The Grado GH4 and the Grado PS500e are separated by 45 bucks in price. But the wood design of the special edition GH4, is quite different from that of the mahogany-aluminum hybrid, the PS500. So, do your ears prefer wood or metal? Let’s find out in this Grado GH4 vs Grado PS500e Headphones Review.
Grado GH4 vs Grado PS500e Headphones Review
I love Grado in terms of comfort. In fact, I would rather sleep with a Grado headphone than my blankie. Though both headphones are light, the GH4 weighs the least. It’s therefore, a slightly more agreeable fit than the bottom-heavy PS500e. The GH4 is also a bit roomier around the ear.
The GH4 is made out of, isn’t it fine, Norwegian pine. But the PS500e is a hybrid design, incorporating a mahogany core with aluminum housing. As a result, you should expect a firmer sound from the PS500e, while the GH4 should produce a warmer, more textured feel.
The PS500e also has a slightly wider frequency response than the GH4.
The GH4’s nuanced expressiveness vs the PS500e’s precision and separation.
Like all Grado cans, neither headphones display a super thumping bass, though you will get a little punch from the PS500e. It’s a slightly subbier, more forceful feel, and it would be the preferable headphone for pop and hip-hop. The bass on the GH4 is more relaxed and reminiscent of Grado’s RS2e, perhaps offering a more natural feel. Listening to rock, I also preferred the comparatively rich flavor of the lows in the PS500e.
Both headphones offer a pretty even midrange, with a slight emphasis in the upper mids. Listening to acoustic guitars, you start to feel the difference in density between the two headphones. The PS500e sounds like it’s being played with a harder guitar pick, while GH4 has a little less edge and more romance. Perhaps for this reason, the PS500e feels a bit more separated and precise. For acoustic instruments, I preferred the GH4’s more aesthetic handling of notes. But if you prioritize a cleaner, more pinpoint sound, go for the PS500e.
With respect to strings, I heard more texture and nuance from the GH4, while the PS500e was on the smoother side. Therefore, the GH4 would be the preferable headphone for classical music. The same was true for brass instruments, with the PS500e conveying less subtle and more defined notes than the RS2e. But the PS500e is a brighter headphone. So, listening to pop, the PS500e produced a snappier feel; percussion instruments sounded crystal-like compared to the RS2e.
Grado always provides a great 3-dimensional soundstage. But the GH4 feels a bit grander than the PS500e. On the other hand, the more defined notes on the PS500e often gave me the impression of greater accuracy in terms of instrument placement.
For clean and snappy precision, go for the PS500e. But those who prefer a more emotive and textured representation of music should go for the GH4.
You can find these cans for the best price at:
Audio 46: Grado GH4 Open-Back Headphones
Audio 46: Grado PS500e Open-Back Headphones
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|Grado GH4||Grado PS500e|
|Operating Principle||Open Air||Open Air|
|Frequency Response||18 – 24,000 hz||14 – 29,000 hz|
|Sensitivity||99.8 dB||99.8 dB|
|Impedance||32 Ohms||32 Ohms|