Grado GS1000e


Well-known member
Aug 6, 2010
Hi, trying to improve my reviewing skills so sharing this. I didn't get a freebie, discount or anything, just reviewing some headphones I have wanted to try but alas can't afford.

Pros:[/b] Effortless hi end sound, stunning wooden cups

Cons:[/b] Maybe look and feel of foam cups, but these are not for outdoors

The GS1000e's are over ear, open back headphones. They are part of the Grado Statement range.[/b]

I had the wonderful opportunity to try these out before xmas, so thought I'd share my thoughts, the review has taken ages to write, making a final decision on these headphones has been very difficult for a number of reasons, that I will explain.

First Impressions[/b]

Well the cardboard box didn't give any hint of the wonders inside, the packaging could be for a SR60, if the GS1000e was written on the box you wouldn't know.

Maybe the retail version will have a nicer box? Should we be bothered? Do we want to pay extra for a nice box?

This is where companies like Hifiman and Hisoundaudio excel, or used to, the opening of the package and box was quite special.

So not the best of starts. If that type of thing concerns you, Appleboys won't be initially impressed!

Me?, I'd rather not pay extra for a fancy box. Maybe it could be an add on extra?


The wood is simply stunning, now you see where the money goes, the cups produce an automatic “woooh” when someone sees them.

The thick cables ooze quality.

Compared to my SR60, when held in the hand they feel like an “S Class (Merc) compared to the 190e (Merc) of the SR60.

Then the foam cup/ feels like it's on the wrong product, like an afterthought, a last minute addition to the design, it's soft, slightly flappy

and reminds me of the collars you put on cats to stop them from biting themselves, it's like hard foam, don't think it's rubber.

The headband and sliders are typical Grado but definitely several notches up in quality compared to the SR range.

Look at the marketing shots of these cans, find me one that shows someone actually wearing them!

You won't, or I can't anyway.


Because they look crazy on the head, however if that bothers you then you are completely missing the point.

Here my 9 year old son loving the Grados

I think Grado have made a no compromise, audio quality first product, it doesn't matter what they look like, if they make you look like a sick cat.

It doesn't matter that the foam cups seem like something you'd find on the floor of a plumbers van. The design produces world class sonics.

In a world defined by looks over performance (Apple, Beats, A&K etc) I find this enormously refreshing.

You won't wear these out of the home, you may even feel guilty about wearing in front of a loved one, or anyone, but put them on and nothing else matters,

If you look in the mirror you will laugh, or I did, maybe the free laughs are a hidden extra.

The world of psycho-acoustics tells us that being happier makes music sound better, so maybe Grado are on to something.

Could future headphones come with a joke book?


This is it. For me anyway, nothing else matters, portable hifi doesn't require the “Wife Approval Factor” unlike the world of home hifi.

A few years ago I sold HiFi for a brief while in a Hi End shop in London. This particular place did have a particularly “well to do” clientel,

even so it was abundantly clear that the way boxes looked in peoples homes was incredibly important.

All HiFi manufacturers have this compromise they must meet, those who want to sell do anyway. This has resulted in products like tall slim floorstanding speakers,

that frankly sound awful, but they tick a lot of WAF boxes.

Luckily in the wonderful world of Head-Fi, we don't have this hurdle to jump over.

Of course some here value design and form very highly indeed, but for me and I guess loads of others, especially people with good 2 channel systems at home,

it's the audio quality that matters.

These Grado's are for home use only, the customer buying these won't be upgrading from Apple buds. They will probably already have a decent HiFi at home.

The source[/b] to be used with these is an interesting subject in itself.

The default answer is a high end amp/dac, probably valves included somewhere, but with DAPs getting better and better, there is no reason why you can't sit at home

in any room you like if you have a DAP worthy.

If my 30 odd years being an audiophile has taught me anything, it's that Source First really is correct. Garbage in, Garbage out, etc – this is especially true for home HiFi and after a few years on Head Fi, I have still seen nothing to change my mind. So I believe this is true for Head-Fi also.

So plugging a £300 DAP or phone into these is going to get you nowhere, it's just going to show up the limitations of the source, for a start most won't drive them.

They certainly need a good amp to get them going,

I did have a lot of success driving these with my 901 and mini box, and most others I got to listen to also used this. I did have to turn up the HiFiMan more than ever before,

but this wasn't just to be louder.......oh no.

The GS1000e had a beautiful delicate presentation of the music, reminding me a lot of Quad electrostatics.

The are in charge of the music, and stamp their authority onthe sound. The sound is so inviting you want to turn it up more, another good sign from my Hi-Fi retail days.

These need, warrant and deserve better than any DAP can throw at them.

So the main source I used was my Audiolab M-DAC, (full system at bottom), it's seems like

a bargain these days but the superb implementation of the ESS9018 DACs and flat headphone amp that I find a great test for any headphones.

My main open cans at home are HD600s, I have had them for 15 years and still love them, either with my M-Dac or my X-Cans (both stock btw),

and I've never really felt the urge to upgrade.

Unfortunately this has now changed, I am not getting paid for this review, I have not been offered these at a discount or free (******), and in a way I wish I'd never heard them, but I am delighted I did.

I don't buy audio because of measurements, I look at the Headroom graph and I see a bumped bass around 100hz and a treble peak at about 8000hz.

I did not hear this at all.

The best word I can find to describe the sound is natural. The sound is effortless, it urges you to turn up to hear more, however even at low volumes the music is all there.

They definitely made my Sennheisers sound coloured in a way I had never noticed before.

Starting with something acoustic, (16/44 flac copy of my CD), Neil Youngs Unplugged[/b] was just lush beyond words, I was swimming in the music, the guitars sounded beautiful,

and the brushes on the snare had depth and texture. Neil's voice was presented perfectly. I can't fault this.

Next something not audiophile, Jason Falkner'[/b]s sublime Author Unknown[/b] CD, early 90s, quite harsh, probably digital recording.

Whilst the Grados are very revealing, they are not overly harsh with this guitar based recording, on the wrong system this can give you a headache after a while,

but on these Grados I could listen forever, to what is probably my favourite album ever.

The sound is flat, but never brittle almost like listening through a very good valve amp, just a hint of lushness.

Next was a staple Hi-Fi dem disc of mine, Love in Vain[/b] from the SACD/DSD remaster of the Rolling Stones Let it Bleed[/b].

This starts with some great sounding acoustic guitar, Mick’s voice sounds as rough as it should, then Charlie's snare kicks in, and it gets you.

In the heart though, not in the gut like a floorstanding speaker would, or indeed the HD600s.

super talented band member Kev, loved them,

Something in the bass was lacking, or was it? Was I just used to the colouration of my HD600s?

As ever I turn to other ears, ears I trust.

So I take along my 901 with Grados to a band rehearsal (I have a Northern Soul Covers band) – I get some great ears and and some younger ears to have a listen.

First up – Billy Jean DFF/DSD[/b] from Thriller SACD.[/b]

The intro alone is enough to tell me almost everything I need to know about any system.

It is inherently a great recording , but has a nasty digital haze across it, the thinness of the sound was fashionable in the early 80s.

Being a band we are of course music snobs, so the look on their faces when I suggested Billy Jean as a first listen to a £2k (ish) portable system, surprised them to say the least.

About 13 seconds is all it takes – on a good system, it works every time.

Have a listen, even the old CD sounds great. It's a great track for comparison because everyone knows it, but few people have heard it properly! No-one thought the bass

was light, just correct.

They all loved the sound, and they remarked less about the looks than I expected, they drooled over the dreamy wooden cups, but the price did raise an eye brow or two.

Back home – I thought I'd try it with my X-Cans, so played some records on the old fruit box.

The MFSL[/b] pressing of Exodus[/b] really showed of the bass capabilities of the GS1000e, deep, fruity but not over powering.

Another MFSL[/b] pressing, this time Muddy Waters Folk Singer[/b], one the finest sounding records ever made, and it sounded incredible, the details

all over the recording were vivid, The foot stomping, the coughs, it's all there.

Muddy's voice was captured in a way I don't think I have ever heard, on any system.

The Grados seemed delighted to be matched with the X-Cans. The little amp that keeps on giving.

Back to digital, and 24/44 of The Beatles shone on these headphones.

Here and at other times, I simply forgot [/b]I was wearing headphones, the music was all there and correct the details at times wondrous,

Bits of Sgt Pepper I had never heard before, I love hearing new things in music that I love.

The Grados gave me that.

If I could I would buy them. I can't say more than that. The only downside is having the time at home to listen to them.

HD600s were glad to see the back them. I had a quick listen, and damn the colourations were still there!

The quirky looks don't bother me, they are super comfy, (I have big head and glasses)

They are the best headphones I have had at home by far.

Systems used[/b]

HiFiMan HM-901 with minibox

Dell XPS I7 desktop, Win 10, wasapi Foobar , Audiolab M-DAC

Linn LP12/Lingo/Ekos/Lyra Clavis DC/Linto

Prima Luna Prologue 2 integrated amp

Rogers LS5/9


New member
Dec 7, 2011
I did an EQ on my PS1000e to achieve a natural sound, like a cross between the Senn HD800, Beyer T1/T90/1770, AKG K712, Grado PS325e, and a few others....

The actual correction is the green line, and the vertical divisions are 6 db, so you see it's a 6 db boost around 40 hz and 6 db cut around 150 hz. But even this adjustment left the treble a little bright and the bass very minimal. I suppose the GS1000e was natural out of the box?


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