Vintage RS-1's: What does the word vintage mean to you?
Oct 28, 2008 at 1:53 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 81

Zanth

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I've been seeing a fair amount of FS ads here and on Ebay regarding "Vintage" RS-1's. I scratch my head when seeing the images of 2 year old headphones with the "buttons" with grand claims they are "vintage!"

Perhaps I'm overly pedantic but I figure that for most folks, vintage means "really really old." Perhaps the sellers are using the term properly as per a dictionary definition such as: "a period of origin or manufacture" which in a case for RS-1's one could claim a 1996-2006 "vintage" rather than what most here conceptually believe vintage to mean the early 1995-1996 versions.

Best for members here would be an internal version system we use to depict which "vintage" we are referring to.

For instance, I own a pair of "vintage" RS-1's from the first batch made. These RS-1's have what appear to be HP-1000 drivers tweaked out, richly stained cups but not REALLY dark ones. The cups have buttons and the headband is brown not black. Also, the lettering is gold all around, not silver. These came in the first type wooden box, there were two made.

The second "version" would be the RS-1's with what seems to be different drivers (at least from the markings/colourings) but otherwise look and sound the same from all reports at Headwize and early on Head-fi. They too came in a box, the second model box.

The third "version" sees the removal of the box, a black headband and silver lettering. The cups have buttons and the driver markings seem to be identical to the v2 RS-1's.

The fourth "version" sees the removal of the buttons on the cups but otherwise all else is the same. Sonically, for me, I'm still discerning any differences between v1 and v4, let alone v3 and v4.

I hope that folks that see a v3 and think that these are really really old and may well enjoy that miracle of mystical magic that comes from the v1 and v2 RS-1's (if there is any...) may well want to know that the tag "vintage" and the mark-up they see on these forums and Ebay might simply be a grab at one's ignorance or gullibility.

By most accounts, if v3 = v4 in all aspects save for the buttons being removed (which is the case) then the v4's should sound better because they have better airflow and less possible problems of resonance from the glued on wooden button. But that is just my opinion as well as some others who are thinking from the physics side of things. Again, I'm still listening myself to decide if there is anything different between v3 and v4 sonically. As for my immediate understanding of the v1 vs. v3 and v4, yes there is a difference, but is it only because they are older and have many hours on them vs. the newer models I'm evaluating? Perhaps so! Others completely disagree with me and even go so far as to claim the v1 and v2 RS-1's to be on par with the very best headphones ever made. I've always felt this way but now others who normally wouldn't enjoy the Grado house sound are claiming such things too. Quite incredible!
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 2:05 AM Post #2 of 81

Duggeh

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My personal rule would be that if you haven't got the wooden box, it's not a vintage one. If its the wooden box and the Joe Grado drivers, then its a Joe Grado RS-1. Between vintage and current is the "old design".
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 2:13 AM Post #3 of 81

Zanth

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I missed that old avatar
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 2:16 AM Post #4 of 81

Killercrush

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Duggeh /img/forum/go_quote.gif
My personal rule would be that if you haven't got the wooden box, it's not a vintage one. If its the wooden box and the Joe Grado drivers, then its a Joe Grado RS-1. Between vintage and current is the "old design".


What the hell?!
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 2:58 AM Post #5 of 81

wolf18t

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For me vintage means long OOP product in relation the product history. In the case of RS-1 I consider the first gen brown band early 90's "Vintage" RS-1.

For the same reason I would call the first gen 1953-1962 Corvette vintage but not 68-82 gen.

That's a fact recently a lot of sellers tried to higher the market value of buttonned, serial or no serial RS-1 with "vintage" tag, "more beautiful" dark red (it's subjective!) or even claiming they have A LOT better sound.

I have never heard any earlier version other than my current buttonless RS-1 so I can't comment on sound difference. But I know that most people is trying to give their own HP a higher value for whatever reason. Maybe that's the real reason why some ear so much difference...
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 3:02 AM Post #6 of 81

Zanth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wolf18t /img/forum/go_quote.gif
For me vintage means long OOP product in relation the product history. In the case of RS-1 I consider the first gen brown band early 90's "Vintage" RS-1.


Same here.

Quote:

That's a fact recently a lot of sellers tried to higher the market value of buttonned, serial or no serial RS-1 with "vintage" tag, "more beautiful" dark red (it's subjective!) or even claiming they have better sound.


Agreed. It bothers me thinking that some new person would come along thinking the buttoned RS-1's sound better and something that is about 2 years old or so would be considered "vintage" and marked up. Gross activities but I suppose buyer beware must always rule a sale.
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 3:23 AM Post #8 of 81

vcoheda

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at a meet a while back, there were a bunch of RS1s.

* the oldest pair had a black headband, gold lettering, italic font and came in a grado wooden box.

* a less old (but still old) pair had a tan headband and came in a grado wooden box.

* another pair - but newer than the previous two - was the older model with buttons. this pair with black headband came in the cardboard box.

* then there are the new pairs and current model with no buttons.

to me, only the first two are vintage. the third pair is not vintage but simply the older model with buttons. the vintage pairs sound better than the older model with buttons or the current model without buttons. vintage is not just any pair other than the current model, as some use it in FS ads. vintage are only specific models - the really older pairs such as described above - and signify a headphone that has better sound than other models in the series.
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 3:29 AM Post #11 of 81

yaluen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jellojoe /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have no problems with sellers calling anything vintage. IMHO, it should be up to the buyer to check the validity of any such claims.


Yes, like with Coke Classic or iPod Classic. For some reason, there's an attraction to "vintage" and it's being used as a marketing ploy too much. Why don't we just leave it at RS-1 and then post pics? mmmmmm pics...
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 3:32 AM Post #12 of 81

RockCity

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I don't consider the button RS-1's with black headband vintage. I think sellers use the buzz term to describe the woodwork of the cans rather than the sound. Supposedly, vintage literally means the wood looks dark from aging, whereas the current RS-1's are lighter in complexion. Just another hook word to describe some beautiful cans out there.

On a related topic, does the "Reference Series Headphones" typeface bother any of you? I mean we know they're headphones. The nine-letter word just seems incredibly redundant.
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 3:42 AM Post #13 of 81

panda

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ive heard a brown headband dark wooded gold letteres rs1 side by side with my own set light colored with buttons black headband silver letters and sounded identical. most of these friggin myths are dumb but it's a community full of lemmings so hype sells... it doesn't bother me that other people buy at inflated prices, but obviously it bugs the crap out of me if i'm ever trying to buy something and get subjected to jacked up prices because there are no other sources.
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 3:47 AM Post #14 of 81

kg21

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I think it has to have the brown headband unless it is the Joe grado one like Zanth has, there are no "semi-vintage" with brown headbands that I have heard of, all of them are really old and most come with the wooden box(maybe they all did but ppl lost or sold some of them?). There is a general consensus that the real vintage ones sound different and better than any new one which is probably why most people throw the word vintage in there whenever an rs-1 is atleast 5 years old. I would definitely pay more for one from the first batch like Zanth has, but I think it is ridiculous that even the ones with the brown headband got jacked up in price so much. I think I saw some on head-fi going for 1k+ USD, maybe 1.2.
 
Oct 28, 2008 at 4:24 AM Post #15 of 81

Duggeh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Killercrush /img/forum/go_quote.gif
What the hell?!


By my understanding there was a period of transition between Joe and Johns management of the company, it was during this time that the wooden housed RS-1 was developed and also during this time that the HP1000 driver was supplanted. The HP1000 driver is synonymous with Joe Grado and his sound, and so in the manner that SR100 and such headphones which have the HP1000 driver are distinct so must be the very small number of RS-1 that shipped with the HP1000 drivers. The number is so small and the product so different from wht became the RS-1 true, that I think it apt to use a distinct nomenclature.
 

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