Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Grado Labs SR80e Review | UNREAL?

Grado Labs SR80e Review | UNREAL?

by Stuart Charles Black

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Updated 9/12/19

931 word post, approx. 2 min read

Hey there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Grado Labs SR80e 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. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Amp/DAC requirements
  8. Who these headphones benefit?
  9. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  10. Consensus/Conclusion
  11. Final Word

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

Grado SR80e



  • Type: Dynamic, Open back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 99.8dB
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Material: Plastic, Polymer
  • Weight: 130.4g
  • Inputs: 3.5mm, 6.35mm (1/4″)
  • Cable Length: 1.83m


Man was I ever blown away at the sound of these. I had read that a lot of people weren’t satisfied with the build quality and comfort, but from my own experience, they seemed to hold up fine. Most headphones do get uncomfortable after a while, and you’re always going to have to adjust them no matter how good they are. For instance, my HD600’s are probably the most comfortable I’ve ever worn, but I still have to make a slight adjustment from time to time.

The clarity and detail are really what makes the 80e’s so great, and you’re really not paying too much for them which is always nice. In the case of headphones especially, I’ve found that the law of diminishing returns has never been more true. Above about $300, the sound will get better, but it’s a small incremental increase, and usually requires the help of high-end amplifiers and such.

I actually prefer the 80e’s sound to most of the headphones I’ve owned or tried, and that says a lot. They slightly edge out my HD25’s in terms of clarity and come close to matching the precision of the 600’s.

It’s just a refreshing experience that reveals the smallest details of the mix without being overly analytical about it. Just be aware that the sound, like the HD25, is very intense. You’ll have to take a break just off of sheer brain fatigue. Lol. It’s a good thing though 🙂


  • Live sound, Excellent treble, and mid-range.
  • Tight bass. I was pleasantly surprised that for being a bass lean headphone, these more than satisfied and I found myself not desiring more.
  • They handle fast tracks and lots of instruments well.
  • They do well with most genres.


  • The 2k area is boosted way too much.
  • The cable is much too large for a headphone of this size and weight.

Video Comparison

Here I did an in-depth A/B comparison of the Grado 60e vs. 80e. You’ll get a good sense of how both of these headphones sound in relation to one another as well as their overall build and comfort levels. Are they exactly the same? Click to learn more!!

Amp/DAC requirements

Being 32 Ohm, these will not require separate amplification. How to choose a headphone amp!

Who these headphones benefit?

They seem to do well with most genres/bands, including but not limited to:

  • Classical
  • Jazz
  • Metal
  • Rock
  • Beethoven
  • ELO
  • Slayer
  • Dream Theater
  • Nature sounds
  • EDM
  • Vocals

They do tend to excel with fast guitars, metal, rock, progressive, etc. because the mid-range is so good and there is so much detail.

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • Be aware that these both leak sound and fit on your ear. There is no noise isolation whatsoever, so they work best in the comfort of your quiet home studio with minimal distraction and outside noise.
  • 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.
  • The vocal clarity is astonishing. There is so much detail in these that gets lost in other headphones. That said, they do tend to get bright and fatiguing after a while. I cannot turn them all the way up without some minor sibilance. What does Sibilant mean?
  • The mid-range is definitely forward, which lends itself well to instrument precision as well as vocals. You’re going to start to hear subtle things that you haven’t noticed before in some of your favorite tracks. For instance, there’s some really cool feedback and echo on the song Drift by the progressive jazz band Chon. Guitars in general sound very clean and articulate, with revealing timbre. What is Timbre?


Amazing sound with build quality and comfort factor that suffers a little, at least over time. Still worth buying for the clarity alone. This is the type of headphone that will propel itself to the top of your collection for sure.

Final Word

Well friend, I would highly recommend the SR80e’s despite the perceived issues in comfort and build, but I’d go with the 60e since it sounds identical.


Well my friend, that’s about it for today!! I hope you got something out of this Grado SR80e review, and now have a better idea of the overall picture of these headphones.

Are you convinced that you should just go with the 60e? 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,





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!



Grado SR80e


Build Quality


Sound Quality







  • Lively sound
  • Great Soundstage
  • Good Transient Response, Fast
  • Good Comfort Overall


  • Mid-Range Issue @ 2k
  • Build is a tad flimsy
  • Cable Too Big for Headphones

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like


Keith Aldrige December 1, 2019 - 6:08 pm

Hello, Stu, well, I found the Philips comparison I wrote to you earlier about, now, another question though…I some time ago I bought Philips 9500 and love them. However, I do not want to duplicate. If I buy the Grado 80, am I duplicating the sound I already have in the aforementioned? If so, is the solution going to be buying the Grado 225? I did not see a review for the 1440 Shures yet. Some time ago, I had wrote you about that.

Stuart Charles Black December 3, 2019 - 1:53 pm

Hey Keith! Yeah I mean the SR80e may be a tad different in sound signature. There’s an unnatural peak at 2k, with a similar bass response and a bright treble. I do like the headphone but find that the 2k peak is kind of troubling. The 225e is just more of the same in fact: Pretty much the entire e line sounds basically identical to be honest. You may really enjoy the 60/80e though – I guess it would just depend on how sensitive your ears are to mid-range spikes and treble spikes. Mine don’t really like it although the headphone overall is still very good. Out of all the e line, I probably would only recommend people the 60 or 80e.

Aggie December 9, 2020 - 11:03 am

Hi Stuart,
how would you compare this SR80e to the Sennheiser HD 650? I mean only sound. As I mentioned in another comment, I have SR80e and I decided to buy HD 650 (just waiting for delivery). I wanted to try something more hi-end and HD 650 looked like a good idea. But now, when I just read this post, I think that I made mistake and I bought headphone which is very similar to my SR80e. What’s your opinion?

Stuart Charles Black December 11, 2020 - 8:31 pm

Hey Aggie!

The HD650 is more laid back for sure, with even less mid-range emphasis than the HD600. I would liken it to taking sandpaper to wood and smoothing it down, while the HD600 is the wood without sanding. The 80e is too forward @2k. I’d have to go back and read this review again to see what you were referring to, but you made a great decision in purchasing a 650. Don’t worry; you’re going to love it!


Leave a Comment