I recently reviewed the Grado SR 325is headphones for Playback Magazine. In a nutshell, I thought the SR 325is was an exceptionally good headphone and a bargain of sorts. So, I was thrilled when Grado offered a chance to review the maximum supreme PS1000 headphone ($1695). Given what Grado does at the $300 price point, I was curious what they could deliver at 5X the price.
This is only a First Look at the PS1000, and as a result these comments come with the necessary caveats about limited listening time and the use of one set of source components (in this case the Esoteric DV-60 player and the Luxman PS 200 amp). These caveats need to be taken seriously though, because you can’t hear a component do something until you feed it a signal that triggers the phenomenon. Many people like to ignore this fact, but it just plain takes time and quite a bit of music to draw a complete picture.
What I can say in this early period is that the PS1000 doesn’t seem to be dramatically different from the SR 325is. By that I don't mean that they sound the same, but that there is a family resemblance. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise, since the PS 1000 superficially resembles a very beefed up version of the SR 325is. The PS 1000s use a single driver, but metal driver housings are much thicker and heavier than on Grado’s other headphones. The earpads are also significantly larger in diameter. I found the earpads to be more comfortable than other Grados I’ve tried, though the added weight of the PS1000s makes the thin padding of the headband a noticeable pressure point.
If you take my SR 325is description as a baseline, you find many of the same qualities on offer here. I said that the SR325is gives you excellent transparency but avoids the edgy or harsh sound that often comes with seemingly transparent headphones. That seems to be the case with the PS1000 as well. The PS1000 is very transparent, and you particularly notice the superb sense of instrumental separation they provide. Each instrument is playing clearly without the sound devolving into a muddle when multiple players start to dig in.