Review: Grado SR60 Headphones

By Mike on 5:26 pm

Filed Under:

The iPod generation likes i's music loud and low quality. Most people today are quite content with the earbuds that come with the trendy MP3 player. However, these buds are quite frankly garbage. Their sound quality is terrible. They often are too bass or treble heavy, and produce an overall muffled sound. You really do get what you pay for and these $5 earbuds are no good. You'd be surprised how much you're missing with those cheap buds. Your best bet is to pick up a proper pair of over-the-ear headphones since they provide better sound and have noise cancelling qualities. Some earbuds do as well but these molded varieties tend to be vary expensive.

Headphones vary in price. How much do you think a decent pair is worth? Bose sells an on-ear variety for $240. Sennheiser sells a pair of pro grade ones for a whopping $650. Is that what high quality headphones are worth? Perhaps but you really don't need to spend that much to get a good quality set of phones for home listening. That's where Grado comes in. The New York based company caters to audiophiles and is well known for their turntable cartages and head phones. The Grado SR60s are their base level headphone just above the iPod oriented iGrados, which are an on-the-go option. The SR60 set is intended for home listening. They're on-the-ear headphones, as opposed to the ear cup style. They've won numerous awards over the years for their high fidelity. So, how much do you think they cost? Just $69.

The SR60s come in a nice shirt box style package, with foam to keep them in place. They have roughly 6ft of cord with a 2.5mm jack and a standard 1/4'' jack addapter for using with your amplifier. Both are gold plated, not that that really makes much of a difference. Also in the box is a warranty printed on faux-parchment paper and the now standard warning telling people not to blow their ears off by turning it up to 11. For audio quality, you don't need it loud to hear the detail, which is the point of these. Some reviewers have professed near studio quality, which is indeed true. In fact the one big drawback with this is that you realize how bad low quality audio files and bad equipment can sound. I tried them out on a few pieces of audio equipment. My main receiver is a Pioneer SX-525 which dated from the 1970s. Also tested was my PC with a SoundBlaster X-FI XtremeMusic sound card. Audio was clear in all ranges and bass is actually not too bad. Cheaper headphones will have too little bass and too much trebble these are spot on. They make my old amp seem higher end. If you have good hearing, you will even be able to pick out stuff you couldn't hear clearly before on high quality recordings. It's hard to describe how good the sound quality is but it will certainly match much more expensive Sennheiser and Bose equipment. I was certainly surprised by them. Another bonus is that they're quite comfortable and can be worn for hours without discomfort. Grado's included ear padding is ample. Ear cups are available for these headphones if you prefer that style. The SR60s have an open air design with air vents on the other side. These play an important role in audio quality by allowing the driver to move more air, but the vents also leak noise. People around you will be able to hear what you are listening too, especially if you have them turned up loud. They also don't provide as much passive noise cancelling as the closed ear cup style. Therefore, these headphones are best suited for at home listening rather than on the bus or in the library.

Overall, I would definitely say they're the best headphones I've had so far. They have an audio quality that rivals more expensive makes. Unfortunately, they are very difficult to find in Canada. I could only find two sellers in the entire nation. The only retailer in the Toronto area wanted a whopping $150 for them on his website though I did bargain him down to a "cheap" $130. Needless to say, he didn't get my business. Despite the quality, that's way too much for these given that lists them for $69. Due to a deal with Grado, major US retailers including Amazon won't ship these to Canada. I have no idea why. Alternatively, there is a place in Alberta that sells them for $99. However, your best bet is to try eBay if you want to pay the US price. I bought mine brand new for $80 including shipping. It is very unfortunate that there are only two retailers in Canada that sell these headphones. Hopefully Grado will change their policy.

0 comments for this post