Bristol Sound and Vision 2012: Ears-on with Grado’s GS1000i and PS1000 Headphones

If you told us to pick you out a pair of headphones – money no object – we’d pick you out a pair of Grado GS1000i or PS1000, which after trying out today, we firmly believe are some of the best –if not the best – headphones on the planet.

Grado is a family-founded and run company that specializes in only the best audio technology, and the GS1000i and PS1000 models are the jewels in their crown – the crème-de-la-crème of audio technology, and with RRPs of £1,100 and £1795 respectively, you’d expect that.

Both models feature a very similar design, with the materials used differing from handcrafted mahogany with the GS1000i and a polished metal alloy in the PS1000. Both look the part, but as STUFF magazine pointed out in its review, the GS1000i model and its wooden design may make you look and feel like a WW2 radio operator – we prefer the PS1000’s silver-styled looks.

Looks aside, both pairs are astonishingly well built and both sound absolutely incredible. One of the first things you’ll notice when you plug them in to your Hi-Fi is how thick the cable is, which is reassuringly sturdy and well-made – streets ahead of the thin and flimsy cabling that is used in most sub-£100 headphones on the market.

Once we were plugged in, the cans went on and we prepared for what could be the best sound quality we’d ever heard, or a massive disappointment. Both pairs are extremely comfortable once on your head – this you’ll notice immediately. The ear cups are made of dense foam, which form a perfect enclosure around your ears, creating a “room” for each ear in effect. We preferred this much more to the shiny, plastic-covered ear cups on other headphones. You’ll also notice that the cups provide such a decent seal that they block out most external noise.

The GS1000i and PS1000 offer the same four key features – a vented diaphragm, wooden air chamber, copper voice wire and copper connecting cord. All of this, plus the design and engineering inside, makes them mind-blowing to listen to. The level of detail is something we’ve never heard before, and we were able to pick out delicate elements of a song that we’d never heard before.

Although we didn’t get as long as we’d like to sit and listen to both models, we picked up a downside that could be found in prolonged use. Despite the very comfy ear cups on both models, they feature a flat and unpadded headband. This wasn’t uncomfortable when we listened briefly, but it may become a small problem encountered in prolonged listening periods. The only other downside, of course, is the price.

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