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Mini-Review: Grado Limited Edition GH1 Heritage Headphones

08-02-2015 | By Robert H. Levi | Issue 80


The Grado GH1 Headphones...the sound of Brooklyn-born Maple!

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and becomes not furniture, but headphones for music lovers around the world. This limited edition headphone is Grado's first time using American maple, a hard and musical sounding wood, for its new limited Heritage Series. This celebrates three generations of producing headphones, cartridges and more. All of the wood from this single maple tree has been utilized and the GH1s are on their way to dealers worldwide. Once sold, there will be no more!

The GH1s resemble their headphone brethren, with an impedance of 32 ohms and a super-extended frequency response. I ran them for 50 hours before critical listening in a system including the Astell&Kern AK240, E.A.R. HP4, E.A.R. Acute 3 CD player, and Kubala-Sosna Emotion and Elation! interconnects. Their construction is very solid, with a reinforced headband covered in real leather padding. Their non-detachable cables are 6 feet long and are the same wires as used in their top Professional Series. Large moving coil drivers are included.


Members of Grado with the Brooklyn Maple tree that was used to produce the Grado GH1 Headphones

Very efficient, they worked well in every device I tried. Their comfort level is similar to their Reference Series of headphones. They feel like my venerable RS1s on my head.

The GH1’s are open-air cans, and provide moderate isolation. The light colored maple wood is all natural finish and looks unique and very fine.

The Sound

I have four pairs of Grado cans in house. The GH1s do not bear much of a family resemblance. All of my Grado Headphones have a very even sound from top to bottom, giving every model a controlled and professional sound. They sound like a recording engineer or a music lover would be equally enthralled with their neutrality and definition. 

The GH1s are different:  They appear to be for music aficionados only. Forget tight frequency response and control. The GH1s have gigantic bloom, and outstanding dynamic range. The fun factor of the GH1s is off the chart. 

The bass is bold and powerful. You can feel the bottom end drop below 20 Hertz in your bones. The excitement expands from there. Their mid-band is super detailed and extra open. There’s more air and more impact result. The high-band is the bomb. They are outstanding with both extension and detail. Both smooth and powerful, music takes on a life in and around your head. 

Maybe this is what maple sounds like. Maybe Grado has employed some tricks not reported. Either way, these are definitely not your father's Grados. They are fun and fantastic, with few limitations. Put these in your DAP and double your pleasure, double your fun.

I really love the GH1s. I find myself grabbing them first, or soon after my PS1000e's. I enjoy the open freedom of the sound. They just rock like crazy. Plugged into the fantastic Astell&Kern AK240, they are powerful and fantastic. If the wood type is the key to the sound here, Grado should explore other woods, and see what’s possible. There are lots of sustainable wood flavors and types to choose from. 


The Grado Limited Edition GH1 Heritage Headphones are made of a unique maple wood grown in Brooklyn. They are a sonic tour de force, made for fun and glorious listening by music lovers. Big dynamics, tons of bloom, lots of definition, and super deep bass are its trademarks. If they are at your favorite Grado dealer, get them now, for there will be no more made after this limited production run is done. The Brooklyn-born tree has been consumed by a Brooklyn born company of great distinction.

Oh yes, enjoy them to the max!

Highly recommended.

Grado GH1 Headphones 

Price:  MSRP $650


Contact: John Chen, jc@gradolabs.com

(Photographs courtesy of Grado.)