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matbon0013

Grado RS-1

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Taking the initiative to start this thread about Grado's RS-1, I'm sure you guys can follow this!

So lets hear it......... the good the bad and the ugly!

 

ps. Please don't start on the Senn's or the Beyers or the AKG's or the ......... whatever! rolleyes.gif

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You see, I got these Senns... rolleyes.gif

 

Things is, you can't say what the good & bad is in total isolation. How would you know whether it is actually that good therefore some sort of comparison has to be made. For example you never knew how bad the A8's were until you heard the HD600. Just wanted to get that off my chest first but I'll try not to do that!

 

This will be my personal account:

 

In terms of styling I like it. The wood enclosures look quaint & the design is so romantic of yesteryear. Reminds me of the old black & white war movies! Since they are circumaural & open, they offer no isolation & will leak sound. Something to consider if you have a noisy enviornment or you don't want to disturb others say in bed or library etc. Value for money, this is a tough one! Looking at the box presentation says it all. These cans are about sound!

 

Comfort for me is an issue with the stock bowl pads even with the original flat pads & bending back the headband if listening more than 1 hour. With the Senn modded pads, it sounds better, closer to the flat pads & is alot more comfortable for the long haul. The problem I think is the unforgiving nature of the stock pads causing the top of my ear lobes to be pressed on to my temple.

 

The all important sound character is unique for this particular one (compared with Grado SR80) because of the large wooden chambers. They all have the signature forward, punchy & bright Grado sound. The resonant character of acoustic instruments on the RS-1 is what I notice the most. Bass is low & well controlled without being too larger than life. There is plenty of detail, clarity, seperation & what have you. Other RS-1 owners with a more eloquent grasp of the technical aspects will elaborate further on that.

 

Because of the forward presentation I have trouble listening to it for more than a few hours even with the modded senn pads. Coming from an all Naim system, you may not find this a problem. But what few hours I do have is sheer extacy to experience the overall musicality. I tend to forget what cans I am listening to on the RS-1. These headphones are really enjoyable to listen to be it for rock, dance or just kicking back. Being a low impedence can it can be driven directly from a headphone out with no problems especially volume wise. However if feed it from the line out of a good source & a dedicated headphone amp your sense of hearing will be rewarded with aural delight. I was nearly tempted to sell them off a while back but when I relistened to them again I quickly dispelled any more of those thoughts. The Grado Wow factor is still there!

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Interesting N@Z,

 

My findings are almost opposite. That is, the Senn has a lush presentation that puts me to sleep after about an hour while the Grado engages me for hours. That is my foot is tapping to the music with Grado while with Senn I start thinking about other things.

 

Also, I don't think too many people here have spent time with the Grado RS-1. Those that did, at my place in Jan at the Sg Hed-Fi meet, did so in less than ideal conditions (noise from other cans around) and some were using it out of the 0 ohm jack of the Corda (they should be using it out of the 120 ohm jack IMO).

 

Here's an incomplete comaprison that I wrote sometime back between the HP-1 and RS-1.

 

The Equipment

Source: Rotel RCD-971 CD Player, HeadAmp: Corda PreHead-1 , HA-2 and HA-1. Headphones: Grado HP-1 & Grado RS-1, Associated Equipment: Kimber Select KS1030 interconnects, Chang Lightspeed CLS 6400, Kimber PowerKord (old version 10 feet).

Note: 10 feet of Kimber PowerKord was connected to the Lightspeed to clean up the power supply even further, the CDP was connected to the Lightspeed (digital outlet) with stock powercord. All connectors were cleaned with Craig Deoxit and treated with ProGold subsequently. The equipment was left on for 150 hours straight with music being played through. Both Grados were connected to the 0 Ohm output jack. Switching the RS-1 to 120 ohm jack produced and even closer similarity between the HP-1 (0 ohm) and RS-1 (120 ohm).

 

The Music

A few of you have been clamouring for the music selection to be included. As such I selected Chesky Records' Guide to Critical Listening - The Ultimate Demonstration Disc (Mastered By Nimbus UD 95). This was the main source material used.

 

Preamble

Both Grados exhibited a similar house sound. Up-front and in both senses of the word - unreal. They portray a musician's view of the sound stage (place the right transducer over your left ear and the left transducer over the right ear and you'll see what I mean). But, if you, like me, enjoy this - especially with Rock, Heavy Metal etc, then it is unbeliveably REAL. Since I had no Grado flat pads available, I cut a 40mm hole into a pair of Senn HD-414 pads. In ¡Æround one", I used the current Bowl Pads and in Round 2 I used the modded Senn pads for both headphones. Modded Senn pads seem to make more of a difference with the RS-1 than the HP-1. Polarity switches were in the up + position for the HP-1

 

Round 1

Sibilance was more noticeable on the RS-1 than on the HP-1. It was present on the HP-1 (and the Senn HD-600) but was less noticed. The HP-1 had more weight to the sound while the RS-1 had more air or atmosphere giving the RS-1 a bigger soundstage on all recordings while the HP-1 had more "meat" to bite into. I enjoyed both signatures thoroughly.

 

High Resolution (Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem): I could clearly hear more detail with the RS-1. The HP-1 had approx 95% of the detail level of the RS-1

 

Depth (Sara K's If I Could Sing Your Blues): The RS-1 exihibited more depth but the weight was lacking (a slight hollow sound). The HP-1 had less but better fleshed out. A classic case of when less is more.

 

Atmosphere (Leny Andrade's Maiden Voyage): The RS-1 had greater spaciousness. I was a little dissapointed with the HP-1 on this track. It seemed a little muddy - almost all headphones I have at hand seem muddy on this track with the exception of the RS-1. Please note that the Sony CD3000 and the ATH-W1000 and the Senn HD-600 also seemed muddy - when compared to the RS-1!

 

At this point I went straight to the double bass track.

 

 

Edit: As you can see I never finished the review for head-fi as I became a Corda dealer and head-fi rule prohibit dealers posting reviews.

 

Note: I deal in Grados and Cordas.

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Had the chance to listen to the RS-1's at Rameish's place. Heh... Nice cans. But I wouldn't budge from my HD570's to them even if they (RS-1) cost the same price.

 

It's got a somewhat spacious & yet constricted soundstage.

Sounds contradictary? I thought so.

Some instruments like cymbals, you'd hear in the distance. Some instruments like bass & acoustic electric guitars & vocals are so very near to you(as if in the same room).

Detail wise, they're a very detailed pair of headphones. Even in some of the more bassy & complex passages (in a live soft-rock concert track), you can almost hear each and every instrument distinctively. Like a hi-hat rolling off while the lead vocal, bass guitar & bass drum are playing away so near you.

Another point to note was that it made the vocals sound a little more dry. That is, as compared to other headphones/ earphones.

I'd not say I'd recommend these pair of headphones, especially at their price but I'd say, give them a listen. You're likely to like or dislike them and not sit on the fence. wink.gif

For me, my only upgrade path for headphones for now would be from the HD570 to a pair of HP1000 series headphones. Unless the HD590's can convince me otherwise (anyone with a burnt in pair who'd lend them to me for a listen?)

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Both won't put me to sleep actually. It's just that the laid back nature of the HD600 coupled with the MG Head OTL amp is alot better at soothing me most of the time which is great when I'm coming back from a hard day's work & I need to relax & immerse myself in the music. The RS-1 are for times when I really want to enjoy listening to details on the recording & most of the time that will be a little taxing over a long period. Maybe I should just enjoy the music! But I can't as evertime I put them on I tend to sit up & listen.

 

Also, my ears are not as well trained as yours so I hardly noticed any of the sibliance you mentioned. I felt the HD600 had more soundstage maybe because it is airier & I notice some 'height'. However I agree with the RS-1's lack of muddyness.

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Oh, I just sold the HP-1 today. Finally had to choose between the 2 and decided to keep the RS-1 (besides I need it for people to audition). Well trained LOL it's just I have a reference point in MBD - their 250K Burrrrrrmeister system. I do admit to using it now and then to refresh my reference sound in my head so to speak. Someday I'll have one - hopefully.

 

The HD-570 is nice but pick that over an RS-1? I guess different strokes for different folks. Anyways, is it the HD-570 V1? I heard Senn willl be discontinuing their bionetic line. Hmm.

 

 

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lol...

I don't know about hp-1 but I am definately very interested to own rs-1 one day. They are very nice sounding to my ears. Basically the good is that it retains the grado upfront sound, but everything seems very extended and sweet(?) , also it isn't bright or fatiguing as compared to say 325. Definately something that I will be saving up for (starting from now laugh.gif)

Ah.. and on that note, I think hd600 is not in the same class. Out of creek, they are too warm/dark. whereas rs-1 when i tested in rameish's house out of the creek really had the wow factor.

 

lol.. burmester.. yeah. I think mbd's system is too hi end man.. at least for me. I was kinda shocked when they mentioned that their burmester cdp costs 19k..woah... no wonder the sr-325 really sang!!!

 

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Guy,

 

That's the cheap CDP - does not use the CDM-9 Pro mech. I was refering to the one in the inner room with the glass door and the huge - taller than Karim speakers LOL

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scary man...

but even the cheaper ones already cost so much.. woahhh

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Guy, therein lies the flaw (to me) of the HD600, it's sensitivity to partening equipment but I also find it the same case with the RS-1. Maybe beacuse of the gear that I own favours the HD600 whereas yours vice versa.

 

Firefox, the dryness you mention is similar to what I hear on the Neutral character of the Etys & the RS-1 are far from dry Mat!

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Agree, the RS-1 and Senn HD-600 are far from dry. Dry is the AKG K-501.

 

Guy, that Burrrmeister for U. German hi-fi is always overbuilt ;-). Look at MBL etc.

 

 

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hahhaa... gotta go down one day to try their rs-1 out of the expensive burmester system .

Will they allow it? tongue.gif

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