Grado SR-325 Headphones

SR-325

Incorporates all of the design features of the lesser models, combined with UHPLC wire in both the voice coil and connecting cord. Non-resonant Aluminium alloy is used in the make up of the metal driver housings. Grado also embarked on a complex treatment in order to increase the materials porosity. This ensures that the earphone chamber has no "ringing" which may obscure detail or add coloration. The resulting Headphone combines clean open highs, well defined mid range and vocal bass.

User Reviews (37)

Showing 1-10 of 37  
joe ellis   AudioPhile [Jun 04, 2010]

The Grado SR 325i is one of the finest headphones on the planet. The sound is raw and unveiling with a precise response across the range and slightly forward mids.


OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Michael T   AudioPhile [Nov 07, 2009]

This is a review of the new (2008-09) series.

Brilliant sound and very simple to drive. Break in is a breeze. Gorgeous soundstage and presence.

I picked this over the AKG 701, and thought it was far superior and certainly easier to power.

Picked it up at Q Audio in Cambridge, MA.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Phil Canard   AudioPhile [Nov 25, 2007]
Strength:

It's a high priced tone control for people with unique hearing preferences. If your ears need these boosts, then OK. Many people have ruined ears from exposure to loud noises. Grado survives by being different from the rest. Some people need a graphic equalizer for their ears and associated equipment. A good graphic equalizer generally costs more than a headphone. Joseph Grado understood how to manufacture products to address psychoacoustic issues. He was a true audio design genius. If you can afford many headphones, Grado cans give a different perspective.

Weakness:

It is time for new engineering talent at Grado. Less comfort and lower build quality than their top competitors. Grado needs to upgrade their headphones immediately. Other manufacturers have recently stripped Grado of their value rating. The Prestige series at least is simply a collection of cans with varying degrees of gross frequency response anomalies that counteract problems with ears and associated equipment. It help some people, but can also make things worse if chosen incorrectly.

It now takes huge money to design and manufacture better headphones for less money, and bigger companies with more market diversity have those capabilities. Hand building things no longer makes up for lack of sophistication in other areas. AKG was smart enough to team up with Harman International to provide capital investment. Now look at the great audiophile headphones they have recently marketed. Joseph Grado is gone from the company. I wonder how long Grado can hold out as a small family enterprise???

Most recording engineers choose another brand of headphone, always have, and if you want to hear things the way they do, buy those headphones.....if that's important to you.

I would buy the SR225 before buying the SR325. After listening to the Grado headphones, and owning a couple, it becomes clear they are some of the most colored headphones being sold today. When they first came on the market, I heard huge differences between different brands of headphones. As other companies have upgraded their headphones, the sound differences have become less. There are only a handful of brands of microphones that are commonly used to make the vast majority of recordings. It just so happens that those brands also manufacture headphones. Neumann is now tied to Sennheiser, which was the most notable exception in the past. Headphones and microphones have some similar design problems and solutions. They are mainly single transducer devices. Think of a headphone as an inverse microphone. You get the best headphones at reasonable prices from the pro microphone companies. You just do. Recording engineers are not fools that buy into audiophile hype. Think about it. The vast majority of recording and broadcast engineers use those headphones that were made by the microphone manufacturers. They just do. Sound is manipulated to sound the best through those microphones and headphones. It just is. Grado does not manufacture the transducers at BOTH the input and output side of things. Their headphones have colorations that some people find highly enjoyable. I got tired of it. Grado hasn't changed much. The other companies vastly improved their top headphones since Grado came on the headphone scene. Grado refuses to make their headphones as comfortable as Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, etc. How hard could even that be? Go to HeadRoom and see just how peaky and rolled off the SR325 is compared to AKG, Sennheiser, and Beyerdynamic top models. Headroom rates the SR325 value much lower than some competing models from other manufacturers.

Back in 1991, there was a lot of room for improvement in headphones. Headphones were not in vogue and used only when necessary. Some people now use them as their first choice in listening. Manufacturers saw that and improved their offerings. Grado just hasn't kept up with the rest of the pack. Compare to the new AKG, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, and Audio Technica models before dropping a wad on Grado cans, and wear those cans for several hours. Grado does not have the R&D capability of AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser and Audio Technica. That is why you see noise canceling, surround sound, aviation and other advanced types of headphones coming from the majors that build microphones and wireless pro products.

With Grado, start at the bottom of their range and work up. I do not hear the degree of sonic improvements with added price that I hear from other manufacturers. The SR325 should have a more extended frequency response for the price.

It's sad that an American company lets the Europeans and Japanese totally blow them away on something as simple as comfort and style. Grado woke those other companies up in the early 90's, and now it's time for Grado to wake up. The big competitors still put out some schlock in their cheap models for the mass market, and that may lead people to think their high end models are schlock as well. Not true. I have owned Grado phono cartridges as well as headphones. I use another brand of phono cartridge these days that gives a better sound and higher value. Things change. Grado's competitors are taking no prisoners these days., and taking hreadphones into new realms.

Customer Service

If it breaks, they will fix it. Maybe. When I told them my plastic yoke was cracked on one side where the metal rod is inserted, they just said wait for it to totally break and they would replace it, even if beyond the warranty date. Make of that whatever you will, but I doubt that AKG or Sennheiser would have said the same thing.

Similar Products Used: DT880, K601, several Grado SR series.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Tommi Hietavuo   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 13, 2007]
Strength:

Flawless, neutral sound, excellent resolution, exceptionally clean, yet deep bass. Strong structure.

Weakness:

Not the most comfortable cans one can find. May reveal even too much details for your comfort... ;)

Everyone else have already stated the most obvious facts about these cans, so I decided to bring up a different point of view: studio use. SR325s belong to very rare headphones with neutral, yet very detailed sound suitable for demanding audio monitoring and even mixing. The sound balance is impeccable with no disturbing peaks or valleys in frequency response. The bass is clean, sharp and goes low enough for most purposes. Midrange and treble are just what they should be: nothing wrong there.

One soon notices that these headphones are absolutely merciless. If your recording is bad, it definitely sounds terrible from these cans. The resolution is almost too sharp; want it or not, you will hear the harshness of most cheap CD players, differences between cables - and, of course, every little detail that is wrong in your mix when you're making music... For the first time ever, I seriously started to consider buying an external D/A converter - these headphones really would deserve the best hardware one can afford to buy.

So, soundwise these Grados are excellent for home studios and probably also for professional setups. Very comfortable these SR-325s are not, at least to my ears. I can live with them, but my ears do become somewhat irritated after perhaps 30..60 minutes of continuous listening. This is probably very personal, so I recommend trying for yourself. Anyway, they are ok in that sector - not perfect, but ok.

I haven't heard better souding headphones - or, perhaps loudspeakers, either. That's one thing. Then again, the ultra neutral, ultra revealing sound of SR-325s may not be for everyone. They sound clean and musical, but a it the same way as top quality studio monitors do. Some people might prefer "less perfect" and more forgiving sound. Also, SR-325s tend to become quite expensive due to their ability to reveal the weak points in your audio system... You might eventually need to upgrade more than you expected. ;) Still, a top system and more than worth their price.

Customer Service

Excellent. Old, broken drivers were replaced for free long after the warranty period was over. This was the case in Helsinki, Finland - elsewhere things may be different.

Similar Products Used: AKG 141 etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rucorgi   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 05, 2006]
Strength:

Clarity and bass

Weakness:

comfort -and it's a biggy. You do get used to them though.

I've been using these for over five years now, and have always loved the way they sound on my stereo. If you want to hear fingers slide on strings and a singer moisten his mouth before the next line, this is what you want. My speakers are great, but with the 325's it always seems a bit closer. The sound stage is there, they have strong accurate bass, and the highs are so freaking crisp. (If you're listening to heavy metal and you simply want some boom boom boom, get Sony's and save your cash.) And, they do grow and break in. These are not the cans I bought back in 2000. BUT, the reason I'm writing this is because my nephew sent me a headphone amp. I am blown away! Between the Grado's, the Iriver, and the amp, I have portable audio pleasure. Like taking a stereo wherever I want and running it off of four little batteries. Letting the hyperbole slide for a minute, I really do love these things. If you want accuracy, I recomend them.

Similar Products Used: Sony's -lot's of them, and none of them approached these for clarity. All they did was go boom boom boom.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
reviewer007   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 25, 2005]

Just as an addition to my earlier review... I have noted and picked up what I consider a very annoying and possibly a bad design flaw in these 325i's,, or at least, something which should be improved upon immediately.. The cords which go from each earpiece into the junction (where they become "one"), twist around with each earpiece. Since each earpiece can potentially swivel around endlessly on the stainless steel pins, the cords will follow them, becoming badly twisted to the point where they bind up very tightly upon themselves and look like two snakes fighting each other. Now, because each cord is quite heavily constructed, you may not notice just how badly the internal wiring may actually be twisted - I did notice it and it felt quite badly twisted inside.. This could be a recipe for disaster. The internal wiring could quite easily fray and/or break. Indeed, I was so concerned about it, I phoned my brother who has a pair of SR60's and he told me of his friend (also with SR60's) who actually managed to get these 2 cords so twisted that they DID break off completely on one side.. Of course my brother said "So you have to be real careful of this"... Why was I so concerened..?? Because this had happened to me before with other headphones and when it does, they are rubbish bin material. It is impossible to solder or replace them. I can't see these phones being any different. How could they be fixed..?? Easily - by making the earpieces slide up and down only, on each steel pin, or to allow only a limited amount of turn on them, so they can't turn 360 degrees.. Since I have owned these 325i's (all of only 3 days now) I have managed to get these cords tangled almost each and every time I pick them up and wear them, simply because the earpieces swivel right around as soon as they are lifted. Of course, all this could boil down the the fact that I am a clumsby fool but I see these phones, at the moment, as a piece of art, badly let down by poor design.. Reproduction and quality is about the very best I have ever listened to. 9.99 out of 10.. Ergonomically (by design), they are pathetic. 1 out of 10... Grado needs to put more effort into the comfort and fit factor and a lot more into the solidity factor of this unit. Simply put,, they are flimsy and delicate. Right now I don't know whether these are a wolf in sheeps clothing or a sheep in wolf's clothing... Their one saving grace is that the DO sound magnificent... Also, the rumble in the right speaker, I spoke of in my previous review, still persists and if the volume gets any louder both sides suffer the same effect - a bad rumbling distortion. I have tried all my other headphones and none of them suffer anywhere as badly as the 325's. By the time this same distortion sets in on any other phone, you are alost deafened,, but with the 325's you can almost still hear your own heartbeat. Not Good... I am pondering the idea of using the "7 day money back guarantee" we have in this country on just about all new goods... I almost have a bad feeling about this unit...

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
reviewer007   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 24, 2005]
Strength:

Great, even superb audio reproduction right throughout the audio spectrum. Sounds very balanced instead emphsising certain parts of the spectrum, like some other expensive brands may tend to do. Heaps of beautiful bass. Rather a nice but plain looking headphone which can be folded up quite tidily. Very light and good fit across the head. This unit reproduces everything fed into it. This may include some audio imperfections, like clicks, hissing and scratchy sounds on the original recording, previously unnoticed by other brands, exepnsive or cheap, so be cautioned as these can be a little upsetting simply because you never noticed them before you tried the 325i's. It's NOT the 325's fault,, it's the original audio source or maybe your amp which could be at fault. Ever heard the saying "Generous to a fault"? This describes the 325's ability to reproduce all sounds fed into it. It could be both a strength and a kind of weakness at the same time. Personally, I love it..

Weakness:

Short cord which should have a 3.5/6.5mm adaptor already fitted.. My unit rattles in the right hand can when bass is a little high. No other headphone I own does this at these moderate levels. Background noises from other sources can be heard through these headphones. You need silence and exclusion to fully enjoy them. This unit reproduces everything fed into it. This may include some audio imperfections, like clicks, hissing and scratchy sounds on the original recording, previously unnoticed by other brands, exepnsive or cheap, so be cautioned as these can be a little upsetting simply because you never noticed them before you tried the 325i's. It's NOT the 325's fault,, it's the original audio source or maybe your amp which could be at fault. Ever heard the saying "Generous to a fault"? This describes the 325's ability to reproduce all sounds fed into it. It could be both a strength and a kind of weakness at the same time. I can almost assure you that some will love it while others may rue the day they bothered to put them over their ears.. There's only one way to find out... Everyone knows about the 'over the ears fit' thing - It's true, but you can easily live with it by concentrating on the superb sounds you are listening to. It isn't "that" bad...

I don't know why, but lately I have been buying all sorts of audio equipment - amps - Graphics EQ's - DvD/CD players - Tuners - speakers, and now headphones. I have bought Technics, Koss, Sennheiser, Philips units in my efforts to find the best within my budget levels. Funny thing is, that if I saved and bought only those higher priced units that are supposed to be the best, I would have most of them by now, however, it doesn'twork like that, does it..??? Within the last 24 hours , I took ownership of my latest phones - the Grado SR325i unit. Within the first few minutes of listening I noticed a handful of pros and cons with these phones. Here are some of the more noticable ones... Pro's... 1. These will reproduce anything which is fed into them. Good or bad, it will be reproduced into your ear lugs. Overall reproduction is just short of making me cry with joy. 2. Accurate bass, even from this brand new unit, is to say the least - SUPERB. Those who say it is not enough, are obviously after more thump thump noise rather than purity and by the time you are 30, you wont recognise pure bass even if it leapt up and bit you on the butt. There's plenty of bass and it sounds great. Just wait until 100 hours run in time has gone by. I'll bet these babies will "do it all". 3. Very light unit. So light, you hardly feel them on your nut, and the 'over the ears' fit is not too bad - much better than I thought they would be. Now the Cons... 1. Lots of outside sounds can be heard over and above these phones because of the cans having no enclosures. Right now as I write this review, I can hear some beautiful music and I can also hear my PC fan and hard drive, the toilet door just closed and I can hear the keyboard chattering as my fingers dance across the keys and oh, somebody just asked me if I want a cup of coffee from in the next room. Yuckkk...!!! 2. Although the 'over the ears' fit is a lot better than I was expecting, it still is nowhere near as good as any other headphones I own which all fully enclose the ears. I immediately rank these as the poorest fit of them all. 3. With too much bass fed into them from my Technics amp, if you turn up the volume a bit high (whatever that is), the right hand speaker starts to rumble as if it wants to pop out of its enclosure and whack my earlug off my head. I am suspecting this is a quality control defect as these sepakers are supposed to be matched to each other. Straight away, I can tell you - They aren't. Slightly turning either the volume or the bass down takes care of this issue but it still remains an issue. 4. The cord is - Too short - Twin instead of single - Has a 6mm and no 3.5mm plug & adaptor. This means I can't use them on my laptop at work. Now I will have to find and purchase an adaptor. There are plenty from 3.5mm to 6mm but not many 6mm to 3.5mm adaptors around. Geee Grado - Thanks for that small but annoying oversight. Also, the chunky (but I am sure efficient) leads from the cans to the plug have to be worn over my back rather than down my front as I might mistake them for rope and try to swing them harshly out of the way, and I don't want to damage these phones just yet. They are just a tad annoying. But, wearing them down my back totally gets rid of this problem to the extent that I hardly even know I am wearing them. 5. Cupping your hands over the ends of the cans will make them sound like the emerging sounds are coming from a couple of baked bean cans. I found this out within seconds of ever listening to them, while I was adjusting them for fit. I didn't realize that they were "that" dependent on the aluminium cans for quality sound. This leaves room for experimentation - Hmmmm..!! No comment just yet. Having given the above criticisms, I am glad I now own these phones, as I can truly say that I am well inside the upper echelons of quality headphones and it is great to know that only 2 or 3 other headphones in the workd today, can ever be called equal or better. Compared to my other phones, I can say that my el cheapo Philips HP840's, which I bought 3 weeks ago for comparison, sound amazingly good and I am quite surprsised that, to me, they appear to almost totally outdo the Sen HD590 and they even rasied my eyebrows when compared to these 325's. While they sound pretty good, the 325i's sound better all-round but the Philips don't distort as the volume goes up like the 325's do. Still, it's early days, or should I say "hours", since I have only owned them for not even one full day and they DO have to be run-in. Grados are sensitive to being run-in. I also have a few other more expensive amps and headphone amp to test them with and lots of different types of music to judge them by as I have only listened to pop type music as of yet. First impressions are more good than bad but they could be better. Still, right now, I am now smiling like a Cheshire cat, as the saying goes - because I am happy, definitely - "HAPPY".

Similar Products Used: At a guess, I would say that there aren't many other phones to compare to for audio quality. As for other points - Sennheiser 280 Pro & HD590 Philips HP840.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
sjp3003   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 06, 2003]
Strength:

Sound Quality. Quality of the drivers & cables.

Weakness:

Grado still has uncomfortable supra aural earpads that must be precisely positioned for the best sound-- not like the Sennheisers that you simply toss over your entire ears.

These headphones are worth a listen by anyone interested in excellent, high quality headphones. I am currently hooked on these cans. I have been using headphones for serious listening for the past 16 years. To put these in context, I now also regularly listed to Sennheiser HD580's (previously my favorite conventional headphones), Sony MDR 900's (very bright & efficient), Etymotic 4S's (the ultimate for travel) and Koss 950 electrostatics. I was not expecting that much from these Grado's since my first serious headphones was a pair of SR200's that I still have but rarely use. The 200's were absolutely fantastic 16 years ago, but they are way behind all the others mentioned above in terms of sound quality. I was totally surprised to experience the fantastic sound produced by the 325's-- there is little in terms of similarities with the old 200's, except for the design layout. The sound is airy, with good base and highly accurate. I drive these with a Headroom Supreme amp, but they are also OK when directly connected to a portable MP3 or CD player-- they're efficient. These headpones are truly one noticeable step above the others listed above, and the others are no slouches.

Similar Products Used: See Above
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
machulu   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 20, 2003]
Strength:

Good punchy bass very detailed Interesting retro-styling

Weakness:

uncomfortable after a hour of listening cable is a foot or two too short Interesting retro-styling

After allowing around 40 hours of break in for the Grado SR-325's these are my early impressions. First off, I run the 325's through the Creek OBH-11 head amp and being a user of the SR-80's, the improvment in performance is very clear. Contrary to a lot of reviews about the 325's being to bright, I actually found that the 325 is more relaxed when compared to the SR-80 or SR-125. The high's are crystal clear, the mid's are detailed and the low's aren't overpowering. Depending on personal taste, the bass may seem a bit thin. The bass is well emphasized but it's more punchy than booming bass. Like most high-end headphones, the quality of sound depends heavily on the recording that you're listening to. I listen to a lot of Trance/Techno and found that it doesn't sound nearly as good as a well recorded jazz cd. It is possible to hook these up to a portable player and get decent sound but I actually think that $20+ ear-buds would sound better suited for portable use. To hear the true nature of the 325's, you should be running them through atleast a good reciever or dedicated amp.

Similar Products Used: SR-125, SR-80
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
DMolisher   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 04, 2003]
Strength:

Detailed (but not overly etched) highs; Tight, deep bass; *Relatively* affordable and comfortable.

Weakness:

Still a little pricey for a pair of cans; Not *the* most comfortable earpads; Short cord requires an extension cable.

These are one of the best pairs of headphones available for under $300 (or, even $400). They sound very much like Grado's own RS-2 (and RS-1), in my opinion, for hundreds less. And they sound significantly better than Grado's less expensive offerings, including the SR-225, which just wasn't detailed enough for me. Maybe it's the better wire used in Grado's top 3 headphones; I don't know; but they sound really great, whereas the others only sound good/OK (for not much difference in cost, in the case of the SR-225). The other big player in the headphone market is Sennheiser. I previously made the horrible mistake of purchasing a pair of Senn HD-570's from Circuit City for somewhere in the neighborhood of $120-150. Detail these 570's have, but at the cost of piercing, ear-bleeding highs. Yes, they are lightweight and comfortable to wear, but I just couldn't listen to them for any length of time. The listening fatigue sets in VERY fast with these (though more expensive Sennheiser's are much better in this respect). Not with the Grado SR-325's, though; these babies have plenty of detail (and BASS), while remaining very easy to listen to. I also preferred them to the more expensive Sennheiser HD-580. These Grado SR-325's represent the "elbow" in the price/performance curve, and they're the only Grados to employ a rugged aluminum construction. Also, I didn't notice any obvious loss in quality when pairing them with Grado's affordable headphone extension cable (though neither is yet broken in, admittedly).

Similar Products Used: Grado RS-1, RS-2, SR-225, SR-125, SR-80, SR-60; Sennheiser HD-570, HD-580, HD-590.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 37  

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