Other than monitoring field-recording sessions, I haven't spent much time with headphones of late that is until the Grado SR 325's were made available for a home audition. Having some past experience with several Grado models at various price points, and always impressed with their favorable price/performance ratios, I was more than idly curious as to this reference model's performance at their retail of $295. This following the phenomenal breakthrough performance of the Grado SR60's introduced a few years past at $69. The Grado Company is famous among LP loving audiophiles and collectors for their cost effective phono cartridge's and for some years their headphones. Joe Grado, founder of the company in 1953, is himself a singer well known in the NYC opera circles. He is a micro-engineering genius as well. He patented the first moving coil cartridges among other designs and continues to release new products with Chief Engineer John Chaipis. Joe's nephew John Grado is now owner and responsible for all the newest designs making it a family affair based in Brooklyn, New York.
The SR 325's feature an open-air transducer design which does not completely close out the listener from the outside world. They enclose enough however to allow focusing on the music without undo distracting. A double plus as you can remain aware of your surroundings and voices addressed to you, yet enjoy a private listening session. The SR 325s technical specs quote advanced low mass polymer diaphragms, ultra pure long crystal (UHPLC) oxygen free copper voice coil and connecting conductors and high power neodymium magnets.
Their 96dB SPL sensitivity@ 1mV and 32 ohms impedance allows ample volume and an easy drive for phone jack output amps. Their overall presentation is involving, detailed, nonstrident with a light and airy flavor-vs-a darker character. This however with ample low bass extension when present in the material. This I found very appealing. The SR325s offer a broad (18Hz-24Hz) frequency response supporting dynamic material. No particular peakness or frequency bands over accentuated indeed a very smooth presentation. Representing a product from the ear and the mind of an experienced musician-Joe Grado. The ear pads are comfortable enough and the phones light enough to wear for long periods than past Grado models-a most welcome improvement. Physically the SR325s may appear more vintage in style in comparison to many '90's streamlined, lightweight mass-market designs, yet their '20's retro form is appealing.
The SR325's are robust headphones, yet weigh only 11oz. They should hold up well for the long haul, and don't sport those cheesy little plastic earpieces with a blob of foam to poke into your sensitive ears. To these ears, the SR325's are the real thing for serious music listening. If you love music of all types, desire intimate associations with the subject (including cassette books and binaural recordings) and room silence is required or appreciated by persons around you, I feel the Grado SR 325's are an excellent choice and well worth an audition.