Grado is celebrating his 60th birthday. All the while, the company rarely made a mistake when it came to the best headphone sound. When the story turns into pure sound quality, Grado models in any price range are usually part of the conversation.
But as far as the aesthetic appeal of the product is concerned, Grado hasn’t changed much over the last 60 years. Ah, the company is aggressively embracing new materials and new technologies, but when it comes to the look of headphones, Grado is stubbornly sticking to the template. “Retro” is a good way to explain it. “Old-fashioned” looks a little ugly, but it’s a valid explanation as well.
The “Prestige Series” of Grado headphones are often the sweet spot of the full range. And among the latest Prestige series models, the SR325x is the most expensive and most powerful in the lot. But, as we said, Grado’s sound quality is rarely suspicious.
Grado SR325x Review: Price and Release Date
The Grado SR325x is currently on sale and will usually be withdrawn £ 275 in the UK. In Grado’s home country, the United States, the price is $ 295, but in Australia it’s around $ 425.
Obviously, that price needs to be in context. The reputation of Grado’s Prestige series firmly supports the SR325x. But unlike most of the alternative over-ear headphones that you can buy for this kind of money, this model doesn’t seem to have much to do with the 21st century, at least at first glance. To be honest, it’s possible that your money might buy you more Grado SR325x than you feel you need.
Grado SR325x Review: Features and New Features
Even when discussing cutting-edge, up-to-date headphones, “features” tend not to be a long list. And where the Grado SR325x is involved, it’s certainly a very simple list.
As far as the “being headphones” business is concerned, Grado has made some important (although not obvious) changes and upgrades. The actual sounding 44mm dynamic transducer (part of the 4th generation “X” series of Grado drivers) is a revised design with a new diaphragm, upgraded coils, and a reworked motor system.
The thick, heavily woven cable that extends from both earcups is also a new design, with eight super-annealed copper conductors inside and a 3.5mm termination (of course, there’s also a 6.3mm adapter). The foam earpads are also flatter than before.
Grado SR325x Review: Performance and Sound Quality
Anyone familiar with the performance of previous SR325 models will be pleased to know that this “x” variation is the best ever. If you’ve never heard of any of the Grado SR325s, you need to be confident that “the best ever” translates almost directly into “the best headphones you can buy for this kind of money.”
Since we’re talking about performance here, we won’t go into detail about the various hoops that need to be jumped in to coordinate with the ownership of the Grado SR325x. Instead, these headphones take up all the so many areas that are excellent.
As far as recording clarity and clean, colorless insights are concerned, there is no rival to the price of a gloved SR325x. They are very detailed in every respect and dig deep into the recording to identify and deliver the most temporary information contained in the recording. They are luxuriously open and spacious listening (which is good reason for a horribly antisocial “openback” configuration) and create a true sense of breadth and depth in the sound stage. And this is a horribly well-organized, easy-to-understand, and completely compelling soundstage.
The low end expansion is considerable, but neither flashy nor exaggerated. Grado digs deep and hits hard, but access to the base note is controlled with authority. The opposite end of the frequency range is bright, but not brittle, and there is a substance that balances the bite. It is also well controlled and integrated throughout the presentation.
But it is between these two extremes that Grado makes indisputable claims for themselves. The midrange here is extremely eloquent, giving vocalists of all styles and levels of technical merit a completely free expression. If the singer’s performance has a personality, emotion, attitude and atmosphere, the SR325x is in it all. “Articulate” just begins to explain it.
They are equally talented in all other meaningful ways. The dynamic headroom is considerable. The rhythmic expression is certain. The tonality is consistent and completely naturalistic. Even if Grado could identify a genre of music that wasn’t completely comfortable, it might be a more aggressive and uncompromising end to EDM, but they’re not inferior to composer, informative, and entertaining listening.
Of course, this all assumes that you are doing the right thing with respect to the source. The SR325x doesn’t throw the towel exactly when connected to a substandard music player, but it doesn’t complement it either. So don’t go wondering if you could crumple your sauce and get away with it.
Grado SR325x Review: Design and Ease of Use
You see, I understand, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But is there really no space to “at least not look like an antique if it’s not broken”? Obviously this is not the case at Grado Labs. just kidding.
At first glance, there is little distinction between the latest SR325x and earlier SR325 models. To be honest, it doesn’t really distinguish it from headphones sold 40 years ago. What your money buys you is basically a system that suspends two high performance screwdrivers on your ears.
There’s nothing wrong with how Grado is built or completed, and it can go backwards. The leather headband isn’t overly padded, but it’s comfortable and tactile (and it has white stitching, don’t forget). The housing is made of aluminum, which looks and feels good. The exposed headband adjustment “mechanism” (explained if it’s not very flashy) is well weighted.
They’re over-ear designs, but the SR325x doesn’t feel like you’re used to or expecting. They sit on their ears instead of wrapping them, and the slim foam earpads feel less secure than the “on the ears” description suggests.
As far as usability is concerned, there are some important factors to keep in mind. The first, of course, is how aggressively Grado is wired. So Grado isn’t that portable (it’s the best offer anyway) and is primarily targeted as part of the best wired headphones you can buy. After all, not all portable audio players and smartphones have a headphone socket, and even with the standard wired headphone standard, the cable connected to the SR325x is thick.
Another obstacle to ease of use is the open-back configuration of the headphones. Of course, there are good acoustic reasons for this, but the by-product is the amount of sound leaking from the back of the earcup. If you decide to use the SR325x while you’re on the go, at least you can expect some challenging glances. It doesn’t seem to bother the person sitting next to me on the train.
Grado SR325x Review: Verdict
If possible, ignore the aesthetics of old schools and know that the Grado SR325x is one of the best Pound for Pound headphones available if all you want to do with headphones is to listen to them.
Yes, you need to take into account the wired-only nature and open-back sound leakage. However, it is provided as part of the package. But when fidelity and simple musicality are involved, it’s hard to know how you can spend your money better.
Of course, Grado doesn’t have a field of wired open-back hairshirts. Philips recently revived its “Fidelio” audio subbrand, and its X3 headphones are an impressive part of it. It’s not as industrial in appearance and material as the Grado SR325x, but it’s still an uncompromising product and offers great sound. There’s no “newly cleaned window” impression of the sound clarity that Grado can offer, but these physically large headphones make a reasonably loud sound.