Grado SR325e

Open On-Ear Headphones

Made in USA

Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

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Grado SR325e

Grado SR325e (32Ω, 12.6 oz./358 g without cord, about $295) bigger. I'd get mine at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

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July 2017   Grado reviews   audio   headphones   tube amps   all reviews

 

Introduction

Top   Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

Grado?   Good   Missing

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The Grado SR325e feature smooth, natural sound and natural, unboomy bass. They are ideal for serious, extended eyes-closed music enjoyment.

While other headphones may boost the bass and color midrange to impress the innocent, you can't get more musical accuracy than these. The SR325e reproduce sound as it was recorded, with nothing added and nothing taken away.

The SR325e are the perfect choice for people who want an open headphone for natural, uncolored sound with good mechanics and materials.

This is a headphone designed for reproducing music accurately for people who care. It has no remote controls and no microphone; this isn't an iPhone headphone to wear while making phone calls.

 

Who is Grado?

Grado is the real deal. Grado Labs is a family-owned company founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1953 to make phono cartridges for turntables. They've been making first-class headphones for decades, long before it became the "in" thing.

Grado makes every set of headphones by hand in their building in Brooklyn. The Grado family has been in this building for over 100 years.

The reason casual consumers may not have heard of them is because they're so good that they don't have to advertise. People who know audio and know quality know them, so they'd rather spend their money making better products than trying to advertise to people who probably wouldn't know quality anyway. Do Ferrari, Bugatti or Bentley advertise? Of course not. Do Honda and Toyota have to advertise? You tell me.

I've been familiar with Grado since the 1970s. They've been a player in high-end audio forever, having innovated and patented numerous major advances in phono cartridges.

I always respect any company where the man who owns it puts his name on every product. The Grados are now in their third generation, still making their products by hand in the same building in Brooklyn.

Bravo!

 

Good

● Smooth, detailed natural sound.

● Smooth, tight, unboosted, non-resonant and non-boomy bass. Every note is distinct.

● Very sensitive; no amplifier needed. Just plug into your phone or iPad and you're done.

● Easy to get replacement foam ear cushions if you need them in twenty years.

● Made in USA 🇺🇸.

 

Missing

● No bass boost, so can sound thinner at lower levels than other more colored headphones.

● No remote control.

● No microphone.

 

Specifications

Top   Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

 

Type

Open-air, on-ear dynamic headphones.

No remote control or microphone.

"Ultra-high purity, long-crystal copper (UHPLC) voice coil wire."

 

Impedance

32 Ω.

 

Frequency Response

18 ~ 24,000 Hz.

 

Sensitivity

Rated 99.8 dB SPL at 1 mW.

1 mW at 32 Ω is 179 mV (-14.95 dBV), so 99.8 dB at -14.95 dBV is 114.75 dB SPL at 1 volt input.

 

Cord

5' cord.

3.5mm stereo plug.

Fat, round soft 8-conductor cable.

 

Quality

Drivers matched ± 0.05 dB.

Made in USA.

 

Weight

12.6 oz. (358 g) without cord.

 

Included

Grado SR325e

Grado SR325e box. bigger.

Headphones.

¼″ adapter.

 

Price, USA

July 2017: $295.

Grado SR325e box

Grado SR325e box. bigger.

Box size: 2.0 x 8.0 x 9.2 inches (50mm x 234 x 202 millimeters).

 

Performance

Top   Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

 

Overall   Sound   Bass   Ergonomics

Sensitivity   Isolation   Leakage

Mechanical Quality

 

Overall

Performance          top

These are very natural sounding headphones.

They are a typical American product: designed to work great, with all the emphasis on how well it works and very little emphasis on packaging. Unlike the Chinese-made rubbish that floods the market with fancy packaging and glitzy-looking headphones that have little to no quality on the inside, these Grados put all the quality inside where it counts, and don't come in a fancy box or use showy parts on the outside. With Grado, who don't advertise either, all the quality is on the inside.

 

Sound

Performance          top

The SR325e have nothing but smooth and natural sound. I could listen to these forever; there's nothing out of place. Nothing is emphasized and the bass is pure and unboosted.

They have loads of detail. You'll here everything that's part of the music, and everything like chair creeks, breathing and page turns that isn't part of the music but's in the recording anyway.

With no peaks in their response, there's nothing to hide other sounds.

They just sound like the music, never calling attention to any sound of their own. They have lush, full delicious concert sound.

Piano sounds magnificent.

Good recordings sound the best, and bad recordings will sound bad. What you hear is what you've got.

The SR325e are open, detailed and clean. Every instrument and every note is distinct — especially in the bass, where many other headphones boost it with resonance which emphasizes some notes while hiding others.

The sound doesn't change as moved around your head, they just get softer if they're out of place. This is excellent: it means that they'll sound good for everyone and that you won't have to worry about adjusting them just right.

 

Bass

Bass is completely natural and unboosted. It simply rolls off below a certain point with no peak or resonance — exactly as it should be. These are not at all boomy.

As a bass player I love boosted bass, but these headphones are unusual in having natural, not boosted bass.

Many people find boosted bass more fun, and if this is you, these aren't the best headphones for you.

Due to our ear's natural lack of bass response at low volume levels, if you want more bass, just play them louder and you'll hear more.

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

These have lots of pressure against the ear, which helps take pressure off the unpadded harp.

The earpieces have plenty of freedom to move so they sit perfectly on your ears.

The SR325e stay on your head if you move around because of the pressure against your ears, but try not to move around too much because the plug is big and could get bent of you banged it into anything or yanked the cord sideways.

The sound and the comfort make it easy to enjoy the SR325e for hours and hours. You'll not want to take them off.

 

Sensitivity

Performance          top

These are 32 Ω headphones with loads of sensitivity when plugged directly into portable devices.

I only run the volume about halfway up enjoying movies on an iPad.

For music I also only run the volume about halfway up, and even for quiet sections of classical music there is plenty of sensitivity when plugged into an iOS device.

As Grado cautions in the box, these sound so smooth and are so sensitive a far bigger problem than not having enough volume is that it's so easy to play them so darn loud for so long that you really can damage your hearing; be careful!

 

Isolation

Performance          top

These are open headphones and do not muffle outside sound.

You can hear right through them.

 

Leakage

Performance          top

Like all open headphones, just as much sound comes out the back as comes out the front to your ears.

People sitting next to you will hear your music; these are for use in quiet environments alone, not for use in a quiet office sitting next to people.

 

Mechanical Quality

Performance          top

The SR325e have powder-coated aluminum housings, a top-grain leather headband and I think a stainless-steel harp holding the two sides together.

It has a fat, fixed round plastic cable with a gold-colored 3.5mm plug and gold-colored ¼″ adapter.

 

Compared

Top   Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

These SR325e are for people who deserve a well-made headphone with great sound. If you're on a budget and don't mind almost all-plastic construction, the SR80e sound almost the same for just $99.

These SR325e feature a top-grain leahter headband, while the SR80e have a thin plastic headband.

These SR325e have metal housings, while the SR80e use plastic. The SR80e weigh a little less.

These SR325e have drivers matched to ± 0.05 dB, while the SR80e are matched to ± 0.1 dB, which is fine. Just be careful; the SR60e also sound similar for even less money than the SR80e, but the SR60e drivers aren't matched. So long as you're witin ± 0.5 dB, you're good, so either the SR325e or SR80e will have dead-center balance.

These SR325e sound a litlte brighter than the SR80e because the SR325e have open cushions. If you prefer the slightly softer sound of the SR80e but want the build quality of these SR325e, you can get and use the SR80e replacement cushions on your SR325e.

To get similar sound to these Grados, you're looking at German state of the art. I find the AKG K812 and AKG K702 less smooth and more expensive than these Grados; the AKG have more midrange boost.

 

Usage

Top   Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

These are so sensitive that there is no need for special amplifiers. Just plug them into anything and you're good. The headphone amplifiers built into iOS devices (or Apple's Lightning Audio Adapter) are better than most other more expensive dedicated headphone amplifiers, so plug into your Apple device and you're good.

Likewise, these sound great plugged into any real HiFi gear like my Apt preamp's headphone jack.

These don't emphasize bass, so if you want to hear more bass, play them louder and it will sound like there's more bass.

They sound awful with your hands cupped over the earpieces; don't do that.

If you put these on in the dark, feel for the pivots to be on the on rear to be sure you have left and right on the correct sides.

The cord and especially the plug handle is large. This is great for use indoors with fixed equipment, but be very careful if you move around or are using these with an iPad since the big plug handle will work like a lever making it much easier to break something if you hit or knock the plug.

 

Recommendations

Top   Intro   Specifications   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations

The Grado SR325e are great for all kinds of popular, jazz, classical, chamber, baroque, piano and vocal music.

They have no bass boost, so they may be less entertaining for pop music. They sound natural and don't let the rhythm section assault me as I often prefer. For pop music you may find yourself playing them louder to be able to hear as much bass as you want.

These are flawless for all kinds of classical music, with smooth and natural sound.

The SR325e are ideal for serious eyes-closed listening in private. They're not intended for use while jogging.

They are great if you want to be able to hear through them, for instance, if you need to hear what's going on around you as you listen.

I'd get mine at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield to ensure you're getting authentic product. I can't vouch for other sources.

Enjoy!

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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04 July 2017