Grado has taken one of the most celebrated open-back headphone designs in What Hi-Fi? history and improved it once more. The Brooklyn-based brand has announced the Prestige X Series, successor to the Prestige E range from which the multi-Award-winning SR325e and SR80e belong.
This new generation of the Prestige Series is a model for model replacement, comprising the SR60x (£109.95, $99, AU$139), SR80x (£129.95, $125, AU$179), SR125x (£189.95, $175, AU$249), SR225x (£249.95, $225, AU$319) and SR325x (£329.95, $295, AU$419). Prestige remains the company's entry-level range, sitting just beneath the Reference Series, and is historically notable for Grado for having spawned its first-ever pair (the SR80) and its first metal model (SR325).
So, what has changed to warrant the 'X' upgrade? First and foremost, Grado has introduced a new, fourth-generation driver, which utilises both a new magnetic circuit (for improved efficiency) and a newly designed voice coil and diaphragm (to further reduce distortion). Grado says the result is a headphone that's easier to drive "across a variety of portable devices".
There's a new and improved cable design too – an 8-conductor one for the SR125x, SR225x and SR325x, and a 4-conductor one for the SR60x and SR80x. As a surprise to absolutely no one, Grado has stuck with its legacy aesthetic, although the pleather headband (leather in the SR325x) has been redesigned to enhance comfort.
Considering the consistent success of the Prestige Series, we can't help but await these new models with sky-high expectations. For the benefit of anyone after an excellent pair of reasonably priced open-back headphones, our fingers are crossed that they deliver.
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We interviewed John Grado on his humble beginnings, 'why headphones', and finally going wireless