So, what’s the big deal about Grado? Made in Brooklyn? Too bright? Overrated? Well, don’t be so sure. This Grado model is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my headphone reviewing career. Let’s find out what’s so special about these open-backs in our Grado RS2e Headphones Review.
Grado RS2e Headphones Review
IN the BOX – Grado RS2e Headphones Review
6.5mm Golden Adapter
FIT and DESIGN – Grado RS2e Headphones Review
The RS2e is the lightest headphone in its caliber. On my head, it feels like a feather. No tightness around the ears, no itchy leather. It’s gentle and comfy, like an afternoon nap with teddy.
In terms of aesthetics, classy retro meets no frills. But with respect to durability, you might have to be careful with the Grados. The minimalist design isn’t meant to be kicked around. And the cable is thick, but not replaceable. The earpads, however, are replaceable. Also, the ear cups swivel 350 degrees, and they move back and forth at an angle to adjust to the shape of your head.
SOUND – Grado RS2e Headphones Review
The RS2e is not a pop or hip-hop headphone. The lows aren’t huge. But there’s something very unique about the bass on the RS2e; it’s extremely melodic. I usually talk about the depth of the bass. Is it thumping? Does it resonate? But never have I sensed this much musicality in this range. The bass on the RS2e, though not deep, is quite forward. And it really sings, bringing out melody in bass guitars that I didn’t think was possible.
With respect to acoustic and electric guitars, I’ve never heard this much clarity in a headphone at this price range. I was pretty blown away. The midrange detail is uncanny. What it lacks in richness and fullness, it certainly makes up for in it’s transparency and separation. However, the problem is that the upper mids are emphasized, resulting in a little harshness, especially with respect to male vocals in big rock choruses. So, the RS2e is not an ideal rock and roll headphone. But folk music sounds phenomenal, and I would buy it just for this genre.
Wow. I was expecting the RS2e to have very piercing highs. Not the case. I put the highs through the usual Miles Davis test, and I made it through Flamenco Sketches with my ears intact. At the same time, there was no lost texture or breathiness. It also captures the higher frequencies of snares and cymbals incredibly well. This is, by far, the best jazz headphone I’ve ever tried at this price point. As for classical, I was equally impressed. Listening to the strings, I felt a perfect balance between smoothness and transparency. Again, another record breaker in my book; World’s Best Highs in the $400-$500 price range. (1 oz. of Purple Haze excluded.)
The imaging is superb. A truly multidimensional experience. The width and depth isn’t endless. But accuracy is impeccable.
SUMMARY – Grado RS2e Headphones Review
If you mainly listen to folk, jazz or classical music, look no further. You won’t find anything better at this price point. But rock and rollers might want to search for something with a slightly fuller and more balanced mid range. (Pop and hip-hop fans, I can’t believe you’re even reading this.) Man, this is a superb headphone.
You can find these bad boys for the best price at:
Audio 46: Grado RS2e Headphones
Amazon: Grado Reference Series RS2e
SPECIFICATIONS – Grado RS2e Headphones Review
Transducer Type: Dynamic
Operating Principle: Open Air
Frequency Response: 14 – 28,000 hz
SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB
Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
Driver Matched dB: .05 dB