Hi friend & Welcome!
Last time we discussed the Similarities & Differences between the Grado SR60i vs. SR80i. Today we’re going to take an in depth look at the Grado SR60e vs. SR80e, which are two updated versions of each previous headset. Do they improve on some of the shortcomings we saw last time? Stick around to find out!
Before we get started, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Normally I would do a separate review of each headphone, but being as these two models are basically identical, instead I will review the SR60e and outline Similarities and Differences with the SR80e towards the end of the review. Enjoy!
Of the 60e:
- Amp/DAC Requirements
- Who this headphone benefits?
- Similarities and Differences (with the 80e)
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
best price: check amazon! | check eBay!
type: open back
fit: supra-aural (On-ear)
impedance: 32 Ohm
frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
material: metal, plastic, pleather, foam
headband: vinyl or something similar.
Well it looks like the fine folks over at Grado did not learn their lesson from the past. A lot of the same issues that came with the 60i and 80i models are still present in the 60e and 80e. It’s a shame, because these headphones could be some of the finest models on the planet if not for the build and comfort aspect.
Normally when consumers rant and rave about stuff they don’t like in a product, the manufacturers listen (in the case of headphones anyway). Sennheiser is notorious for improving their line of products rather than regressing and ignoring their customer base. It’s odd to me that people keep buying these entry level Grado’s that have glaring problems. Is the sound that good? Well some say so.
However, what’s interesting to me is the split between reviewers that have had them for years and years (upwards of 5, 10, and even 20), to people who just flat out cannot stand them. Again, the dichotomy is very strange, especially since people seem to replace them over and over. It’s something I’ve come across quite frequently in reviews.
The positive qualities are still there. Made by hand in Brooklyn, New York, they have startling clarity to the point of being able to hear individual guitar string plucks, lip smacks, fingers sliding up and down frets, and other seemingly trivial things that really make a recording come together. Imagine I’m the dude from Big Lebowski:
“That rug really tied the room together man.” Donny: “Yeah, and he peed on it.”
So think of Grado devising and planning for this super tall building that’s going to be massive and cool and awesome, and house the greatest minds and be really reliable and durable, but then deciding that it would be beneficial to construct it out of balsa wood.
Lol. In all seriousness, this is a set that you want to spend time with in the comfort of your own home. They aren’t really made for on the go, and being open back they will leak quite a bit of sound.
This also means that the sound-stage is again very solid, if not outright amazing. You will frequently feel out of your head, or as if the band is playing in front of you. It’s an extremely realistic sound.
Before we get into the Pros and Cons, I must mention this. Many of the reviews directly contradicted each other. Some of the Pros I’m outlining here were Cons to others. The consensus according to amazon seems to be a positive one. The 60e gets a 4.6/5 which is a big step up from the 60i, albeit with less reviews. While some people commented positively on build and comfort, the consensus however was roughly still the same. An exceptional pair sound wise, but lacking in the other areas mentioned.
- They sit light and comfy on the head without pressure. They don’t sag or fall off.
- High end isn’t fatiguing. The low end comes across tight and with perfect clarity.
- Satisfying bass extension (not super deep though).
- Crystal clear mid-range.
- Smooth, UN-exaggerated highs
- Symphonic recordings produced without strain
- They still reign over most headphones that are triple their value.
- Overall nice sound balance. Very rich.
- Packaging is clean and functional. No annoying plastic clam-shells here!
- Good for mixing/reference. Very revealing and detailed.
- Pristine clarity once again.
- Good with the iPhone 6’s built in DAC (digital to analog converter).
Learn more about bit depth vs. sample rate, and what a digital to analog converter is!
- An improvement over the 60i’s. They do better on mobile devices as well.
- They get warmer and less “bright” with a break in period.
- Foam padding causes some fatigue, and are a little rough on the ears.
- Cable is huge and tangles up in odd ways. Not portable. It’s also attached to both ears, which is an annoyance to some.
- Lack of bass.
- A tad uncomfortable.
- They look dated.
- Ear cups swivel completely, which may tangle the chord into oblivion 😛 It also may be too bulky for a headphone of this size (small).
- Cheaply made, tinny, harsh, sibilant.
- Right or left channel may go out after a time.
- Too bright, excessive treble
- Lacking fullness and warmth
- $8.00 ear buds from Walmart, or crappy drug store headphones are better (as far as comfort & build). Ouch.
At 32 ohm, they don’t require an amp, but I’ve read that they do well with the Fiio e17/E09k combo. At this stage however, I would just go with the E10K, as it gets better reviews and is essentially the upgraded version of the E09k.
Who these headphones benefit?
If you are looking to mix, or want that amazing clarity, these may be for you. They have an open, airy sound, and do well in an isolated environment away from people and the potential for disturbance. I’ve seen them endorsed for:
- Dream Theater
- Nature sounds
They have an amazing, crystal clear, and pristine sound .. but again they suffer from construction issues and an overall lack of comfort. One solution to the comfort issue is to purchase separate ear-pads. The Ear zonk L-Cushion donut pads were a big hit among-st reviewers, and did improve comfort levels significantly.
Another method to keep the ear cushions healthy over a long period is to periodically take them off, dab them with a hint of dish-washing soap, wash them a bit, let them dry, and put ’em back on the headphones. This apparently helps keep them springy and fresh yo!
Similarities & Differences
- They by nearly all accounts have exactly the same specifications and sound, but there are some subtle differences that I will go into before the final word!
- The SR80e’s have a slightly better bass texture. It’s just a tad deeper, punchier, and better defined.
- The 80e’s have better driver matching. They have a slightly better bass than the other, as alluded to above.
- Some however say that the 60e has more bass, while the 80e sounds a bit more forward in presentation. A big gripe with the 80 model in general (i version and e version) is that they sound a bit harsh and sibilant.
- SR80e has a little more speed and accuracy over the 60e. It is just a bit more fast paced, lending itself well to heavy metal bros.
- All of the specifications are exactly the same, except for weight and the cable length. The SR80e is 130.4 grams, while the 60e is 124.7 grams.
- The cable length of the SR80e is 1.83m while the 60e is 2.1m.
- The 80e’s are bit more comfortable.
The official word from Grado:
“The new SR80e has an upgraded driver design, and they have enlarged and improved the mass distribution in the plastic housing. The way the SR80e’s new driver and plastic housing move air and react to sound vibrations are now less affected by transient distortions. The SR80e provides an improved bass resonance, which enhances the overall detail. With the SR80e you will notice improved control of the upper and lower range of the frequency spectrum with both better supporting Grado’s world renowned mid-range. The SR80e will produce a sound that is pure Grado, warm harmonic color, rich full bodied vocals, excellent dynamics and an ultra smooth top end.”
Despite all that, I am still attracted to these. I would recommend them based on sound quality alone, especially with rock and metal. I do have a better recommendation though, and it’s the same one I gave in my last article. The Sennheiser HD 598 does everything the Grado’s do, except better. The comfort and build is phenomenal, they are open back, and they do well with pretty much any genre of music. Just be aware that like the SR80 models, they don’t have as strong of an emphasis on the low end.
If you do need more bass, and a good open back headphone that does exceptionally well with hard hitting music such as Rap, Hip-hop, EDM .. I recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 990. It has a slightly pronounced low end, but doesn’t become bloated or artificial. Overall the sound signature could be described as slightly colored and warm, but in a very natural way. The great thing about the 990’s is that they also do well with jazz and classical, and excel for people who want to use them for gaming and watching movies. They are definitely an all purpose set.
Well my friend, that’s about it for today!! I hope you got something out of this Grado SR60e vs. SR80e review, and now have a better idea of the overall picture of these headphones.
Are you convinced that the Grado’s aren’t worth the headache? Let me know!
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below or Contact me! I very much look forward to speaking with you..
All the best and God bless,