Product review: Grado SR 60e headphones


For years, the Grado SR60 series has been considered one of the best, if not the best over-the-ear headphones available for under $100. The latest model, the Grado SR60e, takes their performance to a whole new level.


For those of you unfamiliar with Grado Labs, they got their start making phono cartridges over 60 years ago, hand-making everything in Brooklyn, New York.  They later branched into headphones and earphones, and like the cartridges everything but the in-ear models are made by hand here in the USA at their Brooklyn facility. The box tells a bit of the story of the Grado family, a nice touch.




Grado headphones are open-back designs, which enhances sonic performance because the headphone does not need to absorb the backwave coming from the outward-facing side of the driver. They also do not isolate you from the outside world, which could be good or bad depending on the circumstances. The sound leakage from open-back designs means they may not always be appropriate in public places, but open-back designs tend to be the very highest performing models on the market. Personally, I tend to prefer open designs and I think the lack of isolation adds to the listening experience.



A plug adapter is provided for use with full-size components. They headphones are comfortable, but not the last word in comfort at the price point and though the cable is heavy duty, the headband is not. While not impressive in design or construction, it does do its job of keeping the earcups in place so you can enjoy the sound.

As for the sound itself, it is airy and open, with good detail, rich tonal color, and treble that is rendered with crispness that never goes into the realm of sounding harsh.  They are slightly laid back rather than forward or dramatic sounding, and given the price I think it is much safer to design them this way and get it right, then push the envelope of what can be done for $79 and get it wrong.

In short, the Grado SR60e is one of the finest headphone values on the market and one of the only open-back headphones that is truly affordable. They are considered a best buy in every audio publication, including this one, and I strongly recommend them.

Grado products sell for the same price everywhere.  They don’t run sales or promotions, so if you want to try them the price won’t be changing and they won’t be going on sale.  I admire this approach and it is a testament to their products’ desirability and lasting value.

Want to try the SR60e?  Use the Amazon link below to read actual end user reviews and order.