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Grado SR325e Headphones Review

Grado SR325e Headphones

TL;DR:

Grado SR325e Review. Still sporting a yesteryear design, the new and improved SR325e drivers deliver classic Grado sound whilst feeling a touch more refined. The SR325e’s are a lively and fun pair of headphones that live up to the Grado family legacy. We love them!


Review Preface:

Grado Labs, the family run Brooklyn boutique manufacturer, really do know about sound. Founded back in 1953, over the years the Grado brand has expanded massively by producing highly revered headphone and vinyl cartridge designs. Regardless of price, every single product is still assembled on site by hand, with the exception of their Japanese produced earphones, yet the entire product range varies massively in price, from entry level to super premium, to suit each music lovers needs. However, recently Grado overhauled the majority of their headphone designs and today we shall be taking a look at the new Prestige Series SR325e headphones. In the past this is a product that has won many awards, so hopefully the change in ingredients favour the new and ‘improved’ version.


Build Quality & Design:

Grado’s style is immediately noticeable and completely unmistakeable, you can always pick out a set of Grados from the crowd! The classic sliding-pillar gimbal design, the thin beautifully crafted leather headbands, the foam ear pads, the unique driver housing design, and the wire mesh is a classic design to behold. This design isn’t necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but the style and construction I believe works well and makes for easy adjustment even when wearing the headphones. The workmanship of the SR325e’s is honestly second to none and is just a simple design that is executed extremely well. This time with the new e-series, the SR325e’s headphone cable is thicker than found on the lower range SR series headphones with a wider gauge wire and shield coating. The termination connectors at the driver housings are sturdy and secure with no sign of lose fixtures or connections. The SR325e’s cable design is of a Y configuration, with the left and right earpieces being fed individually by a single core instead of being attached to just one driver. This style can be a real sore point for many as the cable tends to get in the way more frequently, being on both sides. However, what is interesting is that even with a very solid cable diameter, Grado have chosen to terminate this with a standard 3.5mm jack on an oversized body. This is a little surprising, but this design is more universally accepted and simply needs a 3.5mm to ¼” adapter.


Grado SR325eThe driver housings, unlike the lower priced Prestige models, are moulded from powered coated aluminium. This material, according to Grado, has special resonant properties that helps to keep a tight and detailed frequency response. The ear cushions are, however, where we come across a slight issue. The general feel of the materials used, being an high density foam with a centre hollowed out, is just a bit cheap. Granted this allows for a direct, and uninterrupted, audio path from the drivers to the listeners ear, but there are some issues with comfort. I mainly found that the foam was slightly too ridged and the way the foam was cut was uncomfortable to my ears. If Grado could include another set of pads, perhaps the ones seen on the GS1000i’s, then this would be great. There are many posts on internet forums discussing users own efforts of dealing with comfort and it is a shame that Grado have not taken their advice.


Sound Quality:

Grado report that the SR325e’s have an 32Ω impedance, which is great for most users as it will work well with a whole host of portable and desktop devices. With formalities aside, straight away the SR325e’s pull away the vail from your music and suddenly lets you experience elements of the tracks that you never knew existed before. I personally found that classical music especially sounds exceptional with the Grado SR325e’s. When listening to strings for example, from the depth in lowest tones to the shining top plucked staccato notes, the detail just blew me away. Even listening to heavier rock music the SR325e’s continue to impress with unlocking huge amounts of detail and depth across the board. Transient detail is reproduced at an extremely accurate level and, as we all know that transient replication is so integral to the life and vibrancy of the music your listening to, the SR325e’s just make every dynamic touch smooth and level, but always with a crystal clear clarity.


Coming on to the low end now, the SR325e’s are not as full as I would like with there being a lack of punch on certain tracks. That being said the low end and low mids still maintain a certain weight that still makes you tap your foot and enjoy the groove of your track. So for the bass loving people of this world, of which there are many, these are not the headphones for you. However, if you prefer a more natural response and you enjoy a smooth and accurate representation of your music, then these headphones do the trick! Primarily each frequency band feels on an even keel and each of the sectors do not fight for supremacy. The SR325e’s sound as if they have a flat response, but being natural they do a great job at presenting the audio in the way that it was intended to be consumed. Furthermore, the SR325e’s create a true and immersive sound stage by spreading the music accurately with the separation detail that you would more commonly expect to find in a studio listing environment. Along with the immersive sound stage, the Grado SR325e’s also translate reverb tails in a way that I’ve never heard before from a pair of headphones. The openness of the 325’s is so refreshing to listen to, even for extended periods of listening! Clearly with the new ‘E’ models Grado have created an even better listening experience that lets you hear every angle of a track. Obviously the detail heard it mainly down to the open-back design of the SR325e’s as it allows for the dynamic driver to move at its full resonating frequency, unhindered by the air flow characterises of the closed back design.


Review Conclusion:

The Grado SR325e’s are a design master class and clearly excel at being highly accurate and transparent. The main issue with these headphones is with the comfort, that can easily be user modified, but with all things considered the SR325e’s are a hit in our books. As a result The Pro Audio Web Blog awards these beautiful headphones with a greatly deserved 4.5 stars.


Chris Pavey

Chris Pavey - 20th November 2014

US RRP: $295.00 | UK RRP: £299.95

Editors Rating:

Four and a Half Star Review
Grado SR325e Headphones Review
4.5/5 stars
Grado SR325e Review. Still sporting a yesteryear design, the new and improved SR325e drivers deliver classic Grado sound whilst feeling a touch more refined. The SR325e’s are a lively and fun pair of headphones that live up to the Grado family legacy. We love them!