Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
An excellent headphone for rock music.
on 15 March 2008
Recently I bought a pair of AKG k701s. Fantastic headphones, but not good at rock music. After much online reading, I bought these Grado SR80 headphones to plug that gap.
The difference between the two headphones is profound. My immediate impression of the Grado SR80 was 'yuck'! The boxing looks cheap, the headphones (compared to k701s) are plasticky and the foam was on wonky. They didn't look like a 'prestige series' headphone. However, they're lightweight for overear cans and much more comfortable than I had been led to believe.
In terms of sound, the tonality I'm told is characteristic of Grado - warm, bass-heavy but still with excellent treble. They go loud... very loud without distorting and (to my ears at least) they sound as good straight off the ipod as with a headphone amp (I own a Ray Samuels hornet which I don't use with these headphones). The soundstage is SMALL - well defined, clear, but more like you're in a band-room than an opera house! Which is why they're excellent for rock music. When saying the soundstage is small, I'm not saying that the stereo representation or localisation of sound is in any way other than excellent - just that everything is very immediate and close-to. They're also bassy, but not overly so. I find for certain types of music such as electronic like fluke or moby (or if I'm just in the mood for bass) that the Hip-Hop EQ enhances the bass without overly affecting the other frequency ranges. The other EQs on my 5G iPod muddy the sound too much to be of use.
So - look a wee bit cheap, but sturdy build, lovely sound which is best suited to rock, nice stereo and definition, but small soundstage. I use them as my walk-about headphones and do wear them in public (although they leak being open-backed). However, they're most definitely not reference and if for you the joy is in the detail - in hearing the vocalist breath, in hearing the buzz of a guitar string, in precisely pinpointing orchestral instruments I wouldn't recommend. However, if you love music as a whole (the overall sound), if you want your brains jangled, if you want the best sound on your mp3 player without having to invest in an amp then you can't go far wrong with these.
Finally, I disagree with one of the other reviewers comments about iPods. I use iPod 5G, RSA Hornet and AudioLineOut Supercotton Dock and in my humble opinion this system (provided mp3s are well-encoded) would be hard to fault. Granted, I don't own stacks of very very expensive hi-fi equipment and can't directly compare.