The Grado SR60i, compared to the SR60

In 2008, Grado updated their entire line up and adding the “i” lettering to every model. The popular entry level model SR60 became SR60i, and the high end RS1 and GS1000 became RS1i and GS1000i. The SR325i model, having already the “i” designation, is updated to the SR325is. Many people who were on the market to purchase Grados were curious on what changes come with the “i” models. Browsing the internet forums, I couldn’t find a definitive answer, so I set out a review to find out.


I pitched the original SR60 to the Grado SR60i to see which comes up on top. Both headphones that we reviewed had around 200 hours on them, so the differences in sound that we report is not due to the factor of burn-in. I didn’t see the need of  amplifiers as well as lossless files, so I connected the SR60s straight to the Ipod, and files were 128Kbps to 320Kbps. The Ipods used were Touch 2nd Gen and Nano 2nd Gen.

Since Grado was famous for Rock music, I played Muse, Coldplay, as well as some songs from Juno’s Soundtrack. I also played some bass heavy sounds from Black Eyed Peas to listen to the Bass performance.

As you can see from the pictures, the old and the newer model has quite a different look. The old model is definitely more retro looking, while the new model is a little more modern, while still looking like a Grado. The new model has a bigger diameter housing too, at 6.3 cm compared to the old model at 5.5 cm. The new model’s housing is 3.2 cm thick while the old one is 2.4 cm thick. Doing some quick calculations, the new housing is roughly 70% bigger than the old one! You can also see from the picture how the new one has a tapered housing, while the old one doesn’t. Both models come with the same standard SR60 pad.

sr60_sr60i_1Other than the different housing, the driver is different as well. A macro shot to the driver units will reveal this. Everything else is the same on the new one from the headband to the cable. On the higher end models, the “i” version actually has thicker cables than the non-i. Previously Grado used 2 cables for each channel, one for signal and another for ground. The higher end “i” models actually uses 4 cables for each channel: two for signal and two for ground.

Overall I didn’t notice any change in fit in the new one. The SR60 pad has always been the most uncomfortable of all Grado pads, and on the new one it is still just as uncomfortable. The feel of the SR60 remains cheap and plasticky, always reminding you to upgrade to higher-end models whenever you have the cash.

sr60_sr60idriversFor $60, the sound of the SR60 is award-winning. You are hearing Hi-Fi level sound that would need hundreds of dollars to achieve through speakers. The original SR60 was a lot of fun too, it is very musical and plays a lot of genres of music well for its price range. True, it doesn’t have enough bass for some genres, and the soundstage is a little small for classical, but its detail, transparency, openness, and musicality is almost unmatched by anything else for $60. Most people are hooked to the Grado sound the moment they put on the SR60.


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  • Reply October 12, 2009


    Hi Mike,

    how do you found about the capability of SR60i to handle complex passage compared to SR60? Let’s say on the 4th movement of Beethoven 9th Symphony… on which SR60 sounded congested

  • Reply October 12, 2009


    Well, both the SR60 and the SR60i is still not the cans for classical music, as I said in the review: “For serious instrumental and classical music, however, the SR60i still lacks the technical capability. ”

    Anyway what cans under $100 have the technical capability to handle Beethoven’s 9th? 🙂

  • Reply October 21, 2009


    “Anyway what cans under $100 have the technical capability to handle Beethoven’s 9th?”

    not cans… but Crossroad Mylar One X3 beats SR60 (not i) on the midrange detail and complex passage handling…

    for the cans… maybe a used HD25-1 can fall down below $100, and I’m sure it can handle Beethoven’s 9th better than SR60… 🙂

  • Reply October 25, 2009


    well i know that you will probably laugh 🙂 , but through my hd555, Beethoven’s 9th sounds good enough to my ears. i have avoided till now the whole high end thing, though i am not sure i will resist an upgrade for long.

    i agree about the grado sr60i being a more bassy headphone’ with the things i had heard about the lack of bass on sr60 i expected things to be different, but i thoroughly enjoy my bassier albums through the sr60i’s

    nice site by the way, i keep an eye on your posts

  • Reply March 15, 2011


    This is a good comparison.

    I’d like to add that a Vintage SR60 with pink drivers and black magnet sound much better than both. Sounds extremely refined, with a pleasant midrange and enough high sparkle without being harsh.

    • Reply March 15, 2011


      Sweet. Would love to hear it one day.

  • Reply May 20, 2011

    Jourdan-Reiss Russell

     Are the AKG K518s better than these?

    • Reply May 21, 2011


      Different sound signature.

      The K518 has stronger punchier bass. These Grados has a more open sound,
      livelier treble, more suitable for slow rock, blues, acoustic stuff.

      • i to listen to a wide range of music, main genres being rock, alt rock, dance and hip-hop.
        Will the sr6oi deliver for that or will i need an alternative; if so, what?

        • Reply June 12, 2011


          I’d recommend you the Sennheiser HD25-1.

          • I’m actually not able to really pass £100 due to monetary constraints, and i wanted some portability, so i looked at your recent Marshall review. Would they be a good alternative or are there better portables priced at 100 or less?

            • Reply June 16, 2011


              Do you need it to be a closed design (noise isolation), or is open
              design fine? What music do you listen to?

  • Reply May 18, 2012


    I don’t think the SR60 would be good with Jpop and Symphonic Metal and the like.
    Symphonic and power metal… maybe someone else can help? I don’t really listen to metal.

  • Reply September 12, 2012


    How bout comparing sr60i and alessandro ms1i? i listn to jazz and rock btw, also metal like opeth.

    • Reply September 12, 2012


      SR60i is still more forward, the MS1i is more neutral and is the better all rounder.

  • Reply July 25, 2014


    I would like to request a review for a recently-released update: the Grado SR-80e

    • Reply July 25, 2014


      I think we’re doing one or two of the new E series but not all. Dave know which one’s he got 😉

    • Reply July 25, 2014

      Dave Ulrich

      Well, wouldn’t you know, that’s the one I got! Although it might be a bit as the WA7 is coming first

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