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GS1000i HeadphonesVIEW THE  GS1000i

THE GOLD STANDARD: Very likely the best sounding headphones ever made - and they're priced accordingly
PC Magazine: GS1000
By Tim Gideon

The first thing you need to know about the Grado GS1000 is that it's a $1,000 investment. Sure, that's pretty steep, but these headphones are perhaps the best ever made. A single driver per ear covers a frequency range of 8 Hz to 35 kHz and operates in what almost seems like its own room. In fact, each headphone sits just off the ear, pushed away from the skull by foam, and pumps excellent sound from within the wooden chamber it's mounted in. The GS1000s, like other Grado models, also project some sound outwards: These are not for the office, and your fellow riders certainly won't appreciate it if you wear them on the train or bus. Interestingly, it is this external projection and the drivers' distance from the ear that create a unique soundspace for the listener. In this manner, the Grados overcome the greatest shortcoming headphones have—a lack of psychoacoustic space. The cabling is thick, and there is a 3.5mm adapter so that you can listen to your iPod.

Here's how my listening went. Grado claims that the response of the headphones is flat, and I tend to believe that, but I think the distance from the ear, the foam enclosure, and the wooden housing do something to enhance the bass a bit. Not only were these the best-sounding headphones I've ever tested, they were also the best-sounding headphones at low volumes—where I still experienced a strong sense of bass. And the Grados can certainly hold their own at high volumes.

At the moment, if you have $1,000 to burn and want the best available set of headphones, you have two choices. First is the Ultimate Ear UE-10 Pros, which are custom-molded, completely flat-response, in-ear canal earphones. They cost $900 and are very portable as well. In your second option, the Grado GS1000, the perceived response is less flat, which makes them a bit better for rock, rap, and pop music; but of course, they're not very portable. Either way, you'll be walking away with an amazing pair of headphones—one of life's truly great treats. And hey, if you're like most people—who can't afford such an indulgence or refuse to pay the price—swing by your local high-end audio store and check them out for fun. It's an amazing experience... and may prompt you to upgrade your basic earbuds in a slightly more affordable manner.

PC Magazine: GS1000