Nepotism sucks. As a rule, that is. We can all name at least one or two companies which have been flushed right down the toilet by the prodigal son, and those of us who wax nostalgic about firms which survive past the originator's retirement just hate it when what was once the
founder's sperm turns into the destroyer of his legacy. So it is with great relish that I can report that Grado is positively flourishing under the aegis of son John. And what has been the device with which John has re-affirmed Grado's greatness? Headphones.
• Learn more about Grado Headphones and the Grado brand here.
• Read a review of the Grado SR80i Headphones here.
Yes, headphones, and not just the stunning little bargains like the SR-60, SR-80 and SR-125. John was prescient enough to recognise, at least three or four years back, that the high-end community was rediscovering headphones, for whatever reasons: apartment dwelling precluding the enjoyment of maximum SPLs; the (possibly coincidental) arrival of terrific headphone amplifiers from HeadRoom, Krell, EarMax and others; the simple realisation that headphones sound wonderful if you can get past the in-the-head anomalies. Indeed, there's probably no single type of component which delivers as much bang for the buck as headphones. But Grado's weapon isn't the £89 wonder. The real killer happens to cost a serious £695.
This, of course, is pocket change to your typical Stax headphone owner, who'd probably spend more than that just for an energiser. But the Grado is a dynamic headphone, and most of us tend to think '£50' or so when it's something powered by a headphone socket. Then again, readers who actually recall older headphone models will remember that the current
Grado RS-1 Reference Series headphone was preceded by equally expensive dynamics from the same family. And then there was that incredible wooden Sony a few years back...
I mention the Sony because the Grado RS-1's most distinctive features are the wooden ear cups. But unlike the Sony's veritable furniture, the wooden bits on the Grado look just like arboreal facsimiles of the company's non-organic models. But what wonders are worked by a
gorgeous, honey-coloured trace of Mother Nature! If you need to feel green about this, the amount of wood involved is so small that a mere sapling could provide a couple years' worth of production
Read more about the RS-1 headphones on Page 2.