Our Verdict 
A fabulous pair of headphones: they’re not for the train, and they don’t protect those around you from hearing what you’re listening to – but for sheer sonic pleasure they’re stunning
Extraordinarily open and detailed
clarity and realism, great dynamics
Very leaky, sonically speaking
odd-looking when worn
Reviewed on

In the search for truly high-end performance, you sometimes have to accept a few eccentricities. These Grados have a couple of their own, but don't be put off – they're worth it.

They're certainly not ugly: the mahogany earpiece design has a homely beauty about it, while the very large foam earcups are designed to create a ‘listening room' for your ears (as well as helpfully catering for the larger-lugged among us).

The ‘i' version of the GS1000s also have a more stable chassis, along with improvements to the voice coil wire gauge and better damping.

Of course, the other aspect of the Grados, which works to produce as clear and uncoloured a sound as possible, is their open-backed design.

And while this reduces resonances and unwanted reflections, it also means that a person sitting next to you can hear just about every note of the music you're listening to.

More after the break

If even a small part of your reason for buying headphones is that you want to listen to music without inflicting it on your nearest and dearest, then at the very least try these out before you buy – the GS1000is are very, very leaky.

Superb openness and clarityBut if that's not a problem – and neither is their slightly odd look – you're in for an absolute treat with the GS1000is.

Their other idiosyncracy is that they take an age to run-in: we had them playing constantly for a week before they sounded their best. But when they do, they offer a truly stunning muscal performance, with incredible clarity and detail.

Play any music through them, and the first thing you'll notice is the remarkably open, airy treble and upper midrange: voices and instruments float with superb insight and precision.

The second is the autheticity of the detail they dig out. Neil Young's acoustic guitar sounds blisteringly real – the vibration of all six strings communicated with rare accuracy.

Their presentaion is a little leaner than that of close rivals, although the bass they produce is finely punchy, well-timed and communicative.

But where they triumph is in their sheer transparency and musical realism: their timing and dynamic sweep combine with detail and insight to deliver your music with a near-perfect fluidity.

Sure, the GS1000is are very expensive – they're also extraordinarily good.