Grado Prestige Series SR80e On-Ear Headphones Review

Editor rating

4.5/5 on January 7, 2016 Reviewed by: Peter Alexander

User's rating

534 reviews

PROS

  • Impressive sound for a modest price
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Great, spacious soundstage

CONS

  • No real sound isolation to speak of

VERDICT

Grado Prestige Series SR80e On-Ear Headphones have managed to surpass our expectations on all levels. They offer a fantastic value for your money and sound that will keep you coming back for more. Just keep in mind beforehand that these headphones are absolutely not suitable for very loud or very quiet environments. Music leaks out, and you can hear everything that goes on around you.

The SR80e are the next generation of Grado’s popular SR80 open-back headphones. It replaces the SR80i and we have no reasons to doubt that these headphones will sound just as great as the previous model.

Design and build

The one thing that many people love about Grado headphones is how the company stays firmly faithful to their roots. The design of these headphones is basically the same as previous models. The simple leather band and open earcups with mesh-wire on the outside evoke 80s Lo-fi audio gear aesthetics. This simple design results in a light weight and great comfort. While the foam pads may not look as comfortable as some high-end leather pads, we assure you that they are. Achieving a comfortable fit is absolutely not an issue.

Grado Prestige Series SR80e have a non-removable cable going out from both earcups. This cable is ended with a regular 3.5mm audio jack with a beefy stress reliever. The fact that the connector is so rugged makes it hard to fit in some smartphone cases, but, on the other hand, guarantees its long life.

Sound quality

You could probably guess just by their open construction that Grado SR80e will provide listeners with a very spacious sound. Indeed, these vintage-looking headphones have delightfully musical air to them, which works perfectly with jazz, fusion, or swing.

Their low end is also respectable and easily recommendable to everybody who enjoys powerful bass that doesn’t overshadow other frequencies. Mids and highs are very clear, and there is no doubt that first listening with these headphones will reveal many hidden details that you’ve never heard before.

Probably the only negative aspect of their sound is the fact that highs can be a little bit sibilant. Keep in mind that when we speak about sibilance, we are talking from a mainstream consumer point of view. If you are used to high-end, analytical-sounding headphones, then you won’t think too much of it.

The bottom line is that Grado Prestige Series SR80e On-Ear Headphones offer some of the best sound quality that you will ever get in this price range. That alone is a huge reason to try them out.

What is in the box?

Grado certainly doesn’t waste any expenses on accessories. The SR80e come only with a 6.33mm (1/4-inch) jack converter for plugging into a home stereo system or large desktop amplifier, but that’s it. There are, however, some third-party manufacturers that sell extra earpads, hard-shell cases, and other accessories.