Grado GR10 review

The Grado GR10s may cost £355, but if you're looking for the best in-ear headphones around start your search here Tested at £355

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Anybody who is looking for the very best in-ear headphones around would be well advised to start their search here


  • +

    Stunningly insightful and expressive

  • +

    communicative presentation


  • -

    Low perceived value

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

It’s hard to make a rational case for a pair of £355 in-ear headphones.

It’s not that the product’s performance could never justify that kind of money – indeed these metallic-green Grados easily sound like a £355 product to us – it’s more a case of trying to find sources and amplification to do justice to such headphones.

Even class leading products such as the Apple iPod Touch or the ever-more ubiquitous iPad aren’t quite good enough to show the GR10s’ full array of talents off to the very best extent.

Need a true hi-fi source
So, what to use? Well, we ended up feeding these Grados from WAV files on a MacBook, fed through the DAC and headphone amplification of a Chord Toucan.

And, we’re pleased to say, we got extremely impressive results.

Get past the first 30 or so hours of play, when the Grados sound distinctly bright and a touch aggressive, and the sound gradually opens up to become wonderfully informative and enjoyable.

As with all such headphones, getting these to sit in the ears properly is vital to getting a proper tonal balance with decent bass weight. Get it right, though, and we’re sure you’ll find the Grado GR10s as transparent and musically engaging as in-ears get.

They manage to deliver lots of insight with breathtaking agility without ever seeming clinical. It’s a fine balance that very few rivals can match.

Where has the money gone?
A pricey pair of in-ear headphones are never going to have much perceived value, and just looking at the oddly green GR10s it’s hard to see, at first, where the money has gone. One listen is all it takes to find the answer.

MORE: Best in-ear headphones 2014

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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