Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Grado GS1000e Review – Worth The Money In 2023?

Grado GS1000e Review – Worth The Money In 2023?

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Grado GS1000e Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Intro & Summary
  4. Pros & Cons
  5. Video Review
  6. Amp/DAC requirements
  7. Who benefits?
  8. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  9. Consensus/Conclusion
  10. Final Word
  11. Photo Gallery

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!


Grado GS1000e



Grado GS1000e vs. PS500eThe Grado GS1000e is a bit of a different bird, in that it’s really bulky, terminates in a 1/4″ jack, sports Grado’s G-cushions, is circumaural, and deviates from the normally bright, somewhat sibilant Grado sound.

I really do think they nailed it though with the sound signature.

You can crank the volume without them sounding too sibilant (although you’re still going to get some), and they really have a nice sense of instrument separation, clarity, and detail without becoming too overwhelming like some of their counterparts.

I got a chance to demo them at my local Audio Advice, and I’m ready to report my findings.

Build & Style

The build is typical of a Grado; it’s not really good or bad, but sits somewhere in the middle.

They’re very lightweight, the cups are mahogany, the cable isn’t detachable, and it’s bulky.

Style-wise you kind of look like a giant nerd with these on, so I would advise staying indoors. Heh.

The pair that I demoed has been hanging on the shelf in Audio Advice for quite some time, so it’s been through a fair amount of wear and tear.

Because of that, they seem to have held up pretty well. I’m sure I wasn’t the first to demo them and I certainly won’t be the last.


Grado GS1000e vs. PS500eI didn’t have to adjust them at all really, but the fit will be awkward for you at first.

It’s just really unique in that because they’re so light, they kind of feel like air. It’s hard to describe.

The cups clamp just enough to make you semi-aware that you’re even wearing anything, and the overall fit is good once you get used to how foreign it is.

Because they’re so lightweight, they remain comfortable over long periods and the G-cushions really work well, despite feeling kind of strange on your head.

They feel neither too loose nor too tight, but kind of sit in between and it just feels odd.


Of course, you’re getting that signature Grado sound, but just a tad more subdued which actually increases performance in my estimation.

I don’t get fatigued with these on, but rather I’m jamming out extremely hard with a huge smile on my face.

Out of all the Grado’s I’ve tried, I think the GS1000e nails it the best. It just feels right.

The bass is extremely articulate, detailed, accurate, and natural sounding.

These definitely remind me of an Audeze LCD-3 in that with some tracks it feels like I’m listening for the first time.

The music presents itself in such a raw, organic, and honest way, but I don’t feel like I’m laboring when I listen.

Grado GS1000e vs. PS500eIt’s very much an enjoyable experience because you’re discovering new textures and layers that you previously never knew were there.

While you won’t be able to decipher every single word, The GS1000e allows you to understand lyrics a whole heap better than your average headphone.

I found myself being able to finally make out more of what the artist was saying, and as a whole everything gets a chance to finally breathe.

That’s one of the best things about the 1000e; its Soundstage is pretty remarkable and provides a much wider image than a typical open back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.

What stood out to me most about the sound is its clarity.

Instruments on familiar tracks that used to sound subdued, covered over, hidden, or obscured took on new life.

Not only can you decipher them with greater accuracy, but their role in the song is now understood on a deeper level.

You can spotlight virtually any instrument and really distinguish how the sound operates in context.

This is something I was trying to convey in my video review but couldn’t. Lol.

With lesser headphones, there is no sense of purpose or direction.

You hear the main melody and some rhythm, but that’s it.

If I could sum it up,

the 1000e allows you a glimpse into the soul of music: Its personality, its being, and its true core. Why it does what it does.

Grado GS1000e vs. PS500ePros

  • Comfortable.
  • Detailed sound without being harsh.
  • Great for most genres (EDM and very bass-heavy music may not apply).
  • Great Soundstage and instrument separation.
  • Articulate, snappy signature. Very revealing.


  • Needs a 3.5mm adapter.
  • Bulky, non-detachable cable.
  • The 2kHz peak is still there and it’s still annoying.

My Video Review!

Please like, comment, and subscribe to my growing channel. I could really your support! 🙂

Amp/DAC requirements

You’re not going to need an amp with these though they should probably stay in the studio.

If you try to take this outside you’ll probably get some peculiar looks + you’re going to distract everyone around you given these are open back.

They’re not really meant for mobile devices given that 1/4″ adapter but are super easy to drive. Go figure.

Who benefits?

Of course, you’ll love them with Rock, Metal, all things guitar, etc.

I would say they work well with most genres, but if you’re looking for a lot of bass slam with stuff like Rap, Hip-Hop, and EDM, I might look elsewhere.

Still, they will do good with these genres, but you’re not going to get the impact you desire.

Grado GS1000e vs. PS500eThoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • With the adapter, you’re not going to be able to plug it into a phone with certain style Otter box cases. I have the Samsung Galaxy S5, and I have to take the case off. This may not apply to the newer style Otter Boxes, as I’m still stuck in 2014. 😛


Big sound. Clarity. Detail. Good Soundstage. What is Soundstage? Articulate. Bulky.

The need for an adapter for mobile devices is annoying, especially given its low impedance and high sensitivity.

Final Word

Grado GS1000e vs. PS500eSo the million-dollar question: Is the GS1000e worth the price?

Unfortunately, I would say no, even being as good as they are. The trouble is that the law of diminishing returns is very apparent here.

What does that mean?

It means that the increase in price does not match the increase in quality. You can get roughly 90-95% of the Grado sound with the SR60/80e. No joke.

The 1000e is about 10x the cost of the SR80e. Does it provide a 10x better sound? That would be a negative.

So even despite the GS1000e providing what is perhaps the best sound out of the entire lineup, it’s still overpriced and the value isn’t there.

In other words,

I would never pay retail for these.

The SR60e is almost as good, for a fraction of the price. Interested?

Learn More:


Still interested in the 1000e?


Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Grado GS1000e Review.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Looking for something else? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Do these tickle YOUR pickle? Would you invest the 1000e? What do you think of the 80e? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,





Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photo Gallery

Grado GS1000e









  • Most enjoyable out of the Grado lineup
  • Comfort is the best out of the lineup


  • 2kHz peak still a problem
  • Build is still suspect
  • Overpriced. The value simply isn't there
  • Bulky, annoying cable

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Rob July 9, 2022 - 10:54 am

It’s a pimp review. I have owned a GS1000 first series for more than 15 years (paid 1500 and passes euro at the time) and I can say that in general all Grado are half traps for fools. The why is a well known fact among Grado customers and audiophiles in general; the design is not very ergonomic and cheap, made in the most authentic American philosophy: to make a profit on it. For example, the slats at the end of the headband detach from the housings (plastic housings) after a certain number of years and must be re-glued. The sponge pavilions are not uncomfortable but it must be taken into account that they disintegrate and must be replaced (the price for the official ones is a full-blown filth: 90 euros !!) and the sponge is certainly not worth the price of the headset. Or, few people know that the grids on the sides of the cap lose color over the years.

Nothing to say about the sound, excellent etc. etc. but in general it is not a headset that is worth the asking price, especially for the high-end models. I conclude by saying that in 2004/2005 there was a more limited choice of high performance headphones; my GS1000 was the top of Grado and one of the best around (the professional series didn’t even exist yet) and despite the cheap structure it gave me a lot of satisfaction, but in 2022 for that price I wouldn’t buy it again.

Stuart Charles Black July 14, 2022 - 3:59 pm

Perfectly said! I agree on all fronts although I don’t particularly like the sound that much. I always tell people, to try the 60e and see if they like it because it’s basically the same sound up the line which is another reason I have little respect for Grado as a company. They are great at swindling people out of large chunks of cash while not updating their stone age headphones with horrible 2kHz peaks. It’s a slap in the face, really.

I remember liking the GS1000e as it stood out from the rest in a mostly good way, but I’m definitely going to go back to this review and clarify some things. I’ve been revisiting my Grado reviews just to make things clear to people that I don’t recommend any of them. Certainly, there are good things about the sound signature and I have no problems making those things known, but as you’ve said and alluded to, for the price you can do much, much better nowadays. I think the company is still stuck in the 90s and it’s an insult to people who are halfway objective about this stuff.

jp January 2, 2023 - 9:16 pm

I agree with some of these comments – the construction, and that they aren’t durable, the cable, etc. but the Sound? One comment that stands out, “You’re not going to need an amp with these though they should probably stay in the studio.”

I disagree. You need power. And you need precision. Else, you’re losing 90% of the magic these deliver. Sure, they make noise when you use a PC headphone jack, but…you’re not really getting what you paid for here (well in one sense you are – the amp and DAC are, “free”).

Start w/ something like a JDS Element, a decent offering for many situations. The cans will open up, staging will start to shine, details start to come through. But the low end isn’t there. You can push w/ EQ, but that creates other issues as the amp doesn’t have the juice or slew rate to play. Now put something like a McIntosh MHA50 on it. Watch what happens to the low end – and now, you get the transparency that so many cans simply can’t offer. 0.5 dB matched drivers start to show you what that really means. Without precision source material, you won’t get that.

Now put a better DAC on there, and a higher-end tube amp – even an entry-level desktop tube amp. Magic. Pure and simple, magic.

These cans will render what you give them, but they do in fact need power, and there are plenty of, “mismatches” out there. A Hifiman EF400 that works for many mid-level cans won’t play at all here. Almost no stage depth (plenty of separation though, so good width), low end is muddy and sluggish, high-end is almost non-existent. The combination is …very much not to my liking and the cans are dead, lifeless, and have little dynamic punch. And that’s a, “powerful” amp right? Well, use the DAC and put a higher-end amp on it, and you get a lot more – but still, the Hifiman DAC can’t stage as some other, better more precise DACs can. Great detail – and the cans can render that. But no transparency – literally almost none. Now put a Bifrost in there and watch what happens. The cans completely disappear.

These are grossly underrated and misunderstood cans. For what 800 USD? If you’re into staging and that magical sound from strings or even well-engineered modern soundtracks, 70s classic rock, even trance/ EDM, these will very much satisfy on all fronts with a huge stage, and insane transparency. I so far haven’t found anything even remotely close in the same price range. $2000 and beyond? That’s a different story altogether, but they have those too so a different conversation.

I don’t offer this to be antagonistic – I just think the potential of these cans is often written off well before their magic is realized. Give them a second chance with different gear, and see what you think. You may be surprised.

Though you probably will need the 2nd pair if you take them off 30x/ day for years like I do. That…well, that’s not what Grado does. They do sound. Comfort they fixed – now they just need to make it last. Seems they’re moving in the right direction (albeit maybe a bit slowly). I’m still a fan.

Stuart Charles Black January 3, 2023 - 3:58 pm

No worries man! And thank you for your input 🙂

jp January 4, 2023 - 4:51 am

Don’t misunderstand – your reviews are more useful to me than most, for sure. Never change. I get more out of our differences than our similarities. I’ve recently bought some new gear and your reviews helped shape my choices, and that I appreciate. Consistency matters, honesty matters, and it’s my belief that you deliver both and that has more value to me than any other single thing. But don’t give up on those cans just yet – if you catch a nice tube pairing (and they’re tough to match for sure, not for everyone and I don’t generally recommend them myself)…throw on some ELO and you might be surprised. Maybe you already did that and it’s not your thing. Thankfully we aren’t all clones.

Stuart Charles Black January 4, 2023 - 4:01 pm

Aw Shucks. Haha thanks! That really means a lot. I know this hobby can get a bit weird and I made the decision to just roll with it. People have opinions, I have opinions, and there’s no use in me arguing with someone if they feel one way and I feel another. That’s not to say you were starting one. Quite the contrary, in the past it was me who just had to have the last word. Nowadays it’s just not worth my energy. Too old for all that LOL.

I actually liked the GS1000e quite a bit but haven’t gotten my hands on one (or any Grado for that matter) for quite a while. I plan to review the X series at some point, but I will also keep you updated and try to listen again to the 1000e with tubes in the future. That is to say that I appreciate the way you went about your comments and views.

Best regards,



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