Grado PS1000 Headphones (Playback 25)

Grado Laboratories PS1000
Grado PS1000 Headphones (Playback 25)

Having recently reviewed the Grado SR 325is for Playback, which I thought were exceptionally good headphones, I was thrilled when Grado offered a chance to review their maximum supreme PS1000 headphone ($1695). Given what Grado does at the $300 price point, I was curious in this review to see what they could deliver at 5X the price.

Like other Grados, the PS1000 is an open back headphone. That clearly makes them less suitable for use on airplanes or in an office. Some listeners, however, insist that open-back headphones are consistently more natural sounding.

Technically, the PS1000 seems relatively simple and straightforward, but many an unassuming audio product has proven to be spectacularly accurate. Grado has paid much attention to the driver housings, which consist of an inner mahogany section and an outer frame of a very hard metal alloy. Actually to call it a frame is a misnomer, because this hunk of metal resembles a puck more than anything. Grado also says they worked long and hard to get the air chamber behind the drivers properly shaped to minimize transient distortions. That is a claim we’ll return to. Finally, the engineers on the PS1000 project utilized new, even more pure, copper in the drivers and the supplied cables.

We have here a seemingly simple headphone from a value-oriented maker, but at a premium, high-end price. Can it compete with top-tier offerings from Sennheiser, Ultrasone, or even from Grado themselves? Let's see what this test revealed.

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