If you’ve acquired a taste for Grado headphones, then you know they have a distinct and undeniably identifiable sound. It took years for Grado to grow on me, but finally, I get it. Now I am gonna review Grado SR325x vs Grado Hemp headphones. The brand’s headphones have their quirks and they may not work for every track. But when a song works on a Grado, it really works. So, now, in my search for my first pair, I’ve narrowed it down to two models: the SR325x and the Hemp. The SR325x is one of Grado’s most renowned models, priced over $150 lower than the limited edition Hemp model. Many folks online have been asking for a comparison between Grado SR325x and Grado Hemp headphones, so I decided to test them side by side. Let’s explore which sound signature is right for you and which headphone performs better.
Look and Feel (Grado SR325x vs Grado)
The Hemp is lighter, but the SR325x sits softer and more comfortably on the ear. While some complained about the Grado fit, both models were comfortable for me, and I actually enjoyed the gentle soft foam against my ear. However, if you’re sensitive to pressure, the SR325x might be a safer choice.
True to its name, the Hemp features hemp wood housing that is 20% harder than oak. It also incorporates maple to balance the sound and bring out its sonic properties. On the other hand, the SR325x is known for its brushed aluminum housing, which produces a different timbre compared to the Hemp. It utilizes Grado’s 4th Generation drivers specifically tuned for this model, with improvements in the magnetic circuit, voice coil, and diaphragm. Both headphones are equally efficient, and you won’t have any trouble powering them straight from your phone. But for this review, I paired both headphones with the Dragonfly Cobalt DAC/amp.
Grado SR325x vs Grado Hemp:
|18Hz – 24kHz
|13Hz – 28kHz
Both Grado SR325x and Grado Hemp headphones deliver an impressive soundstage, true to Grado’s style. The SR325x has a more resonant quality, making the soundstage feel slightly grander at times. Instruments also have more presence on the SR325x, and the overall presentation feels more dramatic. On the other hand, the Hemp provides more realistic imaging, adding subtle details to the instrument’s timbre and creating a more natural sense of distance from the center. So, in general, SR325x is perhaps less nuanced, but its harder edges give the soundscape a more vibrant feel. I enjoyed this area reviewing Grado SR325x vs Grado Hemp.
Both headphones have a similar bass presence throughout the bass frequency spectrum, but the Hemp offers a slightly more extended and solidified sub-bass. The bass on the Hemp is also more controlled and less resonant, with a dryer feel compared to the SR325x. In terms of transparency, both perform equally well. However, when listening to cellos, the SR325x felt comparatively more reference-like, while the Hemp delivered a softer and more emotive quality.
The low-mids are equally moderate on Grado SR325x vs Grado Hemp headphones, while the high-mids receive a bit more attention. The SR325x can feel a touch warmer (though both have warmth), likely due to its more relaxed bass. But both headphones have a similar balance overall. (There’s also a narrow dip somewhere in the mids or high-mids that tames certain snares, affecting both models.) The level of clean separation in the low mids is equally impressive in both. However, compared to the Hemp, the SR325x has a slightly more metallic flavor, with guitars shining and feeling more defined, while the Hemp presents a softer sound. The same is true for snares, with the Hemp offering a more muted resolve and the SR325x hitting sharper.
The highs feel airier on the Hemp, with vocals being breathier and seemingly floating higher. In contrast, the SR325x feels a bit heavier and somewhat less refined. Overall, the Hemp delivers a more emotive performance, especially with vocals and strings. But both Grado SR325x and Grado Hemp headphones have great extension in the highs without any uncomfortable peakiness.
Summary Review of Grado SR325x vs Grado Hemp :
At the end of the day, both of these models deliver a highly detailed sound, and both Grado SR325x and Grado Hemp have their own distinct qualities that will appeal to different people depending on taste. If you like a harder-hitting and slightly metallic profile, the SR325x delivers that quality with flying colors. But if you’re looking for something softer and more musical, it’s hard to be the Hemp. Finally, if we’re reducing this comparison down to pure skill, it’s undeniable that the Hemp delivers a somewhat more nuanced and more controlled performance.