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GRADO SR80E Headphones Review


Grado SR80E
Headphone type:Driver size:Frequency response:Sensitivity:Impedance:
Open air dynamic 40 mm20 to 20 000 Hz99.8 dB32 ohms 

For many reasons, Grado Labs is a really intriguing headphone manufacturer. They operate as a family-owned company in Brooklyn, New York. Their goods are made by hand, and they hardly ever invest in advertising. When you first open the box containing your new Grado SR80E headphones, you’ll notice that the packaging is quite plain. There are no manuals, specifications documents, or brochures. Only the headphones, a 1/4 connected adapter, and a thank you note from the Grado family are included.

Is it true that Grado Labs has reduced the price of their products, as the first thought that comes to mind? We are happy to inform you that there is a very good reason why this has been done. Grado Labs has solely focused on the SR80E headphones, disregarding the packaging. These elements combine to produce a pair of open-back headphones that are not only inexpensive but also provide excellent sound quality for the money.


Since the Grado SR80E headphones have an open-back design, they behave, fit, and sound very differently from conventional closed-back headphones. Air can flow from the speaker through the ear cup of open-back headphones.

It produces a sound that is more realistic and barely changes from the original audio. Of course, open-back headphones have drawbacks, the main ones being bass presence, leakage, and a lack of sound isolation. But we’ll talk more about that when we talk about the sound performance. All you need to know about the construction and styling is that the headphones don’t completely encircle your ears and that their drivers are visible.

The Grado SR80E’s design as a whole is really special. Given that it belongs to the Prestige Series, which has an ’80s vibe, it is heavily retro-inspired. If you’ve seen the Grado SR60E before, they look almost identical to that set of headphones. The all-black color scheme of the headphones is nice and subtle, but appealing enough to draw admiring glances from onlookers.

Grado SR80E Full

In terms of construction quality, the ear cups are medium size and have foam ear pads. For the first few days, they actually have a really strong factory-industrial odor, but this will eventually go away. Although leather earpads are always nice, the Grado foam pads are much larger and thicker than conventional, less expensive alternatives.

Long listening sessions benefit from foam pads’ improved breathability, and Grado has assured us that these pads are also replaceable if you tear them. Moving on, the SR80E has a faux-leather headband that is attached to metal prongs. These metal prongs extend from the headphones and are easily able to conform to your head for a secure fit. Along with the retro-inspired design, Grado has also given the SR80E a nice wire grill finish.

It should be noted that most of the components are made of plastic, and the parts that require metal are made of metal. These headphones should be treated with care, though; they are not a pair that can withstand repeated drops to the ground. These are definitely not what you’re looking for if you intend to throw them in your bag or if you’re a little rough with your headphones. Despite its lack of durability, the SR80E offers a secure fit to the head, lightweight comfort, and adequate ventilation to keep you comfortable throughout hours of listening.


The Grado SR80E offers exceptional sound quality for a device that costs less than $200. The headphones have a 32-ohm impedance. This implies that you can connect them to any computer or smartphone for an enjoyable experience. However, it is advised that you use a specialized headphone amp to power them for the best performance. Aside from the facts and figures, how do these headphones actually sound? We’ll respond to that by examining the lows, midpoints, high points, and overall quality.

When listening to the lows, many users have differing opinions. Be aware that many open-back headphones, including the SR80E, have trouble with soundtracks with a lot of bass. The bass is unquestionably present and is not in any way distorted; it simply lacks the “bass boost” you’ll probably find in closed-back headphones. In other words, if EDM is your favorite musical style, you might be disappointed with the SR80E.

If you enjoy listening to a variety of music, including classical, pop, jazz, rock, and blues, you’ll be pleased to learn that the Grado SR80E offers a wonderful experience. The mid-range has a wide range, and we venture to say that the upper mids are on par in quality with closed-back headphones.

The highs sounded great, and the treble was superb. The clarity of the high-pitched instruments and aggressive guitar lines will astound you. If the music is played too loud, the foam pads do contribute to a rather raw sound, but this is easily fixed by adjusting the volume. The Grado SR80E simply performs well in all musical genres; there are no grainy or muffled sounds, to put it simply.

Grado SR80E Side

Sound Leakage

The benefit of open-back headphones is that they produce music with a much more natural sound. As a result of their open-back design, music can radiate out from the headphones rather than being contained and encircling your ears. The ability to hear ambient noise nearby is also advantageous if you want to be aware of your surroundings.

However, there is a cost to this, and it is sound isolation and leakage. If you play your music loudly on the Grado SR80E, people nearby will be able to hear it. Additionally, these headphones won’t be able to block out outside noises if you’re in a noisy environment. Artists considering using these headphones in the studio should exercise caution as well because the sound coming from the SR80E could be picked up by your microphone.

Since the Grado SR80E has a 1/4 adapter for connectivity, almost any device can be used with it. The cable is about 7 feet long and has a solid feel to it. Unfortunately, each ear cup of the headphones is wired on both sides, and they are not detachable. The question of “how long it will last if you accidentally get it hooked on something” arises because the cable Y-splitter also has some pinching to it.

According to the results of the sound leakage and isolation tests, the majority of users are likely to use these as a set of headphones for their home or place of employment. So long as you take precautions and take care of them, they ought to last you for a while.


These headphones won’t work for you if you’re looking for a set to take the morning bus to work with. The open-back design and lack of sound isolation will only cause death glares when people are close by. The SR80E will let you down if you want to use the headphones for bass-focused music or for physical activities.

The opposite is true, though, if you enjoy all genres of music and have a playlist full of them. If the open-back natural sound is what you’re after, the Grado SR80E will be perfect for you. Value-wise, the mids, and highs are simply outstanding. The SR80E is currently the best-sounding open-back pair of headphones under $200, so if we had to make a deal, that would be our pick.

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