Grado SR225x

Gadusmorhua

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I've ordered some Grado 225s, that have been previously returned to the dealer. I am wondering if I will get on with them, from what I've read they're very much a marmite thing, but I can't resist what I think is a bargain (£137). I currently use the M50x, which I like a lot, though I have never listened to any superior headphones- I'm two and a half hour's drive from the nearest audio dealer. I do however very much prefer listening with speakers, the headphones were really for when the wife insists on using her desk in the study (shortly to be re-assigned as listening room). When I learned that open backed provided (in theory) a much better, wider sound I was interested. If my wife is watching t.v I can't listen through my speakers at my customary 80db as there are only two doors and 12m between us, and hopefully the Grados will give me a better headphone experience. No doubt the noise leakage will annoy my other half, so the M50x will still be used if we're in the same room, but where I live is very quiet indeed, so no need to worry about incoming sounds.
Nearly everyone says they're not the most comfortable, and many say they benefit from a change of cushions/pads, though with resulting sound change. Any recommendations? I'm almost anticipating having to play around with them, and whilst I don't want to spend much more thought it may be good to have some replacement pads waiting in the wings, a click-away. Any suggestions, or observations?
I will be trying them through the sockets on my Fiio dac dongle, my Mojo, my Marantz 41 CD (which sounds a bit under powered with the M50x), and my Denon 600ne amp- am I right in thinking they are easy to drive? I inadvertedley set my Mojo's line out to 3v and damaged an input on my old (cheap vintage) amp- would that level blow the headphones up?
 

DougK1

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That is a good price (y)I have multiple sets of headphones - Sennheiser, Shure, and a pair of Grado 225's. The Grado's do have their own sound signature, very detailed and quite likeable, however, they are the most uncomfortable pair of headphones I own. I can only tolerate them for about an hour and if you wear specs the comfort level is reduced even more as they sit on your ear, not around the ear. They are very easy to drive but the cable is short so you may need an extension if your kit is a distance away. I've had them about 10 years and the pads are shot, not sure if I'll bother to replace the pads at this stage.

My other headphones are far more comfortable for long listening sessions but the Grado sound is an interesting one. Personally, if you want comfort look elsewhere :)
 
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As Doug implies, comfort is a key thing, and i find it almost impossible to recommend any headphones for that reason. I’ve personally enjoyed various modest Grados, and never thought the better ones offered much more apart from bling.

I love the retro look, the family back story, and the made in USA aspect. My failing HF sensitivity suits the bright balance, but a personal audition is essential. I hope you enjoy them!
 
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Gray

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Doug kindly loaned me his Grados for a while and it was my first experience of the brand's headphones.

Quite a few people like a warm balance - I'm not one of those people. I like a neutral, detailed balance and that's what I get from my Sennheiser HD560S.

I found the Grado sound to be strikingly forward and detailed, confirming all that I'd read.
During tests, the biggest surprise to me, when returning to the 560S, was how warm they suddenly sounded in comparison.

I've tried various models from Beyer, AKG and Sennheiser. As with speaker sound, differences can be significant - but Grado give an unusually marked difference (hence your 'Marmite' description).

As Doug suggested, if comfort is your priority, I'm not sure you you could do a lot worse (although an old Koss pair I had, were like being clamped in a vice).

Hopefully their distinctive sound will suit your taste....
 
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Gadusmorhua

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Thanks, I'll report back on what I think. Most of my listening is one or two albums at a time, and I usually take my specs off to listen anyhow, so maybe I won't find them too uncomfortable. They arrive this afternoon, and I'm looking forward to them being very different from my M50x set. I quite like a warm sound, indeed since I started (albeit very modestly) improving my audio I am listening to those genres suited to it. My gear was so bad before it was pointless listening to jazz guitar or female vocals, so loud rock was mainly on the menu. Now that's limited to IEMs when I'm working. I should really give my ears a rest....
 
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DougK1

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Thanks, I'll report back on what I think. Most of my listening is one or two albums at a time, and I usually take my specs off to listen anyhow, so maybe I won't find them too uncomfortable. They arrive this afternoon, and I'm looking forward to them being very different from my M50x set. I quite like a warm sound, indeed since I started (albeit very modestly) improving my audio I am listening to those genres suited to it. My gear was so bad before it was pointless listening to jazz guitar or female vocals, so loud rock was mainly on the menu. Now that's limited to IEMs when I'm working. I should really give my ears a rest....
Please do report back (y)For comfort my go-to headphones are any from the Sennheiser HD range, I have a few pairs: HD598, HD650, HD800 and a pair of RS220.
 
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Gray

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Please do report back (y)For comfort my go-to headphones are any from the Sennheiser HD range, I have a few pairs: HD598, HD650, HD800 and a pair of RS220.
My old HD590 are much more comfortable than the newer 560S.
Lightweight, softer pads, lighter clamping force....but their sound is a bit comfortable too. The best of both models would be ideal.IMG_20230819_165059_MP.jpg
 
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Gadusmorhua

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My Grados arrived early, so I've had three hour's to listen. As they were a return I'll never know how much play time they've had, but if they get better with more use, great.
I'm not one to judge by cosmetics but I agree the packaging is little more than a pizza box, great for the planet but not overly protective. Perhaps this isn't the case, and damage is rare. I was totally underwhelmed by their appearance and thought the plastic looked cheap for the price. The cable is certainly substantial, nice braid covering but rather stiff, maybe it will loosen up some.. The length is no problem to me, having recently bought a nice quality 6m extension, allowing me to lie on the sofa, in the sun. Bliss.
From what I had read I was half expecting to return them, but from the first track (Hotel California) I fell in love.I now know what people mean by driven, my M50x are pedestrian by comparison. I continued listening to my system test tracks, which were the selection on Tidal, chosen by HiFi bigwigs, or big-ears I should say. Joan Armatrading's Willow sounded astonishing, really sort of intimate. These seem to breathe life into the music, totally, totally different from the M50x. The bass is plenty low enough for me, I could feel butterflies in my stomach when I played a short burst of dub, and Massive Attack's broody bass on Angel filled my head and the room around me. Unlike the M50s I don't have the left - right thing going on the same way. It was quite a strange feeling having some of the music right inside your head too. I tried listening to a couple of classical pieces on the Tidal mix but it never sounds right on headphones to me- I prefer listening to an entire symphony very loud and in the dark, through my speakers.
Once I had adjusted them they felt quite comfortable, though I removed my rather sturdy spectacles, the width of which would almost certainly conflict with the cups.They weren't as sweaty as my closed pair, which is an advantage. I can't see the foam lasting that long, but I see replacements, and differing types are available. Occasionally when I shifted position a cup would move slightly, but I'm a clumsy sod and being tethered by a braid cable, plus extension socket is something I'm not used to. It certainly pays to make sure they are sitting just right, I'm an average head size and find the clamping force fine. I would rather have the odd slip than have my head in a vice.
My experience of headphones is limited to rubbish, or the two pairs I now own, and I have never listened to open backs before, so I'm guessing a proportion of my experience is down to that, rather than the Grado sound. Regardless I find them much more engaging than the ATH M50x. They have already been put in their bag in a drawer. I will have a listen with them in a week or so, and expect to be shocked. I find going back to one's original gear is more of a difference than the initial new sound, if that makes sense. In short: I love them and it's a huge step up for me from my M50x.
Sorry for the verbosity,I just looked up and saw all that. That's what happens when I type with headphones on :ROFLMAO:
Thanks all,
Gads
 
Yes, the pizza box is relatively new. My previous pair, about 8 or 10 years old sat in a massive foam cutout and a box twice the volume. Good for the planet, as you say.

Most of all, I am delighted you’re enjoying them. Given the decades this range has been in production, and the huge number they’ve sold, they must be doing something right.
 

Gadusmorhua

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The morning after: I am still totally blown away by their (or open-backed) sound. I am increasingly annoyed by the cable they use. What were they thinking? When I'm sitting upright I can feel its weight and clumsiness. Lying down on the sofa it isn't an issue. I was wondering about hooking it up to my Mojo for outdoors listening, but I anticipate this will be an unwieldly partnership, though I can't wait to hear how it sounds.
If I had paid RRP I would be returning them, and driving the 120 miles to a dealer to listen to more headphones, I think. But don't get me wrong I am in love with their sound, and content with that, which is what matters most.
 
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DougK1

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The morning after: I am still totally blown away by their (or open-backed) sound. I am increasingly annoyed by the cable they use. What were they thinking? When I'm sitting upright I can feel its weight and clumsiness. Lying down on the sofa it isn't an issue. I was wondering about hooking it up to my Mojo for outdoors listening, but I anticipate this will be an unwieldly partnership, though I can't wait to hear how it sounds.
If I had paid RRP I would be returning them, and driving the 120 miles to a dealer to listen to more headphones, I think. But don't get me wrong I am in love with their sound, and content with that, which is what matters most.
Agree, that cable is far too chunky for the actual requirements of the headphones. I guess they've made it thick to give an illusion of quality but I bet if you cut through it most of it would be sleeve and insulation surrounding very thin copper cables. I have power hungry headphones whose cables are half the thickness of the Grado.

Don't give up on them as I believe every headphone collection should have a Grado in it :)
 
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Gadusmorhua

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Don't say 'collection' too loud, my wife may hear. I think she noticed me wearing different cans, but I think I got away with it.
I certainly won't give up on them, I love the sound and can't take them off and I should be in the fields, working.
That cable is so thick and stiff it's ridiculous, and the plastic Y junction doesn't lie flat on mine either.
I have to say I feel happier buying from a family firm, I absolutely detest corporations and private equity groups.
 
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Gadusmorhua

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She wouldn't have missed you......looking like some wartime radio operator 😉
:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
Funnily enough I have my father's RN morse code key on my desk, and have been sending SOS messages. Requesting decent cable.

Still loving the Grados though, I have vowed to go to the big city (Cardiff) this summer and listen to more headphones and speakers.(Without spending £, of course) Meantime I'm more than happy for what I've spent- an auditioning trip will set me back half the cost of the Grados.
 
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