Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Grado SR225e Review: Is the Fabled Clarity Worth the Compromises?

Grado SR225e Review: Is the Fabled Clarity Worth the Compromises?

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
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Hi there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Grado SR225e 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. Specs/Pricing
  2. Introduction
  3. Build & Comfort
  4. Sound/Soundstage
  5. Pros/Cons
  6. Amp/DAC requirements
  7. Who benefits?
  8. Thoughts from Stu’s Notepad
  9. Consensus/Conclusion
  10. Final Word

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

Grado SR225e

Price: Check Amazon! | Check eBay!

Specifications

  • Driver Type: Dynamic.
  • Operating Principle: Open-air.
  • Fit: Supra-aural (On-ear).
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 22kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 99.8dB/mW.
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Material: Plastic, Leather, Foam.
  • Weight: 12.6 oz.
  • Inputs: 3.5mm, 6.35mm (1/4″)
  • Cable Length: 5 ft.

Introduction

By now it might seem like I’m beating a dead horse and we’re only 4 headphones into the e line.

Previously we discussed the 60e, 80e, and 125e, the latter 2 of which weren’t significant upgrades and didn’t warrant any kind of price increase.

Is the 225e the same old story?

Let’s dive in and take a look.

Build & Comfort

So we’re 4 deep into the line with roughly $125 added cost, and pretty much nothing has changed yet.

This isn’t good.

The 225e continues the tradition of flimsy/cheap build quality but your mileage may vary with regard to how long they hold up.

I’ve spoken with people who have had theirs for upwards of 10-20 years, and others for only a few months before breaking down.

In any event,

everything about the build (headband, adjustments, cord, etc.) is the same except for the pads.

Instead of the S-cushions, the 225e now employs the L variety.

Unfortunately, this pad variation is the worst in the line and feels awful on your ears.

If the 60e, 80e, and 125e were all average to slightly above average in terms of comfort, the 225e is well below average to downright poor.

This is essentially due to the fact that there isn’t any place for your ear to rest except squarely on the outside of the driver.

The outside of the cups will also dig into your ear lobes while the rest of your ear is brutally assaulted by the extremely hard surface of the material covering said driver.

All in all, the experience here has actually gotten worse if you can believe it.

Sound

  • I used a NAIM DAC V-1 for testing and primarily listened to Chon’s “Homey” album, but I’ve listened to these and the entire Grado line with many tracks over the years.

Are there any differences between the 225e vs. the others?

Well yes actually, but only because of the pad switch.

What you’ll find is that because there’s no pad material covering the insides, it results in a more crisp, open, and airy sound – even more so than the previous iterations.

But is this actually a good thing?

Well, not really, and here’s why.

If I heard that obnoxious 2kHz peak before, it’s even worse now.

Furthermore, the treble around 10kHz receives an incredibly obnoxious boost by about 15dB (!!!), and it’s simply over the top and excessive to the point of near absurdity.

Graph: RTINGS | Design: HomeStudioBasics

Can you honestly say that’s objectively okay?

I would say absolutely not.

The bass and low mid-range are both still solid (as with previous models), but the mids are still a big problem and now the treble is extremely out of line.

Does it make them sound brighter and livelier?

Sure, but at the expense of destroying your hearing.

The clarity and impact are also still there, but they’re now very metallic and artificial sounding due to that treble peak.

Soundstage

The Soundstage continues in the vein of being very open and spacious, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed about Grado headphones.

I definitely got the impression that things were going on around me and that’s always a plus.

As far as the bass is concerned, it does roll off quite considerably but does have pretty good articulation and texture.

You may not purchase this primarily for stuff like EDM and Hip-Hop due to the roll-off, but it will work regardless.

Resolution

The Grado SR225e headphones exhibit commendable resolution, often regarded as a noteworthy attribute within the Grado headphone lineup.

Resolution, in the context of audio, refers to the headphones’ capability to reproduce intricate and subtle nuances within the sound.

These headphones excel in presenting fine sonic details, allowing listeners to discern elements like individual instruments or nuances within vocal performances with heightened clarity.

Despite certain concerns regarding the mid-range and treble aspects, the SR225e’s strong suit lies in its ability to unravel the layers of music, providing a vivid and transparent sonic experience.

This high level of clarity enables listeners to perceive minute nuances and subtle nuances within tracks, contributing significantly to the headphones’ overall appeal, particularly for those seeking an audio experience emphasizing detail and precision.

Pros

  • Tight bass.
  • Clarity and detail. No muddiness.
  • Comfort excellent.

Cons

  • The treble spike seems to have gotten worse.
  • 2kHz peak is still very problematic.
  • The bulky non-detachable cable is a huge annoyance.

Amp/DAC requirements

At 32 Ohms Impedance and 99.8dB Sensitivity, the 225e still mimics the rest of the line.

In other words, no amplifier is needed although because of the bulky cable, you’ll probably want to plug them into something like a K5 Pro.

Who do these headphones benefit?

They work pretty well with all genres but do keep in mind the issues mentioned above. Some of my favorites include:

  • Indie Pop
  • Hip-Hop
  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Metal
  • Progressive Jazz fusion. Think of the band Chon. The 225e will fare well with stuff that involves crunchy or smooth guitars.

Consensus/Conclusion

The Grado SR225e continues the e line, now with L-cushion pads and a seemingly crisper sound.

Clarity and detail are still there in spades, and the Soundstage is also above average, but the mid-range and treble still present significant issues and essentially ruin the overall experience in my estimation.

Closing Thoughts

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the 225e today because of the problems discussed, but if you’d like to experience the Grado sound, try a 60e first (it’s now the 60x) and see if you like it.

From the 60e to the 225e, the sound signature hasn’t changed but we’re now looking at roughly $200 for what is essentially the same product repackaged.

The 60e provides roughly 90-95% of the standard Grado sound and should be considered first before even thinking about buying anything else.

Learn more:

 

Looking for my best recommendations under $100?

 


Well that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Grado SR225e Review.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Let me know down below or Contact me!

What do you think about these? Do YOU think they’re worth the investment? I’d love to know!!

Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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 SR225e

2.75

Build

3.3/5

Comfort

2.3/5

Sound

2.8/5

Pros

  • Crisp, open sound
  • Good Bass

Cons

  • Treble hiss and sibilance
  • Mid-Range Issue @ 2k
  • Comfort is awful

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2 comments

Fernando March 15, 2020 - 8:53 pm

Hi Stuart, check out the 3 recommended headphones fidelio x2hr – hxx- r70x. you are right about the hxx they are almost perfect for me but I was doing a lot of research. I have a lot of free time for a few days hahaha. I read about problems with the hxx driver in several cases it stops listening and I think it is a risk. the r70x 350 $ is far from my budget, the fidelio x2hr is a great option! I’ve been reading a lot of home studio basic reviews and this Grado rs225e model could fit very well what i am looking for. good for rock and good price 200 dollars. I ask you how this compares to the fidelio. which has better texture on the instruments and higher resolution and details

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 11, 2020 - 1:58 pm

Hey man! Any updates? As for the Grado, you may have an issue with the 2k peak. It’s quite pronounced and kind of ruins the sound of most Grado headphones in my opinion. I think the X2HR would be a fantastic solution for you. What do you mostly listen to? Do any gaming? Apologies if we’ve discussed this previously! 🙂

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