Once in a while, you come across a headphone so ridiculously sweet that you have to review it. And today that headphone is the Grado SR80e.
Reviewing Grado SR80e
For starters, this is not the be-all and end-all of headphones. But for headphones under $99, it’s a heavyweight slugger few can contend with. The open-ear design is the only real con – something that will eliminate this headphone from users looking for a commute-friendly model.
The lack of a remote or mic might also turn off other potential customers, but we did not miss these features. We were too busy basking in sonic joy, which inundates from these headphones wave after wave. There is the slightest bit of bass…just enough to give the music a little color, but nothing drastic. You’ve also got some great mids and highs – slightly colored (shaded, really) but still full. Using a DAC only makes things better, but you can still get decent performance from a mobile phone.
Build quality is superb, with a fairly standard mix of metal, plastic, foam, and polyurethane leather. A thick cable rounds out the package.
How do they compare to other models at a similar price point? They blow closed-back designs out of the water. So, if you’re after the best sound at $99 and you want the best audio experience possible, forget about Sony or Audio Technica, and pretty much everything else. This is it.
If you’re a constant commuter, these may not be your cup of tea. People are going to hear your music. Even as I write this, my coworkers are busting my balls about listening to the Cranberries, so there’s that.
But the sheer audio quality of these headphones isn’t something to be ignored, and that alone is reason enough to get a pair. Can you get a similar sound for less? Sure – you could go with the SR60e’s (also from Grado), but you’re losing a little bit of range and sound profile there. It’s hard to find an open-back design at $99, though, that can really compete with these. Sennheiser plays second fiddle, and don’t even get me started on AKG. Suffice to say, unless you want to up your game to $150 or $200, these headphones are probably the best thing you can put on your ears.
Interested in the Grado SR80e?