These retro-styled open-backed cans might look weird, but their price suggests stonking performance. Will we believe our ears?
As is the way of things, truly expensive, high-end kit is often a bit, well, weird. These Grados are odd, too, but don’t be put off – they’re worth it.
The GS1000is certainly aren’t ugly: the mahogany earpiece design has a homely beauty about it, while the very large foam earcups are designed to create a ‘listening room’ for your ears (as well as helpfully catering for the larger-lugged among us).
The ‘i’ version of the GS1000s also have a more stable chassis, along with improvements to the voice coil wire gauge and better damping.
Baby got (no) back
Of course, the other aspect of the Grados, which works to produce as clear and uncoloured a sound as possible, is their open-backed design. And while this reduces resonances and unwanted reflections, it also means that a person sitting next to you can hear just about every note of the music you’re listening to.
If even a small part of your reason for buying headphones is that you want to listen to music without inflicting it on your nearest and dearest, then at the very least try these out before you buy – the GS1000is are very, very leaky.
The GS1000is’ other foible is that they take an age to run-in: we had them playing constantly for a week before they sounded their best.
But if that’s not a problem, and neither is their slightly odd look, you’re in for an absolute treat. Once run-in, they offer a truly stunning musical performance, with incredible clarity and detail.
Play any music through them, and the first thing you’ll notice is the remarkably open, airy treble and upper midrange: voices and instruments float with superb insight and precision.
The second is the authenticity of the detail they dig out. Acoustic guitars in particular sound blisteringly real – the vibration of all six strings communicated with rare accuracy.
Clear and fluid
Their presentation is sometimes a little lean, although the bass they produce is punchy, well-timed and communicative. But where the GS1000is win out is in their sheer transparency and musical realism: their timing and dynamic sweep combine with detail and insight to deliver your music with a near-perfect fluidity.
Sure, the GS1000is are very expensive – but they’re also brilliant.
Grado GS1000i review
They’re not for the train, but for sheer sonic pleasure these are the leaders of the class
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