Among various categories of appliances we buy and use it is only with audio equipment that we have a broad price range but no simple and comprehensible criteria to base the price on. Amplifiers, speakers, headphones, audio cards – all of this can cost you from a few to a few thousand and even tens of thousands dollars while the formal parameters such as frequency range, frequency response and distortions do not always indicate what the particular device is going to sound like and if you personally are going to enjoy it. Besides that, there are quite a lot of firms that use the customer’s lack of knowledge to their advantage and offer solutions that have a fantastically high sound quality only on paper but come at a high price.
There is only one way to deal with this situation: listen and compare. In this review, we are going to discuss two headphones models from the top sector of the mass market: Grado SR325i and Sennheiser HD 600. It is interesting to compare these models with inexpensive products (we took a Grado SR80 for that) and also with each other since they represent two different approaches to design. Grado Labs reassures you that the ascetic design will only emphasize the uncompromising sound quality whereas Sennheiser tries to combine high-quality sound, ergonomics and modern appearance in a single product. Let’s see if they succeeded.
Grado SR325i: Design and Ergonomics
Most of us are perfectly aware that the contents is more important than the form, yet we are so used to seeing both match each other that we regard suspiciously each product that breaks this rule.
We guess that after looking at the photos users who are not familiar with the Grado brand may wonder how this could cost as much as $300.
The SR325i headphones leave an odd impression. On one hand, this model has a simple, even primitive, design: a flat head-band, round foam-rubber ear-pads (not even trimmed with fabric). The height adjustment is implemented with simple steel rods that move up and down in the plastic casing. The association provoked by this design is that of a radio operator from the times of World War 2. But on the other hand, the quality of manufacturing cannot be unnoticed: the head-band is trimmed with natural leather (as opposed to the Grado SR80 with its plastic imitation). The casings are milled out of aluminum and anodized to a golden color. So, this design is only a stylization implemented on the modern level.