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View Full Version : Grado SR60's - talk to me




Placeholder
Apr 18, 2006, 04:30 PM
I'm moving in the next couple weeks, and part of the move means that I'll have a 15 minute walk to work in the morning. I've been looking at picking up a new set of headphones to accompany me on my walk to work - specifically the Grado SR60's (Right now I just use the stock headphones, but I'm a little sick of earbuds). Reviews tell me that the Grado's are great for sound, and I believe it - but my main question is how bulky are they? I'm a skinny man, so are these things going to look like a set f earmuffs, or are they going to be managable?



Nepenthe
Apr 18, 2006, 05:38 PM
Eh... save your money.
On general principal Grados are probably not a good idea for that situation regardless of bulk. Sr60's or *any* Grado cans are a bit excessive for "music listening" purposes. Grados are best suited for critical listening purposes - studio work (beloved by engineers who specialize in classical music). Or for Hifi audiophiles who like to sit in big leather chairs at home and listen to vinyl with a glass of brandy ;)

Other things to consider (In my opinion):
1) - Grado are a bit too pricey to use just walking down the street... do you want to have a pair of Grado cans lost / stolen / damaged?
2) - They are a *bit* on the detailed side. Odds are that music may end up sounding a too crisp and bright for you, and your ears will get tired quickly.
3) - Grados are notoriously uncomfortable! I use Grado SR phones on a weekly basis at work when I troubleshoot audio mastering workstations. They do a good job of picking up clocking errors, noise, clicks, etc... but after 5-10 minutes I need them things OFF of my ears. Pain.
4) and arguably most important - Open air cans are not well suited for listening in public places. Too much background noise will be let through. The Grado cans take this to an extreme - almost no isolation. Essentially all of the detail and quality that you paid for will be stepped on by cars, busses, wind, people, etc... you may as well be using closed headphones that cost 1/4 as much.

If you are looking for something decent to use while walking around, and earbuds don't bother you, I'd recommend the buds by Shure (E3 or E4 $200 -> 320) or Etymotic Research (ER4 or ER6 $299+). These sound good, are defintely not bulky and offer great sound isolation. One thing to consider is that if you use higher isolation in-ear monitors you are not using volume as a tool to cancel out background noise, so you are thus able to listen to music at a lower relative volume which saves your hearing.

As far as headphones go, AKG have a good line of pro headphones. Some of the Sony heaphones are good too. However I only know the studio headphones, so my recommendations may not be appropriate. The ubiquitous Sony MDR 7506 are decent sounding and very durable. I have a few pairs of those and they have never failed me - and I guarantee you'll like the sound of those better than the Grados. They are "on the ear" and not "around the ear" so you may want to try them out first to see if you like the feel. The MDR 7509 are "around the ear" cans that also sound decent - but are a tad on the big side... and are way overpriced.

Hope this was helpful. Anyone else have recommendations?

Cheers,
-T

Placeholder
Apr 18, 2006, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the in-depth reply!
I have looked at the E2C's before, and they caught my eye - but lately I had just been hearing so many good reviews for Grado's that I thought they'd be worth checking out.
But for my needs, your advice makes me think I'll just go after the EC2's.

Scottyk9
Apr 18, 2006, 06:09 PM
The Grado's are fantastic (I have the SR-80's) - i listen to them all the time at home or in the office. While I think Nepenthe was a little hard on them, I agree that they are not the best for listening to in noisy environments. I use etymotic er6i's, which I like (I think fit is probably the most important consideration for in the ear earphones like etys or shure - if possible try before you buy). Just be aware, these are the exact opposite of the Grado's - it blocks out a lot of the ambient noise, which may have some safety implications depending on where you are walking.

kugino
Apr 18, 2006, 07:02 PM
Eh... save your money.
On general principal Grados are probably not a good idea for that situation regardless of bulk. Sr60's or *any* Grado cans are a bit excessive for "music listening" purposes. Grados are best suited for critical listening purposes - studio work (beloved by engineers who specialize in classical music). Or for Hifi audiophiles who like to sit in big leather chairs at home and listen to vinyl with a glass of brandy ;)
i respectfully disagree. grados are open cans, meaning they leak a lot of sound. studio technicians tend to use closed cans that don't bleed sound. moreover, grados are hardly "neutral" sounding and aren't the first choice when it comes to studio listening. while they are suitable for classical music (especially the rs1), grados tend to be associated most with rock listening. now, Nepenthe might use them for his studio work, but most technicians i know do not use grados.

Other things to consider (In my opinion):
1) - Grado are a bit too pricey to use just walking down the street... do you want to have a pair of Grado cans lost / stolen / damaged?
2) - They are a *bit* on the detailed side. Odds are that music may end up sounding a too crisp and bright for you, and your ears will get tired quickly.
3) - Grados are notoriously uncomfortable! I use Grado SR phones on a weekly basis at work when I troubleshoot audio mastering workstations. They do a good job of picking up clocking errors, noise, clicks, etc... but after 5-10 minutes I need them things OFF of my ears. Pain.
4) and arguably most important - Open air cans are not well suited for listening in public places. Too much background noise will be let through. The Grado cans take this to an extreme - almost no isolation. Essentially all of the detail and quality that you paid for will be stepped on by cars, busses, wind, people, etc... you may as well be using closed headphones that cost 1/4 as much.
1. the sr60 are rather affordable, $69 new and even less used. the IEMs you recommend cost way more than the sr60. now, if you're talking about the rs1, yes, they are fairly costly for walking-down-the-street purposes.
2. they are detailed, but that's not the signature problem of the grado line. it's that they tend to be harsh in the upper end, which is different from being detailed. some call the grado sound "grate-o"...i actually love the sound.
3. agree. many feel that grados are uncomfortable...i have small ears and find them quite comfortable (especially the higher end grados that have the "bowl" pads). matter of personal preference.
4. totally agree. not the best for public listening.


If you are looking for something decent to use while walking around, and earbuds don't bother you, I'd recommend the buds by Shure (E3 or E4 $200 -> 320) or Etymotic Research (ER4 or ER6 $299+). These sound good, are defintely not bulky and offer great sound isolation. One thing to consider is that if you use higher isolation in-ear monitors you are not using volume as a tool to cancel out background noise, so you are thus able to listen to music at a lower relative volume which saves your hearing.
couldn't agree more. all are great suggestions. the er6i, which mates nicely with the ipod (and comes in both black and white now), can be had at buy.com for about $90 when they're on sale.

As far as headphones go, AKG have a good line of pro headphones. Some of the Sony heaphones are good too. However I only know the studio headphones, so my recommendations may not be appropriate. The ubiquitous Sony MDR 7506 are decent sounding and very durable. I have a few pairs of those and they have never failed me - and I guarantee you'll like the sound of those better than the Grados. They are "on the ear" and not "around the ear" so you may want to try them out first to see if you like the feel. The MDR 7509 are "around the ear" cans that also sound decent - but are a tad on the big side... and are way overpriced.
AKG headphones are great (especially the 501 and the new 601 and 701), but they require a lot of juice and the ipod will not drive them very well. the sony studio headphones, IMO, are not "fun." grados are much more fun to listen to. just a personal preference.

the problem with the grados is that the cord is bulky. not the most convenient for transporting around town. for commuting, i'll also add these two cheap options:

koss ksc-75. some say these are the best price/performance headphones around. for only $25 they sound great...they're ugly, but do sound quite good.

sennheiser px-200. these fold and are easily stowed in your bag or pocket. sounds pretty good, too.

Counterfit
Apr 18, 2006, 09:04 PM
This thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=185533) might give you some info.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to try any of the recommended models. I'll probably get on that after school is out.

kugino
Apr 19, 2006, 12:42 AM
This thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=185533) might give you some info.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to try any of the recommended models. I'll probably get on that after school is out.
or if you want to go crazy (and spend way more than you ever wanted), go here (http://www.head-fi.org)

Nepenthe
Apr 19, 2006, 06:11 PM
i respectfully disagree. grados are open cans, meaning they leak a lot of sound. studio technicians tend to use closed cans that don't bleed sound. moreover, grados are hardly "neutral" sounding and aren't the first choice when it comes to studio listening.

Not really sure if I disagree with this, but I'll add that from what I've seen the only time closed cans are used in the studio is in the iso room during recording - vocalists, guitar players, etc will use closed cans to minimize bleed - Sony 7506's for instance. Otherwise I wouldn't think many people care about bleed in the control room. Perhaps it is a matter of preference.

For me the Grados hang next to the soldering iron... They are more of a tool for occasional reference because they happen to greatly emphasize the errors in the audio that I am listening for.
For more standard work like editing and mixing I like the AKG 240s.


1. the sr60 are rather affordable, $69 new and even less used. the IEMs you recommend cost way more than the sr60. now, if you're talking about the rs1, yes, they are fairly costly for walking-down-the-street purposes.


Bah. I could have sworn that the last time I checked nothing in the SR series was under $120. Thanks for the update.

-t

GreenCountry
Apr 22, 2006, 09:50 AM
Here's my $0.02:

I would love to use in-ear monitors, but they just irritate my ears too much. But granted, I have <SNLPatVoice> very sensitive skin.</SNLPatVoice> But I don't recommend walking through a city in traffic with IEMs - you might miss something important, like the sound of a car engine approaching you or even the car honking. IEMs are great for complete isolation, but just not too safe for commuting long distances/busy streets. They sound amazing though - the music is just "in your head" cuz they directly drive your ear drums.

I agree though that Grados are just a touch too bright. Plus, they are bulky.

My favorite commuter cans are the Sennheiser PX100s - they're comfortable for hours, and they fold up into a carrying case. The only problem is they are open-ear -- which helps with bass transmission (completely closed cans tend to have a problem creating the low-frequency air movement of bass-heavy sound), but doesn't help isolate noise. I usually work at cafes, and the coffee grinders always sound like I don't even have cans on. But these are good for on the street. I got em for $30-40, IIRC.

My other pair of cans are Beyerdynamic DT231s. Closed cans with decent bass response, also comfortable for hours (the PX 100s are more comfy though), but a little harder to commute with, cuz of their bulk. That said, they are my favorite ear covering in the winters (I'm in Chicago). I got em for like $50-60.

GreenCountry
Apr 22, 2006, 11:28 AM
So this thread has inspired me to embark on an hour of headphone research... damn consumerism...

And I'm finding that among IEMs, the low-end Ultimate Ears are getting a lot of acclaim - and despite what I said about being uncomfortable with IEMs, I'm now toying with the idea of buying some Ultimate Ear 5EBs - they're the "extra bass" model for bassheads like me.

See here: http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=143733

Headroom has them, and their more neutral non-EB counterparts, for $160 with free shipping. See http://www.headphone.com/products/headphones/in-ear-monitor/ultimate-ears-superfi-5eb-black.php

Salo
Apr 22, 2006, 11:52 AM
I love my sr-60s. They sound better than any other headphones I've ever used. I'm not an audiophile, but just they reproduce sound so cleanly. I don't like the emphasis on Bass that most other newer headphones focus on. They do leak sound, and I have to turn the volume down when I'm studying in the library, but they sound so good even at low volumes taht it doesn't bother me.

buy em and enjoy. The retro look is awesome.

supergod
Apr 22, 2006, 12:26 PM
This is my experience walking quite a bit everyday (being at Uni.) and wearing SR60s. They are much lighter than they look and are quite comfortable. They sound GREAT in any environment other than a very loud, enclosed space like a subway car. Walking down they street they still sound fantastic.

As far as sound goes they are the best headphones in the price range (and a fair bit above). I don't understand the complaints about the sound being too bright. To be honest, I think most people are so used to muddy sounding headphones and speakers that they hear anything crisp and think it's bright: the treble is quite well controlled on them and makes for more enjoyable listening to well encoded music. On the other hand, if you listen to 128kbps music, for instance, you will be able to hear flaws in the quality that you wouldn't with a muddier pair of headphones like the standard iPod ones.

As far as the actual comfort on the ears, they're pretty good. The problem is that they take a little while to adjust to your head and ears. The foam will change shape slightly, making them more comfortable and the metal headband will also slightly change shape. They don't get hot when you listen to them. Unlike closed ear headphones, if you listen to it at a moderate volume they probably will not tire out your ears. I've listened to 2 and a half plus hour films with them and even with all that sound coming in, I felt absolutely fine, didn't have to adjust them at all.

I would say that the biggest fault I have with them is that they do leak a good bit of sound. However, the important thing to remember is that with better headphones you can listen to songs at a lower volume and still be able to hear all the tracks clearly.

kugino
Apr 22, 2006, 03:18 PM
This is my experience walking quite a bit everyday (being at Uni.) and wearing SR60s. They are much lighter than they look and are quite comfortable. They sound GREAT in any environment other than a very loud, enclosed space like a subway car. Walking down they street they still sound fantastic.

As far as sound goes they are the best headphones in the price range (and a fair bit above). I don't understand the complaints about the sound being too bright. To be honest, I think most people are so used to muddy sounding headphones and speakers that they hear anything crisp and think it's bright: the treble is quite well controlled on them and makes for more enjoyable listening to well encoded music. On the other hand, if you listen to 128kbps music, for instance, you will be able to hear flaws in the quality that you wouldn't with a muddier pair of headphones like the standard iPod ones.

As far as the actual comfort on the ears, they're pretty good. The problem is that they take a little while to adjust to your head and ears. The foam will change shape slightly, making them more comfortable and the metal headband will also slightly change shape. They don't get hot when you listen to them. Unlike closed ear headphones, if you listen to it at a moderate volume they probably will not tire out your ears. I've listened to 2 and a half plus hour films with them and even with all that sound coming in, I felt absolutely fine, didn't have to adjust them at all.

I would say that the biggest fault I have with them is that they do leak a good bit of sound. However, the important thing to remember is that with better headphones you can listen to songs at a lower volume and still be able to hear all the tracks clearly.
the "brightness" of the sr60s are relative to other headphones on the market. the standard comparison is against sennheisers, which tend to be a bit warmer sounding, though still retaining their detail and clarity.

i agree with your assessment that they are the best headphones in their price range...in fact, i believe that they are the best price/performance headphones period. so much sound for so little dough.

while they are light and do swivel somewhat flat (for easy packing, for example), they are still not the first headphone one would think of for portable listening. for me, it's because of the cord, which is rather thick and bulky.

but i wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone...you could easily do worse than the sr60s.