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Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

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NosebleedHiFi's picture
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Hi all,  hello or goodbye

I have the What HiFi Award winner, the Grado SR80's but have heard that they are not ideally suited for Classical Music.  Their soundstage -- depth and width and instrument separation -- is sorely lacking apparently.

Have I possibly made a mistake purchasing these?  Am I missing out on the FULL ORCHESTRAL EFFECTCrying

Love to hear what others think and if there might be a better option for me.  AKG 550s?  Sennheisers?  

I listen to both symphonies and chamber/solo music.

Thanks! 

PS -- These Grados are also very poorly made.  I had both my cans fall off their metal stems with under 12 hours of listening.  Quite shocking.  But not an infrequent issue apparently.

 

 

 

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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

NosebleedHiFi wrote:

........These Grados are also very poorly made............not an infrequent issue apparently.

 

Indeed Grados suffer from poor build quality but they are very cheap to buy in the USA where SR80is sell for £60 (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_7?url=search-alias%3Delectronic...)

Grados are very poor value for money if bought in Rip-Off Britain where the cost is more than double that of the USA (£130+) due to the greed of the importers and tax authorities. hello or goodbye

 

 

 

 

 

 

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chebby's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

NosebleedHiFi wrote:

PS -- These Grados are also very poorly made.  I had both my cans fall off their metal stems with under 12 hours of listening.  Quite shocking.  But not an infrequent issue apparently.

Tell me about it!

My SR60is should have had a tube of superglue supplied with them as standard.

Very nice sounding tat.

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NosebleedHiFi's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

BOBAD@sky.com wrote:

Indeed Grados suffer from poor build quality but they are very cheap to buy in the USA where SR80is sell for £60 (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_7?url=search-alias%3Delectronic...)

Grados are very poor value for money if bought in Rip-Off Britain where the cost is more than double that of the USA (£130+) due to the greed of the importers and tax authorities. hello or goodbye

 

Yeah, you guys have it bad if you want to buy in Britain.  Over $200?!?!  At that price, I'd consider higher end Senns or AKG's, even Audio Technica.

But back to my original question...

Are Grados really not the preferred cans for Classical Music?  Have I been duped?

C'mon, I'm sure there's at least a few Brits who listen to Classical.  Wink

dalethorn's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

NosebleedHiFi wrote:
But back to my original question...Are Grados really not the preferred cans for Classical Music?  Have I been duped? C'mon, I'm sure there's at least a few Brits who listen to Classical.  Wink

I suppose there may be a few classical listeners who have very little spending money and thus would buy a low cost Grado. The PS500 sounds quite good, but the SR60/80 are peaky in the highs - not ideal. I know several people here who would recommend the Soundmagic HP100, myself included. But if you have to buy at a much lower cost, there aren't many good choices. 

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/beyerdynamic-dt880-pro-semiopen-headphones-2508486-dt-880-prodid-1162.html

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/audiotechnica-athad700-open-back-hifi-headphones-ad-700-prodid-214.html

Above are a couple of decent open headphones.

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/soundmagic-hp100-closed-back-headphones-hp100-prodid-4393.html

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/shure-srh940-professional-closed-back-headphones-srh-940-prodid-3818.html

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/audiotechnica-atha700x-closed-back-audiophile-headphones-prodid-4223.html

And above a few good closed types.

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NosebleedHiFi's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

I've heard mixed things about the Audio Technica ATH-AD700, though I would love to test them out.  They look pretty cool.  But I have a smallish and I understand the fit is to not great for that?  doh!  I can get them here in the states for $99, same price as Grado SR80's.  I am mighty intrigued by WhatHiFI's review of them: "there's a purity to them that's captivating and entertaining. If you'd like an alternative to Grado, the Audio Technicas will do nicely."

So what is it that you like so much about the SoundMagic HP100?  Ideal for Classical?

Finally, have you had a chance to try out the highly vaunted AKG 550's?

I am really torn about keeping the Grados or not.

dalethorn's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

NosebleedHiFi wrote:
I've heard mixed things about the Audio Technica ATH-AD700, though I would love to test them out.......So what is it that you like so much about the SoundMagic HP100?  Ideal for Classical? Finally, have you had a chance to try out the highly vaunted AKG 550's.  I am really torn about keeping the Grados or not.

The Grado PS500 not only sounds good, but in spite of criticisms of its build (yes, the 500 too), I find it like a fine Leica camera - hand built with love. But the Grado 60 and 80 are mass-produced low-cost items -ugh. There are excellent low-cost headphones made in China, but not in the U.S. Actually, if you want a great headphone with full even response from high to low, ideal for classical and other genres, cost only $100 USD, get the LSTN Fillmore. I like it better than my ATH ESW9a ($225) and ATH ESW11 ($700). Much better. The Soundmagic HP100 has a wide flat response like the Fillmore, but with greater accuracy, bass tightness and proper impact, clarity, etc. Probably the best choice for the purist - and extremely comfortable. If you want to see some serious controversy re: the AKG K550, check the review and comments at Headfonia, and also check Edd's review here and at Noble HiFi - Edd is someone I'd trust to invest my money with, so I think highly of his reviews.

BTW, besides the Grado PS500 I had last year (and my review is featured on Grado's PS500 product page at Gradolabs), I had a Grado 325 10 years ago. I thought the sound was excellent, and probably comparable to the HP100, but not as flat (some bass droop and a modest treble peak).

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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

Actually Headfonia sounds pretty gushing about the AK550's: "AKG really has struck gold with the K550" 

I was unsure about SoundMagic, because of WhatHiFi's less than stellar rating for it, mentioning the "flat midrange."

So, right now, I'm thinking about selling the Grado and V-moda for the K550.

PS -- Thanks for the heads up on the LSTN!  They do look snazzy!   Tongue

dalethorn's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

Just check Edd's (Quadpatch) review of the K550. It's here and at Noblehifi.

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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

Hey thanks for the kind words dale. Here is a link to my review of the AKG K550s: 

http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/akg-k550-review.html

I used to have the Grado SR80 (the original no 'i' version) for about 4 years, but I sold them a couple of years ago (just before I started reviewing). I remember them being really nice in general. like Dale (and lots of others have mentioned) the treble spikes are noticeable and they can sound a little flat when you start comparing them to a few of the better headphones in the £100+ arena, which I realise isn't quite fair for the American audience.

The SoundMAGIC HP100 has impressed me the most lately for a nice balanced sound. The HP200 is amazing as well and since we seem to be talking mostly about open back headphones that one is probably a better candidate, althou both Dale and I will recommend a bit of treble reduction on that one, I can live with it as is and would still rate it as the best bang for buck that I've found so far with open-back headphones. I know it seems strange to get recommendations of two products from the same manufacturer and it's not that they sound that similar either. SoundMAGIC really know what they are doing and they are extremely competative on price.

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NosebleedHiFi's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

Hi quadpatch!

I did persue your review of the AKG 550's.  You mention the "veil" in the sound and how it lacks "depth and kick."  How would you compare it to the Grado SR80's?  I'm assuming i's not worth it to upgrade to the 550's?  puzzled

I do have the WhatHiFi award winner, SoundMagic E10's and couldn't be happier with them.  For what I paid I was blown away that IEMs could sound so good.  So I don't doubt their other 'phones are worth a listen.  The only thing was I was turned off by WhatHiFi's cautionary review of them.  Of course, it's subjective, but I figured a company that's been making on-ear 'phones for much longer would be a better bet, like AKG.

Oh, I don't think we have the HP200 here in the states.  I couldn't find it on Amazon anyway.  Crying  Would love to try 'em though.  Are they in the $200 range?

For now, I guess I will keep the SR80's.  I don't think I've even given them adequate burn-in time.  Which is what, btw?  50 hours?  I haven't been that bothered by the treble.  I actually find the sound on the warm side.  I just wanted better comfort and more soundstage and didn't need anything necessarily so "punchy" or "zingy."

Again, I'm a Classical guy.  Smile

dalethorn's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

When I made my first purchase from the U.K. site, I was astonished how much cheaper the products were than buying here in the U,S., once I added an item to my cart and checked out, and the VAT was removed.

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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

NosebleedHiFi wrote:

Hi quadpatch!

I did persue your review of the AKG 550's.  You mention the "veil" in the sound and how it lacks "depth and kick."  How would you compare it to the Grado SR80's?  I'm assuming i's not worth it to upgrade to the 550's?  puzzled

The K550 felt like it had a veil because it lacked so much upper bass body unless you pushed the cans hard onto your head continuously that it destroyed it for me. I'm not saying that they were in any way a bass-head headphone when you held them in place, that was for them to sound remotely normal. The positioning of the cups was so fiddly and awkward, which can only happen on a closed back headphone. You will not get that on an open back and especially not with one as open as the Grado. I never got on with the comfort of the SR80 and ultimately it was that issue that destroyed them for me more than any of their relative flattness or bright upper mid-tone characteristics. 

Now it's possibel that I was unlucky with the K550 because of my head shape. I do wear glasses, but I tried them without and it didn't help much. I have seen a few people say quite positive things abot the K550 so I can't say for sure that you will dislike it. 

My thoughts do seem to mesh with many other headphone enthusiast's opinions that I read online. I know not everyone can agree all the time, but What HiFi and I often disagree about headphones.

As for the HP200, they are available in the US in a couple of places (I did a quick google for it), or like Dale says you can order from Hifi Headphones (the only UK distributor AFAIK) here in the UK and get our 20% VAT removed. It looks like SoundMAGIC are not big into marketting or distrobution. They seem more interested in making awesome products, which I can respect, but it's a real shame that more people don't know about them.

I'm a big classical fan too, although most of my orchestral CDs are movie soundtracks I do like both Genres pretty equally.

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eggontoast's picture
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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

NosebleedHiFi wrote:

Hi all,  hello or goodbye

I have the What HiFi Award winner, the Grado SR80's but have heard that they are not ideally suited for Classical Music.  Their soundstage -- depth and width and instrument separation -- is sorely lacking apparently.

Have I possibly made a mistake purchasing these?  Am I missing out on the FULL ORCHESTRAL EFFECTCrying

Love to hear what others think and if there might be a better option for me.  AKG 550s?  Sennheisers?  

I listen to both symphonies and chamber/solo music.

Thanks! 

PS -- These Grados are also very poorly made.  I had both my cans fall off their metal stems with under 12 hours of listening.  Quite shocking.  But not an infrequent issue apparently.

I never personally found Grados good for classical, in fact I have found very few headphones which do convey classical music well. The ones which stand out for me as being particularly good were Sennhesiers HD600 and more so the HD650, the only other pair which do an excellent job with classical are STAX's lambda series, but there not £100.

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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

dalethorn wrote:
........... if you want a great headphone with full even response from high to low, ideal for classical and other genres, cost only $100 USD, get the LSTN Fillmore........

Dale, how do you think the Fillmores would compare to LSTN's Troubadour model and how would the HP100 fit into this comparison?

I need to make a decision which ones to buy and have narrowed it down to one of those three.

 

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RE: Grado SR80's bad for Classical Music???

BOBAD@sky.com wrote:
Dale, how do you think the Fillmores would compare to LSTN's Troubadour model and how would the HP100 fit into this comparison? I need to make a decision which ones to buy and have narrowed it down to one of those three.

I was very surprised at the sound of the Fillmore, and I would expect to be surprised by the Troubadour as well. But, no way for me to guess the actual sound of that Troubadore - it may be perfect, or bass heavy - hard to know. The HP100 will probably sound more "neutral" or "flat" in comparison, but since I don't have it handy I can't do the direct compare. However in any case, anyone shopping for the LSTN brand would (in my view) be a much better candidate for the HP200 than the HP100. Unfortunately the HP200 is open-back.

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