Grado Labs have been burning the midnight oil in Brooklyn since 1953 with their award-winning phono cartridges and headphones. The headphone side of the business started a lot later but the family-run business has sold more high-end headphones over the years than all of their recent competition combined. The brand new Grado GS3000x and GS1000x Statement Series Headphones certainly fall into the more expensive camp but nothing that comes out of their factory isn’t a piece of art.
There is a very recognizable Grado “house” sound with all of their products and the headphones have found favor with those of us who love rock, classical, and blues music. EIC Ian White’s review of the brand new SR80x makes it rather clear that Grado Labs knows how to build great sounding affordable headphones.
But can they build great sounding headphones that compete with the models at the top of the market?
The GS3000x ($1,995 USD) and GS1000x ($1,195 USD) feature Grado’s fourth generation “X” Series drivers which have the a lightest and stiffest diaphragm in Grado’s history and a brand new magnet structure that further helps to improve speed, detail retrieval, and the resolution of the drivers.
Sitting there all day winding and assembling is a very labor intensive task and they made the business decision to keep everything at home. Grado is not a flashy company; there are no fancy offices, press junkets, or bizarre products that make no sense financially. They invested from the beginning in the tooling and machinery and even make their own packaging.
The new generation has focused heavily on marketing and social media engagement and it has worked based on the demand for all of their products; Grado cartridges are usually backordered and the resurgence of vinyl has only made that situation worse over the past 5 years.
The GS3000x use a newly designed 52mm X driver housed in a metal chamber and wrapped in Cocobolo so it is both gorgeous on the outside and tuned for the best sound Grado has ever produced. The driver is tuned specifically to the materials used; Grado selected Cocobolo for the sonic qualities it offers which helps achieve the rich tone that the headphone delivers.
The metal liner further allows Grado to better tune and control the driver. The drivers are matched to a nearly unbelievable 0.05dB; the headphone has a frequency response of 4Hz-51kHz which is truly impressive as few headphones that can dig this deep at the bottom can fly into the stratosphere at the top. How much top end information it can actually deliver we will have to assess when we receive our review pair soon.
Some people consider the more affordable Grado headphones to be slightly tipped at the top end giving them a more energetic presentation, and there is some truth to that. Grado headphones are known for their punchy midrange and mid bass impact and we suspect that the new Statement models will offer greater resolution, better clarity, and a smoother sounding top end with greater extension.
The nominal impedance is 38 ohms with a sensitivity of 99.8 dB/mW which should mean the GS3000x is equally at home with a DAP, smart phone with a Dongle DAC, or desktop system.
These are not difficult headphones to drive; something that has always helped to broaden their appeal outside of the Head-Fi crowd.
If the $1,995 asking price is outside of your price range, the $1,195 GS1000x might be a better option.
The drivers in the Grado GS1000x are 50mm X series drivers which share similar construction to the 52mm series in a slightly smaller package; the decrease in size gives the GS1000x a slightly narrower frequency response of between 8Hz – 35kHz while retaining the same 99.8dB/mW sensitivity and 38 ohms impedance.
On the GS1000x, the driver is housed in hybrid housing manufactured from mahogany and Brazilian walnut. This hybrid gives the GS1000x the warmth and timbre that mahogany offers with the added strength imparted by the walnut.
Both models also come with an upgraded cable using 12 cores of annealed copper conductor to again improve the sound quality. An option for an additional balanced cable with XLR termination is also available for those with balanced amplifiers.
Both models will be available in the United States and Canada in September 2022; European and Asian customers will have to wait another month before local retailers will have any inventory. Due to the demand and manufacturing process, the Grado Statement Series Headphones will be available in limited quantities.
For more information: Statement Series