Grado Headphones Derry NH
Home Audio, Design & Installation
Acoustical Design, Furnishings, Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Multi-Room Audio
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- Marc Foster, CEDIA Certified Professional EST II- Jeff Mixon, CEDIA Certified Professional EST III (Advanced EST), CEDIA Certified Professional EST II
POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 3
as reviewed by Carlo Flores and John Brazier
Audio is an expensive hobby, so its nice when the money invested yields a product with an attractive exterior. The Grado RS (Reference Series) 2 headphones are absolutely gorgeous. After opening the box and seeing their rounded mahogany chambers and soft leather headband, I sought out the closest mirror. I wear headphones in public, and these made me look like a cross between a mod kid and a 40s-era radio operator. They make women look like Princess Leia. A big thumbs up on aesthetics.
Grados arent for everyone when it comes to comfort. The RS-2s have foam pads that are hard for the first week or two of use, but they do soften and conform to the ears. They fit comfortably, but pressure on the ears, even after shaping the headband, annoys after an houra good excuse for a coffee refill or smoke break. A few minutes are enough of a break for the next album. The over-the-ear design of the pads leaves much to be desired, but placement of the drivers is critical to the sound, and is a tradeoff Im willing to make.
Grados house sound is all over these headphonesfat and bloomy, with something groovy in the bass lines. Grados Signature line of headphones corresponds to the sound of their Prestige cartridges, with the RS-2s echoing the Grado Platinum. Having a woodsy coloration isnt necessarily negative. While these headphones are advertised as one of the best without amplification (only stepping aside for the megabuck RS-1s, according to Grado), their performance rises significantly with some milli-watts behind them. Separation increases, and theres more slam with any of my amps when compared to my Sony portable or the AH! Njoe Tjoebs headphone jack. However, none of the amps I had on hand complemented the RS-2s coloration and character, either leading to a bloated bass response or, when driven by tubes, an excessively thick midrange. The closest to success was a CHA-47 amp built by a moderator ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) of the internets leading headphone message board ( www.head-fi.org ) and designed by Chu Moy and others at Headwize ( www.headwize.com ), though I always had the feeling that the headphones were holding something back. A follow-up with the RA-1 amp designed for the Grado Reference Series may be in order. I switched between the Arcam Alpha 9 and my vinyl rig for sources when indoors and the Sony dej-220 portable when on the go.
Give the RS-2s a sweet, simple Fender guitar (a la Jonathan Richmans solo works) or a bass line from Sly and The Family Stone, and they sound refreshingly organic and rich, with believable decay and roundness. Push Wes Montgomery through them, and they convey a sense of nuance that leads to jaw-dropping involvement at times. These headphones, when they found the tune, force...