Have you ever craved in depth information on the Grado SR60i vs. SR80i? I hope so, because today I’ve collected as much of it as possible and condensed it into an easy to read comparison review!
Before we get started.. grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Normally I would review both separately. However, given that these two sets are basically identical, I will review the SR60i and then outline the very subtle Similarities and Differences between them. Enjoy!
It’s really easy to review these headphones, because of the glaring dichotomy in sound vs. build. By nearly all accounts, these are some of the best sounding headphones on the planet. Take one look at them, and you wonder how that can even be possible.
Honestly, they are some of the ugliest headphones I’ve ever seen, and I’ve reviewed A LOT of cans. Lol. They are almost like a throwback to 1975. Think Dave Gilmour tracking “Wish you were here”. Heh.
In all seriousness, the sound has been gushed over for years. Still to this day people are amazed at how good they sound. They aren’t harsh or sibilant, their sound-stage is incredible, and they have an extremely accurate and detailed signature.
The downside is that their construction is about as solid as free flowing water. LOL. Think about how unreliable a house of cards is. Now imagine that same house of cards destroyed. Do you get the picture? It’s really quite a shame, because I value build quality about as much as sound these days. I don’t have the money or patience to keep buying new headphones. I can’t imagine you do either!
That said, let’s check out the Pros and Cons..
Lows, mids, and highs are all rendered very well.
Astounding performance. Compared to headphones in the $300 range consistently throughout reviews.
Accurate sound. Clear highs, and sufficient but not overpowering lows.
Phenomenal detail and clarity.
Natural. No harshness or sibilance. Not shrill. Very clean sounding.
Vocals & instruments. They have a fast paced sound to them.
Piano tones, brushes on high hat cymbals, and bass comes out crystal clear. Think of the jazz musician Bill Evans here.
They do pretty good with:
They also benefit people who want to listen in a quiet environment, and don’t mind sound leak. They are open back, and don’t do as well on the go because people will be able to hear what you’re listening to.
An incredible pair of headphones sound-wise that lack in comfort and build quality. It’s is really the best way to sum up this pair. They may make you break down and cry, like this reviewer so eloquently stated. But they will also have you using hilarious analogies to describe how poor the construction is.
Take this gem for instance:
“It’s like dating a beautiful girl with a drinking problem. She looks good, and sounds good.. but eventually she falls apart over time.” LOL
Or this one:
“Plain, even banal styling. If you’re looking to impress people with the appearance of your headphones, forget it. You’ll get more envious looks if you wore grapefruit halves on your ears.”
“The plastic is like something out of a .25c vending machine.”
“What good is a car with the best motor if the wheels fall off when you’re driving it?”
Gotta love the honesty 🙂
Similarities & Differences
Both have a very fast and tight bass, but not overpowering.
Both have the exact same specifications, except for weight. The 60i’s are 12.6 ounces while the 80i’s are 13.6 ounces.
Both are similar in look and build.
The Grado SR60i is more forgiving with less than ideal sound sources. The 80i is more lively and more forward in presentation, and less forgiving of poor sources.
The 80i has more depth and quantity bass wise than the 60i.
The 80i has a more pronounced peak at around the 8 or 9 khz range (upper register). This has been known to be the cause of the tinny/harsh/or sibilant sound that some complain about with the 80i’s.
The 60i is more consistent, more straightforward, and simpler. It’s more laid back and even sounding across the spectrum. By contrast, the 80i is overpowering, brighter, and may be more fatiguing. It is overly bright to a lot of people.
The 60i’s may not benefit as much from a headphone amp at the 80i’s. The 60i’s have a wonderful mid-range that is warm, full, rich, and liquid smooth. The 80i’s have a deeper and fuller bass response. An amp will also bring it out more. Some say the Alessandro MS1’s (also a Grado model) fix this problem.
The 60i’s are more comfortable than the 80i’s, but to me this is basically a wash.
Application. The 60i’s are mainly used with your iPod, or portable player. The 80i’s do better with an amplifier at home.
Even with these subtle differences, some claim to not hear much of one at all. I guess it depends on your ear, but the subtleties were definitely noteworthy.
Aside from that, I have gotten a chance to demo the 80’s for awhile, and I would still recommend them despite the perceived shortcomings of both comfort and build. The sound is so freakin’ great for the price that I feel compelled to give them my highest endorsement as far as open back budget cans go. In terms of clarity, they edge out my HD25’s, which is really saying something as I consider those to be extremely detailed and clear. They also stand toe to toe with my Sennheiser HD600’s, which is a bold statement even though their precision and instrument separation doesn’t quite beat the 600. As far as the Grado’s, I bypass the 80i’s and go with the 80e’s, as they have a slightly better bass response.
I consider the closed back version of the 80e’s to be the Sennheiser HD25’s, which I also love immensely. You’re still getting that same phenomenal clarity and instrument separation, but the 25’s are instead closed back, completely portable, and pretty much cannot be broken. I make it a point to kind of toss them around and I’m generally just not very careful with them. They love the abuse and despite being extremely light, remain probably the most durable headphone I’ve owned.
Interested in learning more about my favorite go to for accurate and fun sound?
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.