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Author Topic: Grado: Some Questions  (Read 1389 times)

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Offline BlindGuyEars

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Grado: Some Questions
« on: July 13, 2015, 03:05:00 PM »
Hi folks.

I have some questions for anyone who has tried older and newer Grados, since the E-models were introduced.

I've been a fan of Grado cans for years - trained my ears on some SR80's, and now have a pair of RS1-I's which I am thinking of upgrading, either to the new RS1E's or the top of the line PS1000E's.

Have any of you have compared the RS1's to the newer RS1E's? How did the new design alter the frequency response? 

I love the overall neutral sound and openness, and the bass extension is wonderful and not over-hyped.
My RS1's are great, except for two things:
1. a noticeable peak around 1.9K. and
2. Roll-off above 13 or 14K.

The first I can correct with some EQ, but the second is more problematic. 

I took the advice of some people and tried replacing the foams with those for the PS1000's.  This does allow me to hear the top end better, but introduces it's own peakiness in other areas.

As my username suggests, I am blind, so cannot check published freq response curves, if there are any on the Grado site.

Note: I'm mixing/mastering and feeding them directly from a Mytek Stereo 96 DAC - soon to be replaced with RME or Benchmark DAC2 hardware.
(yes, I do check my results on good monitors in an acoustically controlled room. but I'm doing more and more just on my Grado's.)

Comment: I wish they'd come up with a different material for their foam ear cups. These things disintegrate into black powder that goes everywhere! (and that's in a climate controlled environment, 65-75 degrees, humidity between 40-60%)

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Grado: Some Questions
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 05:00:37 PM »
Couple comments, first a disclaimer- I haven't heard a whole bunch of different Grados but haven't cared for the mid-range emphasis of those I have heard.  That could be related to the 1.9kHz peak you mention in your particular model.  I haven't heard the newer models.  Generally I prefer the less aggressively "up-front" Sennheiser "house-sound" which is smoother to my ear and easier to manipulate to subjectively flat, at least for me.

I made two foam removal mods with the Senn HD650 which are my critical reference phones, to open up the top so that they sound naturally-neutral and properly balanced to me both for normal listening and better critical-listening mix assessments.   One removed a small piece of damping foam in the driver assembly (not reversible).  The other replaced the foam screens in front of the driver with thin, black nylon stocking material (easily reversible).

You may be able to get close to what you want with careful EQ. If using software EQ, you might try a few different plugins to determine which allows you to dial in the mostly subjectively well balanced "air" up top, probably using a shelf-filter.

If you want to really get fancy with EQ, you can custom EQ them with an HRTF technique to balance them for a perceptually flat response for a signal oriented directly ahead.  The easier "slap-dash" way of doing this is to place a speaker with a flat or preferred timbre directly in front of you and run a pink noise source through it, an also route the pink noise through your EQ > headphone chain.  Go back and forth listening to the speaker and listening to the headphones, and EQ the headphones such that they sound as close to the response from the speaker as possible.  You'll need to mute the speaker output when switching to the headphones, and you should sit in the near-field range of the speaker to reduce the influence of the room.

The fancy, less subjective and more accurate way of doing this is to put binaural microphones in your ears and record both the response as heard from the from the speaker, and also the response heard with the speaker off and the headphones on, worn over the binarual microphones.  Take the resulting curve of the loudspeaker response, subtract the inverted response of the headphones from it, and apply that as the corrective EQ to the headphones.  That corrects for both your own HTRF and the response of the headphones, to the accuracy of the speaker.  If done well, the result can fully achieve a very natural "out of head" headphone listening experience.

I'm curious about your comment about replacing the Mytek Stereo 96 DAC.  I use the same DAC and am very happy with it.  I felt no need at all to replace it.
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Offline BlindGuyEars

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Re: Grado: Some Questions
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 09:26:32 PM »
Thanks Gutbucket for those observations and suggestions. :)

About the Mytek Stereo 96, I'm having two problems with it. It's had at least one owner before me, and being in Canada, the cost to ship to the US plus bench time/repair cost might be better put towards something new. Either that, or I'm just jonesing for the latest Benchmark DAC - apparently it's less clinical-sounding than the DAC1, and their guard against clipping/inter-sample peaks interests me.

I do love the Mytek when it's working properly.

This is getting off-topic but ... my two issues with it are:
1. very noticeable AC hum plus some hiss. and
2. Strangely, when I first power on and send it some audio, it skips. That's the best way I can describe it - bursts of sound every 3/4 of  a second. The timing is a guess - I haven't measured it. 

After a minute or so of this odd behavior, if I turn the volume of the material feeding the DAC down substantially, only the occasional higher peak makes it cut out for a fraction of a second.  Is there a digital equivalent of stronger level making the needle jump out of the groove so-to-speak?

Once this clears up entirely after a few minutes, I can feed it full strength signal and playback is fine. So, as long as I don't power the unit down, it keeps working. (not counting the background noise mentioned earlier)

so yeah, it needs some work.


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