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World Premiere Review of Grado Statement GS 3000e Headphones

12-20-2018 | By Robert H. Levi | Issue 101

Grado Statement GS 3000e Headphones

I thought the GS 2000e was brilliant, being a mahogany/maple sandwich and built with large sophisticated point source driver. The Statement series is Grado Labs' top very approachable headphone series, primarily for the music lover, and secondarily for the music producer. Lighter in weight than the PS series, they are gently warmer and more fun to just plug in and hear it all as a performance versus a science project. Of course, the wood has a lot to do with this and the discovery of Cocobolo wood has changed everything.

Grado Statement GS 3000e Headphones

Image courtesy of Grado Labs

Cocobolo wood is gorgeous and rare. It is so very hard it does not float. Used by Grado in their state-of-the-art Aeon and Epoch Phono Cartridges, this is the first time Cocobolo has appeared in headphones. Lighter than metal though just as hard and tough, it tames resonances and enhances purity-reducing distortion. Job well done I say! They are one of the lightest, best-performing cans in my 16 cans inventory. They keep up sonically with the lightweight metal A&K Beyer T1, with the 3000e sounding more realistic, a bit larger in scope, and more comfy on the head. The GS3000e is circumaural, and easy as pie to drive at 32 ohms. Terminated in a 6.5mm plug, it is available with a balanced connector for an up-charge of $170. They come with a very nice extension cord and a 3.5mm adapter. I recommend 100 hours of run-in on a tuner before critical listening. That is a bit more than typical for Grado.

The beautiful leather headband is easy to adjust and the giant ear cups fit over even the biggest ears! Nice! This is Grado's most sophisticated wiring harness ever and is hard wired to the drivers. 

Whether listening to music on my A&K ultima 1000 DAP or the new Manley ABSOLUTE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER, the GS3000e performed exquisitely. There was just more definition and precision than the GS2000e; not tons, but noticeable. I was aware of tighter, more detailed bass from the GS3000e as well. 

Compared to the Grado PS2000e, the GS3000e is lighter and more nimble sounding. The Pro Series lets you x-ray the music and arrange your microphones just so. The GS series is for the listener who wants a coherent, more holistic approach to the performance.

I enjoy both and do not mind the weight gain of the metal/wood PS2000e, though you probably will. The GS3000e is just what you have been waiting for, an under-$2000 set of gorgeous lightweight cans that just have it all and are efficient, too. They are open back, so one must listen to them in quiet spaces.

Competitive in every way with the Audeze LCD-X, the GS3000e is quicker and more coherent. The Grado is much lighter and more comfortable. The Audeze has a bigger soundstage and a slightly more natural tonality. The Grado offers better imaging and deeper bass and generally sound more neutral. The Grado is easier to drive, which accounts for the neutrality. It is difficult to make the GS3000e sound less than good with all of my head-amps. It is easy to screw up the sound of the LCD-X. The Audeze needs an upgraded headphone cable to perform its best. The Grado GS3000e is ready to go.

The ABSOLUTE from Manley made the Grado GS3000e rock! Set to low impedance, Single-Ended mode, feedback control at 3 o'clock, equalizer out of circuit, and balance control at 12 o'clock, I listened to reference phono and SACDs. I was in heaven. How exciting! With all tubes, the Grados were intensely real and exceptionally detailed. The tubes did not stop the Grado bass from going to the center of the earth. The GS3000e remained essentially neutral, testifying to the excellence of the ABSOLUTE's design goals.


  • Transducer Type: Dynamic 
  • Operating Principle: Open Air 
  • Frequency Response: 4 - 51,000Hz 
  • SPL 1mW: 99.8dB 
  • Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Driver Matched dB: .05dB

Included Accessories

Headphones, Warranty, Grado story-sheet, 3.5mm mini adapter, extension cable. A 4-pin XLR balance cable option is available.

From Grado:

"Being the first Statement Series headphone to use Cocobolo, we carefully tuned our 50mm signature drivers to not only take advantage of the larger soundstage, but to also embrace the deep and impactful musical character of this unique wood. Cocobolo continues to be one of the family's favorite woods to work with."


I would like to see more exciting and useful packaging at this price level. Some kind of stiff sided case for portability should be included. Also, Chesky is producing excellent binaural CDs right now. One disk should be included, maybe a sampler or jazz disk, to enjoy with the GS3000e. I bet David Chesky would be VERY cooperative about this. 


At this price point, the Grado Statement GS 3000e Headphones hit the spot! Extremely detailed, natural and neutral sounding, superb bass, and efficient, the GS 3000e Headphones have achieved the goals of the every-man audiophile headphone listener. Beautiful and easy to use and adjust, their value is strong even at their $1795 cost. They are designed to be comfortable during long listening sessions, and I second that motion. Plus, plug them into about anything and get full-bodied music and vocals. The GS3000e screams quality and is built that way in Brooklyn, NY. As the top Statement Series offering for seasoned audiophile headphone lovers, you cannot go wrong with these beauties.

The Grado Statement GS 3000e Headphones receive my highest buy recommendation.

Statement GS 3000e Headphones

Retail: $1795

Grado Labs

Contact:  John Chen 

[email protected]


The Official Grado Store:  https://www.4ourears.net/gs3000e_p/4e-gs3000e.htm?fromgrado=yes

All photographs by Bob Levi unless otherwise noted.