The most expensive headphones we've ever reviewed are really quite ugly. But can the sound quality bring us round?
How much? Ah yes, that price: there’s no getting around it, £1000 is a hell of a lot of money to pay for a pair of headphones, especially when they make you look like a period drama Marconi operator.
But as long as you're using them the way they're intended, the GS1000s are the greatest cans money can buy.
This might be stating the bleedin' obvious, but the GS1000s are Grado's flagship models, and they take the weird and wonderful design of the company's more affordable headsets and run with it.
So, here the cans are the same sticky-out shape as those on the SR325i, but this time they're wooden. You also get much larger foam cushions, which are designed to create a 'room' for your ears to enjoy music in.
Not made for iPod
Now these headphones simply aren't designed for using with your iPod while doing the weekly shop. For one thing they're not very portable. Secondly, people will point and laugh. And thirdly – and most importantly – they require a very accomplished source in order to sound their best.
True, they'll sound very decent plugged into an iPod Classic with lots of uncompressed tunes (once again, don't leave the house with them).
But to really feel the benefit you should be plugging the GS1000s into a proper, decent hi-fi system – something like the Cyrus CD 6 SE player and Roksan Kandy K2 amp would do very nicely indeed.
Make the effort and spend the money, and you'll be rewarded with a divine performance. Play a live gig and the spaciousness of the delivery makes it feel like you're standing in the middle of the Brixton Academy, minus the sweaty rockers and chewing-gum floor.
But if you switch to something more intimate, the Grados have the detail and directness to make you feel as if you're in the recording booth.
They're wonderfully dynamic too, letting strings soar, and quieten enough during the sensitive vocal sections. Throw in unmatched detail levels and you can see why we're so keen on these 'aesthetically-challenging' headphones.
And that price? To get a sound this good from stereo speakers you'll pay £1000 many times over – that's why we reckon these headphones are well-worth the astonishing financial hit.
Grado GS1000 review
Simply the best headphones money can buy, but not for use with an iPod
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