The Grado SR60e 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 60e is no different especially being that it’s their entry level model. 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. 🙂
As far as build quality is concerned, I’m a little bit disappointed in how cheap it feels, but they more than make up for it in sound. Also remember that this is a cheaper headphone, and in fact their entry level e line model.
That said, I think the build could’ve been better. These feel even cheaper than an AKG K240 studio, and that’s pretty bad. Lol. Learn more: AKG K240 Review!
The cable thankfully is much more manageable than some of their other top of the line models, as it’s smaller, more compact, and not so darn thick! It still splits off into a Y, and is not detachable. However, I can’t plug these into my phone without removing the Otter Box, which is definitely a gripe considering it was meant for portable devices.
Comfort is pretty good, as these sport Grado’s S cushions. They will start to make themselves known after about an hour, and slight adjustments become necessary. Still, this is a pretty comfy headphone overall, and I didn’t have to take them off. I could probably wear them for a few hours without an issue.
Here’s where the fun starts. Wow. It’s pretty amazing that a headphone this cheap could be capable of so much.
For starters, the bass hits harder than you would expect. This isn’t an HD558 type of bass. It digs fairly deep for an open back, and never lacks articulation or clarity. There’s a nice sense of rumble going on, with phenomenal impact.
I also noticed a lush overall atmosphere with these. There’s plenty of air, and voices sound clear, distinct, and present. Instrument separation is also excellent; On Foster the People’s “Sit Next To Me”, I heard little voices in the background (Children playing) that I had previously not heard with any of my other headphones.
Another big thing I noticed was that vocals become easier to understand. No, you still won’t be able to discern every single one (unless the singer is very good at not mumbling), but there are certain passages that you’ll pick up. I was able to hear more of what Chelsea Cutler was saying on her song “Glad I found You.”
On Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze” I could hear him at the beginning making some weird sound before he began singing.
This seems to be a running theme with the SR60’s. You start to notice all the little artifacts that the song possesses. You begin to understand that there’s much more going on behind the scenes than you thought. It’s very subtle, but adds to the experience immensely.
On Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” the guitars came across extremely clear and articulate, which is undoubtedly due to the mid-range. It’s wonderfully clear and present, but sometimes can be overdone due to that largely unnecessary 2k spike. What does sibilant mean?
I kept the volume around 2 notches below maximum, and I felt that was a comfortable listening area. You’re still getting the full breadth of the sound, but without the harshness that comes a long with maxing these out.
On the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” I was able to hear the guitars before they started to play. It’s hard to explain, but you know that small window of time when the artist is just about to strum or pluck the first chord/note? That’s what I mean. The preparation is heard with the 60e. I thought it was pretty cool, as I’ve heard the song a thousand times over. I just had a huge grin on my face because of how slick Mick Jagger sounded.
Extremely articulate sound.
Fast and present bass with plenty of impact.
Good instrument separation.
Artifacts heard. The small stuff.
Build is very cheap feeling.
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!!
The 60e is a headphone that will sound great out of most anything. At 32 Ohm and 99.8dB Sensitivity, it’s pretty efficient and won’t resist the power fed to it should you use an amp. Be careful though; you won’t have to turn the volume up much past 8-9 o’clock.
The DragonFly is great for mobile and your laptop, while the E10K is a great budget desktop option.
Who these headphones benefit?
I liked them with:
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
This is what I wrote down while I was listening.
Comfort is pretty good, but you will be making slight adjustments from time to time.
Nice rumble on bass, phenomenal impact.
Air. Voices sound clear and distinct.
Nice instrument separation.
Foster the People – Sit Next to Me (Voices in background, children playing).
Separation of voices good. This was another gem, as you could hear those layered voices that get stacked on top of each other with other headphones. With the 60e, they’re separated so that you get the full effect.
Live fast and die together. Lyrics heard on “Glad I found you” – Chelsea Cutler.
Purple Haze. Could hear Jimi at the beginning making weird sound.
Over the Hills guitars very clear and articulate.
Beast of Burden can hear guitars before they begin to play.
The Grado SR60e is a fantastic entry into the e line, with startling clarity and phenomenal instrument separation. The bass digs deep while still not getting in the way, and voices not only become distinct, but you can hear more of them due to proper placement of sounds from left to right. Everything is given ample space to breathe, with an air of refreshment that’s a miracle at this price point. Build is iffy, but I can let it slide for this cheap.
I would absolutely recommend these. I think both the 60e and 80e are phenomenal for the price, and the 80e is pretty much the exact same headphone. Some say it has a tiny bit of added clarity, but personally I couldn’t tell a difference. Add to that, both have exactly the same build, materials, comfort, etc. They are basically carbon copies of each other. Definitely go with the 60e here and save some money. In my opinion, any perceived differences aren’t worth the extra price.
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.