As I write this review in my Revolver t-shirt, I’m beginning to realize that Grado shares my pathological love for The Beatles. First, they come out with Limited Edition GH series, which is made from Norwegian pine. And now, they’re paying homage to one of the best albums of all time. What kind of sound can you expect from these aesthetically stunning white cans? Let’s take a closer look in this Grado The White Headphone Review.
Grado The White Headphone Review
Regardless of the Grado model, I find the brand’s headphones to be the most comfortable open-backs on the market. The lightness of the frame combined with the foam earpads makes Grado the least fatiguing headphones I’ve ever worn. There's minimal clamping force and the foam keeps your ears from sweating or overheating. That being said, some may prefer a firmer or more snug fit. But personally, I love how unobtrusive they feel.
Like all Grado cans, The White Headphone uses a dynamic driver design. The earcups are made from maple underneath their pristine white coating. And the cable (6 feet in length) is fixed. So, you won’t have any creative control like you do with a detachable cable. But even if you were able to experiment with different types of wires, I wouldn’t suggest it. Grado has something very specific in mind with this model. Finally, as with all Grado models, The White Headphone is extremely easy to drive. And even a mobile device would be enough to power it.
This isn’t a headphone for folks who love a rich and fleshy low-end. If you’re one of these people, you may want to stay away from Grado in general, as the brand presents a sound signature that’s quite different from the rest. And those who listen to a lot of pop or enjoy a warm sounding rock track may find that the balance feels lopsided in favor of the high frequencies. But don’t be too quick to judge; Grado has a very specific audience in mind for these unique cans. (We’ll talk about The White Album below). When the bass reaches the higher frequencies in this range, The White Headphone really begins to shine, especially if you’re a Beatles fan. For example, the bass intro to Come Together had plenty of presence, and the timbre had a very authentic feel. The same was true for the song, Something, where the bass takes on a more melodic role. So, although you won’t get a whole lot of depth, the bass starts to really manifest as soon as it creeps up in pitch.
A very present midrange with what felt like a slight emphasis in the upper mids. So vocals sat a little forward on many tracks even though rock choruses have quite a full bodied and expansive feel.
What particularly impressed me about the sound in this range was the intricacy with which The White Headphone presented acoustic guitars. And given how many acoustic tracks exist on the White Album, it should come as no surprise. The strums and picks on tracks like Julia and I Will sounded so delicate, well defined and resolving that it was quite lifelike. In addition, vocals on these tracks also felt very close and intimate, really adding to the tenderness of these sweet songs.
But interestingly, once I moved to tracks with electric guitars and heavy drum arrangements, the sound took on a vintage feel, almost as if it were coming out of an old mono radio. This worked especially well for tracks like Savoy Truffle, for example, where a retro keyboard takes center stage in spots. So, although the overall sound is less than realistic, it’s definitely reminiscent of the era from which Grado was inspired. And certainly, I’ve never heard a headphone that captures this nostalgia so well.
No surprises in this range. In true Grado fashion, the highs are light and bright. But again, listening to pop music, percussion sounded quite thin and unnatural. So, it seems that this retro character doesn’t translate particularly well to the more modern genres. And even listening to classical strings, these instruments seemed to lack substance. There was just no meat on the bone. That being said, vocals in this range were pure crack. Listening to Rihanna’s Love On The Brain, her voice was incredibly airy and breathy. Usually, I like a little more velvet and color in vocal performances. But this presentation was so divine that the weightlessness didn’t bother me at all. It just added to the emotive feel of the song.
Like all Grado open-backs, you’ll definitely get a nice sense of space. And Grado did an especially impressive job with respect to the amount of height they created. That being said, small gradations in depth weren’t as discernible as I’m used to hearing from a headphone at this price point. Still, there was enough depth separation to feel the drums sit way behind the rest of the instrumentation in Savoy Truffle. And the piano on Lady Madonna sat far in front of me in relation to the drums. So, especially for this album in particular, you’ll get more than enough dimension. By the way, if you haven’t yet heard The White Album Remix, do it. You’ll be blown away.
The White Headphone is far from versatile with respect to the genres it can handle. But what it does well, it does extremely well. If you listen to a lot of acoustic rock, old folk and/or you’re a sucker for that vintage 60’s sound, the cans will be a truly unique addition to your headphone arsenal. I’ve never been a big Grado fan, but I’m certainly a huge Beatles fan. And Grado has just made my day.
The White Headphone is now available at Audio 46: