Category Archives: HiFi

GRADO SR325i REVIEW


Once again, I have been given the chance to review another model of the GRADO series Headphones, the Grado SR325i unit by the guys over at “LOUD + CLEAR” in Glasgow who specialise in Hi-Fi, Cinema and Home Automation solutions. Expect to pay just over £300.00 for these.

Grado SR325is Features

  • Superb audio quality with full support across all frequencies
  • Special driver design and metal housing for low transient distortion
  • Comfortable design with adjustable headband and cushioned earpads
  • Drivers are matched to within 0.05dB
  • Vented diaphragms are de-stressed for great detail
  • Ultra-high purity long crystal copper wire voice coil and connecting cord
  • Aluminum air chamber
  • Standard stereo 6.35mm (1/4″) full size jack plug

Grado SR325is Specification

  • Type: Open-Air Dynamic Supra-Aural
  • Frequency Range: 18Hz – 24kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Cord length: 1m approx
  • Connectors: 6.35mm stereo full size jack plug
The shape and design of these headphone’s are the same as the GRADO SR80i and GRADO SR125i models, but rather than being made of plastic, they are made from metal that adds a noticeable amount of weight to the headphone’s when compared to the other models. If you want a closer look at these headphone’s, I uploaded a quick video to youtube that you can check out.

When I put these on, I was expecting to be blown away even more than I was with the SR125i’s I reviewed recently, but I actually sat there stunned….

To me, these headphones seem to push the treble side of the music to the front and the bass is pushed right to the back, and the whole experience for me is one of thinking these headphone’s are more designed for being used on a better quietly amp, rather than through a PC setup/mixer solution. This feeling is further enforced when trying to listen to music through a classic iPod and iPod Touch, there just seems to be no real feeling of power and switching back to the mac/mixer setup the difference is night and day but seems lacking when compared to the SR125s model.

After writing the above, and spending a few more hours listening to music through the SR325i’s I realised that the problem I was having is that I was treating these headphones like a pussy cat… petting it and being nice to it, when in fact you should be pumping these things hard and let the headphone’s take care of the rest! The more you put into these headphones the better the experience, and they just seem to handle anything you throw at them.

I’ll still stick to my guns though in using these with the likes of an iPod, I really don’t think these are the right headphones for this sort of kit. Get a really good amp or push your PC audio through a decent mixer and the sound really does become quite incredible.

In testing the headphones out I used a wide and varied range of tracks that cover subtle sound, through Rock and the obscure, and as you can see below, I have tried to cover a varied range of tracks to prove my point. The hardware used was an i7 iMac, with my audio linked in via the Behringer Xenyx 802 Mixer, with the audio played via iTunes.

Mike Oldfield – Far Above the Clouds: This track is a great test track as it begins off nice and soft, a child’s voice, and a steady build up into a dramatic electric guitar and Tubular Bells climax that really is fantastic to listen to through these headphone’s. Absolutely zero distortion and absolutely everything clear and defined.

Uriah Heep – Wake The Sleeper: A great track for testing as it’s literally just electric guitar, powerful drumming and high-pitched audio. Playing this one loud really does feel like you are at the concert, in fact closing your eye’s you begin to wonder if you are in fact a bit too close to the stage!!!!

Velvet Revolver – She Builds Quick Machines: Classic Slash guitar work that comes across crystal clear, and the whole experience is handled distortion free. One thing I really picked up on was the deep bass coming in but it never seems to take over and distort the whole track that some other headphones seem to allow.

Once again, I suffered very sore ears and pressure on my head with these headphones and I really don’t think the extra weight helped here. The Grado’s just need slightly larger ear-pads I think, to get this ear pressure issue sorted out, but the manufacturer does not seen to offer any… so it’s a case of “If the ear’s fit” then you will have the comfort that people like me crave.

The standard connector is 6.35 mm, so you will need to get an adapter for the of 3.5 mm jack that is used to connect to most MP3/iPod devices. I only had a normal adaptor around, and as you can see it’s awful! Grado does sell a converter cable that will allow you to just extend the cable as though it’d part of the original cable, so nothing nasty will stick out!

I had one moment of panic that really had me sweating… the Right earpiece fell off!!! I went to alter the position of the cup on my ear as it started to ache again, and it just came off in my hand!!! A quick push of the cup back on the metal pin and it’s back to normal again, but at the price of these headphones surely this should not happen? My hear rate has went back to normal and after a few more hours the thing is still tight on, so I have no idea why on earth to came off so easily in the first place!

Overall, at the price, I really don’t feel that these headphones are for me. You on the other hand should take the time to go to a quality HiFi store and listen to the music for yourself. Take in your own digital media device and make up your own mind. As it is, they are very nice, but just not nice enough to convince me to pay for them.

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GRADO SR125i REVIEW


Once again, I have been given the chance to review another model of the GRADO series Headphones, the Grado SR125i unit by the guys over at “LOUD + CLEAR” in Glasgow who specialise in Hi-Fi, Cinema and Home Automation solutions.

Grado SR125i Features

  • Adjustable headband and cushioned earpads for comfort
  • Vented diaphragm and non-resonant air chamber for great detail and clarity
  • Drivers are matched to 0.1dB
  • Ultra-high purity, long crystal copper wire voice coil and copper connecting cord
  • Standard stereo 6.35mm (1/4″) full size jack plug

Grado SR125i Specification

  • Type: Open-Air Dynamic Supra-Aural
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Connectors: 6.35mm stereo full size jack plug

The shape and design of these headphone’s are the same as the GRADO SR80i unit, with the ear pads being slightly larger, and recessed slightly more to allow a bit of space between your ear and the speakers themselves. You will still look like “Biggles” but this time around… well… read on!

What a difference it makes to have that larger pad against your ear! The pressure problem that I had with the 80i’s almost disappeared, there was some sensation of pressure but negligible this time and it was only after many solid hours of use that the pressure became noticeable,

As you can see by visiting the unboxing video I made, the packaging is the same as the 80i as well, but with these units coming in at the £160.00 mark, the difference has to be something else… and I have to say, that difference is absolutely incredible.

In testing the headphones out I used a wide and varied range of tracks that cover subtle sound, through Rock and the obscure, and as you can see below, I have tried to cover a varied range of tracks to prove my point. The hardware used was an i7 iMac, with my audio linked in via the Behringer Xenyx 802 Mixer, with the audio played via iTunes.

Velvet Revolver: She Builds Quick Machines – Standard Rock music that you would expect from Slash & Co. I have listened to this track so many times, and now with the SR125i’s I am left thinking what the hell I have been missing! The start of this track is quiet and hits you full on with guitar work, with cheaper headphones just collapsing and distorting, and then the audio kicks in with next to no clarity in the backing guitar work. This time, I’m left almost speechless as there is now a whole new range of guitar work that I have never heard before, and subtle backing audio that again I have not heard before, all just hammering out perfectly clear with zero distortion. I had to stop and restart this track 5 times to just take in what I have been missing on my Sennheiser HD595’s that I regard as being the best headphones I have used!!!

Velvet Revolver: The Last Fight – Ballad style track with plenty of guitar work in it. I’m left stunned again… Lyrics and audio that I have never heard before, it’s just pumping out of these headphones and I’m now becoming quite worried that what I considered to be quality has in fact been… well…. junk!

Santa Hates You: Domina Mors – Electronic/synth with choir style backing, and increasing heavy synth bass. With these headphones I was hearing extra layers of vocals that I have never heard before, sweeping left/right mixing that again I have never experienced before… Stunned to say the least! The bass increasing in volume was handled with impunity with the vocals remaining clear, and the bass handled as if by a true master… there was no way these headphone’s would be dominated by this track, it took it and controlled it beautifully.

Aqua: My Mamma Said – Pop Music as you would expect! Right… I just have to accept that these headphone’s are pulling out tracks hidden from me for all these years… This track has so many backing layers that I’m feeling like I am listening to a brand new mix once again!!

Rob Dougan: Furious Angels – Dramatic track that I really love but now love even more as once again I feel like I am listening to a new mix of it. The headphones handle it all with complete ease, zero distortion and all the levels coming through ultra clear….

Ok, I give up… You can guess that I like these headphones….

I am genuinely humbled by these headphone’s, more so after I reviewed the previous model and felt that while they produced good sound… they did not do anything else that my current headphone could not do. So for an extra £60 or less, the difference to me is just not worth debating. If you want to buy a Grado branded set of headphone’s then I’d say you buy these over the 80i’s as these are in a league of their own.

PRO’s: Need I even bother writing anything else?

CON’s: After a few hours the ear pieces do start to press into your ears, but that may just be me, you may have a better shaped head than I!! From what I have experienced in listening to my music through these headphone’s the slight pressure is worth experiencing.

GRADO SR80i HEADPHONE REVIEW


I have had the good fortune to be given a set of “Grado Labs”, SR80i headphone’s for evaluation by the great people down at “LOUD + CLEAR” in Glasgow who specialise in Hi-Fi, Cinema and Home Automation solutions.

The one thing I should point out about any headphone review, is that no matter what is considered good, or bad in a review, we all differ in what we want from headphones, and what we hear when we use any. So, this review of this item are based on my needs, my hearing range and my head shape!

Grado SR80i Features

  • Adjustable headband and cushioned earpads for comfort
  • Vented diaphragm and non-resonant air chamber for great detail and clarity
  • Drivers are matched to 0.1dB
  • Copper wire voice coil and 4 strand connecting cord
  • Standard 3.5mm stereo mini plug with 6.35mm adapter

Technical Specification

  • Type: Open-Air Dynamic Supra-Aural
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Connectors: 3.5mm stereo mini jack plug with 6.35mm adapter

When you look at the box holding the Grado SR80i’s it’s basic to say the least, and on opening the only thing inside the box are the headphone’s, the foam padding, a couple of pieces of paper and the extra connector. Very basic to say the least!To see the box and components you can have a look a very short unboxing movie made to show the items you will receive when/if you purchase these headphone’s.

First impressions of the headphone’s is that they look like something “Biggles” would wear! Certainly a very retro style in my opinion!!

If you are looking for a set of headphones to use while in company, then the SR80i’s are NOT what you want as these headphone’s leak audio like water pouring through a sieve! So, if you are thinking of using this type of headphone on a train, plane or automobile, rest assured, your passengers will not be happy in having to be subjected to your music, and will probably make the point by subjecting you to a few pokes or slaps to turn your music off!

Are we off to a bad start? Not really, just pointing out that these headphones are designed to provide you with clear audio, and to give you the clearest sound possible whilst not hindering the sound by audio bouncing all around an enclosed ear piece and altering the audio experience.

The cable length if fine for general use, and the thickness of the cable seems very good, so there is no feeling that it’s going to snap on you easily.

In testing the sound quality of these headphone’s I had them plugged into a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer so I could play around with the sound and push them to the limits of my audio needs.

As expected, the quality of the sound through these headphones is really good, and pushing the bass hard did nothing to phase them and no distortion was heard. The mid tones came over very clear as well, but I felt the sound felt sort of light due to the nature of the headphone’s openness. I prefer a more warmer/meatier sound myself, but these produced clear quality audio with no sense of being strained at any time.

Personally I found the ear pads to be quite uncomfortable and felt a lot of pressure on my ears, so for me these headphone’s would not be an ideal choice, but after having a few other people test the headphone’s out they said they felt very comfortable, light and had incredible sound quality, so it just show you that you really do need to go and test out serious headphone’s rather than just reading a review and ordering them up!

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