17th Oct 2007 | 23:00
A no-nonsense approach to headphones
Grado is a relatively small manufacturer that specialises in phono cartridges and headphones and makes a virtue of its no-nonsense approach. This extends to the aesthetics, which divides opinion amongst audiophiles.
On the other hand, the lack of glitz and glamour can only be good for the final retail price and presumably does no harm to the sound either, as there's less to rattle!
Rather unusually in today's market, this is a 'supra-aural' model, where the pads rest on the ears rather than round them - this approach won't be to everyone's taste. The pads are made of quite firm foam rubber, the headband is a little tight (though it can be reformed by a bit of judicious bending), and there's not much padding for the top of the head, so do try them for size for a while before buying.
As often happens with headphones, the balance can be a slight shock after loudspeakers, and in this case it does seem to bring things forward. It's almost a given that headphones display that tendency to some extent, but with the SR225 it seems extra noticeable.
It's not necessarily a drawback (with some recordings it's a definite advantage), but once again, one has to become acclimatised to it before the rest of the model's character becomes apparent.
Tonally, the SR225 is neutral with a well-extended bass. Detail is there, but requires a little concentration to be fully appreciated. Ironically, detail is actually better via the CD player's output than via a headphone amp - this model seems to like high-impedance outputs.