medieval, gothic rock, and metal. It was with metal that I found the lack of low end most noticeable.
 
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Many of us find Grado headphones fatiguing because of the peaks in the treble.  My suggestion is to do as your gut tells you and return the Grados for the ATH-50's.  Both of which I have owned and the ATH-M50 remains in my stash of cans.
 
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zazex

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Yes, especially with the type of music you like - I also recommend the ATH M50 over the Grado SR80i.
 
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JabJab90301

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Personally I fine the ATH M50 a little harsh on the treble.  I compensate for that by turning up the low frequencies about 5 db.  The seems to round out the sound for me.  
 
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deadmuse

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  Personally I fine the ATH M50 a little harsh on the treble.  I compensate for that by turning up the low frequencies about 5 db.  The seems to round out the sound for me.  

Did you mean the Grado, or are the ATH-M50 also harsh on the treble/highs?
 
I've ordered the AudioTechnica and will listen to both and return the one I like less. Thanks!
 
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JabJab90301

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The meant the ATH M50s.  That is just my hearing perspective.  Some of my family have tried them, and like the sound.  They say is not treble heavy at all.  I still really like this headphones though.  I do not regret purchasing them as they are my first set of hi fi cans.  That is saying a lot coming from a Turtle Beach X12 headset.  
 
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deadmuse

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I confess I chose the Grados because I loved the vintage/retro look. I'm looking forward to hearing the M50s after hearing what everyone has said. My musical preference is for dark atmosphere, minor keys, and an even balance, so the brightness and aggressive highs of the Grados seems like a mis-match.
 
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Here is a more scientific approach to answering your question;
 
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=353&graphID[]=2941&scale=30
 
See how the blue line, representing the Grado SR-80, is above the ATH-M50 line ( red )?
 
The Grado has some nasty peaks at 4kHz and 9kHz which can lead to fatigue and treble sensitivity.
 
It is true that the ATH-M50 has a peak at 9kHz as well, but it has much less energy than the SR-80 and to my ears is never an issue.
 
Now look at the bass extension of both headphones.  See how the red graph for the M50 is almost 10dB above the Grado at 50Hz?  The ATH-M50 delivers more accurate bass extension as well.
 
Hope that helps.
 
The ATH-M50 is also built really well.  The pads tend to wear after 2-3 years of use, but if you keep them moist with leather lotion they will last a lifetime.
 
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