Leave it to Grado Labs to steal some of Apple’s thunder on a Monday morning. With so much attention being paid to Apple Music’s new lossless streaming tier, the Brooklyn-based headphone and phono cartridge manufacturer decided to announce the new Grado Prestige X headphone lineup at the same time. We’re huge fans of their headphones and phono cartridges and the Prestige headphones in particular.
My first pair of audiophile-quality headphones were the Grado Prestige SR-60s and I schlepped them around the globe for almost 5 years. They vanished during the Second Intifada in Israel when I had to evacuate a bus in the Negev out of fear that a terrorist was trying to board a bus in the area. My laptop bag was unattended for hours and when I finally got it back — the headphones were gone. I hope whomever took them enjoyed them; I had another pair in my suitcase.
This new generation of the Grado Prestige X Series is a model for model replacement; comprising the SR60x (£109.95, $99), SR80x (£129.95, $125), SR125x (£189.95, $175), SR225x (£249.95, $225) and SR325x (£329.95, $295). The Prestige remains the company’s entry-level range which falls below its Reference Series headphones.
The enhanced X Series driver design encompasses a new magnetic circuit that’s been revised for improved efficiency in conjunction with a newly designed voice coil and diaphragm to further reduce distortion and enhance harmonic integrity. As a result the new Prestige X Series is easier to drive across a variety of devices and deliver the best audio performance possible.
One of my complaints about the Prestige Series was that the cable would kink a lot and I constantly had to untangle it. The new Grado Prestige X headphones utilize a new cable design offering more durability and flexibility. Nylon-braided sheathing that prevents kinking and twisting.
Another issue with the original SR-60 was the headband. Try wearing those in the hot Negev for a few weeks. Brutal. It looks like Grado has redesigned a new headband to make the new headphones more comfortable for longer listening sessions.
The Prestige X Series headband redesign improves comfort, which reduces listening fatigue. The padded headbands for SR60x, SR80x, SR125x, and SR225x have a leather aesthetic, but are vegan-friendly man-made material.
Grado have also upgraded the headphone cables for the new Prestige X models. The 8-conductor cables in the SR225x feature a super annealed copper wire – 99.9999% pure copper – to deliver improved purity of the audio signal. All Prestige X cables terminate in a 1/8 inch mini-plug with an included 1/4 inch adaptor.
For more information: Grado Labs Prestige X Headphones