Grado SR325is Prestige – Classy Headphones For True Audiophiles

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

There are two reasons why many audio experts today look up to the Grado SR325is Prestige: 1) the man who created it was renowned for his genius in headphone design, and 2) that man – Joseph Grado – was elevated to the Audio Hall of Fame in 1982 for his innovation and ingenuity. Since then, his nephew – John Grado – took command of the business and came up with the Statement, Reference and Prestige lineup that kept the brand’s state of the art audio innovation and retro styling.

Can Grado still keep up with the current trend and stiff competition in the market today? Or, did the brand lose its appeal with the retirement of its founder? Let’s examine some of the features of the Grado SR325is Prestige to know the answers.

Overview

What does the i stand for in the new SR325is from Grado? Improved, that`s what! Yes, Grado has taken one of the world`s most acclaimed headphones and taken it a few steps further. The new SR325is has an upgraded driver design, and they have enlarged and improved the mass distribution in the metal housing. The way the SR325is new driver and metal housing move air and react to sound vibrations are now less affected by transient distortions. With the SR325is you will notice improved control of the upper and lower range of the frequency spectrum with both better supporting Grado`s world renowned midrange.

Sound quality

The SR325is, and Grados in general, are a strange balancing act of brightness and warmth with a small-ish soundstage which put you ‘on stage’ with the band. The certainly aren’t closed in sounding as typical of ‘phones with smaller soundstages but they put everything relatively close together and put you in the middle of the action in a small and intimate setting. Instruments are well separated but not as sharply imaged as some other ‘phones like my Sennheiser HD650s or Beyerdynamic DT770/600 ohm. The treble is very emphasized and relatively clear, making these bright headphones. It’s well extended and fairly detailed, but not the most accurate in its price bracket.

Excellent Transparency at a Sensible Price

Most audiophiles who’ve been around for a while retain fond memories of at least one Grado product. Over the years, the Brooklyn-based company has carved out a niche in phono cartridges and headphones that marries value with musical excellence. At the same time, that musicality often gets associated with a certain “Grado sound.” That sound sets Grado apart from other companies, and is held in reverence by Grado fans. The SR325is is the top of Grado’s entry-level Prestige line. While that almost sounds contradictory (tall short people?), it helps to remember that Grado’s reputation is built on delivering high performance products at entry-level prices. The Prestige line starts with the $49 iGrado, but really hits its stride with the justly famous SR60i at $79.

Design and Ergonomics

The SR325i headphones leave an odd impression. On one hand, this model has a simple, even primitive, design: a flat head-band, round foam-rubber ear-pads (not even trimmed with fabric). The height adjustment is implemented with simple steel rods that move up and down in the plastic casing. The association provoked by this design is that of a radio operator from the times of World War 2. But on the other hand, the quality of manufacturing cannot be unnoticed: the head-band is trimmed with natural leather (as opposed to the Grado SR80 with its plastic imitation). The casings are milled out of aluminum and anodized to a golden color.

Summary

People who buy Grado headphones know their cans. So, as you’d expect, they are a tough audience to please. No Dr Dre Beats headphones newbies here. The Grado SR325is Prestige headphones earn a lot of praise for the brightness and warmth of the sound stage, which puts you on stage among the band or orchestra.

One headphones reviewer felt the instruments were well separated but not as sharply as imagined on the Sennheiser HD650s, so you might want to check these out before putting any money down.

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