Hi there friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Grado SR325e Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
- The Cushions
- My Video Review!
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who do these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
- Price: Check Amazon! | Check eBay!
- Driver Type: Dynamic.
- Operating Principle: Open Back.
- Fit: Supra-aural (On-ear).
- Frequency Response: 18Hz – 24kHz.
- Sensitivity: 99.8dB/mW.
- Impedance: 32 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Material: Metal, Leather, Foam.
- Weight: 12.6 oz.
- Inputs: 3.5mm, 6.35mm (1/4″)
- Cable Length: 5 ft.
Last time we looked at the SR225e, but is the 325e any different?
Well, not really. It looks to be the exact same signature.
What a shocker.
The Grado 325e certainly does deliver in some ways, but is it worth the asking price?
Let’s 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. 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.
The mid-range is okay aside from that unnecessary and rather large 2k bump, 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 may desire though you tend to hear bass notes better than a headphone with more emphasis on low-end impact.
The 325e is fast, fun, detailed, and enjoyable for the most part.
The bass here is very tight and articulate. It’s a detailed, textured bass that knows its 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 in 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 of how the bass should sound.
The spike at 2kHz has always been what holds Grado headphones back from being truly great, and the 325e is no exception.
It has been called unnatural and that’s putting it nicely.
Though you’ll hear a lot of cool and interesting details/artifacts, etc., the overall sound of the mid-range is horribly unbalanced and will likely get on your nerves after extended listening.
There’s another peak at around 9-10k, and it’s largely responsible for their fast, sparkling sound.
Yes, it is very sibilant, but I’d argue the treble isn’t really what makes the 325e annoying.
The problem for me has always been the mids.
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 SR225e and 325e.
- The S Cushions. This type can be found on the SR60e, SR80e, and SR125e.
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 clearer, but a little more sibilant. Both the 225e 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 Ls.
- 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.
- The 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. DUMMY THICC. 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. 🙂
- 2kHz spike basically ruins this one for me.
My Video Review!
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Also, I plan on re-recording this video due to some focus issues. Stay tuned!
At 32 Ohms Impedance, and 99dB Sensitivity, you’re not going to need an amp per se, but given the 325e has a fairly bulky jack, it sometimes doesn’t play well with certain phone cases.
I’d also argue you’re not going to be wearing these out and about much unless your goal is to get a swirly from a local bully.
No, you’ll want to stay safe at home where no one can see how much of a dork you are.
In that case,
I’d recommend an all-purpose DAC/Amp like the warm-ish K5 Pro which may help mitigate some of the 325e’s brightness/shouty issues.
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 do these headphones benefit?
They work pretty well with all genres. Some of my favorites:
- Indie Pop
- Progressive Jazz fusion. Think of 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 SR60e.
The law of diminishing returns is especially apparent in Grado headphones, I’m sad to say.
I think Grado products are “okay”, with the exception of a couple (The 125e comes to mind as being pretty bad).
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.
The differences in the e series line are very subtle.
It takes a lot of listening to really be able to discern, and most of the time it won’t matter since you’re not going to have them all for comparison.
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 SR60e.
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 60e 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 for it.
The SR325e sits in a really awkward spot. It’s not better than a 60e but is a lot more expensive.
If you’re interested in trying the Grado sound, I would pick up a 60e and see if you like it.
As for my personal recommendation and something light years better than a Grado, definitely look to the 400se as my top choice in mid-fi.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend. I hope you enjoyed this Grado SR325e Review and came away with some valuable insight.
Are you convinced that the 325e is still worth a purchase? Let me know!
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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All the best and God bless,
what about sr325x?
Hey man haven’t heard it yet hopefully soon!
Hi Stu, I came across your report by chance, and glad I did, just a bit late as I’ve had the
SR325e’s for 5 + years and have to agree with you, very bright which makes them
exciting but hard sounding on certain material. I had to cut away part of the Apple
I Pad cover to allow the large 3.5mm Jack to be inserted. The lead is too heavy, and
a pity it wasn’t detachable. The foam ear pads had to be replaced because they just
crumbled away with age, very poor material me thinks! I’m thinking of buying the
Mojo 2 Dac at the Bristol HIFI show to improve the sound quality, when down loading
music from YouTube, Chord say that will be possible with the appropriate adapter.
Your report was most helpful.
Thank you so much for the comment and nice words. Glad someone else can see the light here. Worst. pads. ever. I have no clue how people STILL defend these headphones. It seems inconceivable at this point. I’m itching to get my hands on a Mojo 2 actually. Hopefully soon! Keep me posted man!