I am not big on selfies, but Grado Labs headphones require visuals to appreciate, because they’re like none other. I cleaned out all my birthday money and added Craigslist sales (e.g., my Sony Premium Bluetooth headphones) to buy a pair of RS1e. About 18 months ago, I sold my RS1i for the wireless convenience of the Sonys and regretted right away.

While I’m enjoying the new Grados, which deliver terrific soundstage and detail, the audio is a bit tiny to me compared to the RS1i or Sony MDR-1RBT. The cans require some break-in period, before the full fidelity breathes, and I’m only about 15 hours into what really should be 50.

Grados get better with use, and I can hear the difference already. Some of that is subjective, as you get accustomed to something else. The Sonys were too bassy for my aging ears.

Grados are open-ear—there’s no noise-isolation for you, bud—but they produce a more natural sound even listening to MP3s. The nuances and details are so remarkably fine, some songs sound nearly new, like I’m hearing them for the first time.

By the way, before you ask, that is not Karl Marx’s head on the T-Shirt. I’m a Capitalist! That’s Bill Gaines’ crop on a Tee purchased during San Diego Comic-Con 2014. Bill whom? Hint: “What, me worry?”

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