Review: Grado GH2 Cocobolo (Japan limited edition) – Kookoo!

Disclaimer: I picked up this Grado GH2 at Fujiya Avic’s 2017 Spring headphone show from Grado’s Japan distributor, Knicom. I got it for like 50$ off the regular modest gouge of 650$ or so. It’s a Grado. Single driver. Wood. Sponge pads. Leather headband. Aesthetics straight from the early 90s. And it’s an awesome, historically connected headphone.

I find it strange that I’m the only Grado super fan and evangelist at Headfonia. Grado rock. Grado headphones look great in photos. Headfonia’s photo chops, beginning with Mike, and continuing with Berkhan, and myself, are defined by camera geeks that just happen to like music played back through great headphones. The thing about Grado is that they’re low key. Not the sort of low key-ness defined by inept or boring product launches with all the aplomb of a spoons concert for the hearing impaired ala Audio Technica, or low key, stolid, and traditionally German like Beyerdynamic. Rather, Grado build each headphone with an eye on and heart beating for their own history. Today’s Grado looks like yesterday’s. It’s got similar tech beneath its metal or wood cups.

Not sound

Grado are a conservative company. So conservative in fact that the primary names behind the brand are all Grados. That is: Joseph, John, and Jonathan.

Which is to say that the Grado GH2, one of Grado’s latest headphones looks and feels like most of the lineup until now. It fits the same pads and third-party headbands. It is rounded where other Grados are not. As such, it’s not the comfiest headphone. Interestingly, while it fits and wears like the RS1/2, it is more comfy than either. That is, it doesn’t hard-press the ears as much against the glasses. For me the RS1 was at most a one-hour headphone. I can wear a stock GH2 for up two hours with only mild discomfort. Three is stretching it. As I mentioned in my shout out, Beautiful Audio’s merino pads are super comfy, and affect sound the least. With them, and the matching headband in place, I can wear the Grado GH2 for four, five, six, even seven hours. I won’t. I don’t listen to music that often. But if I had to, Beautiful Audio it is.

Without Beautiful Audio’s headband, the GH2 rides my crown a bit hard. Not as hard as an Audeze, MyST, or PS1000/PS2000e, but hard enough that eventually I feel it. With it and the merino pads in place, the GH2 is as comfy as it gets. And so outfitted, the Grado GH2 remains drop-dead sexy.

Sound and more after the jump:

4/5 - (47 votes)

Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.


  • Reply July 16, 2018


    I am really thinking about buying the Beautiful Audio’s headband for my GH2s…
    Great review by the way!

    Thank you very much!

    • Reply July 17, 2018


      Enjoy, it’s great stuff.

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