The Grado 325e certainly does deliver, but is it worth the asking price? We’ll find out.
Here we have the typical Grado sound: Sparkle at the top, plenty of air, and a somewhat Sibilant sound when you push the volume to max. What does Sibilant mean? It’s a minor complaint, as I can just tick the volume down 1 or 2 on my phone and they sound fine.
Mid-range is phenomenal as always, and the bass is there and doesn’t feel too lean. You may take issue with a genre like EDM, as it simply doesn’t provide the slam that you’re going to get with a headphone like the V-Moda Crossfade M100.
That said, there’s nothing really negative I can say about the overall signature, other than a minor sibilance issue. For the most part, it’s fast, fun, detailed, and enjoyable.
The bass here is very tight and articulate. It’s a detailed, textured bass that knows it’s place. This is definitely not a bass head outfit, but I still found myself bobbing my head to stuff like Indie Pop, and bands like Chon, who fuse Metal, Jazz, Rock and Progressive music all into one. The bass sits nicely into the mix, and makes you realize the role that bass should play in a song. It was never meant to overpower the composition, but sadly that’s what it’s become. The 325e reminds us how bass should sound.
The spike at 2k has been called unnatural, but in all honesty it only rears it’s ugly head every so often, and largely depends on the song. I will admit, it can be very grating and harsh at times, so be forewarned.
For the most part, the mid-range is pretty flat across the board, and you’re going to hear a lot of cool and interesting details. You may also hear some miscellaneous artifacts that may or may not enhance your overall listening experience.
There’s another peak at around 9-10k, and it’s largely responsible for their fast, sparkling sound. I think the 2k spike has more to do with their sibilance than the 9k one, but both contribute to the bright overall sound.
Grado headphones come with one of 3 cushions:
The G cushions. This type can be found exclusively on the GS1000e, GS2000e, PS1000e, and PS1000.
The L Cushions. This type can be found on the SR125e and 325e.
The S Cushions. This type can be found on the SR60e, SR80e, and SR225e.
I mention this because the type of cushion has a lot to do with the sound. In all honesty, most Grado headphones sound extremely similar and share almost identical graphs and specifications.
However, a Grado headphone with an S-cushion will sound a little different than one with an L-cushion.
I found the difference to be fairly subtle, but still noteworthy.
The S-cushions result in a somewhat smoothed over sound. It’s a tad more subdued and less sibilant. In fact, I can turn the volume up a little louder with the 60e, 80e and 225e because of that.
The L-cushions result in a more intense sound. It’s brighter and more clear, but a little more sibilant. Both the 125e and 325e possess these qualities.
I believe the reason is not because of the cushions themselves, but the fact that your ears are more exposed to the driver with the L-cushions. What is a headphone driver?
That said, these are subtle differences, and I had to sit there awhile, going back and forth to discern them. I also found the S-cushions to be vastly more comfortable than the L’s.
Fast. The 325’s handle guitars and instruments with ease.
Detailed. You’re going to hear some really subtle soundscapes with these. It’s kind of like lifting a veil or blanket off of the music. It now has room to breathe.
Air. There’s plenty of air, and a nice sense of space and instrument separation. All Grado trademarks.
Comfort. They’re plenty light enough, and won’t cause fatigue.
Build is questionable. I feel like the construction should get better as the price goes up, but for whatever reason the folks at Grado don’t agree. It’s not terrible, but should be better.
The cable is mad thick. Lol. It’s also not detachable, and becomes a pain to plug into a phone with a case because of the bulky 3.5mm jack. More on all this in the review. 🙂
My Video Review!
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Just be aware that because of their high sensitivity and low impedance, you won’t need to jack the volume up that much. Be very careful. What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
Who these headphones benefit?
They work pretty well with all genres. Some of my favorites:
Progressive Jazz fusion. Think the band Chon. They do absolutely phenomenal with stuff that involves crunchy or smooth guitars. Doesn’t matter!
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
I’m not sure that they’re worth the asking price, when you could get 90-95% of the sound from the Grado SR80e. The law of diminishing returns is especially apparent in Grado headphones, I’m sad to say. That’s not to say that they aren’t good. All Grado headphones are very good, with the exception of a couple (The 125e comes to mind as being kind of mediocre). A definite miss in my opinion. I do think they really nailed it with the GS1000e and PS500e, but are they worth that much more? Not in my eyes. Differences in the e series line are very subtle. It takes a lot of listening to really be able to discern.
A typical Grado signature. Questionable build, but still not that bad. Bulky cable, non-detachable. Sizzling sound, fun, detailed, and plenty of air. Comfortable and lightweight. You can get just about the same from the more affordable SR80e.
Of course I’m going to recommend the SR80e today. I did some more back and forth testing at my local Audio Advice because they carry just about the entire e series line. Sure, the 80e was a tad less smooth overall than some of the pricier offerings, but it wasn’t enough to warrant the subsequent hole in my pocket. Even as good as the GS1000e was, I still would not pay retail. The SR325e sits in a really awkward spot. It’s not that much better than an 80e, but is a lot more expensive. Just go with the 80e and call it a day. It’s a great headphone, and provides most of the Grado sound you’re looking for!
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.