The appearance might be a touch wooden, but the performance is the complete opposite. Read our Grado GS2000e Review.
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Historically, the biggest weakness for some Grado models was their levels of comfort, with the somewhat simplistic foam padding arrangement used on its earpieces proving to be a little uncomfortable over extended sessions. To begin with, the GS2000e looks like more of the same and the foam section forms the surround for the ear, which can leave them a little hot after prolonged use. The good news is that Grado seems to have made some tweaks to the type of material that has improved matters, and the GS2000e is easy to wear for long periods and doesn’t suffer from the same heat build up as previous models. Its relatively lightweight design also helps. This is still not the most comfortable pair of headphones I’ve tried, though – the driver is close to the ear and the foam is stiff and unyielding. The good news is that the pads are replaceable, ensuring a longer life.
DETAILS PRODUCT: Grado GS2000e Review
ORIGIN USA TYPE Open-back, over-ear headphone
• 50mm dynamic driver
• Quoted sensitivity: 99.8dB/mW
• Cables: 1.5m (captive) with 6.35mm jack; 3.65m extension cable
DISTRIBUTOR Armour Home Electronics
Thanks to its rather retro appearance, one could easily assume that Grado has been building the same headphone design for decades. Its e-series is a relatively recent revision and the GS2000e is part of the Statement range that sits just below the professional series.
Key to the construction is the use of two different woods in the driver housings. Mahogany and maple are used as they offer different specific resonances that when combined create an inert but lightweight enclosure for the purpose-built 50mm dynamic drivers. The super lightweight feel will divide opinion and it seems as though there is only just enough mass to ensure that the drivers are held in place. The result is that while the GS2000e is actually very nicely made, it just doesn’t feel as solid as some of the other models on test. It is also only fair to point out that even by the standards of open-back headphone designs, noise leakage here is one of the highest we’ve encountered, so you’ll want to be sat well away from those that are easily irritated.
The supplied accessories feel a touch on the parsimonious side, too. The packaging is lightweight and there’s no storage case or carry bag supplied. The cable is captive and of good quality, but is only 1.5m long – although it comes supplied with a 3.65m extension cable as well. There are other headphones at the same price in the group that do make you feel as though you are getting rather more for your money in terms of pride of ownership at least. Grado has made some improvements in terms of long-term listening comfort (see boxout) and while the looks are a matter of taste, I do rather like it.
When you listen to the Grado, many of the concerns about the looks and limited features seem entirely irrelevant. With the test level easily achieved, more than any other headphone here, the GS2000e simply vanishes. Burn The Witch feels like it is mustered from thin air while the strings have a vibrancy that is very compelling. Yorke’s vocals are
It does a fine job of getting the head nodding and pulling you into the music
weighty and well defined with a real sense of texture and decay to them and the GS2000e manages the difficult trick of placing the performance in front of you rather than simply directly into your ears.
This means that the way it goes about reproducing Stimela is absolutely outstanding. The sense of ‘being there’ that it generates is the best of the headphones in the test. This is helped by wonderfully natural and believable tonality mated to a presentation that neatly balances a sense of excitement with sufficient refinement to make extended listening very pleasurable. Take Five sounds vibrant and immediate with the interplay between Forcione and Sciubba something that is worked into the very fabric of the music.
Against this, there isn’t too much to be critical about. The bass extension that is on display with Beat It is not the deepest, but the speed and innate sense of timing go a long way towards alleviating this. The GS2000e does a fine job of getting the head nodding and pulling you into the music in a manner that some other models here can struggle with. Jackson’s vocals are beautifully rendered and the fine details – like the backing vocalists and the synth effects – are captured exceptionally well and worked effortlessly into the mix.
An acquired taste aesthetically, but it delivers a superb sonic performance
- Natural and open sound with excellent rhythmic engagement
- Limited accessories
- Some discomfort