Brooklyn-Based headphone company Grado is back with an upgrade to their original SR80 headphone, the SR80x. Grado has become heavily-sought after for their unique, hand-crafted headphone design that has become a favorite among audiophiles everywhere. The SR80x comes in at $125, making them one of their least expensive open-back offerings. Today, I'm going to see if the SR80x holds up to its reputation.
What’s in the Box
Grado SR80x Headphones
Letter from Grado Staff
6.5mm Golden Adaptor
Look and Feel
The packaging comes from a nice letter from the Grado staff explaining how they're a family-owned business that wants to deliver a great listening experience, which adds a nice personal element. Design-wise, the SR80x keeps in line with Grado's core design and silhouette of its open-back headphone line. Aesthetically, it has a very retro look to them, and the handcrafted Open-back earcups do a great job of being visible, but not overly so. The cable is durable and the earcups, while on the smaller side, still feel comfortable and have a stable fit.
Grado made sure to keep its core design principles intact, while also adding some notable upgrades. The SR80x features Grado's 4th generation X-Series driver, which utilizes a low-mass magnets to give a clearer overall sound. The acoustic housing and open-back design give the SR80x a nice open feel, both sonically and physically. My only complaint is that these aren't the sturdiest, but these aren't meant for a context where you would need to subject them to a drop test. There's also an upgraded hard-wired cable that feels much sturdier than previous models.
The Grado SR80x has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz and an impedance of 38 Ohms.
Grado's line of open-backs is known for its airy soundstage, and the SR80x is no exception. The separation is at just the right level without sacrificing blend. The space it depicts is wide open and deep, but in a natural way that doesn't make sounds feel overly distant. The dynamics are wide and can be pushed far beyond what you need. The SR80x doesn't have great isolation, but that's a natural sacrifice for the soundstage you get from open-back headphones.
The lows on the SR80x have a great natural timbre to them. The subs still have impact, but they don't take center stage in a way that feels artificial. The lows are warm, supportive, and add width to the SR80x's sonic landscape. Dynamic lows are important, and the SR80x's lows can switch roles as needed with an incredibly quick response.
The midrange has a nice flatness to it, but has some minor adjustments that bring out great elements in any mix. The details really come to life and have little problem staying in their own lane harmonically. I rarely noticed harsh resonances and had an easy time listening to any genre. The mids on the SR80x do a great job giving a nice balance between the lead parts and backgrounds.
The treble range is where the SR80x gets its signature detailed character. The highs add just enough brightness to where you can really hear attacks and spatial elements in a mix, all while staying incredibly smooth. It gives an accurate picture of the sound while still taking enough liberties to add crispness and clarity to the overall sound.
Grado never fails to impress me. The SR80x is a great choice if you're looking for an open-back headphone on a budget. Every aspect, both sound-wise and design-wise, has serious attention to detail. While the SR80x is by no means perfect and not Grado's best offering, you really can't beat the price and I would be hard-pressed to find an open-back headphone at this same price that sounds this good.
You can buy the Grado SR80x here