New Toys: Grado Labs SR80X Headphones

Grado Labs' new Prestige X Series Headphones feature new drivers, advanced cable design and a more comfortable headband. These changes are implemented on all five new models: the SR60X, SR80X, SR125X, SR225X, and the SR325X.

It was easy to love the SR80X headphones the first time I plugged them into my studio's headphone system for a listen. I heard an accurate soundstage with good mid-range and no hyped-up bass or extreme high frequency "fizz"—just an honest, clear reproduction of the sound of my music mixes that I already know well.

The updated drivers have a new magnetic circuit and voice coil/diaphragm for improved efficiency and reduced harmonic distortion. The ear cups on the SR80X use foam pads and are an open-air design with lightweight polycarbonate plastic housings for the 44-mm drivers. These 4th Generation X-Series drivers have a nominal impedance of 38-ohms, a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and are matched to each other within 0.1dB.

The SR80X cables have four-conductors and are made covered with braided nylon sheathing; separate cables come from the L/R ear cups and join together in a molded plastic "T". That feeds a single, 4-foot cable and then a molded 1/8-inch mini TRS plug with 1/4-inch adapter included.

I liked the headband with its soft rubber cushioning; they are easy to adjust on my head. The stainless steel hand band adjusts to your own tightness preference and stays that way—great! I found them very comfortable because they are supra aural and they lay on top of my ears not circumaural and covering my ears. I use them in my control room so no problem with leakage from the open vents on the side of the cups.

The Grado SR80X headphones sell for $125 MSRP and are great value for studio work or just     comfortable music enjoyment.