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Grado SR80X Prestige Series Wired Review 2024: On-Ears Headphones With Open Back Design

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AspectSummary
Sound SignatureEmphasizes mid-range and lower treble for clarity and detail
ComfortFoam ear cushions and appropriate clamp force provide comfort
Build QualitySturdy and durable construction with plastic materials
Cable DesignAttached cable may be convenient but prone to tangling and noise
Technical PerformanceExcels in detail retrieval, instrument separation, and soundstage
Personal PreferenceUnique timbre may not suit everyone’s taste, subjective preference

Introduction

Welcome, fellow audiophiles! Today, we’re diving into the realm of audio excellence with a review of the Grado SR80x Prestige Series headphones.

These on-ear, open-back headphones offer an entry-level option for those venturing into the world of audiophile-grade sound.

In this review, we’ll explore the design, comfort, sound quality, and overall performance of the Grado SR80x headphones, providing insights to help you make an informed decision.

So, sit back, relax, and let’s uncover the intricacies of these acclaimed headphones together.

Description of the Grado SR80x

GRADO SR80x open back design view

So, let’s talk about these Grado SR80x headphones. They’re not your average pair of headphones, that’s for sure! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:

FeatureDescription
DesignOn-ear, open-back design
Stock PadsFocus on using standard ear cushions
Driver44mm dynamic driver
Impedance38 ohms
SensitivityApproximately 99.8 dB/mW
Ease of DrivingEasy to drive, suitable for use with smartphones, tablets, laptops, or dedicated amps

On-ear, open-back design

These headphones are what we call “on-ear,” which means they sit right on your ears rather than completely covering them. And get this—they’re also “open-back,” which means they have little vents or holes on the ear cups.

This design gives you a more natural, airy sound, but it also means people around you might be able to hear your sound.

Pricing and positioning

Now, let’s talk money. These Grado SR80x headphones will set you back around $115. That might sound like a lot, but in the world of headphones, that’s actually pretty reasonable.

These bad boys are aimed at folks who are just dipping their toes into the world of high-quality audio gear, so they’re a great entry-level option.

Focus on stock pads

When I say “stock pads,” I mean the ear cushions that come with the headphones right out of the box. Some people like to switch out these pads for different ones to change how the headphones sound, but for this review, we’re sticking with the ones that come standard.

Also: Learn How To Clean Headphone Pads?

Technical specs

Now, let’s get a little technical. These headphones have a 44mm dynamic driver inside, which is the part that actually makes the sound. They also have an impedance of 38 ohms and a sensitivity of around 99.8 dB/mW.

Don’t worry if those numbers sound like gibberish—I’ll explain what they mean in plain English in just a bit.

Ease of driving

One more thing before we move on—these headphones are pretty easy to drive. That means you don’t need any fancy equipment to make them sound good.

You can plug them right into your smartphone, tablet, or laptop and you’re good to go. Of course, if you want to get fancy and use a dedicated amp, you can do that too!

So, that’s the Grado SR80x in a nutshell. They’re a solid pair of headphones with a lot to offer, especially for folks who are just getting started with high-quality audio gear. But how do they stack up in terms of build quality and design? Let’s find out next!

Build and Design

GRADO SR80x image 3

Alright, let’s take a closer look at how these Grado SR80x headphones are put together and what they look like:

AspectDescription
Build MaterialPrimarily plastic construction, lightweight yet sturdy
HeadbandSpringy metal strap, adjustable for a personalized fit, friction-based adjustment mechanism
DurabilitySturdy construction, secure attachment of ear cups, durable foam ear cushions
ComfortOn-ear design with comfortable clamp force, soft foam ear cushions, suitable for extended use
Open-back DesignAllows natural sound but may result in sound leakage, consideration needed for quiet environments

Overview of build quality

First things first, we need to talk about how well these headphones are made. You want your headphones to feel sturdy and durable, right? Well, the Grado SR80x headphones do a pretty good job in that department.

They’re made mostly of plastic, which keeps them lightweight but still feels solid in your hands.

Headband and adjustment mechanism

Now, let’s talk about how these headphones fit on your head. They’ve got this springy metal strap that acts as the headband, and it’s adjustable so you can find the perfect fit.

The adjustment mechanism doesn’t have any notches or clicks—it’s just friction-based, which means it might loosen up over time. But overall, it does the job.

Materials and durability

You might be wondering if these headphones will hold up to everyday wear and tear. Well, I’m happy to report that they seem pretty sturdy.

The plastic construction feels solid, and the ear cups are attached securely. Plus, the foam ear cushions feel nice and soft against your ears, which is always a plus.

Comfort considerations

Comfort is key when it comes to headphones, especially if you plan on wearing them for long periods. The Grado SR80x headphones are designed to sit on your ears, and while they might not be the most comfortable headphones out there, they’re not bad either.

The clamp force is just right, and the foam ear cushions provide enough padding to keep your ears from getting sore.

Open-back design and sound leakage

One thing to keep in mind with these headphones is that they’re open-back, which means they let sound in and out. That’s great for getting a more natural sound, but it also means people around you might be able to hear what you’re listening to.

So, keep that in mind if you’re planning on using these in a quiet environment.

Overall, the Grado SR80x headphones have a solid build and design that should hold up well over time. They’re comfortable enough for extended listening sessions, and the open-back design adds to their appeal for audiophiles.

But how do they sound? Let’s dive into that next!

Related: Best Headphones That Don’t Leak Sound.

Cable Design and Ergonomics

GRADO SR80x image 6

Now, let’s talk about something that might seem a bit boring but is actually pretty important—the cable design of the Grado SR80x headphones:

AspectDescription
Cable DesignAttached cable design, permanently connected to headphones
Downsides of Attached CableProne to tangling, holds shape, nylon coating creates noise when rubbing against surfaces
Comparison with DetachableDetachable cables offer easy replacement and upgrades, less prone to tangling and noise
Impact on UsabilityLimits compatibility with different audio equipment, such as devices with balanced outputs

Discussion on the attached cable design

These headphones come with an attached cable, which means the cable is permanently connected to the headphones. Some people might prefer this setup because it means you never have to worry about losing or misplacing the cable.

critique of the attached cable

However, there are some downsides to having an attached cable. For one, it can get tangled up fairly easily, and it has a bit of memory to it, which means it tends to hold its shape even after you’ve straightened it out.

Plus, the nylon coating on the cable can be a bit noisy—it tends to rub against things and make a rustling sound.

Comparison with detachable cable options

Detachable cables, on the other hand, allow you to easily replace the cable if it gets damaged or if you want to upgrade to a fancier cable. They also tend to be less prone to tangling and don’t make as much noise when they rub against things.

So, some people might prefer headphones with detachable cables for these reasons.

Impact of cable design on usability

The attached cable on the Grado SR80x headphones also limits your options when it comes to using different types of audio equipment. For example, if you have a digital audio player (DAP) with a balanced output, you won’t be able to take advantage of it with these headphones.

Overall, while the attached cable on the Grado SR80x headphones might be convenient for some people, it does have its drawbacks. If you’re someone who values flexibility and versatility when it comes to your audio gear, you might want to consider headphones with a detachable cable instead.

But hey, don’t let the cable design hold you back—we’ve still got plenty more to cover when it comes to the Grado SR80x headphones’ sound quality!

Also: Best Headphones For Voice Over Work

Sound Quality Overview

GRADO SR80x image 5

Alright, let’s get into the juicy stuff—how do the Grado SR80x headphones actually sound? Here’s a general overview to get us started:

AspectDescription
Sound SignatureEmphasizes mid-range and lower treble for clarity and detail
Comparison with Previous ModelsTweaked for more bass and warmth, enhancing versatility across genres
Bass ResponseDecent mid-bass presence, but noticeable roll-off in sub-bass region
SoundstageSurprisingly spacious, enhancing immersion in sound.
ImagingExcellent, allows pinpointing of instrument locations
Overall ImpressionUnique and enjoyable listening experience, offering clarity and detail at its price point

General sound signature

These headphones have a unique sound signature that sets them apart from other headphones in their price range. They’re known for emphasizing certain frequencies, particularly the mid-range and lower treble.

This means you’ll hear a lot of detail and clarity in vocals and instruments that fall within those ranges.

Comparison with previous models

Now, if you’ve been following the Grado lineup for a while, you might be wondering how these headphones compare to previous models.

Well, from what I’ve heard, the Grado SR80x headphones have been tweaked to have a bit more bass and warmth compared to older models. This makes them more versatile and enjoyable to listen to across a wider range of genres.

Bass response and treble extension

Speaking of bass, let’s talk about how these headphones handle the low end. While they’re not exactly bass monsters, they do have a decent amount of mid-bass presence that gives sound a nice sense of punch and impact.

However, if you’re looking for deep, rumbling sub-bass, you might be a bit disappointed—these headphones have a noticeable roll-off in the sub-bass region.

Notable characteristics

One thing you’ll notice right away when you listen to the Grado SR80x headphones is their soundstage. Despite being on-ear headphones, they manage to create a surprisingly spacious soundstage that makes sound feel more immersive.

This, combined with their excellent imaging, allows you to pinpoint exactly where each instrument and sound is coming from.

Overall impression

So, what’s the verdict? Well, the Grado SR80x headphones offer a unique and enjoyable listening experience that’s sure to please a wide range of sound lovers. Their emphasis on the mid-range and lower treble gives sound a sense of clarity and detail that’s hard to beat at this price point.

Plus, their open-back design adds an extra layer of realism to your listening experience. But hey, don’t just take my word for it—let’s dive into the details and see how these headphones perform with different types of sound!

Detailed Sound Analysis

GRADO SR80x image 7

Alright, let’s dig a little deeper into how the Grado SR80x headphones actually sound. Here’s what you need to know:

AspectDescription
StrengthsEmphasis on mid-range and lower treble for clarity and detail
WeaknessesCan sound harsh or aggressive, particularly with certain genres
Personal PreferencesWorks well with classic rock and acoustic tracks, may be too aggressive for heavier genres like metal
Impact on GenresEnhances classical sound by revealing new details, but may overwhelm with aggressive mid-range in genres like metal or hip-hop
Overall ImpressionOffers a unique and engaging listening experience with exceptional clarity and detail, but may not suit everyone’s taste due to aggressive sound signature

Examination of strengths and weaknesses

These headphones have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sound reproduction. On one hand, their emphasis on the mid-range and lower treble gives sound a sense of clarity and detail that’s hard to beat.

On the other hand, this can sometimes make them sound a bit harsh or aggressive, especially with certain types of sound.

Personal preferences

Of course, sound is subjective, and what sounds great to one person might not sound so great to another.

Personally, I found that these headphones worked well with certain types of sound, like classic rock and acoustic tracks, where their emphasis on the mid-range and lower treble really shines.

However, with heavier genres like metal, they can sometimes sound a bit too aggressive for my liking.

Overall impression

So, what’s the bottom line? Well, the Grado SR80x headphones offer a unique and engaging listening experience that’s sure to appeal to certain listeners. Their emphasis on the mid-range and lower treble gives sound a sense of clarity and detail that’s hard to find at this price point.

However, their aggressive sound signature might not be to everyone’s taste, especially if you prefer a more laid-back or neutral sound. Ultimately, whether or not these headphones are right for you will depend on your personal preferences and the types of sound you enjoy listening to.

Technical Performance

GRADO SR80x image 9

Let’s take a closer look at how the Grado SR80x headphones perform from a technical standpoint:

AspectDescription
Detail RetrievalExceptional ability to reveal fine details and separate instruments
TimbreUnique, possibly “colorful,” adds excitement to the sound
SoundstageSurprisingly spacious, immersive soundstage despite being on-ear headphones
ImagingExcellent imaging for precise instrument localization
Overall AssessmentImpressive technical performance, outstanding detail retrieval, and immersive soundstage, but unique timbre may not suit all listeners

Assessment of detail retrieval and instrument separation

One thing that sets these headphones apart is their ability to retrieve fine details in the sound. You’ll notice little nuances and subtleties that you might have missed with other headphones.

Plus, the instrument separation is top-notch, allowing you to hear each instrument and voice clearly, even in complex arrangements.

Evaluation of timbre and tonal accuracy

When it comes to timbre—that’s the way instruments and voices sound—these headphones have a bit of a unique character. Some people might call it “colorful,” while others might say it’s a bit unusual. Personally, I found that it added an extra layer of excitement to the sound, but your mileage may vary.

Notable features in sound reproduction

GRADO SR80x image 8

One thing you’ll notice right away when you listen to the Grado SR80x headphones is their soundstage. Despite being on-ear headphones, they manage to create a surprisingly spacious soundstage that makes sound feel more immersive.

This, combined with their excellent imaging, allows you to pinpoint exactly where each sound is coming from.

Consideration of soundstage and spatial cues

The soundstage of the Grado SR80x headphones is truly immersive. It creates a spacious, concert hall-like experience where each instrument has room to breathe.

The spatial cues are incredibly accurate, allowing you to feel like you’re in the room with the performers when you close your eyes.

Overall technical performance

The Grado SR80x headphones impress from a technical standpoint. They excel in detail retrieval, instrument separation, and boast top-notch soundstage and imaging capabilities.

However, their unique timbre may not suit everyone’s taste, so it’s advisable to audition them before deciding. Let’s explore how they perform across various genres to get a clearer picture.

Comfort and Fit

AspectDescription
Padding and Clamp ForceDecent padding with comfortable clamp force
Ear Cup Size and DesignOn-ear design may vary in comfort compared to over-ear headphones
Overall ComfortGenerally comfortable for extended use
Comparison with Other DesignsOffers a balance between comfort and fit; may lack cushioning of over-ear headphones
Overall ImpressionGood balance between comfort and fit for most users

Now, let’s talk about how comfortable the Grado SR80x headphones are to wear:

GRADO SR80x headphones closer view

Assessment of padding and clamp force

Comfort is key when it comes to headphones, especially if you plan on wearing them for long periods. The Grado SR80x headphones have foam ear cushions that provide a decent amount of padding.

Plus, the clamp force—the pressure the headphones exert on your ears—is just right, so they don’t feel too tight or too loose.

Consideration of ear cup size and design

These headphones are what we call “on-ear,” which means they sit right on your ears rather than completely covering them.

Some people might find this more comfortable than over-ear headphones, while others might prefer the extra cushioning of over-ear designs. It really comes down to personal preference.

Evaluation of overall comfort for extended use

In my experience, the Grado SR80x headphones are pretty comfortable to wear for extended listening sessions. I didn’t notice any discomfort or fatigue, even after wearing them for several hours at a time.

Of course, everyone’s ears are different, so your mileage may vary.

Comparison with other headphone designs

Now, how do these headphones stack up against other designs in terms of comfort? Well, that’s a tough question to answer.

Over-ear headphones might offer a bit more cushioning and a more secure fit, but they can also feel a bit bulkier and heavier on your head. It really comes down to what feels best for you.

Overall impression

So, what’s the bottom line? Well, the Grado SR80x headphones strike a good balance between comfort and fit.

They’re lightweight and comfortable enough for extended listening sessions, but they might not be the best choice if you prefer over-ear headphones with extra cushioning. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right fit for your ears and your listening habits.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Emphasizes mid-range and lower treble for clarity and detailAttached cable prone to tangling and noise
Spacious soundstage and accurate imagingAggressive mid-range can be harsh with certain tracks
Lightweight and comfortable designLimited compatibility with balanced audio sources
Excellent detail retrieval and instrument separationUnique timbre may not appeal to everyone

Conclusion:

GRADO SR80x Prestige Series Wired REVIEW

Overall, the Grado SR80x headphones present a compelling option for audiophiles looking for a distinctive sound signature. While they may not be suitable for every listener, their excellent technical performance and comfortable design make them worth considering.

It’s essential to audition them with your favorite genres to determine if they align with your preferences. With their strengths in sound quality and comfort, the Grado SR80x headphones stand as a competitive choice in the entry-level audiophile market.

In essence, the Grado SR80x headphones offer a blend of unique sound characteristics and comfort, making them a viable choice for discerning listeners seeking an immersive audio experience.

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