Review: The Grado PS1000E – Bling

The PS1000e weighs 1.25 lbs (567 gm) not including the double-entry non-detachable cable, which is terminated with a 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) plug. My headphone came with a 6.35 to 3.5 mm adapter, and a long (~12 ft) heavy-duty extension cable. My average-size head fits perfectly with the gimbals set just 1/4 inch from the minimum size. The maximum setting is 3/4 inch larger on each side from where my head fits, so the total range of adjustment is one inch on each side. The leather-clad headband padding is minimal, so users who are very sensitive to pressure on top of their heads may want to wrap some additional padding there. The 32-ohm impedance suggests a high sensitivity, and the PS1000e is sensitive enough to play loudly with even my lower-volume music tracks, on iPods, iPhones, and similar devices.

Specs

Transducer Type:            Dynamic
Operating Principle:       Open Air
Frequency Response:   5 – 50,000 hz
SPL 1mW:                           99.8 dB
Normal Impedance:       32 ohms
Driver Matched dB:        .05 dB

Included Accessories: Headphones, warranty, Grado story-sheet, 3.5mm mini adapter, extension cable.

Sound impressions

The PS1000e sounds a little bright to me, with a reduced mid-to-lower bass that adds to the sensation of brightness. The main areas of emphasis are around 2-3 khz and 7 khz, but experienced users of the SR60 through SR325 will feel right at home with this sound. There is some emphasis in the lower midrange around 200 hz, but the steep rolloff below there means that the mid-to-lower bass impact will feel pretty light. Most Headfonia reviewers mention layering of the bass sound, which is more-or-less the opposite of a “one-note” bass, but to make such a judgement requires a decent amount of bass to start with. The PS1000e bass is shy enough that I get a sense of greater bass detail compared to certain other headphones, and that’s because the bass has less tendency for boominess or muddy sound, simply because it’s recessed.

Grado PS1000e 8

The PS1000e’s treble should be comparable to headphones like the Beyerdynamic T90 or T1, but somewhere in-between in my opinion in the sense that the T1 is less tonally accurate, and the T90 slightly more accurate. Noting the music examples listed below, the higher midrange is good in not having a problem with nasality (Boz Scaggs), but less good in the lower midrange (Porcupine Tree). My only headphone amps are small portables such as the various DragonFly DACs, the Portaphile Micro, Decware Zen Head, Oppo HA-2, several FiiOs, and the Lehmann Traveler. I’ve borrowed a few tube amps here and there, but I don’t feel I need them most of the time, since I usually avoid the brighter headphones. In the case of the PS1000e, a tube amp with a strong AC power supply might be a good bet, since tube amps often provide a more ‘liquid’ sound to the brighter headphones, i.e. less harshness and/or ‘grainy’ sound, and more weight on the low end.

Music exemples

The following music examples illustrate certain strengths and weaknesses that I’ve found with the PS1000e. In most cases these impressions aren’t absolute – they’re relative to where the PS1000e’s sound fits into the spectrum of well-known headphones, according to each user’s experiences.

Antonin Dvorak (Alsop-Baltimore Symphony): At approximately 0:40 of Movement No.2 begins a counterpoint between 2 instruments – one followed by the other – a woodwind and a horn, but not necessarily in that order. Resolved clearly.

Ben Goldberg – Root and Branch (Jazz): The horns and clarinet have a rich tone, the bass is detailed but light, and the percussion is crisp.

Boz Scaggs – Lowdown (1976): Great test for nasality in the midrange. Test passed OK.

Grado ps1000e 2

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (Pop/Rock): A high treble energy recording. Crispy, but otherwise detailed and fairly smooth.

Chromatics – I’m On Fire (Synth-Pop, female lead): Realistic tambourine sound. Some headphones don’t play this accurately.

Cranes – Adoration (Goth-Rock): Opens with some realistic piano notes, and the percussion and voice work to create an enchanting atmospheric effect.

David Hazeltine – Fur Elise (Jazz): Wire-brush-on-cymbal harmonics are very extended and detailed.

Ed Palermo – Crazy (Pop Vocal): Big band, pop, country, and jazz vocal with Ed Palermo. Good demo for instrumental tone and ambiance, especially the saxophone lead at 2:51.

Hubert Kah – The Picture (New Wave): Natural voice and good electronic effects. Bass synth has good detail but light weight.

Marc Johnson – Prayer Beads (Acoustic): Upright bass has excellent string tone but light weight.

Michael Buble – Nice ‘n Easy (Jazz): Prominent but well-recorded voice. Massed instruments are well-separated. The bass line is mostly absent since the bass tone is subtle and the weight is very light.

Porcupine Tree – Trains (Pop-Rock): Fairly bright – there are a series of “clip-clop” effects starting at 3:19 that should sound like they were made with wooden blocks, but the reproduction lacks the ‘wooden’ tonality.

Sophie Milman – Lonely in New York (Jazz): Sibilants are prominent but not bad. Instruments (horn, violin, piano, percussion etc.) have decent musical tone.

Tiger Okoshi – Bootsman’s Little House (Jazz): The close-up trumpet is bright, with a significant “bite”. The piano is also closely mic’d. Overall, good musical tone.

Tutt-Keltner – Drum Improvisation (Jazz): Excellent percussion detail, but drums suffer in some cases from lack of weight.

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21 Comments

  • Reply July 15, 2016

    ohm image

    I have the original, and haven’t heard the e or i versions. Quickly, the original became my favourite non-reference headphone of all time. I’m drunk in love with it. Thanks for the review.

    • Reply July 15, 2016

      Barun C

      Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love) 😉

  • Reply July 15, 2016

    Barun C

    Nice review, Dale. Very carefully crafted article indeed. The only Grado product I have used was the SR-125 and it was great for the price as far as I can remember.So this is your 3rd pair of the Grado PS1000 series then?

    • Reply July 15, 2016

      Barun C

      Correction “Later in the Article” I mistyped “Revenue”

      • Reply July 15, 2016

        dale thorn

        or ‘exemples’

        • Reply July 15, 2016

          Barun C

          Hahaha. Yes. That one too. I missed it somehow.

    • Reply July 15, 2016

      dale thorn

      I’ve had the original SR325 circa 1999, the SR325e in 2015, the original PS500 in 2011, the GH1 in 2015, and this PS1000e. I researched the PS1000 series before buying, and what I remember is, many users who had both the original PS1000 and the PS1000e reported that the sound changed dramatically between the PS1000 and PS1000e. At this point, I have no idea what a PS1000 sounds like, and hopefully all of the PS1000e samples will sound the same.

      • Reply July 15, 2016

        Barun C

        That’s odd. Slight change is very much what one expects but dramatic is kinda interesting. Hope there will be blogs where people have written about this.

        But on a different note is there a dramatic difference in overall presentation in terms of sound between the Beyer DT 48E, 48A & 48S. Cause I just got the 48E pads on my 48A’s and the comfort and sound are a lot better than the default suction ear pads.

        • Reply July 15, 2016

          dale thorn

          Test post – capcha not working. DT48 with oval pads needs a lot of work.

        • Reply July 15, 2016

          dale thorn

          I would very much like to EQ a DT48 with current-edition oval earpads. It would be a huge task given the uneven sound, but it would be worth the effort because of the unique underlying sound.

          • Reply July 16, 2016

            Barun C

            Thanks for the advise. I’ve been listening them at Flat EQ and feel that the it has a full bodied mid-range and good detail retrieval capabilities, but below 80hz or so the bass is rolled off and the treble beyond 10 Khz is also rolled off. But somehow it doesn’t sound dark.

            I’ll try and see if EQ manipulation works its magic.

  • Reply July 15, 2016

    Barun C

    One thing I wanted to mention Lieven, should it be “famous 80 and 325 series” or famous 60 and 325 series” in the 2nd line of the article?

    Just wanted a clarification cause later in the revenue 60 & 325 was also mentioned, and it makes sense as they are the most popular Grado Headphones.

    • Reply July 15, 2016

      dale thorn

      The 60 and 80 should be a lot more popular than the 325, at least in the last 5 years.

  • Reply July 15, 2016

    Barun C

    Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love) 😉

    • Reply July 15, 2016

      dale thorn

      It sounds very familiar, like KRS-1.

      • Reply July 15, 2016

        Barun C

        Yes it is.

  • Reply August 11, 2016

    Doris

    Recently, I find the Gotor Audio cable is very useful:
    Above all. The quality of the cable is first rate, it built with 24K golding pure copper metal ensure the cleanest sound experience possible.it is bent over 10000 times, it will still return to the original shape and be saw no damage or change in performance. Visually appealing and appearing very high quality. Besides. It can be used with all types of phone, tables, iPod, laptop, MP3 or other media-playing device on headphone, Hi-Fi or car stereo which has standard 3.5mm aux ports. It’s very convenient no matter where you are. In addition. The technicians in Gotor use a high shielding and high authenticity protection design to ensure that customers recieve the best sounds via the cable. Do you want to have a cable ? The free sample will be send to you if you help this company to write a blog or make a video about our product.

  • Reply August 11, 2016

    dale thorn

    Spam?

  • Reply March 13, 2017

    Tuang Tuangthong

    I love my ps1000 so much that I bought ps1000e thinking the newer one might have sounded better. I am deeply disappointed. The original has a fuller sound with punches. The new one is very flat. I hope the more I wer them ,the better the sound!

    • Reply March 13, 2017

      dale thorn

      I bought the PS1000e also, and cannot get anyone to buy it. Big mistake!

  • […] the M2 will deliver an amazing experience. The Beyer DT1770 Pro is adequate for this – the Grado PS1000e is not. The better planars should handle the big bass with […]

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