So Jonathan let’s get right to the heart of the matter with the new Grado E Series. What exactly prompted Grado to make a revision of the entire line into the e-series?

JGWe don’t come out with new headphones every 6 months, every year, etc. We don’t have a set revision timeframe. We found a way to make the sound better so we started expanding on that, and a few years later we had The e Series. We’d only come out with something new when we think it’s a worthy improvement and produces a sound we’re proud of.

Do you think Grado achieved the goals then with the new e series?

JGI think there are two main goals with the entire Third Generation of Grado. On the headphone side, the e Series, we set out to create a more precise, clean, and powerful sound and we’ve accomplished that. They’re just all around the best headphones we’ve ever made. On the company side, we really would like have more people know about the Grado story, the narrative behind the headphones. We have people who have been using Grado since the 70s contact us just finding out that their cartridge is handmade here in Brooklyn. That goal is achieved just yet but we’re on the right track.

John Grado Workshop

So for those not familiar what is the process Grado goes through in selecting the materials for a Grado headphone – especially the wood?

JGEverything has a tonal quality, and that’s what we look for. We test different bonding agents, types of polycarbonates, and even the height of the heigh rod can change the sound. The wood is tricky, but a lot fun too. The different types of woods have different tonal qualities, so we demoed all different woods until we were happy with a selection. With The e Series, we cured the wood in a new way and found the sound travelled through the grain differently. This produced a fuller sound using the wood’s natural tonal abilities.

So what exactly did you change in this production process to make sure you got the best set of headphones ever made by Grado to date?


JGWe went over every component and improved it. The wood is cured differently to take advantage of it’s natural tonal properties, the polycarbonate is engineered to absorb excess energy and reduce secondary impulses, for a clearer tone, we gave all the headphones (except the GS/PS1000e) a 3.5mm plug, we applied our most refined geometry to the drivers, and more. (full list: http://gradolabs.com/the-e-series)

I am curious Jonathan, why did you name it the e Series?

JGWith the last series having an i at the end of each headphone, we decided to keep that trend but flesh it out more. Thus the e Series was created. The ‘e’ doesn’t stand for any one word, but so far we’ve had enthralling, engaging, euphoric, energizing, and “everything sounds better”, sent in to us – and they’d all be acceptable definitions for the ‘e’!

In fact this engaging, euphoric and energizing set of headphones maybe already in your hands and you may not even know it. Grado are now stating that the process of producing the new e series actually started at the tail end of the i-series. We know that sometimes when you get something, the next day (sometimes literally) a new version comes out. Well change is scary sometimes and new can make the old seem, well old right?
So to avoid transition woes, Grado slowly shipped the e Series as the ‘i’ for the last 2-3 months. If you recently bought a Grado headphone and you can see a red colored driver then that means you have an e Series headphone already. Reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Golden Ticket except this time the wait for the gates to open is not so long.

Click on next page for to read our wider discussion with Jonathan on being a Grado and their fan base…

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27 Responses

  1. Adrastos34

    Really enjoyed this article. I am going to have to give the new “e” series a try. I have used the Grado RS2i as my daily at home cans for years now. I have spent a ton of time with them on ear (if I am on the computer they are on my head) and absolutely love them. Its funny you mentioned the photography nut thing as it was my passion growing up and is now my profession. I think it definitely has to do with the reasons Jonathan mentioned.

    Reply
    • headfonics

      Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the article. Glad your making money out of a hobby that I must profess to be a quiet fun thing for me but nothing on a pro level. I think Jonathan has a photography blog somewhere and he has a bit of talent in that respect. Hope you enjoy the new ‘e’ series!

      Reply
  2. donunus

    I am jealous Marcus! I would have had a million questions too if I were there. Although I am currently a Sennheiser type guy so far as headphones are concerned, Grados have always had a special place in my heart. My old sr60s and sr80s during the 90s were more enjoyable to me than Sennheiser hd580s and Koss ESP 950 electrostats back then. Now these E series cans have got me interested again Grrrr ado :D

    Reply
    • headfonics

      I know. Dang I have been thinking of the ps500 e a lot again :(

      Reply
      • donunus

        yah that and the rs2e is really calling out for me :D I dont like it when something out of my 200 dollar rule calls out hehehe. The B&W P7s have been bothering me as well so it is starting to become a sickness again.

    • skogber

      All Grados are better sounding than 95% of Sennheisers. I’ve tried several from both on many amps and most Sennheisers are not even close.

      Reply
  3. enu

    Grado, my favorite brand in Headphones. Seriously, when does Jonathan plan on making them more comfortable ? The age of surface modeling and 3-printers is here. Plastic mold injection via die is gone. I really really like grado’s for about 20 minutes then I have to take rest.

    Reply
    • ohm image

      I agree about their headphones. You really sometimes have to work it. But their earphones… dear me, more comfort than a grado earphone I can’t imagine.

      Reply
    • headfonics

      The way they make them can be almost as important as the end product itself. For some that old fashioned hand made process is endearing and to others it is old hat.

      Reply
  4. Les

    It is assumed the vulnerable plastic pins are still used for the driver/head band interface. It would have been nice to see a flanged female insert in the driver body and a threaded pin on the head band, this given a shoulder to allow head band movement. The present plastic pins either snap or work loose causing the driver to fall from the head band. To me this is the only weak point in the Grado design and I have been told that spare plastic pins are unobtainable. :-(

    Reply
    • headfonics

      When I spoke to the SG distributor he mentioned that he has no issues taking in Grado cans that have issues and fixing them and if possible keeping the charges really low or none at all. Might not help if you are outside Singapore though.

      Reply
  5. Josá Vitorino

    As a long time Grado user I find the adoption of a 3.5mm plug a mistake in hifi terms and more garbage in the signal path for the sake of fashion. It should be standard only in the lower range. Any respectable headphone amp, like Grado’ s own, needs a larger plug.

    Reply
    • headfonics

      I believe they kept the quarter jack for the professional series.

      Reply
  6. dalethorn

    I assume some of those paintings you see in that room are by Angelo Grado. Now, after owning Grado headphones, I wouldn’t mind having a genuine Angelo Grado painting. It’s all good….

    Reply
    • headfonics

      I would says that is indeed correct and they are Angelo’s paintings. A talented family.

      Reply
      • johnvictornunez

        It’s great to know that Grado is continuously holding on to their legacy. I distinctly remember the feeling of owning my first open back headphones in the form of the SR80, and until now, I still am a fan of their craft.

      • headfonics

        The sr80 and the Aiaiai Tracks are the only sub $100 headphones I am tempted to go back to just for that initial wow feeling.

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