From entry-level to professional, Grado Labs is known for making exquisite headphones of remarkable build quality and audio experience.
Be it metal, wood, wired, or wireless, Grado Labs is here to offer everyone headphones that suit their listening requirements and style preferences.
Whether you want home headphones for casual use, or you’re looking for reliable studio-style headphones, this article is exactly what you need. Today, we’re reviewing the 8 best Grado headphones that the company has to offer.
Sure, once upon a time a certain brand starting with a “B” was the first name that comes to mind when someone mentioned headphones, but things have changed over the past few years thanks to the growing high ratings of Grado Labs headphones.
It doesn’t matter if you just heard of the brand or have been a Grado fan for a while, keep reading to find out more about the right headphones for you.
Best Grado Headphones – Top Options in All Series
To give you a review that’s as comprehensive as possible, we decided to research the best Grado Lab headphones in each series of their sonic creations.
Up until today’s date, Grado Lab releases headphones under 7 different series: Prestige Series, Reference Series, Statement Series, Professional Series, Wireless Series, In-Ear Series, and Limited Editions.
We’ll have a brief introduction to each series before we take a closer look at its best models.
As the classic series of Grado Labs headphones, the Prestige Series is the best way for new blood to experience the Grado sound for the first time.
Ranging from entry-level to one of their highest ever rated headphones, the Prestige series has an eventful history with the Grado family, going all the way back to the first Grado headphones to be released and the first metal pair ever built.
The Prestige Series is basically the embodiment of the six decades of Grado Labs’ unique audio experience. Members of the Prestige Series include the SR60e, the SR80e, the SR125e, the SR225e, the SR325e, and the eGrado headphones.
Here are the best headphones of the Prestige Series:
The SR60e provides quite a stunning audio profile with impressive durability and excellent value for money.
Both the mid-range and treble are phenomenal, and while the bass doesn’t really shake your soul, it does have a nice extension for an overall remarkable sound signature at an affordable price.
Looks-wise, the Grado SR60e has a “vintage meets sleek” design that sits rather well with audiophiles interested in old-school vibes.
These headphones work pretty nicely with just about any genre, but they shine brightest when you listen to metal, rock, or anything with electric guitars.
As for the build quality, the SR60e is just decent. Given the price, it’s really not that bad, but you can tell it’s not as spot-on as other headphones in this series. Also, the cable of SR60e isn’t removable, and there aren’t any fancy remotes inside.
We found the comfort level of the SR60e to be somewhat disappointing, but you may not notice this if you don’t wear your headphones for a long time.
All in all, the Grado Prestige Series SR60e is a solid choice for a mid-price range headphone with a straightforward traditional design and killer sound quality.
- ✓ Great mid-range and treble
- ✓ Offers instrument separation
- ✓ Vintage look
- ✓ Good value for money
- ✗ Not the most comfortable pair
- ✗ Build can be improved
Although we like the SR80e better, there’s a reason why we decided to review it after the SR60e. You see, the SR80e picks up where the previous model left off.
In terms of sound, the SR80e has a better bass texture that’s a bit punchier and deeper with an enhanced definition. The audio quality is soft and warm, no doubt one of the best creations from Grado.
These headphones also offer improved driver matching as well as more speed and accuracy, which makes them a good option for all the metalheads out there.
In the SR80e: the foam earpads cover the drivers, there’s a leather-like material covering the earpiece, and the earcups are made from plastic. This entire structure is held together by metal clings.
Compared to the SR60e, the SR80e is more comfortable and lightweight. However, it comes with a shorter cable that tends to fall off the earphones at times.
As for the design, the SR80e rocks similar old school vibes as the SR60e, but on the sleeker side. These headphones aren’t significantly more expensive than the 60e, so they won’t put a dent in your wallet.
- ✓ Outstanding sound quality for mid-range headphones
- ✓ Punchier bass
- ✓ More comfortable
- ✓ More fast-paced
- ✗ The cable tends to fall off the earphones
Using the SR225e, your experience will probably be best summarized in two words: big sound.
This model is meant to be a step up from the lacking audio quality of the SR125e, which we didn’t even include in the list because we were that unimpressed.
But with the SR225e, we were pleasantly surprised by the exceptional clarity, detail, and intimacy its soundstage offers thanks to the integrated L cushions. At higher volumes, however, you can notice that the SR225e sounds slightly metallic.
Another thing that didn’t quite float our boats is the fact that the cable is notably bulky. But, it’s very sturdy and admittedly less cumbersome than some of Grado’s other headphones.
The SR225e delivers incredible bass for an open-back design. It’s also pretty comfortable despite being an On-ear type.
- ✓ Incredible clarity
- ✓ Comfortable for an On-ear
- ✓ Sturdy cable
- ✗ Can sound metallic at higher volumes
Last but not least, we couldn’t wrap up the Prestige Series reviews without talking about the SR325e.
This headphone packs a punchier bass compared to all its predecessors, and the sound is more lush, intimate, and indulging.
A couple of differences between the SR325e and other members of this series include:
- ✓ A leather headband and metal encasing.
- ✓ Heavier construction.
- ✓ Brighter, more revealing sound.
The Reference Series is what started the brand’s love for using wood in building headphones.
These pairs have smaller wooden bodies that are hand made from mahogany and equipped with drivers specifically tuned for coupling with mahogany to produce a welcoming sound like no other.
Members of the Reference Series include the RS1e and the RS2e headphones, both of which we included in our best Grado headphones list.
The first thing people notice about these headphones is the authentic mahogany wood finish, contrary to the use of metal or plastic in previous releases. Being handcrafted from real wood is the highlight of the Reference Series look.
That being said, the RS1e produces a smoother treble than any model in the Prestige Series. It’s engaging for listening at any volume, sounding just as good at a low level as it does at a higher one.
It’s important, however, that you connect the RS1e to a nice quality source since it will serve you the sound as-is, no sugarcoating. This headphone beautifully articulates piano notes and softer music, with more of a detailed bass rather than a powerful one.
Still, we found the cable to be quite thick and the comfort is nothing special.
- ✓ Mahogany wood finish
- ✓ Engaging sound
- ✓ High-quality craftsmanship
- ✗ Not very comfortable
- ✗ The bass isn’t quite satisfying
Comparing the RS2e to the SR225e, we noticed that the bass is heavier on the RS2e, with a more spacious sound stage. This model offers more slam while maintaining excellent clarity, articulation, and detail.
Unlike the cheaper options in the Prestige class, the RS2e (like the RS1e) won’t bite as much in the treble when you turn it up. But does this justify the huge price jump? We’re not totally sold here.
Same as with the RS1e, this headphone will reveal defects in the source file so you need to make sure it’s up to par. Also, the headband is a bit rigid, so it may require breaking in if you have a large head.
- ✓ Clearer sound
- ✓ Wider soundstage
- ✓ Heavier bass
- ✗ The headband needs to be broken in
Robust, full-bodied, and built using mahogany, the headphones of the Statement Series are designed to envelop you in the audio experience that your heart desires.
There are only 3 members in the Statement Series: the GS1000e (Details Magazine called it “One of the six great indulgences of the world”, the GS2000e, and the GS3000e headphones.
We picked the GS1000e as the best headphone of this series.
The GS1000e headphone offers a realistic bass that frankly lacks nothing. Granted, some bass lovers will disagree given their search for a super-powerful impact, but we found the bass to be more than sufficient for the average user.
Building on the RS2e features, the GS1000e has a better soundstage with improved clarity and an airy presentation. The vocals come out more vivid and understandable, even when you play them loudly.
One particular step-up in this model is that you can recognize and differentiate instruments with more precision.
The GS1000e is a high caliber headphone, which translates pretty well in the price – closing in on $1000. For this much money, we expected a case to be included but found none.
As you decide whether or not you can afford such quality, keep in mind that these headphones are rather large and bulky, but not too heavy. The GS1000e offers impeccable sound and impeccable looks, which explains why it ranks so high up in headphone ratings.
- ✓ Impeccable sound
- ✓ Attractive looks
- ✓ Better instrument recognition
- ✗ Bulky
- ✗ Expensive
Headphones in the Professional Series are metal and wood hybrids, built to give you a superior listening experience with surgical precision.
This lineup, including Grado’s flagship headphones, is hand-made from mahogany tonewood, paired with chrome-plated or powder-coated aluminum.
Substantial, influential, and unmatched sound – all are words that you can use to describe the listening experience using the PS500e, the PS1000e, or the PS2000e headphones.
The PS500e, however, is our choice for the best Grado headphone in the Professional Series.
The PS500e is Grado’s approach to achieve a warmer overall sound compared to that of the previous headphones by mellowing out the highs a bit.
Although the bass is toned back, we found the mid-range to be significantly improved as opposed to something like the RS2e. Consequently, Rock will sound better as the treble is a lot less harsh.
With a smaller soundstage, the PS500e offers full-bodied vocals, outstanding dynamics, and a butter-smooth top end.
- ✓ Better mid-range
- ✓ Compact design
- ✓ The treble is much tamer
- ✗ The build quality is somewhat disappointing
According to the company, they made no compromises to deliver the genuine Grado sound in a wireless package.
This series is all about trying new design approaches to build truly unique headphones.
From crafting out of whiskey barrels to using fallen trees in Brooklyn, the limited edition headphones allow the folks at Grado to experiment with collaborators without changing their already-working lineups.
Some of our favorite creations include the GH4 , the White Headphone, and the Hemp Headphone.
There you have it – a list of the 8 best Grado headphones to please all the audiophiles out there.
As you can tell, each series aims to fulfill a different set of user requirements. That being said, if you still can’t decide which model is right for you, we highly recommend the Grado Prestige Series SR80e since it captures the essence of Grado Labs’ signature sound experience at a very reasonable price.