The Grado SR80i headphones are an update to Grado's SR80, a longtime favorite with audiophiles for excellent quality at a low price. The SR80is feature interior improvements, such as a new driver, better cable and tweaked mass distribution, but appear almost identical to their predecessors. Users and professional critics admit that the Grado headphones' style might not be cutting-edge, but few seem to mind. Concerns about comfort are equally minor, as the SR80is, though bulky, are comparatively light. The only accessory included is a mini-plug adapter. Reviewers suggest that those who like the Grado sound could also consider the cheaper SR60i headphones (*Est. $80) or the even-better-sounding SR125is (*Est. $150) . However, the former isn't as strong a performer when it comes to reproducing the bass frequencies, while the latter is a bit more expensive.
The Grado SR80i headphones are reviewed by British testers at Which? and What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, who give the SR80i top marks when pitted against a range of competing headphones. HeadRoom and HomeTheaterReview.com both give complimentary reviews. ConsumerReports.org tests the Grado SR80i as well. User reviews on Amazon.com are plentiful and overwhelmingly positive.
1. Which? magazine
Britain's Which? magazine tests 56 headphones in their latest roundup, with the Grado SR80i headphones coming out on top. Sound is described as "excellent overall" and "well-defined," though testers note a slight sense of pressure on the ears when wearing the SR80is.
Review: Headphones, Editors of Which?
2. What Hi-Fi?
British audiophile magazine What Hi-Fi? takes a brief look at the Grado SR80i headphones, giving them a maximum 5-star rating. They call the Grado SR80i's musical performance "sharply timed, awesomely detailed, musical, natural," but note that it leaks sound like mad and looks retro.
Review: Grado SR80i, Editors of What Hi-Fi?
ConsumerReports.org tests and ranks a variety of stereo and noise-canceling headphones, including the Grado SR80i. Ratings evaluate sound quality, sensitivity and, in the case of noise-canceling models, isolation. However, discussion is brief and you need a subscription to read the site's conclusions.
Review: Headphones, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
The editors at HeadRoom recommend using an amplifier with the Grado SR80i headphones, noting that it causes the sound to "snap into sharp focus." The headphones have "very good dynamics with quite punchy base response and clean-sounding mids and highs." Customer reviews are equally complimentary, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars. The earpad texture can be uncomfortable, the site notes, but pressure can be taken off the earlobes by reshaping the headband.
Review: Grado SR 80i, Editors of HeadRoom
Jerry Del Colliano awards the Grado SR80i headphones 4.5 out of 5 stars in performance, value and overall. They have "extremely good dynamic range and presence," he writes, concluding that "the SR80i delivers outstanding sound quality, not just for the price, but outstanding sound quality, period." He notes that the foam earpads may be uncomfortable to some listeners.
Review: Grado SR80i Dynamic Headphones Reviewed, Jerry Del Colliano, May 11, 2009
Grado's SR80i headphones get about 300 customer reviews at Amazon.com, and an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5. More than two-thirds award these Grado headphones the maximum score. Sound quality is praised across the board, though a few find quibbles with the SR80i's comfort and style.
Review: Grado Prestige Series SR80i Stereo Headphone, Contributors to Amazon.com