Some listeners tend to raise the volume on headphones to improve detail in the highs and get more impact in the lows. However, jacking the jams can result in permanent damage to your hearing -- a terrible thing for a lifetime of headphone listening enjoyment.
But with a slightly tipped-up response both high and low, the Grado GS1000e is an ideal audiophile headphone for low volume listening. You'll get that famous Grado immediacy and transparency at safe listening levels.
It took around 300 years for scientific analysis to finally grasp the complexity of craftsmanship found in a Stradivarius violin. Of course, we think scientific research has done wonders delivering highly neutral and articulate audio reproduction. But science can only shoot for a technical goal. As soon as you ask scientists to give you an emotional or subjective result like 'bloom' or 'warmth', pure technologists will just stare at you with a glazed expression.
The family-run operation at Brooklyn's Grado Labs have spent decades traveling the high road of craftsmanship searching for a personal audio goal. Largely turning a blind eye to cold numbers, they've tweaked, twiddled and obsessively fine-tuned their line of hand-made headphones to produce a sound that suits a particular listening desire.
A quick look at our scientifically-measured frequency response graphs of the GS 1000e below and you'll note they have something resembling a 'U' shaped response with rises at both bass and treble. When we listen to these headphones at loud listening levels (+90dB), we find the tonal presentation can become a bit pudgy.
But as sophisticated headphone aficionados know well, listening for long periods of time at high volumes is a very risky thing to do for your hearing safety. All of us here at Headphone.com listen at fairly low levels when having extended sessions.
But we've also discovered low-level listening often lacks the intense engagement we always like to have with our music. The reason is simple: an understanding of the Fletcher-Munson Equal Loudness Contour Curve reveals that you need to considerably tip up the bass and the treble response to get the audio to sound 'flat' at lower volumes (remember those 'Loudness' buttons on old stereo receivers!)
Well, guess what - the Grado GS-1000e has a frequency response curve that looks remarkably similar to Fletcher-Munson specs, meaning its just about right for perfect low-level listening. In extended sessions, we found these headphones deliver low-volume listening satisfaction with no other equal in this regard.
Creamy and lush, the GS1000e brings a lot of fun back to the type of headphone listening we do every single day around here. They may not necessarily be the ultimate last word in reference cans for the recording tech or mastering engineer, but for the sheer fun of excellent quiet musical enjoyment, they just can't be beat.
We recommend the Grado GS1000e for all low-level long-term listening uses. It's even a whole lot of fun to listen to directly out of a smartphone or tablet without a headphone amp. Expect impressed looks bumpin' this big woody pony on a busy city street. Rock On!
The recent Grado GS-1000e update improves upon the headphone cord and overall construction of previous editions. It also uses a new wood species in the manufacturing with a more uniform coloration compared to older models' rather variable wood cosmetics.
The comfort is somewhat similar to other Grado wooden cans like the RS1 and RS2, but the GS1000e falls more into the 'behemoth' category in its overall sizing and styling - everything's really BIG! It sports big mahogany wood earcup shells, big foam earcups and the traditional - albeit slightly bigger/wider - leather-padded headband with individually adjustable earcup slides for fit adjustment.