The 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 normal 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. What does Sibilant mean?
I got a chance to demo them at my local Audio Advice, and I’m ready to report my findings.
Build & Style
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 gigantic 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 sometime, 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.
I didn’t have to adjust them at all really, but the fit will be awkward to 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. A headphone like the PS500e is good, but very loud. I don’t think that’s completely necessary.
The bass is extremely articulate, detailed, accurate, and natural sounding. These definitely remind me of an Audeze LCD3 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.
It’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.
What stood out to me most about the sound is clarity. Instruments on familiar tracks that always 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: It’s personality, it’s being, and it’s true core. Why it does what it does.
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.
My Video Review!
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Click to view the GS1000e!
You’re not going to need an amp with these though they should probably stay in studio. If you try to take these outside you’ll probably get some really weird 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. How to choose a headphone amp!
Who these headphones benefit?
Of course you’re going to 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.
Thoughts 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. 😛
So 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 SR80e. No joke. The 1000e is about 10x the cost of the SR80e. Does it provide a 10x better sound? That would be a negative.
The SR80e is almost as good, for a fraction of the price. Interested in learning all about it?
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.