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Grado Pads

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
I've owned some SR80 years ago, and instantly hooked by the classic Grado presentation; which is probably described as somewhat marmite, you'll either love it or hate it! So, for the Grado lovers everywhere, I thought I'd share my impressions, which I'm going to add to as I add more phones and other aftermarket bits.
I've been using more and more headphones for my music listening, partly because of home working, and partly because it's far less intrusive to everyone else in the house. In the last few months I've acquired some new phones along with the ones I already have / had; and at last got a decent headphone dac amp to drive them properly with. All of music is streamed from a PC, either using a media player like J River, or MusicBee to play FLAC files, or from a streaming service, at the moment I'm using Spotify premium, and Tidal Hi Fi. I have a couple of pairs of IEMs, mainly for when I'm travelling (pre Covid anyway) and with my phone etc; and some AKG 550 Mk3, Grado SR325e and Grado Hemp that I've just acquired. Plenty of reviews around to tell you what they sound like stock, but they are all sensitive to pad rolling, or using alternative pads, as different Grado models use different shaped pads, and there are aftermarket ones too, so I've been experimenting with various pads on the 325 and the Hemp. First off i should say that the 325 and the Hemp are almost complete opposite in the Grado world of tonal balance; 325e are raw and ruthless, sometimes over-powering and not very forgiving. The hemps on the other hand have a gentler balance, greater detail and much smoother treble, and more bass, and with stock pads I think are a bit muffled for me, I'm no fan of the new "F" pad! I have some Geekria L copy pads, that are not quite the same as the OEM L pads that come with the 325e.

I've used a bassline of 0 for stock pads for Bass (B), mids (M) and treble (T)

SR325e
Geekria L pad
B=-1
M=0
T=+2
Geekria pad with tape mod
B=+1
M=0
T=0
"F" pad (from the Hemp)
B=+2
M=+1
T=-2

Hemp
L Pad
B=-2
M=+1
T=+1
Geekria Pad
B=-2
M=0
T=+3
Geekria pad plus tape mod
B=-1
M=0
T=+2

My ears prefer the tape modded Geekria aftermarket pads on both phones, despite them having wildly different (for Grado) tonal signatures. The next best was the F pad for 325e and the L pad for the hemps.

Overall though, the hemps are noticeably cleaner sounding, more detailed, and ultimately smoother whichever pads you use, but changing the pads is a crude but effective way of introducing some EQ, so gives you some options.
 
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GeoffreyW

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2005
152
8
18,595
Hi, SteveR750, thanks for you hard work. I have a pair of Alessandro MS1s, which I like, and swapped the original pass for some aftermarket donut types, which I prefer, but was unable to locate the original seller, so have ordered some Geekria L pads, which I look forward to trying.
The donuts are about 22mm thick, and this improves the sound, and makes the phones more comfortable.
Update, I have just tried the Geekria pads, which are identical shape to the Grado originals, and are firmer than my more rounded shape donut pads.
I feel the the donut pads, being softer, allow the transducers to be closer to my ear canals, so give a softer, more intimate sound, more like in-ear phones. Less reflected sound?
so at the moment I prefer the donuts, but will persevere with the Geekrias.
 
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