Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tech: Grado SR-60 headphones

My favorite pair of headphones is the Grado SR-60s. Now, mind you, they aren't the best headphones I've ever heard; other cans reproduce sound with either more neutrality or with better "warmth" and openness. In terms of price, nowadays cheapo Chinese stuff can give these things a run for the money, since it's easy to lower the price when the labor is practically free.

No, the Grados are a retro throwback to the oldest principles of headphone design. The build quality, aside from the nice thick stethoscope-like cord, is pokey compared to many modern headsets. The metal pad takes about a month of solid use to really wear in, and it may never fit some heads correctly. The ear pads can be scratchy and abrasive to some.

Why pay $69 then? Sound. When you crank up the volume with these suckers on, you get a nice, open soundstage, tight bass, decent mids, and sparkly highs. Some Grado critics refer to this as the "Grattle," but if you like a certain kind of sound (think British-style bookshelf speakers), this will be right up your alley.


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