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Back_from_Bose's picture
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Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved
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I recently upgraded my Grado SR80 headphones to Alessandro Grado MS-1 (after a slight accident) and whilst I enjoy the sound from both SR80 and MS-1 find that after an hour of listening the top of my head and my ears become uncomfortable.

After surfing Grado results across the net (mainly in the mod crazy US) I came across Turbulent Labs who offer replacement leather headbands.

See http://www.turbulentlabs.com/grado-onyx-manta/

I ordered the Onyx Manta leather headband at $50 USD including delivery to the UK from Malaysia (approx. 1 week).

This headband has transformed the comfort and cannot understand why Grado do not use padded leather as standard.

Side by side the sorry sight of the original skinny Grado pleather band is pitiful versus the Turbulent Labs genuine padded leather offering.

Turbulent have a range of excellent videos online showing fitting etc and the buying experience has been very pleasing.

Taking comfort further and attempting to solve the ear comfort issue I have also taken delivery of the Grado G cushion ear pads (meant for the GS1000).

I found the S cushions that came with the MS-1 terrible (scratchy/itchy, making my ears very hot quickly and also muffling the sound).

I have used L cushions on my SR80 for a few years and whilst better than the S cushions they were not that comfortable but.....

The G cushions (John Grado will no be happy as he says they should not be used on the SR range as they change the sound from the original) are very, very comfortable in comparison (also very, very expensive at £50+)

I have found that I have to increase the volume a couple of notches to get the same perceived volume as the L cushions.

I will be doing A/B tests and might swap G and L cushions depending on my listening session but I would recommend both the Turbulent Labs leather headband and Grado G cushions to improve the Grado experience.

Hope this is interesting to someone

Regards



 

 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Back_from_Bose wrote:

 $50 USD including delivery to the UK from Malaysia ...cannot understand why Grado do not use padded leather as standard

I think you've answered your own question here. Considering it is US$100 headphone, the padded leather headband would increase the price significantly.

Stuff.

Anonymous
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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Back_from_Bose wrote:

.....The G cushions............. very, very expensive at £50+............

Hilarious.

So, not only do Grado charge DOUBLE the U.S. price for their products on sale in the U.K., but it is necessary to then spend an additional £50+ to make them comfortable enough to actually wear them....!

To think that some people actually recommend Grados !

You can pick up a new pair of Grado SR80i 'phones in New York City for around $100 (£64) and at that price they are good value.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-Grado-Prestige-Series-SR80i-Stereo-Headphone-/290885998811?pt=US_Headphones&hash=item43ba2818db

(NY is cheaper than Calif.)

At the laughable prices charged in Rip-Off Britain they are something of a joke and you can do much, much better as far as value-for-money goes.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Grado-SR80i-Headphones-/281070883484?pt=UK_AudioVisualElectronics_HomeAudioHiFi_Headphones&hash=item417121529c

Of course, it could be worse, especially if you bought them in Germany where you would be charged £160 for SR80i 'phones.....

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Grado-Prestige-Series-SR80i-Stereo-Headphone-/230917076618?pt=UK_AudioVisualElectronics_HomeAudioHiFi_Headphones&hash=item35c3baf68a

 

So, just to re-cap: US =  £64

                               UK =  £130

                               D   =   £160

plus an additional £50+ if you should want to wear them.......!

Like I said: Hilarious.

 

 

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RE: : Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Thanks for replies

Cant think of many products that are cheaper in the UK regardless of origin.

Is your issue with rip-off UK prices or Grado in particular?  Even at UK prices they got great reviews by WHF, they would have run out of gold stars at US prices.

Auditioned the B&W P5 but preferred the Grado sound (not comfort though).

I actually do most of my shopping in the States (Hugo Boss, Mont Blanc and Grado to name a few brands that offer huge savings, especially in sales) but not quite the deal it was a few years ago when £1 = nearly $2.

My BMW X5 Msport (made in the States) would have been considerably cheaper State side (such is life).

BMW didnt get the comfort right for me either despite the +£60k price tag and fitted with smaller winter rims and rubber makes for a far more comfortble ride and me happy.

I have found myself using the original Grado L cushions as most listening sessions are +/- 30 mins for 60 mins or longer the G cushions come out.

The leather headand is great though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous
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RE: : Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Back_from_Bose wrote:

Is your issue with rip-off UK prices or Grado in particular?

My issue is primarily with Rip-Off Britain prices, however I particularly dislike companies like Grado, Levi's and others who prevent their US dealers from selling (supplying) their products to the UK in order to protect their Rip-Off Britain pricing policy which is effected by their UK distributors.

Interestingly, Grado do not prevent Allesandro from exporting their product line to the UK and for this reason I find the Alessandro MS series to be much better value for money than Grado SR 'phones.

I agree with you that SR80is invariably get good reviews (although none seem to mention the flimsy build quality.)

http://www.alessandro-products.com/main.php?p=headphones

 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Willie, I agree the Alessandros do seem good value vs standard Grados.

From my own experience over a number of years and many hours of listening I must disagree regarding lack of Grado build quality, (although you are not the first person I have seen raise concerns over build).  They do look flimsy but my Grados have been very reliable and hoping for same from Alessandro MS-1s which are of identical build.  Main improvement would be better materials (i.e. replace pleather with leather headband).

Did you have a bad experience with Grados?  Every brand, even the very best has some quality or reliability  issues, especially on new models.

 

 

Anonymous
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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Back_from_Bose wrote:
....Did you have a bad experience with Grados?  Every brand, even the very best has some quality or reliability  issues, especially on new models......

 

No, not really.

I had a set of SR60s which I was happy with until they developed a fault causing one speaker to go off.  I returned them to the UK distributor (Armour) who replied that they were un-fixable but I could have a brand new set of SR80is for the discounted price of £40.

I had had no comfort problems with the 60s, but I couldn't wear the 80s for longer than 10 mins before they became uncomfortably hot and the pads felt like they were made out of sandpaper.

I complained about this and although Armour sent me some replacement ear pads, they made no difference so I sold them and bought a pair of Goldring 150s. These are very comfortable and I can wear them for hours with no problem.  They don't sound inferior to the Grados and have the added benefit of a detachable lead.

They also appear to be less flimsy than the Grados.

The big disadvantage with the Goldring 150 is it's physical size, but as I don't wear them outside the house, this doesn't matter to me.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on Grado, as Armour were most helpful in their dealings with me even though I had bought the 60s in the States.

 

 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Ok, so you can talk from direct experience of Grado.

The more I think about it the harder it is to justify the price hike for the UK, perhaps we are subsidising the US price?

I have never auditioned any Goldring headphones (but will do for a comarison).

 

 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

I have sr80i and find them perfectly comfortable for use for hours or minutes. I do not recognise your flimsy comments either.  Why would one use replacement parts that the manufacturer, designer, says has an effect on sound quality?   :?

Apple lossless - Netgear Nighthawk - ATV3 - AVI ADM 40.  

AVI ADM 9T used in my wife's system

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Hi relocated,

I assume if you have the Grado SR80i that you have the S cushion pads which are now standard?  I guess every head/ear shape differs hence different comfort experience (I really struggled with S cushions).  The L cushions came as standard on my SR80 a few years ago, unsure why they changed to S cushions for SR60i, SR80i and SR125i but the L cushions do come with SR225i up (is it sound preference, cost cutting or helping differentiate higher grade models?).

The G cushions do change sound and Grado argue it changes how lower range headphones were intended to sound, surely this is personnel preference? Any increased comfort can improve sound perception?  As I sit here tapping on my ipad I have my Grados on with the L cushions originally supplied with my SR80 and never really intended for the MS-1 / SR125i but I can assure you in my experience they are far superior to the S cushions (note my expensive G cushions sit in the drawer) and improve sound and comfort (try them for yourself).

See interesting comments about G cushions on goodcans  http://goodcans.com/HeadphoneStore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=65

"- U.S. Only - Replacement earpads for the Grado GS1000 and PS1000 headphones. Full sized, circumaural, foam. FYI, we've found these earpads do fit most all Grado headphones including SR60 on up. And yes, the "i" versions as well.

G-Cush earpads on other Grado headphones... By Bill K.

Over the past dozen plus years, one of our specialties has been selling affordable audiophile quality headphones to those not familiar with the audiophile world. We've have been very pleased with the positive feedback we have received. And so much of that positive feedback has circled around discovering Grado's audiophile quality headphones, at fairly affordable prices. But one source of frustration has been the supra-aural earpad design found on most Grados, (earpad on the ear rather than around the ear). While Grados are light in weight, and many have no issues comfort wise with the mid sized earpads sitting directly on their ears, others simply can't stand it. They end up purchasing other brands of headphones simply because they prefer a larger, circumaural earpad, (even though they might have preferred the sound of the Grado). They simply don't understand why they can't have an affordable Grado with circumaural earpads?

Possible Solution: A few years ago, Grado came out with their GS1000 headphones. Grado's first circumaural headphone. But at a thousand bucks, that's a pretty spendy proposition for audiophile newbies, (and for true audiophiles for that matter). But guess what... the earpad that comes with the GS1000, the G-Cush, fits most other Grado's as well, (SR60, SR60i, SR80, SR80i, SR125, SR125i, SR225, SR225i, SR325, SR325i, SR325is, RS2, RS2i, PS500, RS1, RS1i). Though the G-Cush is rather spendy for a thick ring of foam, it does allow you to transform your affordable Grado into a circumaural headphone.

Grado's Stance: Grado seems to contend that the G-Cush earpads are only meant for the GS1000 and the PS1000. They don't feel the G-Cush is a good match for any other Grado headphone. They have indicated putting the G-Cush on any other Grado changes the sound from that which it was intended.

Now our thoughts: Grado is a great company. We love their products, their support, and their professionalism. But, they are a true audiophile company, (virtually the only one around making headphones). And from what I understand, John Grado does most of the headphone designing, (and tinkering). I think John must possess golden ears, (or very well trained listening skills). And I'm sure he hears little subtle nuances many others don't necessarily hear, (at least without some effort)? I on the other hand have always considered myself a borderline audiophile. Sometimes I struggle to hear such little nuances, (like the very subtle difference between the SR80i and the SR125i?). I have to use a familiar, quality recording and listen over and over again till I finally get it? And, the practical side in me says, "if you struggle that hard to hear the minimal improvement in sound quality, is it that big of a deal... for me anyways?" Yes, I know making little changes can affect the sound. After all, most Grado's use practically the same transducers, (the spendier ones more closely matched than the lesser priced ones). But the design and material of the body really does change the sound. And yes, the earpads change the sound too... But to be fair, the majority of us don't have golden ears nor have we attained great listening skills. In other words, we can be talking about subtle differences here that not everyone can easily hear!

I'm sure John tunes his headphones just the way he likes. And changing the earpads changes the sound, (a bit). But I personally don't think changing the sound from the original intention is necessarily a bad thing. Being in the audio industry myself since the mid-80's, I've learned everybody has different tastes, different hearing, and different equipment. One person with good ears can totally disagree with another person with good ears... and a third person with only normal ears might disagree with both of them. Just depends. As for transforming your Grado into a circumaural headphone with a G-Cush, the only way to know for sure if you are going to like the sound is to try it out for yourself. Putting the G-Cush on your Grado is not a permanent attachment. It's easy to put on most Grados. And equally easy to take it off. I even know some people interchange the ear cushions depending on the type of music they are listening to, (L-Cush and G-Cush).

Personally, I like the G-Cush on my Grados. I can listen for longer periods of time. I like the slightly larger sound stage. My ears don't hear much loss of detail, (if any?). FYI, it may take a little bit more volume output from your sound source, (not much really). So you might think twice about the G-Cush if your source is a portable player and you're already turning the volume up close to 100%.

Hope this helps some. To some people, comfort is just as big an issue as sound quality and they simply prefer circumaural earpads to supra-aural earpads. Since Grado has given us no affordable circumaural headphones as a choice, putting the G-Cush on an affordable Grado is currently our only choice, (and still a way better choice sound quality wise than switching to most any another brand). In the end, it's your ears and your musical preferences that count!"


I do agree regarding 'flimsy' comment as in my experience Grados are durable.

Anonymous
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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

relocated wrote:
.....Why would one use replacement parts that the manufacturer, designer, says has an effect on sound quality? ......

Errrrrr,  to improve the comfort to the point where it is possible to use the 'phones for longer than ten minutes per listening session?

"Flimsy"  Dictionary definition = 'Lacking solidity or strength'  which appears to perfectly sum up the Grado SR range from my experience with them.

 


 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

To get Grado's to fit your head properly you are supposed to bend the headband to fit the shape of yor head, this helps with the pressure on the ears. 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

eggontoast wrote:

To get Grado's to fit your head properly you are supposed to bend the headband to fit the shape of yor head, this helps with the pressure on the ears. 

eggsontoast

Just tried my SR80s vs my MS-1s with Turbulent padded leather headband and no amount of bending/shaping of original Grado headband is comparible to the new headband comfort/fit (would have saved me a few £s).

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

No I agree, that crappy plastic headband on the SR80's is er, crap. But the bending of the headband does help with them setting you ears on fire Wink

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

eggontoast wrote:

No I agree, that crappy plastic headband on the SR80's is er, crap. But the bending of the headband does help with them setting you ears on fire Wink

My egg shaped head probably doesn't help!?  Wink

 

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RE: Grado SR headphone comfort - Solved

Thank goodness to find this thread. I thought ,given the accolades heaped on the SR80s , the discomfort I feel after a few minutes must be down to my delicate ears. Likewise, they scratch the ears and then set fire to them. Terrible. I prefer to wear a pair of Sennheisers I got free with my WHF subscription.

Tim

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