Few names are as well known in the audiophile headphone world as Grado. The SR80i is an affordable entry into that legacy, yet it still has the classic Grado aesthetic. It is as decidedly retro as the Phiaton is ultra-modern. As you get hands-on with the SR80i, the plasticky build quality gives away its price point. The ’phones are extremely light, and their vented design keeps you aware of the world around you. Grado rates them at 20 Hz to 20 kHz, with a sensitivity of 98 dB. The foam padding looks like it’d be scratchy, but it and the SR80i as a whole are quite comfortable.
The Grado’s sound is well balanced, among the best here. It doesn’t have the bass extension of the A-T or Phiaton models, but it makes up for that with better accuracy at the high end. The uncolored and detailed treble sounded very open. “Nothing but the Whole Wide World” is the first track off Jakob Dylan’s Women+Country album. It’s usually very bass-heavy, though it sounded far less thick (a good thing) over the Grado. The pedal steel was smooth, while the SR80i’s treble extension maintained presence in the percussion.In all, a fantastic way to spend $99.
Headphones worn above by Justin Warfield of She Wants Revenge
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