Grado GS2000e Open Back Headphone Review
Grado has enjoyed tremendous success over the years with various models, but has never departed from their basic headphone design as illustrated by the Grado GS2000e. It’s unusual in this world of fashions and fads that Grado has kept so faithful to this design but it’s obviously working for them! So is the GS2000e without match, or is it matchwood?
- Nice neutral sound
- Fantastic imaging and soundstage
- Ungainly standard cable which cannot be removed or replaced
Design and Appearance
Indeed there are no surprises here; we may as well expect our US cousins to drive on the proper side of the road as revise this design. There is a tweak though; the GS2000e is a slightly different shade of brown. The slightly differing colour is due to the mixture of woods in this model. Mahogany to give the sound a bit of a polish, and maple which makes it more syrupy.
..Or perhaps the maple gives a brighter presentation which is held in check by the mohogany, for a clear and well-balanced sound.
The cable is still a non-removeable serpent-like affair which threatens to restrict the oxygen of careless music lovers, so there’s no change there.
Durability and Build Quality
Despite our gentle teasing, the cable is up to the job and there are no concerns regarding quality. The cable is stout with a heavy duty coating; it might have come off the Brooklyn Bridge itself. The 1/4 inch jack is military grade and the headphones themselves, while being light and comfortable, are made to last. They probably won’t appreciate being sat on though.
Some have complained about comfort issues with some other Grado models, but the GS2000e benefits from the large earcups; any clamping force is distributed over a wider area. Also with glasses, there are no points of pressure which are making themselves known. However, after a couple of hours things might start to feel a bit claustrophobic in there!
Suitability for intended application
The Grado GS2000e is definitely one to keep at home; they isolate exterior noise as if they weren’t there at all, and your music will be broadcast as if you’re a Public Access TV show. But for those quiet moments at home, they are just perfect.
The GS2000e has a slightly understated sound when compared to the GS1000e; the emphasis on bass and treble is reduced, which makes the midrange more of a centrepiece. Harmonics and therefore imaging will be a little stronger on the GS2000e, thanks to the relatively present midrange.
These were tested using a Chord Hugo.
- Bass :
Bass goes deep, and is clear. It’s not there in quantities to make fans of dance music jump, but does a good job of reproducing what’s there. It is also very detailed and well controlled.
This is the focus of the GS2000e’s sound; they do come across as reasonably neutral with perhaps a tad of extra presence at the upper end of the midrange. There is generally no sign of sibilance here however, although the odd recording may give a bit of trouble depending on the mastering.
Detail is superb, further enhancing soundstage and imaging. The sense of space with acoustic or classical recordings is wonderous.
That feeling of ‘air’ we know from the entry-level Grados is not so forced but is still there, and the detail is amazing. However it’s not pushed at us so much; we need to peer inside and dig it out, which is much more enjoyable.
- Soundstage and Separation
Soundstage is excellent and much the same as the GS1000e; however separation/imaging is slightly enhanced on the GS2000e, due to the relatively present midrange.
Music genres good for and why
The GS2000e is probably better for acoustic music, classical recordings and the like; the neutral sound does not lend itself well to dance and pop genres when compared to other lower-cost headphones, but these can easily be enjoyed when the wearer gets used to this setup.
Also, older recordings are given good treatment; the smooth treble is quite forgiving which makes the Grado GS2000e perfect for fans of vintage music and old vinyl.
Grado’s GS2000e is a worthy addition to their lineup, and a good idea for those who fancy a more neutral version of the GS1000e.