The Grado SR80e has a pretty nifty sound signature, aside from the kind of unnecessary 2k spike, which causes some sibilance, but in no way as bad as a Grado can with an L-cushion. What does Sibilant mean? The other issue is of build, and comfort to a lesser degree.
Let’s face it: The build of a standard Grado is just not very good, and the 80e is no different especially being that it’s one of their entry level models. Comfort with the provided S cushions is a bit better, as the foamy padding is much better than their L cushion variety.
The reason they get a spot at all is because the sound is extremely good for a headphone in this price range, and does deliver on most fronts. Instrument separation, clarity, and Soundstage are all excellent, and there’s even some nice thumping bass in there as well!
Overall, the 80e is a good buy, but I would consider it last among the Budget Kings. 🙂
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 awhile, 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 is 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. The best headphone amp for the money
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. You never feel like your brain is getting clogged up with muddy confusion.
They do well with most genres.
No carry case, which would have greatly helped the fragile perception of these.
They seem to do well with most genres/bands, including but not limited to:
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 awhile. 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 a build quality and comfort factor that suffers a little, at least over time. Still worth buying for the clarity a lone. This is the type of headphone that will propel itself to the top of your collection for sure.
Well friend, I would highly recommend the SR80e’s despite the perceived issues in comfort and build. I had no problems with them, and wouldn’t take them out of the house, so I could see myself enjoying them for a long time. The sound is impeccable, and really does rival a lot of headphones that are more expensive.
I would consider the closed back version of the 80e to be the Sennheiser HD25. They both share many of the same characteristics which make the sound wonderful, but the 25’s are more portable and you can listen with them in any environment (They aren’t open and won’t disturb others). They also happen to be lightweight and extremely durable. Indestructible in fact! Interested in learning more about my favorite on the go buddies?
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.