Grado Labs, high end headphones straight outta Brooklyn
Grado headphones have the headphone hi-fi community divided in two. There are those that absolutely love all of Grado's line and wouldn't own another pair. Then there are those who prefer the sound of Sennheiser or other high end quality headphones and they'd never own Grados. The reason for such sharp division is probably in the way that Grado's headphones reproduce sound, with a slightly expanded middle high range. This brings out that most common range in human hearing around 10Khz, reproducing most styles of music sound as if you're hearing every little detail. The effect is especially popular with fans of rock music and country, or anything that emphasizes guitar.
Grado's headphones sound as if they were made to bring out every little detail in the strum of a guitar. Grado's headphones have a dedicated following but they're not for everyone. They have a style that is all their own, looking like old school over the head cans that your dad might have tucked away in the basement. Their simple industrial design on the outside may belie the incredible quality of their drivers and open housing. Grado's headphones are made with an open design, so besides reproducing bass very well, they also leak a tremendous amount of sound. If you're in a situation where you may easily disturb people near you with noisy headphones, these might not be the right choice.
The SR60s are Grado's most popular headphones. These are Grado's budget model at the bottom of their "Prestige Series" and can be found at around $70. They've been chosen as the best headphone for the iPod by a number of opinion polls and electronics publications. There seems to be an uncanny relation to the headphone jack on the iPod- for some reason it loves Grado SR60s and makes them sound as good as any expensive headphone amp. This is because the SR60s are relatively easy to power up with smaller efficient drivers. The bass response is fantastic- as they're an open design of over the ear headphones it's easier for them to reproduce bass. Then there is Grado's well established ability to reproduce the mid range quite nicely, giving the SR60s a fine balance.
Grado's SR225s are heralded by many as the best headphone you'll ever need. They look similar to the SR60 only with bigger housings to enclose the larger driver from their own SR325. The 225s are designed as audiophile headphones with drivers matched to .05db. The voice coils are made from Grado's own ultra-high purity, long crystal, oxygen-free copper. The 225s perfect that distinct Grado sound, putting the bounce into your music when it really gets moving. They excel at up tempo- head bobbing pure enjoyment listening. In fact the 325s, Grado's higher end headphones, only change one thing from the 225, aluminum housings. Adding aluminum housings gives them a solid strength that can help slightly with bass extensions.
A pair of Grado's cans can be found on the head of anyone who really cares more about serious sound quality than about superficial looks. That in itself gives Grado a kind of coolness. Their old style geeky look will show the world that you're a person of substance over style.