You probably have not heard of the company Grado unless you how at least a bit about high-end headphones or the audiophile community. However this company has produced many of the best dynamic headphones to date and is raved by many audiophiles. Most purchase the SR60, which was introduced in 1993 as their first headphones before moving on to different brands or higher models of Grados.
The SR60i is a new model and an upgrade from the very well known SR60’s which design hasn’t changed since 1993. The SR60i’s are different as they feature a new plastic housing and a thicker cable. However, in terms of aesthetics, they still look very old school. The price for the sound quality produced by these headphones makes it a grab. They have won multiple awards for their sound quality.
These headphones are open which enables sound to leak out of the headphones while listening to it. Preferably not meant to be used when on the subway unless you want people to rock with your tracks … or get offended instead. Often people ask, how much do they leak? Yes they leak, a LOT, but not enough to leak past walls so private listening in one’s room should be fine. The open back characteristics of the headphones are one of the reasons they sound so fantastic as they are meant to reduce resonance and give clearer bass.
They are made of plastic with a vinyl headband; pricier models have the leather headband, they are made in such a way that the headband does not pull hairs out of your head. These can be folded flat for easy storage. They are supra aural and come with large foam ear pads which are replaceable. With the Grado Company, everything is about the sound quality and the headphones so the packaging and everything else is disregarded. Well they certainly have their priorities right but the headphones are actually packaged in what seems to be a pizza box with foam in it. They are a bit big and not suitable for travel or as a portable headphone but some people love these cans so much that those boundaries do not matter. These headphones can sound better than headphones from other brands twice the price though many headphone companies are catching up pretty fast. Personally I have never heard sound this good coming out from headphones for this price range.
In terms of durability, these Grados will last a lifetime. They come with a 1-year warranty but to hell with that, as many people have had their Grados with them for 7 years and counting. If the plastic gets cracked, just send it over to Grado and they will send you a replacement part. And when the pads get worn out, just buy new pads. The cable is beefy and looks more like a miniaturized bungee jump cord than a headphone cable, definitely made to last. The usual 3.5mm jack and 6.3 mm adaptor is provided, both gold plated. If I were to make a complaint, it would be that the cable is a tad too long and the fact that the cups can swivel 360 degrees and on and on causing the cable could get twisted too much. Other than that, you would have to be a pretty rough to break these headphones.
The cons of these headphones are not major but should be stated. The open ear design means that you may disturb some people if say you were listening in an airplane or the subway. Or noisy environments can even disturb you as sound travels in and out from the headphones with ease. Best way to use these is in your personal workspace of audio setup in a room. Less people present, the better. Design wise is a personal thing but some people either love the old school design or hate it, much like marmite. Their cable is a tad too long as mentioned before but can be recabled if one really cannot bear the length. They are not meant to be portable and the fact that they are supraaural means that problems with comfort with these headphones arise quite a lot. My advice is to actually try these headphones in a store before purchasing it and not just a five-minute test, wear it for at least 10 minutes to actually see if the comfort affects you. But not to worry, there are many mods in forums to increase the comfort of the Grados, some even as far as modding them until they are circumaural. Lastly, due to its aggressive nature, they can be a bit too much for some people who love a laid back sound instead of the in your face nature of the Grados.
Driving these headphones is not a problem. They will work with any portable device with ease and with absolutely no problem form a computer or CD player. Having an addition of an amp and/or DAC will increase the sound quality, but not to worry as they sound awesome on their own.
They are known for their aggressiveness and fast treble, nice bass and detailed midrange. Perfect for rock music and decent on other genres. Especially if you are a rock fan, these headphones have an edge. The only genre that the Grados are not superb with are classical where most would like to hear a wide soundstage. They can be revealing and are not laid-back at all. These headphones make you feel like you are on the stage with the band playing instead of on the seats at the second row. The kick that people get from listening with these headphones make people absolutely love them. Their midrange is neutral with great-extended bass. In terms of treble, there is a very good clarity with coloration with make these fun to listen too. Their soundstage is narrow and it has decent instrument separation. However the bright nature of the headphones can cause some to have a bit of headphone fatigue. I personally have no issues in that department. Their sound signature is very warm and tracks will feel very whole and complete. If the bass in the headphones are not enough for you, up the ladder of Grado’s range is the SR80i with extended bass. The sound of the headphones is very smooth.
Overall, these headphones are a bargain and are a pair of headphones everyone should consider and give a listen too.