Tag: Grado

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Grado GS1000e

After Grado Labs shipped to me the GS1000e headphones, but before they arrived, I realized my mistake. Big sound comes in matching size. So used to the Brooklyn-based company’s signature on-ear designs, I somehow overlooked that the pricey Statement Series audiophile cans are over-ear and overly large. It’s all about the earcups and pads. The RS1e, which I previously owned and sold, measure 17 x 8 x 19 cm (6.69 x 3.15 x 7.48 inches). The GS1000e: 23.11 x 8.89 x 23.88 cm (9.1 x 3.5 x 9.4 inches). As I feared, the Grados look enormous on my head, unbecoming. But, Hell, I accept the indignity of a big slab of iPhone against my face—why fuss?

Size isn’t the only difference from other Grados. I don’t hear the classic audio signature, but something else. Something better. Out of the box, with no burn-in, sound is smooth, expansive, and detailed. Well-rounded. Finely balanced. The open-air, over-ear styling truly is circumaural, spreading soundstage in placement you can close your eyes and see. Feel. There is an audio authenticity unlike any other headphones ever to touch (or cover) my ears—and that’s with less than 10 hours use. Cans like these improve with age; burn-in is everything.

BTW, I used the Fujifilm X-T1 with Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR lens to shoot the Featured Image, which I considerably edited to remove some of the yellowish tint from the Jan. 25, 2017 evening capture (8:26 p.m. PST). Vitals: f/4, ISO 5000, 1/60 sec, 35mm.

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Grado RS1e Review

Yesterday I sold my beloved Grado RS1e headphones, which get my highest recommendation. Parting ways, time is long overdue for a review, even if post-mortem. I let go the cans mainly because my lifestyle changed. Being tethered by wires is too confining; I listen to music more on the move now. As such, fine-fidelity Bluetooth cans—Master & Dynamic MW60—give great sound with more flexibility and mobility.

I purchased the RS1e direct from manufacturer Grado Labs in late July 2014, soon after release. Grado is a family-owned/run Brooklyn, New York-based business that opened in 1953 offering turntable cartridges. In 1990, the company starting selling headphones, which are hand-crafted and tested for the distinctive, sound signature that defines them. Founder Joseph Grado passed away in February 2015 at age 90. 

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Look What Happened to My Grados

My beloved wired headphones quite literally fell apart the other day. I’m aghast, because these cans are treated lovingly; never rough-housed. I don’t exaggerate explaining that the left earcup fell off the the headband’s metal strip. I couldn’t understand what happened, initially. I can slip the thing back together, but the fit’s imperfect.

I used my birthday money and sales of some other gear to buy the Grado Labs RS1e in July 2014. The open-air design and 50mm driver deliver fantastic soundstage that is best of class at almost any price. They look good, too, or mine did until the earcup separation maneuver. I still use them but will contact Grado about a fix. Replacement? Absolutely not! They’re broken in, and I am accustomed to their sound. Repair is good.

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Six Headphones for Christmas

As Christmas comes closer, it’s time to think about rewarding your ears, or someone else’s, with exceptional audio experience—headphones that I would ask Santa to bring for myself or deliver to another. If big, booming bass is your thing, read no further. Buy Beats, Sony, or another brand boasting barreling lows that shake your skull as well as eardrums.

My picks deliver broader audio range, each with warmer mids and highs and amazing detail, depending somewhat on the source of your content. Highly compressed AAC or MP3 tracks lack lots, but these cans will get a little more fidelity from them. CD or lossless source might change how you listen to music forever. 

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Painful Parting

Last night, I returned to Amazon the Sennheiser Momentum 2 wireless headphones received on Nov.8, 2015. The retailer promises full refund. My ears ache from using them, even with the volume low. The problem is bass response, which is too intense for my aged ears. At the same time, I removed the Grado Labs RS1e from Craigslist. I will keep the wired cans.

I let go the Bluetooth set reluctantly. I like the design, construction, materials, and controls. Wireless connects easily and provides ample volume. But bass booms, and the devices on which I listen have limited graphic equalizer or none at all. 

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I Couldn’t Break the Surface Tension

Today, Microsoft started selling Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, and I strongly considered buying either. During the past 10 days, I visited the company’s Fashion Valley store four different times specifically to play with the devices. The hardware dazzles, but I couldn’t get beyond Windows 10 when compared to benefits I receive using Chromebook Pixel LS. SB’s price, which starts at $1,499, is another impediment.

There is something to be said for straightforward, simple, and efficient computing, which Google gets right. Contextual sync is among Chrome OS’s biggest benefits. Little things, like popping my camera’s SD card into Pixel’s slot and the laptop backing up photos to Google Drive, which is accessible from the file manager as if local storage. Granted, there are application gaps, but the overall user experience fills them in.

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The Grados Prayer in C

While no geek, I still appreciate good tech. Nexus 6 and Grado Labs RS1e headphones are two of my four best acquisitions made since summer 2014, and both will be reviewed—ah, someday soon. The others: Fujifilm X100T used to take the above photo and Chromebook Pixel LS received two days ago.

Too often, the measure of quality cans is classical music. Bah! Modern headphones should encompass a complete tonal range—not just the highs of the great dead composers’ violins or the lows from the thumping bass preferred by the Beats generation. Fullness and roundness are exactly what the RS1e deliver to my aging ears. Today, I listened to a song surprisingly showing the headphones’ tonality, streamed from Google Music to, yeah, the N6. 

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Five Tech Products Changed My Digital Lifestyle in 2014

Looking back on this last day of the year, I wonder how my daily tech changed so much since the first. On Jan. 1, 2014, my core computing comprised Chromebook, Nexus tablet, and Nexus smartphone. Midyear, I switched out to all Microsoft—buying Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. While commendable the effort, Windows poorly fit my lifestyle. Today, I’m all Apple—13-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display with 512GB SSD, iPhone 6 128GB, and iPad Air 128GB. I can’t imagine using anything else.

I abandoned my Google lifestyle for numerous reasons, with my desire to create more content rather than consume it being primary. Google gives great contextual computing, with respect to information that is relevant to where you are and even what you want. But Android and Chrome OS, and their supporting apps, aren’t mature enough platforms for consistent content creation.