@Philimon Asked if I would be willing to test out his Symphones V9 build, which he got from Wabi Sabi Headphones. Given @purr1n's recent love thread on the RS2e, I was admittedly curious. The headphones look pretty darn slick: He sent them to me with the L-Cush, G-Cush, and these Geekria Large pads. I am not sure if the two former pads are "authentic" Grado pads. I also purchased a couple cheap pads to try myself, after finding my self quickly intrigued with initial testing. Given the cups, pads, and all variables in between affect how a Grado, or Grado-type, headphone will sound, it's difficult for me to generalize how the Symphone V9 drivers sounds. But I will do my best! - Mild to moderate mid or upper-bass boost, primarily depending on choice of pads (i.e. pad density). Generally more concentrated and with less bleed into the mids than a Sennheiser, so it can sound full and punchy without being as cumbersome at times. - Very snappy and very fast. No veil here. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the often-exaggerated 2KHz area, and some just the nature of the drivers. Very engaging and in-your-face about this. Lots of fun, actually. - Can sound balanced, warm, or bright as hell. But there's almost always a lot of upper-midrange liveliness. Surprisingly, this is not nearly as bothersome as measurements would indicate on many pads. - When you find the tone you like, these can be surprisingly smooth sounding without being sleepy or dull. These remind me a lot more of the HP1000 I heard years ago than they do the SR60s I owned even more years ago (many more years). They are brighter and more aggressive than the HP1000. Less dark and warm overall. But they have more of the sense of refinement I remember from those, whereas the SR60s were grating and rough. Major downside? That driver grill. Holy cow is it uncomfortable. Want to use flat pads with a hole in the middle? It will probably sound great, but those grills are hard and kind of sharp. It feels like someone pressing their fingernails into your ears. Unfortunately, many of the pads that add some distance between the driver and your ear just don't sound too great. So, take your pick: good sound and noticeable discomfort or nasty sound and...well, I wouldn't say comfort, but something more wearable. And, by design, the driver is meant to sit flush with the opening of the cup. This means the grill protrudes out from the cup, rather than being level with it. It's a total marketing gimmick, unfortunately. Still, there's lots of great things going on, sound wise, with the right pads. Good enough to the point I'm still compelled to listen for stretches longer than I really want to physically tolerate, in terms of comfort, and still playing around with tuning variables. That said, I can't answer if a Symphones build might be worthwhile over a mid-tier Grado. I mean, the sound potential is definitely there, and the custom build stuff is fun. All I can really say, then, is that it's not a bad route to take, but can't say if it's the best route to take.