Three Modified Grados
Some modified Grado cans have shown up in the lab. I don't know what my problem was getting to them in a timely manner, maybe it's my dislike in general for Grado cans, maybe it was the trouble I was having getting my corporate shipping set up, but I've finally managed to get around to listening and writing this post.
Oh, well, here we go ...
Modified Grado SR60 by Kneel Jung
Kneel's Notes - My SR60 is just pieced together like a puzzle. I never got around to putting some screws in for the gimbals. The cups are bigger around than Grado cups so I shortened the pegs on the gimbal rings and took out the pins. So everything just friction fits together. The cups are a two-piece design with an African Blackwood outer cup and African Mahogany driver housings. The drivers themselves just friction fit into the driver housings, the driver housings then just friction fit onto the gimbals. Even the grill just friction fits inside the cup; although, I could hot glue that. I think they sound good. I've done the hole punch mod at various stages, 4 holes, six holes, and all ten holes. All ten is insane, it just whacks out everything, though it sounded OK with all ten punched and jumbos. Currently, there is only one hole vented. Real interested to see how these measure and stack up against some of the higher-end Grados. Also interested to see if there is much difference between the two drivers. I don't really hear one, but one is an SR60 driver and one is an iGrado driver.
Tyll's Notes - I'm really impressed with the bass on these. I don't think I've ever heard better bass extension on a pair of Grados. Very nice. Otherwise, I found the mids somewhat recessed relative to the bass, and the highs moderately excessive. I felt the vocals were a little lost in between.
Measurements show little difference between drivers, though the right driver seems a bit smoother in measurements, and the left driver has the better bass extension. Love the little skulls on the adjustment posts! Nice.
Grado Symphones Magnums 2.5
Zombie_x Notes - These use the stock SR325is "thick" cable that was re-terminated to a 1/8" ZXAC/DHC mini plug. Keep in mind that when I bought them, I bought the drivers only ($200 for just the drivers) and I bought SR325is cups, a leather headband (and stock Grado headband), bowl pads, and the SR325is cable. I would say I like them more than the RS1. They have a very HF2 sound, but far more refined and articulate. They have great bass that is taut with good slam and detail. The mids are very lush and detailed, while still transparent and open. The treble is also just as smooth as the RS1 (from memory), but more extended and airy.
Tyll's Notes - Wow, very different in the bass from Kneel's. These are rather one-note, in that regard. These cans are using the Sennheiser 414 reversed pad mod. Measurements show serious bass distortion; I switched to the flat pads from TTVJ and it seemed to help significantly in the bass, but I'm not sure I like the mid/treble balance as much.
Back to the 414 pads, the treble and mids have nice balance, and render voices well, but I still hear the typical Grado hardness. Nonetheless, from memory, these are a modest improvement over stock cans.
Grado PS1 with HP1000 Drivers by LFF
LFF's Notes - These Grados were an idea I got after reading about the various mods Larry at Headphile was doing. He had managed to remove some PS1 drivers and transplant them into some other headphone. I emailed him about the PS1 shells and he told me he still had them. I asked if he had any HP1000 drivers. He did. I then commissioned him to make a hybrid using the PS1 shells with HP1000 drivers.
The results have received mixed reviews. Around half the people who have heard them vastly prefer them over the HP1000 headphones. The other half believe the HP1000 to be superior. A few have been confused and have asked, "Where's the bass on these PS1s?"
I have found the overall sound to be pleasant. Less bright than an RS1, less bass than a PS1 with that special midrange of the HP1000.
Tyll's Notes - Well, I certainly don't hear much bass, which is too bad because I like the treble balance on these quite a bit. You might want to chat up Kneel Jung to find out what he did to get his bass strength. Of the three here, I'd probably prefer these cans for extended listening. The mids certainly are glorious!
Thanks for sending these in, guys. Sorry it took me so long to get them measured and up.