Grado has recently updated their prestige series with padded headbands and new cables. These small adjustments have led me reacquaint myself with their signature line of classic headphones. Today, we’ll be looking at two of my favorites: the SR225x ($225) and SR325x ($295). When looking at their similar names, builds, and relatively close price points, it can be confusing what the differences are. While the SR125x and SR225x are often compared, I wanted to also shed some light on how the 225 and 325 differ and relate.
Look and Feel
These both look fairly similar, their biggest difference being the silver casing over the speakers on the 325, as apposed to the black used on the 225. the 325 also has a slightly less plush, but arguably more stylish headband. Both share Grado’s sturdy, vintage look, with adjustable yolks and metal grills on the back. Both also come with a 3.5mm termination and a 1/4” adapter.
Both of these are open back, dynamic headphones. They also use the 4th generation of Grado’s x-series drivers, and are cushioned by the same foam ear pads.
SR225x: 20Hz – 22kHz / 32 Ohms
SR325x: 18Hz – 25kHz / 32 Ohms
Grado’s open back headphones have consistently wide soundstages, though the specific level of width and sound separation varies from model to model of course. The soundstages of the 225 and 325 definitely feel very close in width, but the 325 seems to slightly outdo the 225 at times in terms of its size and overall separation. Still, I found the respective stereo fields of both headphones were largely on the same page, creating a satisfying, holographic feel.
The low end of both the 225 and 325 are deep and attack-heavy. Both represent bass, kicks, and any other low end elements very well, boosting them enough to make a gratifying, cinematic feel. However, the cinematic feel is further conveyed by the 325 than it is by the 225. The 325 has slightly more sub range, with an overall fuller, wider-set bass response. For some listeners, the 325’s boosted bass may be just what they’re looking for, while the slightly more controlled bass on the 225 may feel more comfortable for others. There’s not a stark contrast between the low end responses of these, it’s a nuanced difference, but a difference nonetheless.
Both headphones have the signature midrange Grado prides itself on. On the 225 and 325, this midrange is a bit less forward in the high-mid area than it is on other models, like the SR80x, giving them a heightened sense of warmth. The high-mid seems slightly more pronounced on the 225 than it does the 325, but only by a couple decibels at most. The mid-range on these is not what I’d use to pick between them, as this may be where they were most similar. If you’ve ever listened to a Grado headphone, you’ll know what you’re getting into with the midrange on these. If you haven’t, expect colorful, detailed, organic sounding mids with a light bite.
The high end may be where the 225 and 325 part ways the most. The 325 has a noticeably brighter, shinier high-end than the 225. While once again, this difference is not intense, it is one of the first things I noticed when comparing them. Mostly in the highest audible frequencies (8kHz+) is where the 325 seems to get an extra boost that is not present on the 225, leading to a breathier, more airy sound. The differing high end between these two is, unsurprisingly, more present on brighter songs, so pop, electronic, hip-hop, etc. will all reveal it the most. More acoustic performances, like jazz, rock, or folk may not sound as obviously different in their highs between the 225 and 325.
The SR225x and SR325x are definitely close in their sound signature, feeling more like siblings than cousins. If you know that brightness and bass are areas where you have very particular preferences, the choice may be more obvious, but for those with less picky ears, price could be a bigger factor in deciding than sonic differences. To put it in the most general terms possible, both provide a captivating, reliable sound signature, but the 225 will be a bit warmer and tighter while the 325 will be a bit more sparkly and loose. You can purchase the SR225x and SR325x, along with the rest of Grado’s Prestige Collection, at Audio46.