Grado Headphones El Monte CA

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Mac Car Stereo
(626) 961-7999
15138 Valley Blvd
City of Industry, CA
Car Audio

Marks Audio Video
(626) 338-0400
5313 2Nd Street
Baldwin Park, CA
Best Buy
(626) 305-1839
1470 Mountain Ave
Duarte, CA
Best Buy
3415 E Foothill Blvd
Pasadena, CA
GNP Audio Video
(626) 577-7767
1254 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA
Bose Showcase Store
(626) 821-9362
Westfield Santa Anita Mall,400 South Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA
Brooks Berdan Ltd.
(626) 359-9131
110 West Olive Avenue
Monrovia, CA
Home Audio

CH Automation & Theatre Systems, Inc.
(626) 943-8286
812 S.Date AveUnit A
Alhambra, CA
Audio / Video, Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Multi-Room Audio, Multi-Room Controls
AMX, Audio Access, Bay Audio, Cardas, Crestron, Definitive Tech, Integra, Mark Levinson, Martin Logan, Revel, Runco, Stewartscreen, T+A, Transparent, Tributaries, VTL, Wadia, Xantech
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- Kelvin Ng, CEDIA Certified Professional EST II

DND Signature
(818) 348-1113
22133 Del Valle St.
Pasadena, CA
Audio Command
(310) 444-3882
1527 Pontius Ave.
Pasadena, CA

RS-2 headphones


grado labs

RS-2 headphones

as reviewed by Carlo Flores and John Brazier


one.jpg (6551 bytes)Audio is an expensive hobby, so it’s 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 aren’t 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 hour—a 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 I’m willing to make.

Grado’s house sound is all over these headphones—fat and bloomy, with something groovy in the bass lines. Grado’s Signature line of headphones corresponds to the sound of their Prestige cartridges, with the RS-2s echoing the Grado Platinum. Having a woodsy coloration isn’t 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 there’s more slam with any of my amps when compared to my Sony portable or the AH! Njoe Tjoeb’s headphone jack. However, none of the amps I had on hand complemented the RS-2’s 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 ( ) of the internet’s leading headphone message board ( ) and designed by Chu Moy and others at Headwize ( ), 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 Richman’s 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...

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