GRADO SR80E Headphones Review
|Open air dynamic
|20 to 20 000 Hz
For many reasons, Grado Labs is a really intriguing headphone manufacturer. They operate as a family-owned company in Brooklyn, New York. Their goods are made by hand, and they hardly ever invest in advertising. When you first open the box containing your new Grado SR80E headphones, you’ll notice that the packaging is quite plain. There are no manuals, specifications documents, or brochures. Only the headphones, a 1/4 connected adapter, and a thank you note from the Grado family are included.
When it comes to high-fidelity audio equipment, GRADO has been a brand synonymous with excellence and innovation. One of their most popular offerings, the GRADO SR80E headphones, has been making waves in the audiophile community. In this review, we’ll delve into the features, sound quality, design, and overall performance of the GRADO SR80E headphones.
Since the Grado SR80E headphones have an open-back design, they behave, fit, and sound very differently from conventional closed-back headphones. Air can flow from the speaker through the ear cup of open-back headphones.
It produces a sound that is more realistic and barely changes from the original audio. Of course, open-back headphones have drawbacks, the main ones being bass presence, leakage, and a lack of sound isolation. But we’ll talk more about that when we talk about the sound performance. All you need to know about the construction and styling is that the headphones don’t completely encircle your ears and that their drivers are visible.
The Grado SR80E’s design as a whole is really special. Given that it belongs to the Prestige Series, which has an ’80s vibe, it is heavily retro-inspired. If you’ve seen the Grado SR60E before, they look almost identical to that set of headphones. The all-black colour scheme of the headphones is nice and subtle, but appealing enough to draw admiring glances from onlookers.
In terms of construction quality, the ear cups are medium size and have foam ear pads. For the first few days, they actually have a really strong factory-industrial odour, but this will eventually go away. Although leather earpads are always nice, the Grado foam pads are much larger and thicker than conventional, less expensive alternatives.
Long listening sessions benefit from foam pads’ improved breathability, and Grado has assured us that these pads are also replaceable if you tear them. Moving on, the SR80E has a faux-leather headband that is attached to metal prongs. These metal prongs extend from the headphones and are easily able to conform to your head for a secure fit. Along with the retro-inspired design, Grado has also given the SR80E a nice wire grill finish.
It should be noted that most of the components are made of plastic, and the parts that require metal are made of metal. These headphones should be treated with care, though; they are not a pair that can withstand repeated drops to the ground. These are definitely not what you’re looking for if you intend to throw them in your bag or if you’re a little rough with your headphones. Despite its lack of durability, the SR80E offers a secure fit to the head, lightweight comfort, and adequate ventilation to keep you comfortable throughout hours of listening.
While the SR80E is designed for prolonged use, some users may find the supra-aural (on-ear) design less comfortable during extended listening sessions compared to over-ear alternatives. However, the soft foam ear pads do help mitigate discomfort.
GRADO has always been applauded for its commitment to producing headphones with exceptional sound quality, and the SR80E is no exception. The open-back design, coupled with the dynamic drivers, allows the headphones to deliver a natural and detailed sound signature.
- Bass Response: The bass on the SR80E is precise and well-defined, offering a satisfying thump without overpowering the mids and highs.
- Midrange Clarity: The midrange is where the SR80E truly shines. Vocals and instruments are presented with remarkable clarity and richness, enhancing the overall listening experience.
- Crisp Highs: The treble is crisp and articulate, ensuring that every cymbal crash and high-frequency detail is accurately reproduced.
- Soundstage: Thanks to the open-back design, the soundstage is wide and airy, providing a sense of depth and space that makes the music feel more alive.
The benefit of open-back headphones is that they produce music with a much more natural sound. As a result of their open-back design, music can radiate out from the headphones rather than being contained and encircling your ears. The ability to hear ambient noise nearby is also advantageous if you want to be aware of your surroundings.
However, there is a cost to this, and it is sound isolation and leakage. If you play your music loudly on the Grado SR80E, people nearby will be able to hear it. Additionally, these headphones won’t be able to block out outside noises if you’re in a noisy environment. Artists considering using these headphones in the studio should exercise caution as well because the sound coming from the SR80E could be picked up by your microphone.
Since the Grado SR80E has a 1/4 adapter for connectivity, almost any device can be used with it. The cable is about 7 feet long and has a solid feel to it. Unfortunately, each ear cup of the headphones is wired on both sides, and they are not detachable. The question of “how long it will last if you accidentally get it hooked on something” arises because the cable Y-splitter also has some pinching to it.
According to the results of the sound leakage and isolation tests, the majority of users are likely to use these as a set of headphones for their home or place of employment. So long as you take precautions and take care of them, they ought to last you for a while.
In conclusion, the GRADO SR80E headphones are a true audiophile’s delight, offering exceptional sound quality and a timeless design. With their open-back design and dynamic drivers, they deliver a captivating and immersive listening experience. While the supra-aural design might not suit everyone’s comfort preferences for extended use, the sound quality alone makes these headphones a worthy investment for any music enthusiast or professional seeking unparalleled audio fidelity. If you are looking to elevate your music listening experience to new heights, the GRADO SR80E headphones are definitely worth considering.