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.


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

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.


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

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!


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Thanks for sending these in, guys. Sorry it took me so long to get them measured and up.

LFF's picture

Thanks for taking the time to listen and review these Tyll!

I always used my modified Grados to spot check voices. That was before I acquired other headphones though. Still, I tend to use them from time to time and I especially liked how they sounded with Eddie Current stuff. I agree that they need more bass but then again...I didn't build them nor tune them.

Perhaps a PM to KJ is in order...

Thanks again Tyll!

deckeda's picture

Glad to see some DIY stuff tested and listened to here. Gonna help keep things fresh and open-minded in my opinion.

I'm not much of a DIY-er. Too chicken. And too broke in case something needs to be replaced due to a mishap.

I did do the ubiquitous black electrical tape mod around my SR60's pads tonight however. Can't yet say it changes much but I'm too lazy to pull the tape off now to know for sure.

Keep up the good, or at least decent work, guys.

amateriat's picture

...but I think I'll leave my 325is cans alone. Love them just the way they came to me. :-)

(Which reminds me: ever going to review those?)

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Don't like the 325 much, so probably won't review them.

Have you seen this article?

amateriat's picture

Tyll: Thanks for pointing that article out; I'd glanced it briefly when I first got here, but didn't read it in-depth. I really *do* love what I'm hearing through mine right now, but always like to read what others are doing with theirs. I've been out of the hardcore headphone orbit for some years, and wanted back in, but without going too crazy this time (no ES/electret 'phones, and no separate amps, at least for a while). I've liked Grado's 'phones since they first hit the scene, and decided to go with them (and, a bit more recently, Sennheiser's HD 25-1 II for on-the-go use). Enjoying the music big-time now, again. :-)

DaveinSM's picture

Tyll, I just picked up a pair of the new SR80e, and what they are saying about the improvements is true: much better bass and tonal balance right out of the box. I was able to A/B them directly with my SR80i set, and not only is the balance better, but they are noticeably more efficient. I would very much like to see review or measurements. They sound great IMHO.