NOTE: This is an in-progress review of the Grado Prestige Series Model SR225e Headphones. I’ll be updating it periodically.
Check out Grado Labs here.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS (2/25/16)
They’re made in Brooklyn! In the same place where Joseph Grado opened the factory in 1955.
They have a retro feeling that’s really cool. The grill gives you a glimpse of the components inside. The headband is really thin, with barely any padding. I’m curious to see if they’ll feel light over time or if I’ll want to find myself adding some padding. The cord is the thickest cord I’ve seen on headphones. It’s about the width of a mic or instrument cable and feels solid.
These headphones fit different than any other headphones I’ve worn. For my head, they are right in between on-ear and over-ear design. They have foam ear pads that feel different than the usual pseudo-leather ear pads you might find. Not good or bad, just different.
I turned to some audiobooks, some recent music on a playlist and then some reference tracks. The first word that comes to mind is “Open.” It sounds open. And technically, it is literally an open back design. But the audio sounds open as well. I can’t think of a better word to describe that aspect.
They are clear and crisp, and there is great separation in the instruments. And music sounds great at low volume too. It seems to me that the timbre of brass instruments and electric guitars especially shines. Maybe it’s simply that the headphones translate nuance well.
I gave my wife a listen and her first word was “Crisp!”
Sharing again (2/26/16)
When I let my parents have a listen, my dad remarked about the clarity and presence. My mom said they were wonderful.
Out and about
I took them out for a walk and listened to an audiobook as I walked through the neighborhood. The open back design made it great for keeping awareness of my surroundings.
I also want to point out that the cabling does great whether you have it come down in front of your head or behind. In the case of walking outside it seemed better to have it fall back and then I put the extra foot of cabling in my pocket with my phone. Even with such a small amount of cabling, I’m usually trying to carefully wrap it with the over-under method.
Live sound (2/28/16)
I took them to my Sunday live sound gig.
For live sound it’s typical to monitor with a standard closed back set of headphones, but figured I’d give it a whirl with the Grados. They surprised me. I thought the sound leakage would be an issue in being able to clearly hear, but they worked great. I was able to keep a feel for the room while adjusting/listening to the specific instruments or mixes. While I’m sure that the bleed did affect me in some way, it didn’t feel like an issue. The other thing that stood out is the low ear fatigue even when I (very briefly) cranked the headphone amp to max.