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Grado R225e / AKG550 Mk3 / Beyer DT880 250 ohm (oe Grado 325e, Hemp?)

SteveR750

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Mar 11, 2005
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Anyone have some direct comparisons between these 3 phones? I know the DT880s well, I'm getting to know the 550, and am considering getting a pair of Grado. I had some SR80i from around a decade ago that were great for the money, but sadly one of the drivers died a couple of years ago.
Tbh, I wasn't a an of the Beyers, top end a bit harsh, and not particularly sensitive, so my Dac XS struggled, and my LG V30 was nowhere near enough powerful. The 550s I find have a smoother presentation than the DT880s, with sufficient bottom end, if a little boomy. The treble is a bit tizzy too, but that could be the DAC in fairness.
I've just invested in a Marantz HD DAC1 so power won't be an issue, and neither should ragged overly bright presentation, and I'm a fan of the Grado signature sound. Is the 325 worth the extra over the 225, or maybe make the jump to the hemp?

Little to no chance to listen to these before buying for obvious reasons, so going to have to buy somewhat blind.
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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going to have to buy somewhat blind.
I will be doing that (again) soon with headphones.
(Tried and returned a few makes / models over the last few years).
As subjective as speakers and, as you've found, each model has its own strengths - you just need to be able to combine them into one :).
Still got a Grado cartridge somewhere, but that's one brand of headphone I've never tried so can't help you with comparisons there.

How would you describe the Grado sound that you like and how much are the 325?
 
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nopiano

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I’ve had the more modest Grado SR60i for a few years and I like them very much. Yes, they’re a bit tight when new, and with my big bonce the adjustment is maxed out. But I enjoy the airy sound and don’t mind that they’re a bit ‘sharp’. Not for keeping the music quiet though, as the leak like a sieve!
More recently I got one of the last sets of AKG550iii and I found them comfy during the demo. Never really enjoyed them much at home though. Sometimes they seem warm (temperature), sometimes a bit heavy. Pleasant sound but nothing special to these ears and frankly I can’t see how they got such good reviews. Nice finish and posh box, much slicker than the Grado.

Thankfully I rarely need to use headphones, and tempting though a really decent set of Sennheisers, Focals or Audeze might be, I’m unlikely to take the plunge. I’d have Grado again though, anyday. Good luck with your search.
 

SteveR750

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Mar 11, 2005
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How would you describe the Grado sound that you like and how much are the 325?
Light, airy, agile, mid / upper mid prominent. Can be a bit too much with mp3 and sibilant recordings, but not as harsh as Beyers can be. Punchy, but not deep bass. 325e are around £280 - £300. The 225e are around £200 and from the reviews and comments on Head-Fi some folk prefer the cheaper ones.


More recently I got one of the last sets of AKG550iii and I found them comfy during the demo. Never really enjoyed them much at home though. Sometimes they seem warm (temperature), sometimes a bit heavy
I quite like mine, different to what I expected. Bigger space (as they're closed back) bass is occasionally a bit one noted, but the're punchy; it could be of course that I'm using a cheap CA Dac XS at the moment. It's a bit jumbly in the mids and uppermids, not as clear as my IEMs but then they are pretty special.
 
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DougK

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I've already partially replied on another thread. Can't help you much with the comparison with AKG/Beyer as I've never owned either of them.

I was in the same quandary regarding Grado 225 or 325, after reading a lot of owners comments I eventually went for the 225's. This was some years ago and I still have them so I guess I must like them. The only problem I have with Grado is they are so damned uncomfortable for long listening sessions, I can stand about an hour max until I head back for the comfort of Senn HD650's.
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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Light, airy, agile, mid / upper mid prominent. Can be a bit too much with mp3 and sibilant recordings, but not as harsh as Beyers can be. Punchy, but not deep bass. 325e are around £280 - £300. The 225e are around £200 and from the reviews and comments on Head-Fi some folk prefer the cheaper ones.
I've already mentioned the new Sennheiser HD560S on another thread..
Given your sound sig preference, I'd advise you to consider them.
For me it's a case of when, not if, I will be getting some.
Described by one reviewer as having about the best frequency response of any headphone - regardless of price. (One person's 'perfect' FR is another's nightmare of course - and it tells you nothing about all-important aspects such as leading-edge performance).
For most people, 'endgame' headphones means something from the Senn 800, top Beyers or Focal ranges, priced 10-17x higher than the 560S.....their look and plastic feel considered by some as not worthy.
I've owned / tried loads of Senn models, these will be the ones I've waited 40 years for.

For what it's worth, there's a review coming in next month's HFChoice. Wouldn't be surprised if they mark it down on HF performance - especially if the reviewer prefers the infamous Sennheiser veil.
Otherwise, will probably add to the (already overwhelming) demand.
 
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SteveR750

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I opted for some used SR325e, got them today and just what I hoped they'd be. They match the Marantz headphone amp I'm using perfectly, no harsh top end, no shoutiness. The signature Grado light bass is present, but then I find the AKG a bit overpowering for my ears. Nothing plays a snare drum snap quite like these phones, at least for this kind of budget. They sounds like a grown up bigger faster and more dynamic version of the SR80s that I have.
 
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nopiano

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I opted for some used SR325e, got them today and just what I hoped they'd be. They match the Marantz headphone amp I'm using perfectly, no harsh top end, no shoutiness. The signature Grado light bass is present, but then I find the AKG a bit overpowering for my ears. Nothing plays a snare drum snap quite like these phones, at least for this kind of budget. They sounds like a grown up bigger faster and more dynamic version of the SR80s that I have.
That’s great news. I’d happily buy much the same, if I needed to listen more to headphones. As an aside, I love the Grado family history as it’s so much more interesting than many brands.
 
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SteveR750

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Mar 11, 2005
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I've got the Grado bug again, so much I've just bought some Hemps. I've also bought a mix of Geekria aftermarket pads to see what tonal shaping options they offer. Got the first set today, their version of the L bowl, and it wasn't great, sounded like the FR had been tilted around a 1khz axis anti-clockwise! Even less bass, and waay too foward upper mids.
Generally, for my ripped CD collection, I use MusicBee which has a usable 15 band DSP, so I just a bit of low bass lift, and they sound great.
 

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