Grado Love or the RS2 (TTVJ Deluxe Pad) Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. saint.panda

    saint.panda Friend

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    Still think the PS-1 had one of the best midranges of any headphone, the embodiment of liquid. Too bad not a lot of people could hear it. A bit too much bass but otherwise fantastic. HF-2 is like a mini PS-1.
     
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  2. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    The SR-80s were the first pair of "real" headphones I ever bought, back in 2002. Those replaced a pair of Sony MDR-V2s I bought in the mid 80's. The Grados sounded decent enough but they were hard for me to wear for longer than about 1 album at a time. I liked that we didn't have to worry about buying an amp to power Grados. Amps were rarely talked about back then unless you were into stats. They were simpler times. I ran my Grados with a Discman for about a year, and then they were eventually replaced by Etymotics and an iPod.

    I gave my SR-80s to my daughter a few years ago after replacing the pads that had turned to dust. She didn't like the comfort either and bought AT ATH-M50s.

    It seems to me that Grado could make a big comeback with a redesign to get away from the 1940s Military communication headset schtick. I think their driver technology is decent enough, and the frequency response can be leveled out a bit with pad change or housing alteration. If I were a Grado I'd probably keep a classic line and slowly introduce some new designs to see how people responded.
     
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  3. jnak00

    jnak00 Acquaintance

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    When you refer tho the Sennheiser veil, is that something that can be seen in the FR curve? When I look at the graph you posted comparing the HD650 to the R2Se, other than what I see as a small gap at 10k, the HD650's treble appears to be at least on par or more energetic than the Grado and much more extended past 11K. Is the veil just not something you can see on a FR graph?
     
  4. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    I just remember another way if you want to increase the bass on a Grado: The (in)famous tape mod. Get a pair of L-Pads that you don't care about too much, and put electrical tape around the whole outside of the pad. This will make the audio not leak too much from the pads, and thus will give you more bass. I don't remember when I did it on my old RS2 second gen pair, but I think it will change the treble a bit. I can't confirm if the treble change was for the better or worse...

    Then again, using a Grado with electrical tape can make you look like a dork, but this mod does the trick.

    Speaking of Grado Pads, be aware that their Pads (not from Third Parties) can slowly fall part. So the foam will start coming off the pads when you are wearing them. Even if you touch them you will get the foam on your hands. One time I put a falling apart pad in my drawer. A few weeks later the crap was all over the bottom of my drawer. :mad:

    One pad I will forgive, but this crap happened to three Grado Pads that I previously owed.
     
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  5. Brooko

    Brooko Facebook Friend

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    Started way back with MS1's, which led to SR80s, 325is (heavily modded - wood, damping, basically replaced everything except the drivers). From there it was RS1s, and then the MS Pros (which I still have).

    Would love to see how the MS Pros stack up on your measurement rig Marv. The Alessandros family always seemed to me to be similar to their Grado counterparts, but with better mid-range and slightly mellower treble. Vastly under-rated IMO.
     
  6. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Quick request, if possible it'd be awesome to investigate how much of the differences between models is attributable to the housing materials and how much to the drivers themselves (particularly through the SR line).

    .... Immediately realising that that'd be a massive pain in the bunghole.

    Forgot to ask: @purr1n are those graphs on p1 EARS for FR and flat plate for distortion or did you use the MiniDSP for both? The D2 spikes are more or less in the same area as when I try getting distortion numbers on the EARS, but possibility always remains those are actually there on the headphones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  7. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

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    Unused Grado pads stocked in a plastic sandwich-type bag will not break down, just FYI
     
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  8. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Glad you're not deaf like @jexby and hate the HP1000.

    Glad this thread popped up. I always thought Grado was a great entry point. The allesandro MS-1 snared a bunch of budding audiophiles back in the day.
     
  9. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    It did for me on one of the pads. I really think it was more of my environment being really humid than anything else. I dunno, I said WTF on three of the pads that was falling apart on my end. It's a YMMV type of situation.
     
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  10. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

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    Could be, I live in Phoenix so I'm sure that has some impact
     
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  11. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    I don't think I ever gave Grados a shot because my real start in this hobby was with HD650s. I'm a chill listener, and Grados are not chill. My very first meet was down near Miami and there were some baller rigs (for the time). We are talking multiple K1000s, some Singlepower amps from the pre-blowing up era, all the Stax that existed at the time, and whatever the top of the line Grado at the time (RS1?). The owner of the Grado had it in a Pelican case and hovered around anyone who wanted a listen. I think I personally injured him with my facial expression when I played my first song. I was like, you paid how much for this in my face bullshit headphone (I paid only $50 for my first HD650 because it had a broken headband and the earpads smelled like they were used to roll cigarettes)? After 30 seconds, I took them off and said "Very nice, but not for me." Haven't bothered with a Grado since. Not sure it is worth it now, but are there any chill Grados worth trying?
     
  12. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    What other headphone brand has a reputation for its pads predictably turning to dust in a few years? None that I'm aware of. Speaker companies found out in the 70's that those foamy grilles are light/heat/humidity sensitive and don't last. Grado never got that memo.
     
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Negatory. iI's better than the bowl pads, but still are still a few things off about the sound. Heck, even the original TTVJ flat pads were only 85% there (foam was a bit too dense). The best pads were the original Joe Grado pads, of which no examples exist, or if they did, they would be falling apart and disintegrating into dust. The Deluxe pads are most similar to the original Joe Grado pads. The Grados are just really touchy to pad shape, density, etc. This is why I don't think any random earpad company can just make them right. It takes a certain level of anal-retentiveness to get the formula right (as an aside, this is why @CEE TEE was enormously successful at Drop).

    Let me put on my to-do list measurements of the above headphones the pads and tweaks that you suggested.

    Yup, I ran tape mods on my RS2 back in the day.

    Like many of you who have been around, Grado was the gateway for me into headphones. (Actually it wasnt, it was the STAX Lamba Signature Pro in the early 90s). I switched to headphones from speakers when my kids were born in the mid 2000s. I had a little HeadRoom portable amp/DAC, various DIY headphone "desktop" amps on a breadboard, and an iRiver iHP120 (aka Soviet iPod), which I eventually modded with a larger battery, rockbox, and higher capacity storage.

    IMG_20200214_080422.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  14. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    As a guy who went as high as the GS2000e, there is no such thing as a Chill Grado. Now, the GS series with the Jumbo pads does tone down aggressiveness of the sound a bit. I don't think it is on a chill level as something like the LCD2C on a cloudy day. Their in-house sound is aggressive, and that doesn't change in any of their lineup. Maybe the limited editions can change that up a bit, but I highly doubt it.

    This right there is so 2000s. This is giving me 2000s vibes, just around the time I got into the Hi-Fi game in 2008/2009.
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Took measurements on both EARS and FP. Ultimately decided to use FP and adjust somewhat back to EARS results in a simplified manner with some tweaks based on ear. This is because I prefer the consistency and CSD results from the FP, and supra-aurals mostly bypass pinna, so no point to EARS.
     
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  16. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Thanks! Yeah figured EARS would be a pain in the neck with these, just wanted to confirm cuz those D2 spikes in the upper mids were reminiscent of stuff I get with the fake silicone pinnae. Really appreciate looking into those mods and pads— I'm sure it'll not be an absolutely tedious process with banal results /s

    Never got around to trying the TTVJ Deluxes (cuz international shipping is probably hell on crumble-prone foam pads, not to mention they're pricey for what they are) so curious how close the comfy cutouts get.

    Also, this convo is making me miss the vintage RS1s even though it didn't do most of my genres well. Craaaaaaaaaaap. I'm still a sucker for the aesthetic.
     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I would look into two areas: 1) distortion; 2) burst response.

    Burst response is something I'm still working on. I know what I want to do, but just not enough time left over. One day when I'm a retired 1%er, I might be able to pull it off. (Actually, this is one of my two priorities right now.) Even then, I'm not sure the bursts may say much.*

    For now, we have distortion: The HD650 has higher levels of third-order distortion, "D3" in the plot below. While high levels second order distortion isn't desirable, third-order distortion in the bass is destructive, particularly in the lows. (I'm thinking Dharma D1000 and Sony MDR-Z1R as offenders for high D3). Think of it this way for third-order: whenever a 100Hz signal is playing, another tone at 300Hz that is not supposed to be there (distortion) is always playing, albeit at a lower level. The HD650 distortion int the just bleeds way into the mids.

    See below where I've painted the areas under the the third-harmonic, D3 in red. This is actually illuminating for me as well. I suspected, and I always figured Grado sub-low bass was slightly worse than the HD650, which is true. But what I did not expect is how much lower D3 was on the Grado.

    HD6XX Harmonic Distortions
    D3 colored in red
    upload_2020-2-14_9-6-57.png

    Grado SR225 Harmonic Distortions
    (I'd ignore the spike just under 200Hz, likely a measurement artifact)
    D3 colored in red
    upload_2020-2-14_9-8-44.png

    *I don't think the correlation to what we hear of burst is as strong as the others such as FR, CSD, distortion, but it's still useful. The point is the get as many useful sets of measurement data and give them weights to how they correlate. You won't see anything distilled into a single number here and line up on bar charts on SBAF.
     
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'd be happy to pop SR225e drivers into wood cups and send them to you. If there is enough interest, we should seriously start an SBAF initiative to source Joe Grado flat pads. They shouldn't cost $50.
     
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  19. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    I might be game. Could be an interesting experiment.
     
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  20. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    I'm sure you could find nearly-identical if not identical pads on aliexpress or alibaba, could order in batches. Chances are they were purchased OEM way back when anyway.

    I never liked Grado headphones - I could see how they were 'fun' the same way shooting 3200 ISO B&W film is fun - detail in extreme lows and highs are lost to grain, but contrast is high, things pop, and it cuts through darkness and veil. They just sat too far in my uncanny valley - they don't ever sound like whatever music you're playing, they always just sound like Grados. The coloration is always there, and it's not my cup of tea.

    I don't understand why so many PS- and GS- Grados are in mastering studios either. I guess the treble does kind of remind me of how the built-in speaker on my phone sounds, so it could be a decent reference for that purpose alone. I still have pretty young ears and peaks above the level of the midrange, even if they're above 10khz, continue to bother me. Most of the recordings I listen to just have highly noise-shaped dithering up there anyway and no actual musical information - all that's being accentuated is noise and grain. I guess that adds to the 'definition' or sharpening effect.

    I would be curious to see how the various drivers perform in different baffles and housings though. I recognize that their modding history has been important to the development of these online headphone communities we all participate in, and I respect that legacy, but I don't personally place much value in their style of presentation beyond nostalgia for a time I never participated in - entered the hobby too late in the game.

    EDIT - I haven't actually ever heard a modded pair come to think of it... I do recall seeing measurements for 'Magnum' modded Grados way back when and thinking they looked impressive especially vs stock.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020

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