Grado SR60e vs SR80e Headphone Comparison: The $20 Difference

Grado Labs is a unique headphone company based in Brooklyn that has their own style and technique when it comes to making their products. Two of the most popular models from the Prestige Series are the Grado SR60e and Grado SR80e headphones. They’re popular because they’re quite affordable for an open back headphone and have an attractive retro style. But with only $20 difference in price what makes the Grado SR80e cost just a little more than the SR60e. I’m about to investigate and find out.

Grado SR60e vs SR80e Comparison

Features and Specs Comparison Chart

The best way to get an idea of similarities and differences between these two headphones is to chart the specs and features. So that’s where we’ll start.

Grado SR60e Grado SR80e
Transducer Type Dynamic Dynamic
Operating Principle Open Air Open Air
Frequency Response 20Hz – 20kHz 20Hz – 20kHz
SPL1mW 99.8dB 99.8dB
Impedance 32dB 32dB
Driver Matched dB 1dB 1dB

As you can see by the specs, the Grado SR60e and the SR80e are nearly identical so far. They also share the same build materials, shape and overall design. Even according to Grado, both headphones have a new driver design, a new polymer to damp resonant distortion in the plastic housing and you get the same cable from plug to headphone. Even the ear-pads are the same.

So where’s the $20 difference between the Grado SR60e and SR80e? It must be in the actual sound signature of the headphones themselves. Let’s take a listen and A-B between the two and make some keen sonic observations.

Sound Signature

There’s only one way to solve this $20 mystery and it starts with a real rock’n’roll album… The White Stripes “Get Behind Me Satan”. When it comes down to audio mysteries, Meg and Jack White can rock their way to the bottom of anything. So to get to the truth about the $20 difference in Grado headphones I’ll listen to The White Stripes and hopefully be able to make some astute observations.

The White Stripes – “Get Behind Me Satan” On Spotify

From the first notes of “Blue Orchid” the tonal mystery already begins to unravel. The deep distorted guitar chords roll like vibrations of thunder on the Grado SR60e. The mids are still powerful and remain a part of the Grado sound signature. But it’s the bass, the low-end, that the Grado SR60e is best at.

Moving on to the Grado SR80e using the same track I find the bass to be a bit tailored and the mids are much clearer. All around it’s still a full sound but focuses on the mids where the guitars, vocals and percussion tend to live in the mix.

Going from track to track through the entire album I finally declare this sonic sound signature mystery is solved. The Grado SR60e focuses a little more on the bass… shaking and rolling around like thunder. And the Grado SR80e has a slightly dialed back bass and sings well through the entire mid-range.

The $20 Difference

So it turns out the $20 difference in price is very difficult to see but very easy to hear. The Grado SR60 and SR80e are nearly the same headphone with the exception of sound. The SR60e is a headphone with a well rounded bass that makes for fun, grungy rock and roll listening. And the SR80e is a headphone that simply chooses to be a little more flat and true to the mix bringing out the best of the mid-range.

In conclusion, the differences between the Grado SR60e and SR80e are subtle but in fact real. It’s all in the sound. And that my friends is the $20 difference.

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An audio engineer living in Brooklyn, NY, Steven spends his spare time enjoying the sounds of ethereal indie rock and creating electronic music.