"Be careful what you wish for" says the old proverb.
In this case, I am glad I did! When I reviewed the limited edition Grado Heritage Series Headphones in all maple last year, I commented on the lively sound of the maple wood and how cool it would be for Grado to experiment with different wood combinations in the future. Bingo: Grado Statement Series GS2000e Headphones!
Using the most advanced driver in their arsenal, their best wiring, and their loveliest leather, Grado blended their tried-and-true mahogany with maple, creating a wood cocktail for the headphone perfectionist. Weighing in at way less than the metal-jacketed Pro Series, the comfort-to-performance ratio is just perfect. Audeze LCD-Xs feel like barbells compared to the Grado Statement Series GS2000es, and yet offer no obvious or important sonic advantages over the new Grados to my ears. And at $1395 for the GS2000es, you can even save a few hundred bucks to put towards software.
The new Grados are quite efficient and are powered generously by my Astell&Kern 240. They gently and fully encapsulate the ear, and feel like comfort personified. The leather headband is elegant and lightweight as well. But all of this would add up to nothing if they did not perform well.
Well folks, these are killer cans!
Used with my top-reference E.A.R. HP4 Headamp in LoZ input with my E.A.R. Acute 3 CD Player as the source, the GS2000es outperformed every set of cans in the house in most ways...and I use 9 pairs of cans as references at present. The sample Grados are terminated with a quarter inch phone plug, and are also available with a balanced connector ($170 additional), which I did not try.
The Grados are the most comfortable full-range headphones I have. They are even more comfortable than my Stax Lambdas or Koss ESP950s. The Grado is an open-back design, and handily outperforms my closed back cans in house.
The Grados sound ruler flat from top to bottom whether playing Strauss or Ronstadt. They yield a giant sound stage and pinpoint imaging. Their dynamic slam is superb and undistorted. Their highs are smooth with perfect sparkle.
Like the Heritage maple Grado cans, they are alive-sounding with natural timbrel beauty, bathing the listener in a you-are-there performance. These open sounding headphones are so very entertaining, plus fun to audition and use for the long haul.
Compared to the more expensive top-of-the-line Grado Pro Series PS1000e, the Statement Series GS2000e are simultaneously more open and airy, but less perfectly neutral. The Pro Series is a perfect set of cans for the recording engineer who demands ultra-low coloration and supreme accuracy. The Statement Series GS2000e introduces a fun factor and sense of being there that few headphones provide. Add this to the high comfort factor, and the new Grado Statements are exceptional for sure.
The Grado Statement Series GS2000e Headphones bring a lifelike full-range dynamic approach to headphone design, which I now appreciate more than ever before. Much more comfortable than most heavier cans on the market, they will provide hours of enjoyment for the most critical listeners. The better the front end and headphone amp, the better they will perform. These are really special headphones and my new go-to cans, and that's with nearly a dozen sets on hand.
Grado Statement Series 2000e Headphones are most highly recommended by me—and they're made in the USA!
Grado Statement Series GS2000e Headphones
Retail: MSRP USD $1395, and additional $170 for balanced
Contact: John Chen