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Grado SR60x Review (on ear headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 132 56.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 64 27.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 26 11.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 5.1%

  • Total voters
    234

musicforcities

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Huey Lewis was "too black sounding"
Hey man, what do you have against Huey Lewis? This site is the epitope of “hip yo be square!”

Okay I gotta go. In the middle of modding my $65 grado sr60e with $100 braided silver detachable balanced cables, $150 titanium ear hooks, $200 illegal rain forest rosewood ear cups, $40 alpaca pads and new $200 drivers. With these mods the grades really sing.
 

looqr

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Hey man, what do you have against Huey Lewis? This site is the epitope of “hip yo be square!”

Okay I gotta go. In the middle of modding my $65 grado sr60e with $100 braided silver detachable balanced cables, $150 titanium ear hooks, $200 illegal rain forest rosewood ear cups, $40 alpaca pads and new $200 drivers. With these mods the grades really sing.
I laughed. It's pretty silly for sure but it's also one of the reasons I like Grados so much (aside from sound). But the $800 I've spent could have been put to better use, not going to lie.......
 

musicforcities

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I laughed. It's pretty silly for sure but it's also one of the reasons I like Grados so much (aside from sound). But the $800 I've spent could have been put to better use, not going to lie.......
Yep the mod community goes nuts about the grados. One has to ask when does a mod no li her a mod but a diy headphone. If one is going to install different drivers by a different company to improve the sound that suggests one should have gone with a different set of cans in the first place. Or just diy it entirely with a 3D printer if it’s a hobby of sorts.
 

Aperiodic

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They were an upgrade to the original 414 Sennheiser's that I never was in love with even though their rep.
414's weren't the best sounding headphone ever made, to be sure, but I have had few if any headphones on my head that were as comfortable.
 

tvrgeek

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I am off to play with my SR80's to see if the same or close eq helps them. I only use them for "evaluating" when I was transcribing records to CD as they made the worst of problems. I use my old Yamahammers for music. Might spring for some new ones. Sennheisters maybe?
 

tvrgeek

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I was reading up on Grado mods. What the heck, might as well as they are not that "musical" as it is. I have some purpleheart and a lathe, so maybe new cups? Prettier at least, but heavier.
 

TBone

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... still use my very old, severely battered, embarrassingly deformed sr80's 4ripping. not a fan of my pro sony's headphone output either, excellent internal parts & design, except for that atrocious cheap noisy volume pot thats near impossible to replace without major surgery (yes tried cleaning).

Anyway, ive always figured they had some issues in the upper midrange, they certainly seemed to have a particular sound. Funny tho, even knowing the above, ive long recommended the sr60/80s, and they were always well received.

very nice concise prose/review, sent your equalization setting to a friend that luvs em for what they are. will b interesting to hear his response.
 

isostasy

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Thank you amir for the review. I have some research to share regarding these peaks in the mid-range and treble. This is based off my SR80i but I consider it similar enough to the SR60X to be relevant and of benefit here:

I was suspicious that my SR60 (original, before the 'i' version) does not display the large 2kHz peak that all modern Grados show, including the SR60X reviewed here, and my own SR80i. My SR80i does not display the ridiculously huge 5kHz peak of my SR60, however, which I measure even without a cup, and which suggests to me this is a feature of the driver itself, suggesting Grado did do something right in their development of their newer drivers.

Onto the interesting bit: Here is a comparison of my SR80i, with taped L cushions and some felt before the driver to dampen treble, with stock cup Vs. without (i.e. simply held against my coupler manually):

SR80i cup.jpg


The HD6XX is for reference as this is a flat plate coupler which is otherwise of little use without a known reference.

The wobblier bass is because it is not very secure, simply being held against the plate with my finger. Otherwise it is clear to see that removing the cup completely eliminates the peak at 2kHz. This promises the possibility of a well-measuring and sounding headphone, as I already quite like them because the 2kHz peak is not too noticeable when attenuated and narrowed with the taped Ls.

Further evidence that it is the depth of the cup contributing to this peak:

SR80i cup 2.jpg


Rather crude but I simply held my loose SR60 cup up against the rear of the SR80i cup. The increased bass is purely down to the additional pressure from my hand pressing it more firmly against the coupler.

My next step was going to be to modify my SR60 cup so it fits the SR80i driver capsule, but I have already modified it for a different 3.5mm socket so would be a shame to ruin it. Alternatively, in a very bizarre coincidence, I have some cosmetic pot lids which are precisely the same diameter and depth as the SR60 cups. I will share measurements and pictures of my creation if there is any interest.

Thanks!
 

isostasy

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I have almost finalised my SR80i mod and am really pleased. I 3D printed some replacement cups which almost exactly match the shape of the original SR series cups, being much shallower at 14mm deep. The L cushions have a ring of craft foam taped around them, then a tube cut from an old sock (likely cotton, polyester, and elastic blend) round that to hold it in place and somewhat improve the looks. This should apply to the SR60x reviewed and would be good to see if others can achieve a similar result!

I present to you the Best Measuring Grados In The World (Probably), or Bemgitwop:


sr80i custom.jpg



There is some driver imbalance which is not particularly noticeable in listening, and is certainly not the worst I have measured on a set of Grados. The region 8-11kHz is elevated compared to the HD6XX which makes it sound more 'detailed' though also more fatiguing. Measuring on a proper HATS would be the only way of judging whether this is more 'correct'; I suspect it would overshoot the harman target and show up as a peak.

Here it is again with L and R averaged:

sr80i custom average.jpg

If only the drivers were better matched!

Future plans are to stitch a proper covering for the L cushions which will look better than the stretched over sock and be more comfy. I'm thinking some soft denim.
 

Sal1950

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617

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How'd you get your hands on a personal use 3D printer ???
You can get a 3d printer for less than the cost of most of the headphones reviewed here
 

Sal1950

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You can get a 3d printer for less than the cost of most of the headphones reviewed here
Damn, so you can. I just did a little searching to find a number of what look to be very nice ones for under $2k.
Man that tech has advanced rapidly.
A shame at my age I have little use for one. LOL
 

617

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Damn, so you can. I just did a little searching to find a number of what look to be very nice ones for under $2k.
Man that tech has advanced rapidly.
A shame at my age I have little use for one. LOL
If you make stuff they're pretty handy. Very useful for woodworking for example.
 

Jabinho

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Grado SR60x on ear, open back headphone. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $99 on Amazon.

The classic look of Grado is paradoxically timeless:
View attachment 166004
It takes me back to 1990s when I started to manage the signal processing team at Microsoft all of whom were using Grados. It feels plasticky to be sure but other than foam rotting, they hold up well.

They are pretty light:
View attachment 166005

They pinch the top of ear though so I could not wear them for more than a few minutes. Strange as I don't remember this when I wore them three decades back. Wonder if we develop more pain receptors in our ears as we get older! :)

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

Fitment on the fixture worked on first try which surprised the heck out of me given the fact that these are on ear headphones. But please heed the above warnings regarding accuracy of measurements especially in higher frequencies.

Grado SR60x Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response:
View attachment 166006

Now that is a simple story: very little bass (expected) and large bump in lower treble (not expected). I can see this accentuating spatial qualities and detail and hence selling to folks. Here is the relative curve for equalization:

View attachment 166016

Gross equalization should be easy.

Distortion is very high:

View attachment 166008

View attachment 166009

As note though, we get luck with the peak around 4 kHz as we would be pulling that peak down a lot anyway.

Impedance is on the low to medium side:

View attachment 166010

Zooming in, we see the sins of the headphone:

View attachment 166011

We see the same two peaks in frequency response indicating resonances in the headphone/driver.

Group delay is messy in the same region:

View attachment 166012

Edit: here is the updated sensitivity:

View attachment 166018

Note that I measure sensitivity at 425 Hz. With the large peaks in 2 to 4 kHz, it is likely to sound louder than this graph indicates.

Grado SR60e Listening Tests and Equalization
I was listening to my every day Dan Clark Stealth when I switched over to Grado mid-song. Immediate impression was oh, there are more highs here. But not in a super obnoxious way if the peaking was at higher frequencies. A bit more listening though and the sharpness starts to get to you so equalization is mandatory:

View attachment 166015

The improvement with the two notch filters was dramatic. It took the edge off the sound but still left enough for it to have good spatial qualities. Bass boost was tricky as it is definitely needed but crank up the volume and the drivers start to generate static/crackle. Fortunately it gradually comes over and for average listening you can push it that much.

With all of this in place, I enjoyed listening to the SR60x. Yes, the highs were still a bit artificial and edgy if I can call them that. But there was also something about this open back headphone that surprises at times with how it sounds.

Conclusions
If there ever was a company that built whatever it wanted and didn't care what people thought, is probably Grado. They still build these by hand (?) in New York to whatever metric they think sounds good. Well, first impressions are that but it only last a minute of two. Use the above EQ and you quickly learn a lesson in what balanced tonality is (with EQ) and not (without EQ).

I can't recommend the Grado SR60x without EQ. With EQ, it is good and can have slightly above attribute at times.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Yes. If only sound, fit , comfort and built quality could be on the level of the marketing story. I appreaciate their work.
 

Sal1950

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They pinch the top of ear though so I could not wear them for more than a few minutes. Strange as I don't remember this when I wore them three decades back. Wonder if we develop more pain receptors in our ears as we get older!
Maybe your head has swollen some over that last few years...:p
 
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